Confusion about HTPC functioning similar to an extender - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I thought I had it all worked out, was rather happy about the path forward, but in the wee hours of the morning I woke up and realized this may not work.

I first considered building an HTPC, then learned of Xbox and Extenders. Then I considered building a media server, but my main PC is a powerhouse that is used mostly for email, web surfing and photography post-processing, so I beefed it up with an additional 10TB of storage and an AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet, and the excellent information compiled by Assassin. With an Xbox 360 in the bedroom HT, recorded tv and playing MKV's works perfectly. For the main theater the plan was to kick it up a notch and build a HTPC with the media server still performing its recording and sharing duties. However, I can't figure out whether this will work, whether the HTPC can use the tuners in the media server just as the Xbox does. I realize I can share and access recorded TV from the HTPC but not sure about live tv, and in particular a centrally located server for recordings so that they can be accessed regardless of display. I've scrutinized every setting in WMC and done a good bit of searching, I'm still not clear. Maybe I just need a separate networked tuner and configure recorded tv to a network share?

Thanks in advance for any clarity you might provide. My guess is I'm over-thinking it.

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post #2 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 10:28 AM
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You would need a network tuner or a tuner for the second HTPC.

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post #3 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 10:45 AM
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If you do it with a networked tuner you will not have a unified PVR and you will not be able to share recordings marked copy once (assuming CableCo recordings with a CableCARD tuner). Other than this it should work fine.

The HDHR Prime is a network tuner that is a node on your network and its three tuners are dynamic in nature in that any one available can be utilized by an HTPC requesting a tuner.

The InfiniTV4 is a PCI (or USB) tuner that resides in (or is connected to) your your PC. The ceton software allows any one of its 4 tuners to be assigned to a specific HTPC in a static nature so once assigned it won't be available to another HTPC.

There is a newer 4-tuner Prime coming out soon and ceton is rumored to be releasing a 6-tuner (networked?) model later this year or next year. Troubles with the echo my affect this though.

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post #4 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

If you do it with a networked tuner you will not have a unified PVR and you will not be able to share recordings marked copy once (assuming CableCo recordings with a CableCARD tuner). Other than this it should work fine.

One clarification, tuner is ATSC only, the primary purpose for all of this geekdom is to cut the cord.

I'm confused about your response, as this won't work fine at all. What I want is whole home PVR capability, this is top priority. if the HTPC can access a networked tuner and I can point WMC to libraries and recorded tv to a network drive then I should be all set, correct? Perhaps your response is tied to copy once?

It's looking like I'll be buying a new tuner and testing this out on a laptop. This is what I expected while thinking it through this morning, but didn't want to buy another piece of gear with the possibility of it not working.

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post #5 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 11:26 AM
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Right. You won't have to deal with Copy Once or any other flags. Something like a HDHomeRun HDR3 should work fine for you. Just share out your Recorded TV folders and map them to the other HTPC. Or you create some sort of script to move them periodically to the server.

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post #6 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 11:34 AM
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Or if you do WHS 2011 you can have the recordings automatically archived.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 11:34 AM
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The HDHR Prime will not tune OTA ATSC. For that you need the dual (or two) and an antenna (with a powered splitter to split the signal if you have two tuners).

bryansj's suggestion on sharing the folders across HTPC's is the only way to get close to the whole home PVR experience and should work fine for RecordedTV. The only thing you won't get is the Pause on one TV and Resume on another that an actual WMC extender will provide.

EDIT: TornadoTJ's suggestion is good too.

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post #8 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 11:36 AM
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Since you are using ATSC you won't have any problems sharing your recordings trough out your network. The only issues are that unless you're using an extender you won't be able to have a shared guide, and you can't stop a recording in one room and resume in another.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 11:37 AM
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You do not need a powered splitter. Just a good quality splitter. Just look for the Antronix brand. They are cheap.
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 12:32 PM
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The other option is just to get another Xbox 360 instead of another HTPC.

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post #11 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 01:09 PM
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A PC can't operate as an extender. That's the simply answer to OP's question.
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post #12 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 01:24 PM
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The title of the thread said ".. HTPC functioning similar to an extender". We just took it from there..

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post #13 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

The title of the thread said ".. HTPC functioning similar to an extender". We just took it from there..

Actually it says "edtender" so maybe he is asking about something besides an extender?

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post #14 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 02:26 PM
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Regardless, a second PC won't be similar as an extender as far as TV watching goes. You have sparate guides and have to record separately. Although sharing the recording works in concept but it requires extra work to get to those recordings and doesn't always work.
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post #15 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 02:39 PM
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Exactly. I guess it is in what is considered similar enough to the OP. I think we were explaining the differences from what the OP wanted to do and what an extender will do.

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post #16 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all. Sorry about the typo in the title. I know there is no software-based extender capability in Windows, but was curious how HTPCs fit into the whole-home DVR solution.

This is about as effed up as I'd expect from Microsoft. You'd think they might have an interest in providing client-server capability for media, particularly with the popularity of WMC and their market share. While I understand the demand for now is only for enthusiasts, the need is expanding. Ah well, I've been dealing with Windows and creating workarounds since Windows 1.0, this is just a little speed bump (I think). I've ordered a HDHomeRun HDR3, I'll see what I can do from there. Depending on Xbox 720 capabilities (or rather, what they've stripped from it) I will likely go that route and forego the HTPC altogether, the main reason for it was flexibility in playing archived disks. I can live without it.

Separate guides and recording separately are not issues, as long as we can watch live TV and access recorded tv in my office (where media server is directly connected to a 42" display), the bedroom and main media room.

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post #17 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 04:34 PM
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Neither an extender or second HTPC is the "perfect" solution. I moved away from extenders because of the limitations on codecs and containers for playing movies at the extender location. So, I went with a second HTPC. To overcome the problem of recording at multiple locations, I have Remote Potato installed on my main TV server with the RecordedTV folder shared out as mentioned above. On each client HTPC, I install Remote Potato and use Media Center Studio to hide the native TV Guide. By doing this, the clients pull up a guide that shows and sets recording status at the server HTPC. Note- Where I live, my cable provider currently marks all my content (non-premium subscription) as Copy Freely (fingers crossed it doesn't change), so each client is able view content recorded on the TV server.
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post #18 of 21 Old 04-19-2013, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Thanks all. Sorry about the typo in the title. I know there is no software-based extender capability in Windows, but was curious how HTPCs fit into the whole-home DVR solution.

This is about as effed up as I'd expect from Microsoft. You'd think they might have an interest in providing client-server capability for media, particularly with the popularity of WMC and their market share. While I understand the demand for now is only for enthusiasts, the need is expanding. Ah well, I've been dealing with Windows and creating workarounds since Windows 1.0, this is just a little speed bump (I think). I've ordered a HDHomeRun HDR3, I'll see what I can do from there. Depending on Xbox 720 capabilities (or rather, what they've stripped from it) I will likely go that route and forego the HTPC altogether, the main reason for it was flexibility in playing archived disks. I can live without it.

Separate guides and recording separately are not issues, as long as we can watch live TV and access recorded tv in my office (where media server is directly connected to a 42" display), the bedroom and main media room.

I have a similar set up as well with three computers (including my main PC in my office) using WMC to view LiveTV and to Record themselves but mainly I use the HTPC in the media room and an extender for this function.

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post #19 of 21 Old 04-20-2013, 11:51 AM
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If you wan't to go the HTPC route I would use MediaPortal instead.
Shared Guide, Shared Recordings, Live TV over the Network (no need for an HD Homerun).

The way I have mine set up:
Windows 7
Core2Duo @2.13ghz with 4gb ram
3 Avermedia Duets A188 for a total of 6 tuners for Live TV and Recordings. (with a patch you can record more then one show using 1 tuner if both shows are using the same transponder)
These tuners are all located in the server. However my other HTPC's can access all of the tuners for Live TV or to record.
So they work as true extenders.
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post #20 of 21 Old 04-20-2013, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzo90017 View Post

If you wan't to go the HTPC route I would use MediaPortal instead.

For you, how much slower does it take to change channels on MediaPortal? I tried it out recently, but I did not like the slower channel changing. Plus, here in the US, I think you have to pay for guide listings, whereas they are free in MCE.
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post #21 of 21 Old 04-20-2013, 09:18 PM
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For me channel changing averages between 2-3 seconds. And that's with the server hosting the tuner cards. Not sure if it makes a difference when using something like and HDHomerun instead of internal tuner cards. I'm sure it also depends on your signal strength. As for guide data you have more then a few options. Schedules Direct which is the recommended option because it funds Open Source programs and is non profit.It's only $25 a year. There's also WebEpg and MC2xml which are free.
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