Anyone get the feeling HTPC as a full television solution is a dead end road? - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 03:39 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
C17chief's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Seems to me that when the handful of cablecard tuners started appearing a couple years ago, HTPC's would really start taking off since pc's are now cheap, tuners now exist for normal cable vs just OTA, etc.....but it at seems a day late and a dollar short. Something that crosses my mind every now and then and makes me frown.gif

Once really nice software started coming out for this purpose, there was only a short window of time it was easily useable on even a basic lineup of service, as it was during a time where you could get the standard lineup of 50 or so channels unencrypted right off the wire, but the writing was already on the wall those days were ending with everything becoming encrypted needing a box or cablecard tuner. It was also at a time pc stuff wasn't quite as small, cheap, etc nor the average person wanting to dedicate a machine to such purpose (if they were aware they could in the first place). Once lineups started becoming encrypted, tuners became the problem since you either had to rig up a cable box you were paying for anyways with ir blasters or something, or else hunt down the one ati cablecard tuner that existed that was meant for specific machines, which meant no easy effective way for someone with a full normal lineup to use as a sole system without significant planning/setup. When other cablecard tuners finally started coming out, pc stuff now cheap, small. and efficient, the average person more versed and willing to set up dedicated use machines like that, etc....the software side started getting dropped. Seems like the whole thing is one of those too much ahead of it's time sort of things. Great idea in the beginning, but not practical enough for most people so it didn't get widespread use.....now that hardware and such make it practical and the average person is more likely to use such setups, the software isn't there anymore with sage gone, MCE being all but dead, etc, probably from not catching on to well in the early days. I also wouldn't be surprised if providers had their hands in it as well with some of the giants having back room handshake deals with MS and such to not pursue development in order to protect revenue on box rentals and such.


At either rate, it really seems like this sort of stuff should of been really taking off the last couple years or so, but at least at the present feels like it is slowly dying away instead. Anyone else get that feeling as well?
C17chief is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 03:50 AM
Member
 
royalpython's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 70
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 14
A lot of my friends wouldn't know where to begin building a computer, they struggle with software and probably have issues on their computers.

I don't pay for satellite, so if i wanted to, i wouldn't have to change from my HTPC.

A lot of my friends pay for satellite and want sports... in the UK, Sky is pretty much the ultimate solution for this and it does what most of my friends want without having to tweak anything, or run into any drama's.

If retailers sold HTPC's with tuners, it may turn a few heads, but it would need to be bundled with easy to use software - auto fool proof EPG and tuning.

sony did this a while ago, not sure if they do now. I believe Sony are giving up vaio's now and concentrating on tablets etc.
royalpython is online now  
post #3 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 04:42 AM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,514
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked: 121
The rumors of Windows Media Center's death are greatly exagerrated. While it may be true that Microsoft has halted any further development for Media Center, it is anything but dead. Media Center will be viable for as long as you can get guide data, whether it's provided by Microsoft or some third party. Windows 8/8.1 will be supported until something like 2023 so it's a pretty good bet that guide data for Media Center will be available until at least that time. By then, something will probably come along to replace cablecards and the way we currently watch TV may be entirely different, making the point entirely moot.

BTW, SageTV isn't dead either. You may not be able to buy new licenses for it since they sold out to Google, but the developer has promised to support it indefinitely. I just picked up a SageTV server license about a month ago and I'm looking forward to trying it with the Sage DCT patch that allows SageTV to work with cablecard tuners. I'm on FIOS so all of my channels are copy freely except for some of the premiums that I don't subscribe to anyway.

Other media center frontends are developing ways to work with cablecard tuners, albeit with the same restrictions as SageTV. Media Portal now works with cablecards as does XBMC. I believe MythTV may also work and there may be others I'm not aware of.
captain_video is offline  
post #4 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 05:38 AM
AVS Special Member
 
StardogChampion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 2,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked: 117
CableCo's and content providers don't want HTPC. They've done everything they can behind the scenes to make sure it doesn't happen. The only reason there's even CableCard is because the FCC forced it. Their wet dream is want you only get content when, where and how they want. Everyone's thinks streaming is so great but it's really just a system of control.
StinDaWg and wiley165 like this.

 

 

StardogChampion is online now  
post #5 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 08:43 AM
AVS Special Member
 
pittsoccer33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Pittsburgh (East Liberty)
Posts: 1,829
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked: 192
People don't watch tv the same way now that they did a decade ago. On demand, on DVR, off the internet, off the dvd disc, etc.

The cable companies see that happening, especially with recent college grads. Splitting a $150 cable bill among 5 or 6 college roomates isn't too bad. Paying it yourself with a $700 per month student loan payment is. So they're using Hulu, their friend's HBO Go account, a Slingbox at their parents, the pirate bay, Netflix, etc. Just because they aren't paying for tv service doesn't mean they're missing Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead.

What happens next is that even when they are making some more $$$ they will have decided that they have been surviving just fine without it. That is what cable companies fear now more than anything.

The question will be whether or not what tv evolves into is goign to be HTPC friendly. Netflix for WMC hasn't changed at all while the other clients have gotten easy to use and better looking. The W8 version isn't remote friendly. Hulu discontinued supporting their HTPC software.
StinDaWg likes this.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
pittsoccer33 is online now  
post #6 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 09:58 AM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,514
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked: 121
Abandoning support for PC-related streaming apps won't discourage me from using a HTPC. In my case, it will have the opposite effect and push me further away from using streaming services altogether. If I can't use it on a PC, I don't want it.
captain_video is offline  
post #7 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 10:08 AM
AVS Special Member
 
StardogChampion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 2,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Abandoning support for PC-related streaming apps won't discourage me from using a HTPC. In my case, it will have the opposite effect and push me further away from using streaming services altogether. If I can't use it on a PC, I don't want it.

After struggling for a long time to get streaming services, etc. to work seamlessly on my HTPC along with liveTV/Cable and local media I gave up and got a Roku 3. The HTPC + Roku3 + Harmony remote has turned out to be a much, much better experience than what I had before when I was trying to get the square pegs into the round hole. The Harmony makes it tolerable to switch back and forth. It's not perfect but it works a lot better than I thought it would.

 

 

StardogChampion is online now  
post #8 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 10:08 PM
AVS Special Member
 
StinDaWg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,464
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 149 Post(s)
Liked: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

People don't watch tv the same way now that they did a decade ago. On demand, on DVR, off the internet, off the dvd disc, etc.

The cable companies see that happening, especially with recent college grads. Splitting a $150 cable bill among 5 or 6 college roomates isn't too bad. Paying it yourself with a $700 per month student loan payment is. So they're using Hulu, their friend's HBO Go account, a Slingbox at their parents, the pirate bay, Netflix, etc. Just because they aren't paying for tv service doesn't mean they're missing Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead.

What happens next is that even when they are making some more $$$ they will have decided that they have been surviving just fine without it. That is what cable companies fear now more than anything.

The question will be whether or not what tv evolves into is goign to be HTPC friendly. Netflix for WMC hasn't changed at all while the other clients have gotten easy to use and better looking. The W8 version isn't remote friendly. Hulu discontinued supporting their HTPC software.
Good post.

I agree with the OP that trying to do it the "legit" way is getting harder and harder because of all the restrictions put in with what you can and can't use for software or hardware. On the other end of the spectrum, it is getting so ridiculously easy to set up a system with say XBMC where you can have an rss feed or use something like Sickbeard that will auto download all of your shows and organize them for you. This is really what the cable cos are competing with, and I'm surprised they aren't doing anything to make it easier for people who do want to pay, but don't want to be shackled by the demands of the cable cos. Younger people are just torrenting or using Netflix/Hulu type stuff and eventually this is going to catch up with them as the older folk die off and few people are paying for traditional cable. I assume this is the point where they'll just jack up internet prices to compensate. Google Fiber save us all.
StinDaWg is offline  
post #9 of 14 Old 04-04-2014, 10:23 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Bob7145's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dollars, Taxes
Posts: 2,102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 30
There is also less watchable/recordable shows on OTA. I see Paid Infomercials during the day when once was just a very late night thing. Hardly ever use my HTPC tuners now.
Bob7145 is offline  
post #10 of 14 Old 04-05-2014, 01:44 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Mike99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,972
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Liked: 41
Going back about a year ago I made a list of the number of OTA vs satellite programs that we watched over a 4 week period & IIRC about 80% were OTA programs, I repeated the list about 6 months later & about 50% were OTA programs. The basic difference was whether the major OTA networks or the cable programs were in off-season & not showing new programs. I use the HTPC as an OTA DVR to supplement the satellite DVR.
Mike99 is offline  
post #11 of 14 Old 04-05-2014, 03:06 AM
AVS Special Member
 
StinDaWg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,464
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 149 Post(s)
Liked: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

Going back about a year ago I made a list of the number of OTA vs satellite programs that we watched over a 4 week period & IIRC about 80% were OTA programs, I repeated the list about 6 months later & about 50% were OTA programs. The basic difference was whether the major OTA networks or the cable programs were in off-season & not showing new programs. I use the HTPC as an OTA DVR to supplement the satellite DVR.
I don't find myself watching much on the local networks these days. There are a few gems (Community, Person of Interest, Parenthood, The Good Wife, IMO) but most of the programming is very generic or dumbed down for general audiences. I don't know how people can watch 3 variants of CSI, it's very bland and cookie cutter. I try to watch everything on HBO and Showtime, as I find the quality/production much higher with less restrictions on what they can say or do. I can't remember the last show on HBO that I didn't at least "like".

Reminder, GOT returns Sunday. biggrin.gif

Oh, and 24 is coming back soon!
StinDaWg is offline  
post #12 of 14 Old 04-05-2014, 03:24 AM
Senior Member
 
rantanamo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Garland, Tx
Posts: 473
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
As TV tuner user mce 2004, I hate exactly what the OP is talking about. Right now I use an Infinitv 4 and 2 Dual ATSC tuners with W8 Media Center. I ended up getting a Roku 3 for streaming, though i prefer the DVR when I can. What's sad to me is the potential with WMC. Microsoft already did the hard part that the amateur efforts either can't seem to do well or can't pay to get in on, and that's the encrypted TV part. You would think the community would jump on getting as much streaming to WMC as possible. Instead, everyone wants the buggy XBMC because it has pretty movie backgrounds or they've moved on the streaming devices. Right now i stream what I can through the Plex Theater plugin and Roku for the rest.

I hope that the recent announcements for the next Windows 8.1 update will be good news for at least trying to integrate some of the Modern UI apps into WMC as well as getting remote support for them. I would guess making the Modern UI apps windowed would be the first step to making this a reality. I also hope that now that they are talking about unified apps and programs across platforms(even the XboxOne) that hopefully hardware support can come as well with perhaps the xbone becoming an extender or becoming compatible with networked tuning or even with USB tuners. At least this would be close to the one box(Microsoft used to seem to want that, but now they don't seem to realize how close they were too it).
rantanamo is offline  
post #13 of 14 Old 04-05-2014, 08:35 AM
AVS Special Member
 
JDLIVE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Marlborough, MA
Posts: 2,897
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 23
Send a message via Yahoo to JDLIVE
Well, I agree that it's somewhat frustrating that HTPCs with networked cablecard tuners finally became affordable and viable just in time for MS and others to seemingly abandon this niche market. Pretty clear that content providers are moving towards more control of the content by moving towards streaming/on-demand services and also focusing on mobile devices. I understand why they're doing that as many people seem to love the notion of being able to watch things on their phone/tablet. For me personally I don't see the appeal of watching on such small screens and I tend to be more of a home body so the mobility isn't really a big need.

I do think there will be at least a few years where we'll be able to continue enjoying what we have with HTPCs and given the rate that technology changes, that's about all you can ask for, IMO.
JDLIVE is offline  
post #14 of 14 Old 04-05-2014, 12:08 PM
AVS Special Member
 
leebo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: LA
Posts: 1,845
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
Liked: 110
This topic is talking about only the tuner TV side of HTPC, so my comments are meant only as far as that subject.

In that context, I think it boils down to lack of awareness and difficulty of set up.

I consider myself to be fairly PC savy. However, the average consumer is not. Even so, I preferred using the cable cos DVR until the monthly charges got to be more than I was willing to pay.

Why? Because it was too easy. And I believe the average person thinks the same way. It makes no difference what magical capabilities a HTPC is capable of (not to the average Joe, anyway). They don't want to set up something that is going to take much effort. And if you want something to really catch on, it has to be a no brainer.
Look at the iPhone. Very overpriced for what it does (IMO), yet it's maybe the most popular single model of smart phone. Brand recognition and ease of use.

Radio was easy. Just turn it on. And radio caught on. TV was easy. Internet didn't start to catch on until it became basically plug and play. TIVO was plug and play, basically (b4 cable cards).

To my knowledge, nobody makes a plug and play HTPC that Joe consumer can simply buy and plug in (if they do, they must be too small to get their name out to the masses). Even if they did, the consumer still has to deal with cable cards, and getting their PC connected to their TV.

Cable cards can still be a mess, even today. My belief with TIVO is that when the average person buys one, they have no idea what a cable card is. If there are issues with that, it's after the fact. TIVO has brand recognition.

If I remember, MS came out with WMC before cable cards, and they never really pushed it. They adapted it for cable cards, but by then TIVO was almost coke, and you still had to get your own tuner, set it up, and get the thing connected to your TV.

Even after setting up several WMC PC's, a server, and Media Browser 3, even I still have no idea what sickbeard is. But with the price of cable continuing to go up, the fact that they still require you to subscribe to 60 or 80 channels you don't want for the privilege of subscribing to HBO, and my cable co finally starting to "protect" many cable channels, I will likely be looking into it.


Sent from my generic not my computer device.
leebo is offline  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off