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post #1 of 43 Old 08-21-2013, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys I am new to this forum and I have some questions to ask about media portal.  I got into HTPC’s about 2 years ago when I started looking for a PVR solution that would also allow access to online stuff like BBC Iplayer and also ripped movies I have.  I am based in Northern Ireland in the UK.  So I bought a pre made computer in a small case with blueray player, amd E350 cpu/gpu, 4Gb ram and 2 TB hard disc.  I fitted a TBS6281 card which gives me 2 DVBS2 receivers and I also fitted a twin receiver DVBT USB stick and also a twin receiver DVBt2 usb box made by TBS.   So that gives me 6 receivers in total.  I tried XMBC but no live tv?? so I setup windows media centre and for me it works well.  I had lots of glitches and it took a long time to get the satellite and terrestrial channel into some sorta working order.  To further confuse things I live near a boarder with another country (Southern Ireland) and I can also pick up their terrestrial TV so I have some interesting channel groupings and orders going on. The reason I went for the E350 is it was low power and as the machine was on all the time it would keep costs and heat down.  I made some tweeks to the computers cooling and fitted low speed large fans to the cpu and case.  The computer is ALMOST silent, with the most noise coming from the western digital green disk drive.  I use the optical out SPDIF connection to connect to my AV amp which decodes the DTS etc stuff and I use the HDMI connection to feed my TV.  The HTPC is in my living room beside my av amp and TV.  After driver optimisation this setup runs anything I give it.  Full blue rays on power DVD from within media centre to rips and internet content.  BUT the CPU is slow, and sometimes menu changes can take a little while, but nothing that is bugging me or more importantly the wife.  The issues I still have with media centre is that the EPG is poor over here and due to my odd channel availability with having 2 countries terrestrial content and freesat satellite content it gets a bit confusing.  Some channels have no epg etc.  I have tried aftermarket programs to fix this, but I got lost and it didn’t seem to work, or at least was overwritten by Microsoft soon after.   So back on topic, I want to add another system to my bedroom that could have access to my content.  The obvious thing to do is to use a media centre extender, such as a ceton echo, but as these have problems with UK tv h264 encoding and other ripped media that rules that out.  Also the xbox can struggle with some content I am told.  So I am now considering building another pc and installing media portal on both my HTPCs and going that route.  Questions are: 
1The E350 system I have can play anything I need with media centre.  Will it still be able to do this under media Portal.  Will media portal run at a similar speed to media centre with this low power CPU.  I’m not expecting instantaneous menu changes, but I wont wait all day.  

2 If I install media portal on my system for testing, will it screw up my media centre.  I want to keep media centre working so I can swap back if things get ugly with media portal.

3. Assuming I can test media portal and its ok for what I want I would start with two new installs of windows 7. If am building another machine, I will put my current e350 system in my bedroom and build a new, faster machine in my living room and I would remove the tv cards from the E350 and put them in a new machine. I have windows 7 64 bit ultimate which was quite expensive.  Can I transfer this to a new machine and keep Microsoft happy?  I could then install another bought copy of MS windows on my existing e350.  Can you do that or does Microsoft think you are using multiple machines under the same license?  What’s the best way to get another license or cheep copy of windows? Legally…

4 I also have a purchased copy of power dvd with blueray capabilities.  I wouldn’t want to loose this during the transition.  How can that be delt with?

5 For the new pc what spec should I aim for.  I am thinking of an i3 intel or equivalent AMD that is still quite power efficient but has a lot more CPU than my E350.  I have heard the i3 3225 with hd4000 gpu built in is good or amd a6 5400 with 7540d gpu or amd a10 5700 with 7660d.  I would use an ssd boot drive in the new system too for speed, any recommendations?  What ram and motherboard?  I need hdmi and the optical out for my av amp.  I could build this into a larger case, eg av amp size/ full pc size even, to give space and extra cooling with low noise.  Any recommendations without breaking the bank? 

I have read the media portal setup guide on the forum and it looks manageable.  Any other suggestions of things to read?  Cheers des.
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post #2 of 43 Old 08-21-2013, 03:21 AM
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I would check out the following thread for people using E350 with mediaportal:

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/threads/amd-e-350-for-client-and-server.99795/

Basically, if you can get hardware acceleration going you can handle most things. But you'll never be able to use certain software like MadVR on it.
Basically madVR allows you to have the best quality picture available on a HTPC currently.


If I were you, I would check to make sure if this is needed when you build your new machine as it may be an issue for you in the future (or like me, you may not care and not use madVR in which case either the i3 3225 or a6 5400 will do fine).

With the SPDIF to your receiver, does your receiver accept HDMI inputs? If it does, you don't need to run the spdif as the HDMI cable will carry the sound and video in the one cable. Then you also enable HD sound, rather than having spdif limit the formats (spdif can't play DTS-HD MA or TrueHD and is limited to 2 channels of LPCM).


2) You can install mediaportal on the same machine as MC, you just have to define which application is using the TV cards.

3) Was windows ultimate an OEM copy? OEM requires it only be installed on one machine and not moved. If it's a retail version you can move it to another machine.
OEM copies of windows are the cheapest, as long as you don't plan on trying to move it to another machine.

4) As long as you keep a copy of the registration key and software on a harddrive, DVD or USB stick you should be able to reinstall it on whatever computer you prefer.

5) Read some of the following:


http://www.avsforum.com/t/1442663/which-hd-would-be-sufficient-for-madvr

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6335/amds-trinity-an-htpc-perspective/

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7007/intels-haswell-an-htpc-perspective

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1361920/cheapest-videocard-for-madvr
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post #3 of 43 Old 08-21-2013, 03:39 AM - Thread Starter
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El kano thanks for the quick answers. So it looks like media portal is similar to media centre on the e350. It just need a the right drivers and its fine. That's good.

My av amp is a older Sony unit which is pretty HDMI so the optical output is what works best for me. Are there any issues with spdif optical and media portal? I will get to reading the links you provided. Cheers des.

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post #4 of 43 Old 08-21-2013, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel des View Post

El kano thanks for the quick answers. So it looks like media portal is similar to media centre on the e350. It just needs the right drivers and its fine. That's good.

My av amp is a older Sony unit which is pre HDMI so the optical output is what works best for me. Are there any issues with spdif optical and media portal? I will get to reading the links you provided. Cheers des.

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post #5 of 43 Old 08-21-2013, 05:14 AM
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Also, you may want to check out:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6674/getting-the-best-out-of-an-ivy-bridge-htpc-windows-8-madvr-and-more/10

A lot to read, but gives you a good indication on where things are at in the HTPC with integrated GPU's.

I have never used a spdif with my HTPC so I couldn't tell you much about reliability. Can't say I've seen many issues relating to this but I guess the best way to do some research and/or hope someone has had experience.
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post #6 of 43 Old 08-21-2013, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Had a busy day of reading. The AMD a10 6700 looks like a good all round solution. Too many decisions to make. I'm not into quality of video to the nth degree, just as long as it doesn't jerk or drop frames etc.

So my windows 7 qaa the full version at like £160 or similar. If I just note down the key number an reuse that when I reinstall I should be fine right? Also with power DVD do I make note Od some serial number? It also was like £60 I think? Darn software...

Cheers des

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post #7 of 43 Old 08-22-2013, 10:59 AM
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You mention that your current pc will be serving as an extender for the bedroom. So why not avoid a lot of headaches? Build a new pc now and borrow a couple of tuners from your current pc.
This way, should you run into any issues your current htpc won't have any down time. If you feel that the e350 is slow why not replace the hard drive with an ssd? This makes a huge difference.

I'm currently running Mediaportal. 1 server 2 extenders. Until recently my server was running with a Intel Core2Duo @2ghz with 4gb ram. So you don't really need a powerfull pc to run it. PC Extenders run AMD Athlon 64x2 @3ghz with 2gb Ram. The only issue I had was that I had to upgrade the video card on one of my extenders to play back 1080i live tv without stuttering. The integrated Radeon HD 3200 wasn't enough. So I added a $25 AMD 5450 which solved the problem. But this pc is around 5 years old so AMD's newer integrated graphics should do the trick.
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post #8 of 43 Old 08-22-2013, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Yea I'm pricing up a new machine now. With a ssd drive, normal hard disc, nice htpc case, a10 6700amd and motherboard 16gb fast ram, blue ray burner and windows 7 home its like £750. Hard to know were to stop but that spec will draw 20w at idle and play anything and be able to do other stuff too.

The CPU and board are overkill but they are only about £200 so there isn't a lot to save there. The other bits just make it add up to a nice machine that should be quite future proof.

Think I will still try mediaportal on the e350 before I pull the trigger on the new kit. I need to know it will do what I want as a second PC is no good for media centre as an extender... I wonder if I can try something on my old laptop core duo, just as a test.

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post #9 of 43 Old 08-23-2013, 02:51 PM
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For sure, give mediaportal a run on the e350. I think you'll find it will run okay as long as you're not looking at 1080i interlaced content.
Possibly it might struggle a little with 1080P or 720P but if hardware acceleration is working correctly it should be just enough.

Juts remember that having a singleseat (with the Mediaportal server and the client on the same machine) will slow things down a little for the e350.
If you have performance problems in singleseat maybe install the server on your core 2 duo and try just running the client on the e-350 which should give you an indication on how things will run when you include the a10 6700 as the server.
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post #10 of 43 Old 08-24-2013, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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So I went for it today and installed mediaportal. I followed the guide on the net and used version 1.4. It went OK with just a few glitches. I like the moving pictures plug in and the TV series show one. Its great! But my current glitch is that I have no audio on hd TV channels. The rest are fine. All the ripped videos I have tried are OK too just HDTV. So I'm guessing I have a codec issue. I installed the sav 6 codec. I have an av amp connected over spdif and it worked fine on media centre. Any tips? Also when I type in a channel number over 100 it isn't selected but I can get it in the guide. This issue only started with the install of the skin with the moving pictures and TV series plug in.Cheers des

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post #11 of 43 Old 08-24-2013, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh the plugin is called StreamedMP. Its after this my channels over 100 won't open when typed in.

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post #12 of 43 Old 08-24-2013, 02:05 PM
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Is there any specific reason you installed SAF over the LAV filters?
Afraid I am not familiar with SAF as LAV provides all I need.
Have you opened SAF to check whether options for bitstreaming DTS or dolby digital are ticked (the image is from LAV but I assume SAF has similar settings).



Also, what is selected for the options under mediaportal configuration:



With channels over 100, you may want to check the default value hasn't been changed in mediaportal config:


If you can't find a resolution you might want to log an issue with the StreamedMP developer to get it fixed:

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/forums/streamedmp.301/
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post #13 of 43 Old 08-26-2013, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for getting back with these suggestions. I followed this link for installation

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1410346/mediaportal-1-2-x-install-and-setup-guide

It talks about saf so that's what I tried. So I managed to get the audio playing on HD TV. It plays but is only in pcm not Dolby. I'm sure I need to play a bit more but getting time with the TV/computer is hard. I also managed to get the channels listed. I don't know how but it seems that the channels have no gaps eg if there is meant to be 9, 11,12 then it will move them to be 9,10,11. And all the channels I haven't properly named and numbered are listed as 10000 and so army shown as the limit that you linked is 999.

I also installed mediaportal on my laptop as a client and it is too slow due to it being older and slower that I remembered. But it proves the concept to me.

I'm going to order the bits to build the a10 tomorrow so I'm sold.

Thanks des.


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post #14 of 43 Old 08-26-2013, 02:08 PM
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Hi There,

a bit hard to diagnose without seeing your settings but possibly you need to look at the client setup:

Select channel by index (non-US)

Default: On

When you change channels using the number buttons on your remote (or the number keys on your keyboard), MediaPortal's default behaviour is to select channels by their index in the current channel group. In other words, if you press the 9 button on your remote, MediaPortal will change to the 9th channel in the channel group that you're currently viewing. If you prefer to select your channels by their logical channel number (the channel number assigned by the broadcaster or provider) then you should turn this option off.

This will likely need to be turned off. I am from outside the US so have it on (which it is by default).

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post #15 of 43 Old 08-26-2013, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Ahh that could well be it. I have it turned on. Need to prise the TV htpc out of the wife's hands.. Not easy.

So I will build the new machine from a clean install. Is there any way to export or copy across the settings I have now?

On my laptop I setup the moving pictures plugin and it seems I need to go through the download and scan on it too to show the fan art. Again is there a way to copy these settings.

Definitely prefer the moving pictures to anything I tried in media centre. Overall mediaportal seems great. I'm glad I tried it.

I'm currently using mcebuddy to convert my recorded TV programmes in media centre to something that can be watched in mediaportal. But my e350 is slooowwww. Its taking days to convert 60 films and programmes. And it's causing the odd glitch while watching TV as the CPU is at 100%.

Thanks again des.

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post #16 of 43 Old 08-26-2013, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel des View Post

Ahh that could well be it. I have it turned on. Need to prise the TV htpc out of the wife's hands.. Not easy.

So I will build the new machine from a clean install. Is there any way to export or copy across the settings I have now?

http://www.team-mediaportal.com/extensions/system/backupsettings

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/threads/backupsettings-for-tv-server-and-media-portal.45715/

http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/1_MEDIAPORTAL_1/1_Getting_Started/12_Installing_MediaPortal/2_Backup_and_Restore

These should meet most of your needs.
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Originally Posted by diesel des View Post


On my laptop I setup the moving pictures plugin and it seems I need to go through the download and scan on it too to show the fan art. Again is there a way to copy these settings.


In regards to moving pictures on the laptop, I presume you mean the you want the server information about the movies copied to each of the clients without having to go through the scraper process on each of the clients?

Currently there is no inbuilt way to do this (Mediaportal 2 will have all information stored on the server though, so clients won't need to do this download as well). However, there is a plugin to help that has recently been released:

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/threads/plugin-mpsync-mediaportal-multi-seat-synchronization.117417/
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post #17 of 43 Old 08-26-2013, 03:36 PM
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Or if you meant you need a way to export Moving Pictures data from your current server to import to a new server (not client replication as referenced above):

http://www.team-mediaportal.com/extensions/tools/movingpictures-import-export-gui
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post #18 of 43 Old 08-26-2013, 10:13 PM
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Oh, what skin are you using?
Lots of good options out there :-)
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post #19 of 43 Old 08-27-2013, 05:43 PM
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Have fun with MePo, I love it but am currently switching back to media center/media browser for a bit. I always installed minimal stuff, the default Titan skin is good, Moving pictures, mp-tvseries, and trakt.
I took my old e350 to my sisters house and she is using media portal with no issues (as was I). Just like the live tv of media center more.
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post #20 of 43 Old 08-27-2013, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinkerer View Post

Have fun with MePo, I love it but am currently switching back to media center/media browser for a bit. I always installed minimal stuff, the default Titan skin is good, Moving pictures, mp-tvseries, and trakt.
I took my old e350 to my sisters house and she is using media portal with no issues (as was I). Just like the live tv of media center more.

Each has their own benefits :-) Specifically what made the experience better for you with live TV?
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post #21 of 43 Old 08-28-2013, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for those very useful links. I really like the guys that use mediaportal as they seem so helpful and there are so many well supported plugins. All the stuff on media centre is dead as Microsoft arnt really supporting it now.

I'm using what ever skin streamed MP installed. I'm not sure what its called.. I tried the default titan one and it seemed fine too.

I have ordered the new a10 htpc complete with ssd so I should get it start of next month along with another ssd that I will install in the e350. I will move the 2tb HDD into the htpc that has all my films etc.

I will backup all my settings and fine tune them on the new machines. Looking forward to it! Cheers

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post #22 of 43 Old 08-28-2013, 02:04 PM
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Not a problem Des, hope the setup goes well but let us know if you have further questions.
The mediapotral forum and wiki are other good sources of information and feedback.

I agree with you about development, Mediaportal and XBMC both have very active communities while microsoft is limited as they are no longer putting resources into development.
However it all depends on what you want out of your HTPC. I know MCE is is very popular in the USA because it is the only frontend to support copy-once for cablecard tuners. Mediaportal (and I think XBMC) support copy-freely content.

Here in NZ, the community loves Mediaportal and XBMC as we generally have no need for cablecard tuning. Plus mediaportal has the added bonus of being able to record/watch multiple tv channels (as long as they exist on the same mux) from one tuner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiplex_(TV)


The Titan skin is a good default skin for install, although a lot of good options exist. Personally I use the StreamedMP skin as well, but that is because I am lazy and StreamedMP includes TVseries and MovingPictures updates :-)
The other good thing about StreamedMP is it has a custom menu editor. But as I said, a lot of good skins out there to try and see which one appeals.
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post #23 of 43 Old 08-31-2013, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Here in NZ, the community loves Mediaportal and XBMC as we generally have no need for cablecard tuning. Plus mediaportal has the added bonus of being able to record/watch multiple tv channels (as long as they exist on the same mux) from one tuner.
There was a bug in previous versions that prevented this from happening for those of us with ATSC tuners. It's been fixed in the 1.5 pre-release version.
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post #24 of 43 Old 09-01-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes its interesting that mediaportal can use all the channels on a multiplex. Does it do this before it uses another receiver or does it do it as a last resort?

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post #25 of 43 Old 09-01-2013, 06:57 PM
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Couldn't say for sure, think we may need to look at logging to tell which method is used.
I would assume* that it's first check is to see whether the channel is on the current mux and therefore not tie up additional resources if not needed..
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post #26 of 43 Old 09-09-2013, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
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So just to update. I got the a10 this weekend and installed the software and hardware. I'm amazed at how many missing drivers and things a fresh install of windows 7 has. It took best part of a day just getting all the drivers and stuff like net framework 4 what ever that is installed on the a10 and my existing e350 that I installed a Samsung 120gb pro ssd in. I did a complete new clean install on both machines.

I can say a ssd makes a HUGE difference to a machine. Its so much more responsive now. The new a10 also has the same ssd and the old 2tb hard disc installed for the media and as it has 16gb ram I set up a 8gb ram drive. The asrock motherboard actually comes with a programme called xram that does this at every boot up and I have the time shifting set to the ram drive.

The a10 really kicks butt and is so nice to use. It draws the same power as my e350 did at idle as I had the e350 setup never to clock back due to occasional jerking when a background task would use up the CPU. At Max the a10 seems to use about 30 watts more but I don't care. Its so much faster!

While building the a10 I needed some stuff in a hurry so I want to PC world and saw they had a PC USB t2 receiver on sale at 9.99 so I bought it.

So that's a tsb twin s2 card, a TBS twin usb T2, a PC nano twin dvb t and now another t2 USB receiver.

The PC nano twin USB dvbt reciever is being picked up as a dvbt and a dvbc receiver so I need to look into what's up there.

The a10 is running great! No problems at all with my sound over spdif to amp running fine. Picture quality seems better than the e350 on my 40 inch TV. The e350 is connected to my 30 ish inch TV in the bedroom. Both machines are on a GB LAN. The e350 is working great for everything apart from one issue. I have a a blue ray rip of avatar on my media folder. To me its a crap film but its good at testing hardware due to it's 30-40gb size and quality.

So it plays on the e350 100% smooth for like 30 seconds with less than 30% CPU then it starts stuttering and the sounds start and stop in time with the stuttering. CPU still less than 30%. Moving from full screen to window and back fixes the issue for like 30 seconds and it's back. Happens anywhere in the film. Any ideas were to look? This uses to play fine after tweaking codecs. The network is at like 2% so its not that and its not the CPU GPU? Its like a background service does something and messes with playback.

Other question is that if I record something from TV on one machine will it show up to watch on the other?

Thanks des

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post #27 of 43 Old 09-09-2013, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by diesel des View Post


Other question is that if I record something from TV on one machine will it show up to watch on the other?

Congrats on the new purchase Des, hope things keep going well.
Yes, recordings will be available on the other machine you just have to connect the client to the TV service on the main machine and they should be available.

In terms of the stuttering bluray, maybe copy the file to the e350 to confirm the stutter still happens without network interference.
What format is the ripped movie?

Also, what are you using to play the bluray? (the internal bluray player in mediaportal?)
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post #28 of 43 Old 09-09-2013, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I will try playing it direct from the hard disk in case its network related. I'm not sure what format the movie is in but I will find out as soon as I get access again..

Anyhow I have bigger problems. I came home to find a dead a10 PC. It won't even put the power light on. Nothing seems loose so i need to talk to the place that I got the base machine from. It does light up a USB hub if I plug it in but nothing else. Don't know if that means the PSU is OK and the motherboard is dead. The last time i played with PC's was back in the 486dx2 days and they would bleep at you to give you a clue but these new machines don't even seem to have a bleeper...

Thanks for the help and suggestions. Clearly I spoke to soon about how good the a 10 is.

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post #29 of 43 Old 09-15-2013, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Another update. So the a10 continued to randomly lock up and freeze. I had to remove the battery and reset the CMOS 3 times. Eventually I just got a screen with BIOS Ami details and couldn't even get into the BIOS. In desperation I tried removing the ram one card at a time and refitting it. So I seem to have a faulty ram card as the computer has been 100% OK with no issues for 4 days now. The faulty ram card will have to go back and get exchanged.

I haven't bothered trying to resolve the skipping playback of avatar on the e350 yet. I'm just enjoying mediaportal and the PC working. Sorta fed up of messing with the computers. But I'm impressed with mediaportal, and I'm sticking with it.

Thanks guys.


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post #30 of 43 Old 09-15-2013, 05:22 PM
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Better the RAM then the CPU I guess, at least you can run the machine until the new RAM shows up.
Glad you're enjoying Mediaportal too, lots of frontend options out there but I find MePo meets my needs.

Let us know if you have any further questions about setup etc.
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