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post #1 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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So here's my dilemma. My WAF has fallen to an all-time low with the HTPC.

Recently we dropped from DirecTV to antenna, but missed some of the cable channels that we had grown accustomed to. (E!, Disney, Cooking, etc) We had used an HDHomerun for OTA on our HTPC for a few years and it worked great. I started with a 780G chipset, 4GB RAM, etc and then later upgraded (downgrade?) that to an E-350 Zacate rig with 4GB RAM and an SSD which seemed to work fine.

Recently I picked up an InfiniTV 4 USB and had the cable company come out and get me hooked up and things started going downhill from there. First off, the Zacate rig was just crippled by the CC setup. Recording a couple things and trying to watch another just ground it to a halt. I had Windows 8 Pro on that PC. I dusted off the 780G PC that was laying around and moved the CC setup to that and things got better, but it's still goofy. I started running into a lot of copy-protection errors so I put a 7750 video card in that was in an extra computer I had and that seemed to fix those errors since I was able to run current video drivers.

I was still having issues with perhaps power settings, even though I think I have them all turned off. Almost every night when I go to bed I make sure that the TV is playing something on one of the channels because I found that when I left it at a menu it didn't tend to work in the morning. Sometimes just unplugging the HDMI cable and putting it back in would fix it, sometimes I had to do a forced reboot. If I left it on a channel it tended to work better, but still not perfect. Lately it's been getting worse. For instance, I went to bed last night and it was playing the local ABC station. I woke up this morning to an unresponsive computer and had to force a reboot. A few weeks ago I transferred the 60GB SSD from the Zacate box into the 780G box, but I didn't reinstall Windows and everything seemed to work fine. Generally I don't do that, but I wanted to get the HTPC back running quickly since it's our entertainment hub.

Upon reboot, it always takes a few minutes before the tuners are available. Not sure if it's a CC thing, a tuning adapter thing or a Windows thing. This morning I left for work and I had finally gotten ABC to play. My wife got a hold of me all ticked off and said that is the only channel she can get to work and why are we paying for cable if we can't watch it.

Thought I'd bounce this question to you guys to see if you could help.

I would think my options are:

1. Ditch the HTPC for TV and suck up the fact that I spent ~$200 on the InfiniTV4 and a Tivo Slide Remote Pro and pay the outrageous $20 a month for the Charter DVR

2. Reinstall Windows 8 and rebuild everything and see if that helps

3. Get a new processor/mobo/RAM and start everything from scratch. I'd rather not go that route since money is tight and the wife wouldn't be thrilled if I dropped another $200 on more hardware

4. Change settings based on suggestions from the forum.

5. Go back to antenna and miss out on channels that we like.

Suggestions? Questions?
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post #2 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 08:22 AM
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Can't speak to all of your specific setup, but I've been using a HDHomerun since it came out witih Cable card and it's worked great. If you had one prior, i suggest perhaps trying the cable card version. It's also sounding like your zacate may not be up to the task, but I'd suggest seeing if switching out the tuner helps first before you redo it.
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post #3 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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yeah, I'm not terribly sure that it isn't just Windows weirdness moreso than hardware, but dealing with older hardware isn't boosting my confidence. I was going to go with the HDHomerun Prime, but I was greedy and wanted that extra tuner. They're on sale all the time for $99 though, so that might be worth a shot.
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post #4 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 08:47 AM
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I have Verizon FIOS and am using their cable card with a Hauppage 2650 USB tuner with WMC under Win7.  The limitation is that it only allows two channels at a time but this is no big deal for me as I'm not much of a TV freak anyway.  The unit seems to work "pretty" well.  I get about one freeze per week while watching live TV where the signal seems to be lost.  Sometimes restarting WMC works fine and if not, I just have to restart the PC.  I've never had this happen while recording.  Hardware is i3-3225 with 4GB RAM.

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post #5 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 09:00 AM
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It sounds to me more like HDMI handshake issues.
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post #6 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post

So here's my dilemma. My WAF has fallen to an all-time low with the HTPC.

Recently we dropped from DirecTV to antenna, but missed some of the cable channels that we had grown accustomed to. (E!, Disney, Cooking, etc) We had used an HDHomerun for OTA on our HTPC for a few years and it worked great. I started with a 780G chipset, 4GB RAM, etc and then later upgraded (downgrade?) that to an E-350 Zacate rig with 4GB RAM and an SSD which seemed to work fine.

Recently I picked up an InfiniTV 4 USB and had the cable company come out and get me hooked up and things started going downhill from there. First off, the Zacate rig was just crippled by the CC setup. Recording a couple things and trying to watch another just ground it to a halt. I had Windows 8 Pro on that PC. I dusted off the 780G PC that was laying around and moved the CC setup to that and things got better, but it's still goofy. I started running into a lot of copy-protection errors so I put a 7750 video card in that was in an extra computer I had and that seemed to fix those errors since I was able to run current video drivers.

I was still having issues with perhaps power settings, even though I think I have them all turned off. Almost every night when I go to bed I make sure that the TV is playing something on one of the channels because I found that when I left it at a menu it didn't tend to work in the morning. Sometimes just unplugging the HDMI cable and putting it back in would fix it, sometimes I had to do a forced reboot. If I left it on a channel it tended to work better, but still not perfect. Lately it's been getting worse. For instance, I went to bed last night and it was playing the local ABC station. I woke up this morning to an unresponsive computer and had to force a reboot. A few weeks ago I transferred the 60GB SSD from the Zacate box into the 780G box, but I didn't reinstall Windows and everything seemed to work fine. Generally I don't do that, but I wanted to get the HTPC back running quickly since it's our entertainment hub.

Upon reboot, it always takes a few minutes before the tuners are available. Not sure if it's a CC thing, a tuning adapter thing or a Windows thing. This morning I left for work and I had finally gotten ABC to play. My wife got a hold of me all ticked off and said that is the only channel she can get to work and why are we paying for cable if we can't watch it.

Thought I'd bounce this question to you guys to see if you could help.

I would think my options are:

1. Ditch the HTPC for TV and suck up the fact that I spent ~$200 on the InfiniTV4 and a Tivo Slide Remote Pro and pay the outrageous $20 a month for the Charter DVR

2. Reinstall Windows 8 and rebuild everything and see if that helps

3. Get a new processor/mobo/RAM and start everything from scratch. I'd rather not go that route since money is tight and the wife wouldn't be thrilled if I dropped another $200 on more hardware

4. Change settings based on suggestions from the forum.

5. Go back to antenna and miss out on channels that we like.

Suggestions? Questions?

Not sure what processor you have in the 780G mobo, But, I don't think AMD780G supports HDCP, but I could be mistaken. I thought 780G uses ATI Radeon3000 series video, where AMD 785 uses ATI Radeon4000 video, which is for sure HDCP compliant. We have been using a Gigabyte mobo based on 785 chipset since 2009.

We stared with Athlon II X2, then X3, then X4, and now are on Phenom II X6, as our TV needs grew.

You need 1 CPU core and 1 GB or RAM per TV connected to the system, per Microsoft.

It does indeed sounds like you have HDMI HDCP handshake issues. Try a different HDMI cable, it could be as simple as that. Or, if your can use VGA, try that, if it works, it may make things simpler.

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 #7 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I might mess around with a few things tonight. I need to do some research on what acceptable signal strength is because I do have a booster that I could try. They did run pretty much all new lines and connectors from the pole when they installed it, so I figured that stuff should be good. I think I can even use the QAM stuff on my HDHR to check signal strength. That doesn't help my lockup issues though. Perhaps I just knuckle under and do a Format C: and try to verify it's not a Windows setting/oddness.
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post #8 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 09:40 AM
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HTPC and WAF can't be mixed together. You'd better off with a WMC Extender. Then, all your problem with HDMI will go away. So are the WAF problems.
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post #9 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post

...... Almost every night when I go to bed I make sure that the TV is playing something on one of the channels because I found that when I left it at a menu it didn't tend to work in the morning. Sometimes just unplugging the HDMI cable and putting it back in would fix it, sometimes I had to do a forced reboot. If I left it on a channel it tended to work better, but still not perfect. Lately it's been getting worse. For instance, I went to bed last night and it was playing the local ABC station. I woke up this morning to an unresponsive computer and had to force a reboot.

This is a known issue, its not really copy protection but an EDID issue, if you shut off your display, and the PC tries to poll your display while it is off, the AMD video card drivers go into freakout mode and turn everything to black while media center is running, aka the "black screen of death". Google it, you'll see tons of posts on the issue.

The only way I was able to truely resolve this issue, was EDID detective, http://www.gefen.com/kvm/ext-hdmi-edidp.jsp?prod_id=8005 that box sits between the HTPC and your display and constantly sends EDID data to your HTPC.
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A few weeks ago I transferred the 60GB SSD from the Zacate box into the 780G box, but I didn't reinstall Windows and everything seemed to work fine. Generally I don't do that, but I wanted to get the HTPC back running quickly since it's our entertainment hub

Upon reboot, it always takes a few minutes before the tuners are available. Not sure if it's a CC thing, a tuning adapter thing or a Windows thing. This morning I left for work and I had finally gotten ABC to play. My wife got a hold of me all ticked off and said that is the only channel she can get to work and why are we paying for cable if we can't watch it..

I've got Charter as well and continuous issues with SDV1 errors with the provided tuning adapter (Motorola adapter) and I have to remove and re-add the drivers to resolve this issue. I've swapped out tuning adapters twice now and still have issues. I think it may be the drivers that Ceton provides for the tuning adapter.
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1. Ditch the HTPC for TV and suck up the fact that I spent ~$200 on the InfiniTV4 and a Tivo Slide Remote Pro and pay the outrageous $20 a month for the Charter DVR

Or sell the HTPC, ceton tuner and put everything towards the new Tivo premier equipment with tivo extenders.
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2. Reinstall Windows 8 and rebuild everything and see if that helps

Or NOT use Windows8, windows8 is horrible for media center and Ceton, use Windows7 you'll have better experience IMHO.
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3. Get a new processor/mobo/RAM and start everything from scratch. I'd rather not go that route since money is tight and the wife wouldn't be thrilled if I dropped another $200 on more hardware

The Gefen HDMI detective is cheaper than a whole new system, or get a newer AMD video card. The CPU and Ram aren't as huge of a deal as the video card is. Another option is don't use the HTPC directly as your interface to media center, get old Xbox 360's to use as extenders, this is the route I did, and I have one xbox at each tv in my home and it works flawlessly for TV viewing. My "HTPC" currently doesn't even have a monitor connected to it at all.
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4. Change settings based on suggestions from the forum.

No settings will fix the EDID issue, its a AMD Driver/hardware issue that has been around forever.
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post #10 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

You need 1 CPU core and 1 GB or RAM per TV connected to the system, per Microsoft.

Where did you read/see this? I've been doing Media Center since 2005 days and I've NEVER had more than a dual core PC and I have 10 tuners, and 5 TV's and have had all 5 going at the same time (football parties) and have not once had an issue with playback.

-Josh
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post #11 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 10:40 AM
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My opinion is you first need to make sure Windows is running with no issues b4 throwing money at the problem I understand the WAF, but sometimes setting up an HTPC requires a bit of time b4 you get everything running smoothly. If she is willing, better to spend a bit of time now and get it working correctly rather than continue to put up with random issues for months. Even if using an extender (throwing $ at the problem), if still relies on the pc, so if there are Windows issues, the extender may not help.

I would first stop taking short cuts and format your system drive and get Windows installed correctly. I would go to the forums from your tuner manufacturer and ask people there.

I have charter cable also. I use two HDHR Primes, and never have any issues with them. Our only issue is the Charter tuning adaptors. They have to be rebooted about every three months (channel not available errors).

My mom has mild Alzheimers, and she is able to use WMC fine with a Harmony remote. That system runs a dual core cpu, 6 gigs of ram, and Win 7.

Personally, I would never run on minimum recommended specs, but you don't need an i7 either.

Sent from my Nexus 7
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post #12 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. I probably going to blast the drive and start over and see how that goes. I really wish that Windows 7 had as nice of a Netflix solution as 8 does, or else I would go back to 7, but we watch quite a bit of Netflix. I'm not using the onboard video of the 780G I put a 7750 into the box and that seems to have fixed the HDCP issues. I guess the HDMI thing didn't really occur to me. Right now I have the HTPC in the basement running the HDMI through a hole in the closet and up the the AVR, then on to the TV. My AVR has a VGA connector on it, but I'm not sure if it will pass-through when the AVR is off like it does with the HDMI. If I have to take the AVR out of the loop for testing, that's fine too as we don't use surround all that often and I could run optical I think if I really needed to, I'd have to check my mobo.

Your responses have given me something to think about though, so I appreciate it.
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post #13 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 10:50 AM
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Interesting. I used to run an E-350 with the Infinitv 4 and had no problems recording or watching with the built in video. I would also suggest trying Windows 7, or maybe wiping and reinstalling Windows 8.

EDIT: Just saw that you are gonna wipe and reinstall!
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post #14 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post

Thanks for the help guys. I probably going to blast the drive and start over and see how that goes. I really wish that Windows 7 had as nice of a Netflix solution as 8 does, or else I would go back to 7, but we watch quite a bit of Netflix.

I've forgone any HTPC usage for Netflix, Roku3, and my Sony BD player does a better job at Netflix than the PC can ever do, plus you get "super HD" and surround sound with those options.
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I'm not using the onboard video of the 780G I put a 7750 into the box and that seems to have fixed the HDCP issues. I guess the HDMI thing didn't really occur to me. Right now I have the HTPC in the basement running the HDMI through a hole in the closet and up the the AVR, then on to the TV. My AVR has a VGA connector on it, but I'm not sure if it will pass-through when the AVR is off like it does with the HDMI. If I have to take the AVR out of the loop for testing, that's fine too as we don't use surround all that often and I could run optical I think if I really needed to, I'd have to check my mobo.

Its not your AVR that is causing the issue, it is the AMD chipset / drivers. No matter what combination you run, you'll ALWAYS have the EDID issues (aka black screen of death) when running AMD video cards. This is why I only use Xbox 360's now, to avoid that whole situation.
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post #15 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umdivx View Post

I've forgone any HTPC usage for Netflix, Roku3, and my Sony BD player does a better job at Netflix than the PC can ever do, plus you get "super HD" and surround sound with those options.

Windows 8 Netflix can do Super HD and surround sounds without problem. But you will have to use Mouse and keyboard for control. No IR commands for the Netflix APP. So, yeah, a BD player does far better job than any HTPC.
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post #16 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Would an Nvidia card help solve some my issues? Sounds like the EDID is about half of my issues and the CableCard and related hardware is the other chunk.
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post #17 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 11:19 AM
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I don't buy the whole "Windows 8 is the spawn of the devil" mindset that many people have. We're running it on one of our HTPC's, and never have any issues. I remember a lot of people complaining about Win 7 when it came out. Watch and see if after Windows 9 shows up, people will be suggesting a return to Windows 8.

That being said, there is a Netflix plug-in for WMC. I don't think it supports Netflix profiles, if that's important to you, but it's free. There's also an Amazon plug-in.

I do agree about AMD/ATI based video cards though. They ARE indeed the spawn of the devil. I've had nothing but problems with CCC.

I use an Nvidia based GT430 card, which is a low end HDMI card (so no MadVR or other video processing apps). You might have to try different driver versions to get everything right, but it's been flawless so far (2.5 years).

After you get WMC working without issues on your pc, you can try an Xbox 360 if you still have a need for it. The Netflix plug-in wont work with that though.

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post #18 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I've used the Netflix plugin on 7 and Silverlight just seems to suck for me and the interface isn't nearly as nice. Since I paid for Win 8 Pro (and I actually like it) I'll probably try a fresh install of that. Perhaps before I even wipe Windows I'll try to get my hands on an Nvidia card and see if that boosts the WAF
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post #19 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 11:25 AM
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The WMC plug-in does not support HD video or 5.1 audio.
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post #20 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

I don't buy the whole "Windows 8 is the spawn of the devil" mindset that many people have. We're running it on one of our HTPC's, and never have any issues. I remember a lot of people complaining about Win 7 when it came out. Watch and see if after Windows 9 shows up, people will be suggesting a return to Windows 8.

Just like when windows 7 came out it had driver issues, and in this case Windows 8 has extender issues, you can't use anything other than an Xbox360 as an extender in Windows8.

From a media center standpoint there is absolutely ZERO differences in windows 8 over 7, I'd rather have stability and greater granularity with Windows 7 than you get with 8.

It also may be from my lack of wanting to change my system as I can go months without a reboot on my HTPC. I like having my system as stable and un-molested as possible.

-Josh
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post #21 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Doing some research on Nvidia cards and not sure what I should look for. I'm far more familiar with the ATI branding of cards. Any ideas what Nvidia card is sufficient for an HTPC? 99% of what we use it for is Live/Recorded TV and DVD rips (VIDEO_TS format, some BluRay)
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post #22 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 04:58 PM
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You can get a gt430 and call it quits.
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post #23 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by umdivx View Post

No matter what combination you run, you'll ALWAYS have the EDID issues (aka black screen of death) when running AMD video cards.

Not true. I don't know if it was a new driver or what, but my ATI issues are pretty much gone. Currently the only thing special I am doing is using the moninfo receiver/tv combined edid info.

Before that, I did the trick of putting a 1000 ohm resister from pin 18 to pin19 (iirc, this is off the top of my head and my memory is not always the best for details) on an hdmi cable (can also use a cheap hdmi 90 degree angle adapter from monoprice as well) to trick the video card into thinking the receiver and tv were always on. It worked great, but I don't even need that now.
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post #24 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by umdivx View Post

Where did you read/see this? I've been doing Media Center since 2005 days and I've NEVER had more than a dual core PC and I have 10 tuners, and 5 TV's and have had all 5 going at the same time (football parties) and have not once had an issue with playback.

-Josh

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/set-up-a-windows-media-center-extender
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As a general guideline, you should have one CPU core and one gigabyte of memory per Extender.

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 #25 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vorkosigan View Post

Currently the only thing special I am doing is using the moninfo receiver/tv combined edid info.

Do you have more info in this?

**EDIT** I think I figured out the Moninfo stuff, but had to jump through all sorts of hoops to get an unsigned driver installed. I guess I will have to see how it behaves over night and the next couple of days. *fingers crossed*
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post #26 of 107 Old 01-06-2014, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post

Do you have more info in this?

**EDIT** I think I figured out the Moninfo stuff, but had to jump through all sorts of hoops to get an unsigned driver installed. I guess I will have to see how it behaves over night and the next couple of days. *fingers crossed*

I was looking for the link to the instructions I used, but I can't find it. Basically, I hooked up the htpc to the tv directly and create .inf. Then hook back up to the receiver and Merge extension block. Then create .inf again. Go to Device Manager and update the monitor driver, choosing the newly created .inf file. Not sure on Windows 8, but with 7, I did have to tell it to go ahead and install the unsigned driver.

I have noticed the black screen a couple of times, but I switch activities with my Harmony remote and then switch back again, it clears it up which it did not do before. If I feel it gets to be a problem, I'll just go back to using my modified hdmi cable.
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post #27 of 107 Old 01-07-2014, 06:03 AM
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That's pretty old guidance. I've seen many people post on here or thegreenbutton.tv that it's not 100% true. It's more about the memory these days.
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post #28 of 107 Old 01-07-2014, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, not much improved in the WAF this morning, but I didn't have a black screen, so perhaps there's a small hope. I did have a protected content error (HDCP?) but a reboot fixed that. We'll see how it behaves today.
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post #29 of 107 Old 01-07-2014, 06:59 AM
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FWIW, I have much better luck with my AMD video cards using older drivers. Any driver from the past 6 months causes me all sorts of problems. Old drivers work fine. So you may want to try drivers from around last August.
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post #30 of 107 Old 01-07-2014, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gewbert View Post

That's pretty old guidance. I've seen many people post on here or thegreenbutton.tv that it's not 100% true. It's more about the memory these days.

Depends on the processor and individual set up.

I can tell you that running 5 TV's off a quad core CPU with 8 GB or RAM was OK, but when we added 6th TV, issues started to crop up, like slow loading, slow remote response, intermittent viewing issues. Replacing the quad core with a hexa core, solved all of the problems. Everything was working as it should.

My guess is that each extender takes a CPU core to operate smoothly.

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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