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post #1 of 35 Old 04-28-2013, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,
This is my very first post, so please go easy on me if I do anything wrong.

I am in the process of building my very first HTPC, and I could sure use a little bit of help from some of you experts here on the forum. I am building it around the Intel DG33TLM Motherboard, which has Front Panel CIR Receiver pinouts as well as Back Panel CIR Emitter pinouts. I do not yet fully understand what all of that means, which is partly why I am here.

One of the main desired functions of this HTPC is to record certain TV shows at certain times, and I am trying to automate that process through Windows Media Center on Windows 7 OS. My TV comes in via Cable Service on a RF cable and to a Tuner Box. From the box I connect to my HTPC via another RF cable to a Hauppauge 1800 PCI-e Tuner Card with Digital & Analog RF inputs. Most of the TV comes in through the Analog port on Channel 3, which is good enough for most TV broadcasts. The box is a digital box however, and a lot of the channels are digital only.

Quality aside for the time being, what I would like the HTPC system to do, is control the Tuner Box and change the channels on the box at the proper times and make the recordings. To this end, I purchased the Inteset Systems 4 in 1 Remote and CIR Receiver with cable to connect directly to the CIR pinouts on my motherboard. I was told by the seller that buying this device would allow me to do what I wanted to do with the TV recordings. Problem is, I just cannot see how this device by itself is going to control the Tuner Box. It looks like all it is going to do is allow me to control Windows Media Center with the Remote. I want more than that. Are there any other parts I need to make this happen? Or is this device able to do all of it by itself?

Also, are there any tutorials on this site that could sort of walk me through this? This is a gargantuan site, and I have read many, many threads, some of which mention the use of this device, but none that sort of explain how it all works together for us noobs.

Could somebody please help me with this, or at least point me in the right direction? I am a fairly knowledgeable PC builder & user, but I am lost on this subject and at the same time, a little overwhelmed.

Thanks so very much for whatever help you can provide.
-GDog

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post #2 of 35 Old 04-28-2013, 09:08 PM
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Why on earth are you doing this? Get rid of that cable box entirely and get a cable card tuner.


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post #3 of 35 Old 04-28-2013, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, mdavej, that's exactly what I originally planned to do. However, Cox Cable's tuner card comes with a Box that they say is required to be able to get all the channels. In my view, that sort of defeated the purpose. If I am wrong, please enlighten me.
-Gary

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post #4 of 35 Old 04-28-2013, 10:15 PM
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A cablecard tuner would be what you would want as it will allow viewing/recording of all channels and allow up to 4 channels to be recorded at once if you were to get the Ceton InfiniTV4 {PCIe or USB versions)... The SilconDust HDHomerun Prime {plugs into network for "all" computers to share rather than usb/pcie and dedicated tuners} will currently allow 3 streams at once {one should be out later this year that will allow 4 streams}. It will also allow you to record the HD stations that are not in clear qam. The rental of your cable box will run about $8.50/month in most cox markets (some markets discount the SD box to $6.50/month but they don't tune the HD channels) A cablecard in most cox markets run $2/month. In most cox markets you will also get channels that your cox box does not as it will also tune the plus pack channels (no extra charge... you will only receive programming for tiers/premiums you subscribe to... most have the variety pack which will get you the basic plus pack channels the extra HD channels for premiums such as HBO will require an HBO subscription). With most areas of cox you will also need a tuning adapter which in most markets is free with the cablecard rental.

For years I used a similar video card to what you have... you will need some type of ir blaster... The one I use was from a HP media center pc that has 2 ir emitter outputs as well as the ir receiver for the media center remote but it is usb not cir... your CIR solution may be a little better in that it might actually turn the computer on if its off (not just asleep) I can't remember if the 1800 has a built in port for it and I also can't remember if that port is compatible with WMC.

{edit: Some like to keep the box for pay per view and on-demand as the cablecard solution won't support it but if you record everything, you already have it "On-Demand" }
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post #5 of 35 Old 04-29-2013, 07:13 AM
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A cablecard tuner eliminates the need for a cable box. It allows for viewing and recording of all content you are subscribed to. The only caveat is that you lose Video On Demand and the ability to order pay-per-view programs, although it may be possible to order them through other means and watch them via the cablecard tuner. I've never used PPV with a cablecard tuner so I don't know for sure.
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post #6 of 35 Old 04-29-2013, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDogFast View Post

Well, mdavej, that's exactly what I originally planned to do. However, Cox Cable's tuner card comes with a Box that they say is required to be able to get all the channels. In my view, that sort of defeated the purpose. If I am wrong, please enlighten me.
-Gary

They are probably talking about a tuning adapter which means they are using switched digital video (SDV)

"Normal" cable operations send all the channels at once. They all flow through the pipe at the same time, and to watch one you just flip to it on your box. This takes up a lot of bandwidth.

SDV works by only sending the most popular channels at once. More obscure or less watched ones are not sent by default. Once you flip to it the cable box calls home and asks the cable company to turn that channel on and send it through the pipe.

Since cablecards can't call home they need another piece of equipment to work. Thats what the tuning adapter is. They work with WMC.


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post #7 of 35 Old 04-29-2013, 08:20 AM
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Why on earth are you doing this? Get rid of that cable box entirely and get a cable card tuner.

He said to be nice right up front!

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post #8 of 35 Old 05-04-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys, sorry for the delay. Had a Family emergency that consumed me for last few days.

So, if I understand you guys correctly, my suspicions about the Inteset CIR & Remote are correct - it only allows me to control WMC using the Remote, right? And unless I switch to a Cable Card setup, which I am not sure I can do right now due to the additional cost, I will need to use the "Back Panel CIR Emitter" or a similar USB device to actually control the Cable BOX. Am I understanding this correctly? If that *is* correct, then I think I have an old USB emitter device laying around somewhere. If I were to install that USB device, would WMC recognize it and utilize it correctly? Obviously it would be better to use the internal Back Panel CIR Emitter, which I *think* just runs a cable to the back panel, terminating in a JACK where the actual IR emitter device would plug into. Does that sound right? I looked around for the CIR emitter cable on the web but was unable to find anything. Does anyone know where I might obtain the emitter parts to complete this build? It can be difficult trying to "make do" with older parts, I know.

Thanks for everyone's help. I really appreciate it.
Gary (GDogFast)

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post #9 of 35 Old 05-05-2013, 06:23 AM
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I give... WHY ARE YOU WANTING TO DO IT THIS WAY???

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post #10 of 35 Old 05-05-2013, 08:12 AM
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Cox only charges $1.99 for a cable card, and CC tuners have been on sale for as cheap as $130 or so - I think the Hauppauge 2-tuner USBs are around $100. You are wasting your time trying to use WMC to control a box, and you'll probably find that swapping the box for a card will pay for itself tuner-wise.
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post #11 of 35 Old 05-05-2013, 08:32 AM
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I agree with you sammy2 as those of us with cablecard tuners can't think of going back to the old way of doing it... I assume the main reason is money as it would be $200 for the tuner and $2/month (seems that is the usual going rate though it varies by provider) for the cablecard rental.


I actually still use a blaster on one of my setups as the analog tuners of my 1600s went out, digital tuners are fine for clear qam... the analogs just wont tune the 70 analog channels my provider has however the svid input still works. Prior to the cablecard, I controlled a STB... after the cablecard, when I returned the STB, I hooked up the svid and audio connection to an old vcr and set WMC to use the ir blaster to have the vcr tune the required channels... There are a few programs I do this with as the analog is quite clear and it isn't protected so if I want to make a syfy show available to all my devices, it is the "only" option for me as everything is protected... though I prefer HD, I actually find analog sd still tolerable as long as it isn't on my large tv and really wish all cable companies would remove the copy once from these sd channels... unlike most here, I actually do understand and support drm for many hd streams, though there are parts to it that I think need to be more liberal and there are days I think it is pointless since the content will always be available by other means so yes it does punish those who want to do the right thing.


I have not checked out Assassins guides lately... as I always felt I knew what I was doing, but was wondering if there was a section on CIR and getting it to work... finding the input has never seemed that difficult but I have never seen/found the blaster side of it and making sure it works with wmc... So even though this system I have that uses the blaster has CIR available to it, I use an old HP WMC solution for both input and output of ir.
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post #12 of 35 Old 05-05-2013, 09:43 AM
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Agree with what was said above. Get the Hauppauge 2650 dual tuner. Right now it's 100, but if you wait a bit you can likely get it for less (I've seen it go town to $70). Cable providers typically Charge $10/month for the box, so you get your money back in a couple of months.
Boxes and IR blasing really only make sense for satellite (together with a Hauppauge hdpvr/Colossus).
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post #13 of 35 Old 05-06-2013, 04:28 AM
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I'd bite the bullet and go with the Ceton InfiniTV4. It's got four tuners and goes on sale frequently as low as $150. The point is not that you may not necessarily need that many tuners at the moment, but if you ever decide to get more you won't need to rent an additional cablecard to use them. The money you save on the 2nd cablecard will pay for it in the long run. I think you'll quickly learn that you can't have too many tuners if you do any recording of TV shows.
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post #14 of 35 Old 05-06-2013, 06:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDogFast View Post

Hi all,
This is my very first post, so please go easy on me if I do anything wrong.

I am in the process of building my very first HTPC, and I could sure use a little bit of help from some of you experts here on the forum. I am building it around the Intel DG33TLM Motherboard, which has Front Panel CIR Receiver pinouts as well as Back Panel CIR Emitter pinouts. I do not yet fully understand what all of that means, which is partly why I am here.

One of the main desired functions of this HTPC is to record certain TV shows at certain times, and I am trying to automate that process through Windows Media Center on Windows 7 OS. My TV comes in via Cable Service on a RF cable and to a Tuner Box. From the box I connect to my HTPC via another RF cable to a Hauppauge 1800 PCI-e Tuner Card with Digital & Analog RF inputs. Most of the TV comes in through the Analog port on Channel 3, which is good enough for most TV broadcasts. The box is a digital box however, and a lot of the channels are digital only.

Quality aside for the time being, what I would like the HTPC system to do, is control the Tuner Box and change the channels on the box at the proper times and make the recordings. To this end, I purchased the Inteset Systems 4 in 1 Remote and CIR Receiver with cable to connect directly to the CIR pinouts on my motherboard. I was told by the seller that buying this device would allow me to do what I wanted to do with the TV recordings. Problem is, I just cannot see how this device by itself is going to control the Tuner Box. It looks like all it is going to do is allow me to control Windows Media Center with the Remote. I want more than that. Are there any other parts I need to make this happen? Or is this device able to do all of it by itself?

Also, are there any tutorials on this site that could sort of walk me through this? This is a gargantuan site, and I have read many, many threads, some of which mention the use of this device, but none that sort of explain how it all works together for us noobs.

Could somebody please help me with this, or at least point me in the right direction? I am a fairly knowledgeable PC builder & user, but I am lost on this subject and at the same time, a little overwhelmed.

Thanks so very much for whatever help you can provide.
-GDog

The easiest way is to buy a remote control that includes an IR receiver with IR emitter ports on it, then run an IR emitter from the receiver port to the cable box IR input. Here is a picture of one so you see what I mean. I have not used any remote with my HTPC except the wonderful Microsoft built one - but they no longer build them. In this picture, they call the IR receiver an IR blaster. You point the remote at the IR Receiver, which plugs into the PC via USB. After connecting everything and allowing Windows to recognize it (and connecting the emitter to the output port of the receiver and putting it over the IR receiver on the cable box), you will need to setup WMC to control your cable box. Just run the WMC setup routine and it does a great job of walking you through it. A trick on helping find the IR receiver on your cable box is to change the channels on it and look for the flashing light. Then go to that location and use a flashlight to see if you can see the little oval receiver in it. Put the self adhesive IR emitter directly over it.

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post #15 of 35 Old 07-22-2013, 07:37 PM
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I'm looking to do this too.. I've had many, many DVR setups over the years, VCR (LOL) then TiVo series I and II, BeyondTV, Sage and now WMC. I currently have a HDHomerun and it works awesome... problem is 1) Cablevision encrypts a few key channels (H2, science, Disney XD) and so I can't use anything but WMC to watch those shows 2) the only currently manufactured WMC extenders are the ceton echo which is expensive and has horrible reviews and the xbox, which is notoriously unreliable due to RROD problems and 3) WMC is the only software currently on the market that can handle cablecard DRM. This coupled with the fact that Cablevision's DVR's, both "fat" and cloud, are notoriously unreliable as well, leaves me with the only choice of prolonging my stupid hacktastic frustratingly analogy cable box control solution. My old sage server is still up and uses a USB UIRT to control two boxes and I was so ecstatic to get away from it, but with the DRM problem on WMC I can't. And since Sage sold to google and technically is still alive but is on death row, I really don't want to go back to fully relying on it, especially with some of the stuttering issues that developed on my Sage server.

So, unless I've horribly misstated something, which I would be VERY VERY happy to find out, I don't see another solution. I suppose if I go back to controlling cable boxes I could use Myth or MediaPortal, but I can't stand the fact that I will have to continue using a solution that breaks every time Cablevision reboots the boxes and I don't notice for a couple of days, not to mention the amount of heat put out by the damn boxes requires me to leave an A/C on all summer in my office. But the only other solution involves things that are not legit or reliable, and which I won't mention by name here.

If anyone can prove me wrong or provide another solution I'd love it. Right now WMC feeding into a WPS script to do initial renaming and then feeding to MC-TV converter for conversion to mkv and commercial skip and then into Plex for a front end on my 3 Roku's works fantastic, but the DRM sh!ts on it all and ruins my joy.

Sigh.

Rob
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post #16 of 35 Old 07-22-2013, 08:21 PM
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It's way too easy to get analysis paralysis these days. The Echo is fine and goes on sale often. I picked up a couple more for $100 each over the July 4th holiday. I even bought a few extra, flipped them a few weeks later and brought my net cost down to $50 each. Granted it can't stream everything under the sun at the moment and has a few very minor bugs IMO but is a nice little unit with a lot of potential. Xboxes also work fine and are very cheap. Just because a few red ring is no reason do dismiss them entirely.

Nothing could be anywhere near as bad as going back to cable boxes.


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post #17 of 35 Old 07-23-2013, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobFromLI View Post

I'm looking to do this too.. I've had many, many DVR setups over the years, VCR (LOL) then TiVo series I and II, BeyondTV, Sage and now WMC. I currently have a HDHomerun and it works awesome... problem is 1) Cablevision encrypts a few key channels (H2, science, Disney XD) and so I can't use anything but WMC to watch those shows 2) the only currently manufactured WMC extenders are the ceton echo which is expensive and has horrible reviews and the xbox, which is notoriously unreliable due to RROD problems and 3) WMC is the only software currently on the market that can handle cablecard DRM. This coupled with the fact that Cablevision's DVR's, both "fat" and cloud, are notoriously unreliable as well, leaves me with the only choice of prolonging my stupid hacktastic frustratingly analogy cable box control solution. My old sage server is still up and uses a USB UIRT to control two boxes and I was so ecstatic to get away from it, but with the DRM problem on WMC I can't. And since Sage sold to google and technically is still alive but is on death row, I really don't want to go back to fully relying on it, especially with some of the stuttering issues that developed on my Sage server.

So, unless I've horribly misstated something, which I would be VERY VERY happy to find out, I don't see another solution. I suppose if I go back to controlling cable boxes I could use Myth or MediaPortal, but I can't stand the fact that I will have to continue using a solution that breaks every time Cablevision reboots the boxes and I don't notice for a couple of days, not to mention the amount of heat put out by the damn boxes requires me to leave an A/C on all summer in my office. But the only other solution involves things that are not legit or reliable, and which I won't mention by name here.

If anyone can prove me wrong or provide another solution I'd love it. Right now WMC feeding into a WPS script to do initial renaming and then feeding to MC-TV converter for conversion to mkv and commercial skip and then into Plex for a front end on my 3 Roku's works fantastic, but the DRM sh!ts on it all and ruins my joy.

Sigh.

Rob

Red Ring has been a non-issue on the 360 for years. The Slim model (and the redesigned Slim that was released this summer) have been extremely reliable. If you're only interested in TV streaming, either the 360 or the Echo will be fine. If you want to play back other media, there are limitations with both devices right now. Echo is the only one that is likely to have long-term ability to play more than a limited selection of media, however.
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post #18 of 35 Old 07-23-2013, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
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If anyone can prove me wrong or provide another solution I'd love it. Right now WMC feeding into a WPS script to do initial renaming and then feeding to MC-TV converter for conversion to mkv and commercial skip and then into Plex for a front end on my 3 Roku's works fantastic, but the DRM sh!ts on it all and ruins my joy.

Sigh.

Rob

Yeah we all have, multiple times in this thread - get a cablecard, a tuner and a couple of cheap Xbox Slims and you're done (used Slims with busted DVD drives can be had for $100 or less, and they don't have RROD issues. Or just get a couple of Linksys DMA2100s on fleabay for same price, they work.).

IR blasting a crappy cable box is a horrible kludge that needs to die unless you have a need to archive protected content via something like the HD-PVR or Colossus. Yeah you won't get comskip on protected stuff with a card so you have to use extenders for those channels, but IMO that's way better than paying the extra rent for boxes and the sometimes unreliable blasting that goes with it.
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post #19 of 35 Old 07-23-2013, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

It's way too easy to get analysis paralysis these days. The Echo is fine and goes on sale often. I picked up a couple more for $100 each over the July 4th holiday. I even bought a few extra, flipped them a few weeks later and brought my net cost down to $50 each. Granted it can't stream everything under the sun at the moment and has a few very minor bugs IMO but is a nice little unit with a lot of potential. Xboxes also work fine and are very cheap. Just because a few red ring is no reason do dismiss them entirely.

Nothing could be anywhere near as bad as going back to cable boxes.

YUP.

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post #20 of 35 Old 07-23-2013, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobFromLI View Post

If anyone can prove me wrong or provide another solution I'd love it. Right now WMC feeding into a WPS script to do initial renaming and then feeding to MC-TV converter for conversion to mkv and commercial skip and then into Plex for a front end on my 3 Roku's works fantastic, but the DRM sh!ts on it all and ruins my joy.

Sigh.

Rob

Yeah we all have, multiple times in this thread - get a cablecard, a tuner and a couple of cheap Xbox Slims and you're done (used Slims with busted DVD drives can be had for $100 or less, and they don't have RROD issues. Or just get a couple of Linksys DMA2100s on fleabay for same price, they work.).

IR blasting a crappy cable box is a horrible kludge that needs to die unless you have a need to archive protected content via something like the HD-PVR or Colossus. Yeah you won't get comskip on protected stuff with a card so you have to use extenders for those channels, but IMO that's way better than paying the extra rent for boxes and the sometimes unreliable blasting that goes with it.

YUP.

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post #21 of 35 Old 07-23-2013, 02:22 PM
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I use an IR blaster with a cable box because my wife likes the cable company's On Demand programming (need 2-way communication). I find WMC with a cable box to work just fine, although probably not as smoothly as you guys are doing with a CableCard. So it's certainly workable, if not ideal.
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post #22 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 04:36 AM
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Agree that VOD is a valid reason to use a cable box although the whole point of a DVR is to record what you want to watch, not what the cableCo thinks you might like. However, I still wouldn't want to control one with WMC because of the flakiness, extra power draw, extra cost etc. Been there done that long ago with Myth and Firewire, don't want to go back to those days.
Cards can have issues too, but the experience is generally a lot better and more importantly you get way more tuners for your money.
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post #23 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 04:41 AM
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If there were actually anything I wanted to watch on VOD, I'd pay the $5/mo for one STB to do it.

Instead, I use MediaBrowser and have my own VOD library.

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post #24 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 07:18 AM
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Hulu and the network sites themselves are pretty good, free substitutes for OnDemand as well. I've always been very underwhelmed by the quality and content of OnDemand anyway. It's just not worth the hassle and expense of a cable box IMO.


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post #25 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Hulu and the network sites themselves are pretty good, free substitutes for OnDemand as well. I've always been very underwhelmed by the quality and content of OnDemand anyway. It's just not worth the hassle and expense of a cable box IMO.

I have to agree--the UI of Comcast's On Demand service is terrible and unresponsive. However, my wife likes it, and I think she's representative of the target audience for the cable companies, so I guess they did a good job there. She seems to use it more to discover new shows on channels she lives, such as HGTV, whereas we use WMC as a DVR to record TV series that we already know and watch regularly.
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With a programmable remote you can use WMC as your PVR, ect. and then load the STB for VOD seamlessly by properly set up activities and or macros.

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post #27 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 09:12 AM
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With a programmable remote you can use WMC as your PVR, ect. and then load the STB for VOD seamlessly by properly set up activities and or macros.

Or use Hulu as Free VOD replacement.
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6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #28 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlantNGo View Post

I have to agree--the UI of Comcast's On Demand service is terrible and unresponsive. However, my wife likes it, and I think she's representative of the target audience for the cable companies, so I guess they did a good job there. She seems to use it more to discover new shows on channels she lives, such as HGTV, whereas we use WMC as a DVR to record TV series that we already know and watch regularly.
I guess it would be tough to replace in that case. There really isn't an analog to that on the web, especially with everything all in one place. I wish there was.


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post #29 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

With a programmable remote you can use WMC as your PVR, ect. and then load the STB for VOD seamlessly by properly set up activities and or macros.

Or use Hulu as Free VOD replacement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlantNGo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Hulu and the network sites themselves are pretty good, free substitutes for OnDemand as well. I've always been very underwhelmed by the quality and content of OnDemand anyway. It's just not worth the hassle and expense of a cable box IMO.

I have to agree--the UI of Comcast's On Demand service is terrible and unresponsive. However, my wife likes it, and I think she's representative of the target audience for the cable companies, so I guess they did a good job there. She seems to use it more to discover new shows on channels she lives, such as HGTV, whereas we use WMC as a DVR to record TV series that we already know and watch regularly.

These are in direct conflict to one another!!

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post #30 of 35 Old 07-24-2013, 05:43 PM
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Well, THAT spawned some conversation :-)

I re-checked the Ceton Echo reviews and even the recent ones still seem horrid. I have definitely got caught up in review hell in the past however there just seem to be an overwhelming number of negative reviews for a box that retails for $170 or so.

HOWEVER, in all my research on the Xbox I somehow missed the fact that the "slim" models seem to be much, much more reliable. I had actually bought a used 360 arcade with a bad dvd drive off ebay for testing and even though I'm not really a gamer and only used it for WMC, it died with a RROD after a month or so, granted it was used but still not a good experience. I did fix it via reflowing with a heat gun and replacement of the heat sink screws, but the WAF on a box that can randomly fail while I'm out or at work is very low. However the slim seems worth a try. I definitely prefer to have a server using the HDHomeRun versus a controlled cable box so I think I may give the slims a shot, although they seem to go for more on ebay than I was originally planning on but if they solve my problem then wth...

Only other thing is, with Cablevision and a cablecard, I still get regular errors due to the card losing authentication, a known issue with Cablevision to the point where the HDHR actually reboots itself when it detects the failure. But it happens maybe every few days so it's doable.

Thanks for all the info and input.
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