So what is the reason for XBMC/PLEX vs just using WMC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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So what is the reason for XBMC/PLEX vs just using WMC?

Could someone give me a few sentences for the reason why people use XBMC/PLEX vs just WMC? I'm trying to understand the difference/reason for using them.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 10:58 AM
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Well there really isn't much other than they like it.

WMC can be pretty awesome and do basically everything, especially if you layer on Mediabrowser.

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post #3 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 11:18 AM
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I think it depends on what you intend to use it for. I use WMC mainly because I have a Ceton tuner with some older DMA-2100's as extenders giving us cable access and centralized recordings in all rooms. If cable TV isn't on your agenda, then I would look more heavily at an XBMC/Plex setup.
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post #4 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 11:23 AM
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I'm on a Mac so I've used Plex for years. Mac had Front Row which wasn't compatible with most of my content including 5.1 audio. I'm not sure about WMC but on Plex you can push content to hand held devices as well. I suggest just trying out each of them and see how they work for you.
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post #5 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 11:33 AM
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I use XBMC to play Blu-Rays ripped to mkv files. It's the most stable solution I've tried and allows me to bitstream HD audio. WMC cannot do this without third party apps installed. I've never tried Plex so I can't speak to it. I use WMC mostly as a DVR and for playing various types of video files. I also use VLC Media Player for certain types of files with embedded subtitles. VLC allows me to turn off the subtitles whereas WMC does not provide that option. I could probably use XBMC to do the same thing.
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post #6 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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So WMC is the best bet for my HD HomeRun Prime?
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post #7 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwerty11 View Post
So WMC is the best bet for my HD HomeRun Prime?
If your looking for an easy setup with cable TV then I would say yes. There are a ton of variables though so it really depends on what your ultimate viewing goal is. I would suggest trying to figure out what you want to accomplish first and then work your way from there. But to reiterate, if you just want a relatively easy setup for cable TV then WMC is really your best option IMO.
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post #8 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 01:32 PM
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If you have cable and channels you watch are marked copy-once, WMC is still your only option.
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post #9 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 01:55 PM
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I rip blu-rays to my home media server. The only way I can play it back, just like it was a blu-ray disc (preserving the high resolution soundtracks like DTS-HD MA, DDTruHD, etc; and have selectable subtitles/audio languages) that i'm playing in my console blu-ray player is to use a 3rd party product like Plex or XBMC. You cannot do exactly this, in the way i've noted, inside WMC alone. I like Plex because it remembers playback position across devices and I only need to add the content at a central location (unlike XBMC, which is device specific).

if you just watch tv, and download tv shows and movies that are recompressed, you may as well just stick to WMC and Mediabrowser.
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post #10 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post
I rip blu-rays to my home media server. The only way I can play it back, just like it was a blu-ray disc (preserving the high resolution soundtracks like DTS-HD MA, DDTruHD, etc; and have selectable subtitles/audio languages) that i'm playing in my console blu-ray player is to use a 3rd party product like Plex or XBMC. You cannot do exactly this, in the way i've noted, inside WMC alone.

incorrect.


Windows Media Center can certainly play ANYTHING that plex or xbmc can play including fully bitstreamed (or decoded) DTS-HD MA or TrueHD audio with selectable subtitles and/or audio tracks.
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Use Shark007 Codecs and retain your sanity.
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post #11 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post
I rip blu-rays to my home media server. The only way I can play it back, just like it was a blu-ray disc (preserving the high resolution soundtracks like DTS-HD MA, DDTruHD, etc; and have selectable subtitles/audio languages) that i'm playing in my console blu-ray player is to use a 3rd party product like Plex or XBMC. You cannot do exactly this, in the way i've noted, inside WMC alone. I like Plex because it remembers playback position across devices and I only need to add the content at a central location (unlike XBMC, which is device specific).

if you just watch tv, and download tv shows and movies that are recompressed, you may as well just stick to WMC and Mediabrowser.
It is possible to set up XBMC with an external database to sync watched/playback/content information, but it's certainly not as simple as it is with Plex.
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post #12 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post
incorrect.


Windows Media Center can certainly play ANYTHING that plex or xbmc can play including fully bitstreamed (or decoded) DTS-HD MA or TrueHD audio with selectable subtitles and/or audio tracks.
With shark007 codec package of coarse
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post #13 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post
incorrect.


Windows Media Center can certainly play ANYTHING that plex or xbmc can play including fully bitstreamed (or decoded) DTS-HD MA or TrueHD audio with selectable subtitles and/or audio tracks.
OK, I get that WMC can bitstream HD audio with the proper codecs installed, but what's the trick to select audio tracks and subtitles?
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post #14 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 04:02 PM
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Two years ago when I first started using WMC I attempted to trick it out with various add-ons. Even so I just never liked its feel outside of DVRing. Once one of those add-on installed Malware (even though it stated it wouldn't) I punted and after a clean install never looked back... I'll let WMC and XBMC do what they do best natively...
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post #15 of 97 Old 06-30-2014, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
OK, I get that WMC can bitstream HD audio with the proper codecs installed, but what's the trick to select audio tracks and subtitles?
Place Media Center into windowed mode (not full screen) and use the systray icons.
To do this in full screen and with a remote, you need to use the Media Control Plugin.

Use Shark007 Codecs and retain your sanity.

Last edited by Shark007; 06-30-2014 at 06:07 PM.
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post #16 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
With shark007 codec package of coarse
yuck!

One of the main reasons I quit using WMC since like 5 years already...

You couldn't ever get it to work out of the box...
You had to install a truckload of additional stuff and tweak endlessly...

Back then, there was a plethora of codecs all over the place and all seemed to work against each other... shark was especially one that had too many codecs in one place and couldn't tolerate a duplicate codec install from another package... your system gets messed up within one wrong click...

I bought a TV that could connect directly to cable and satellite antennas, the TV also allows recording to a USB stick, and I simply called it a day with doing DVR on the PC...

Except that you need to have all your media in MKV to fully enjoy Plex, there is no comparing to WMC... difference is like night and day...
XBMC supports multiple formats... MKV, TS folder... etc... and the basic setup works out of the box as well...

I started using XBMC the moment it supported HD audio bitstreaming on windows, and moved to Linux the moment HD audio bitstreaming became available in the Linux version,
I moved to Plex on Linux soon after and never looked back...
I haven't had to re-install or patch or tweak anything on my HTPCs for more than two years... this is something that is never going to happen on a windows machine...
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post #17 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post
One of the main reasons I quit using WMC since like 5 years already...

You couldn't ever get it to work out of the box...
You had to install a truckload of additional stuff and tweak endlessly...

Back then, there was a plethora of codecs all over the place...

5 years is a long time. Things have changed... a lot.
Today, I release 2 versions. One is called the STANDARD Codecs and the other, the ADVANCED Codecs.
The standard release only contains LAV and xyVSFilter, with no other codecs at all.
There is a checkbox for suggested settings which preselects the most useful options and tweaks for you.
... everything (in Media Center) is working, with one selection, out of the box.
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post #18 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 04:37 AM
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5 years is a lifetime in this hobby. Things have changed dramatically since then. Windows 7 wasn't even released until October of 2009 so chances are you were using Vista or XP. Windows 7 with WMC is rock solid and extremely stable. I used to have issues with WMC when I first started using it, but it was mostly due to incompatible drivers and hardware. These days, you install Windows 7 with WMC and it just plain works. There's no constant tweaking anymore or installing of a multitude of third party apps, although there are quite a few that are desirable depending on how you want to use your HTPC. In the distant past, codec packs tended to cause more problems than they fixed. The Shark007 codecs have become a staple for most HTPC users around here and they work as promised.
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post #19 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 05:00 AM
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If you really want to get the best out of your media on a htpc then madvr upscaling with mpc-hc and lav codecs is the way to go - but you need a decent processor (i5) and graphics card. I used nvidia for years but recently switched to an amd r9-270. It generated a significant improvement on my Samsung 60e8000 compared to wmc etc. and almost as good as my ca 752bd. Use kpc codec pack for a simple install - see http://haruhichan.com/forum/showthre...aii-Codec-Pack. But we still use the ps3 and universal media player with ffmpeg codecs for most of our viewing - the simplicity of the xmb is hard to beat. Use foobar2000 or jriver for audio.
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post #20 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post
5 years is a long time. Things have changed... a lot.
Today, I release 2 versions. One is called the STANDARD Codecs and the other, the ADVANCED Codecs.
The standard release only contains LAV and xyVSFilter, with no other codecs at all.
There is a checkbox for suggested settings which preselects the most useful options and tweaks for you.
... everything (in Media Center) is working, with one selection, out of the box.
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
5 years is a lifetime in this hobby. Things have changed dramatically since then. Windows 7 wasn't even released until October of 2009 so chances are you were using Vista or XP. Windows 7 with WMC is rock solid and extremely stable. I used to have issues with WMC when I first started using it, but it was mostly due to incompatible drivers and hardware. These days, you install Windows 7 with WMC and it just plain works. There's no constant tweaking anymore or installing of a multitude of third party apps, although there are quite a few that are desirable depending on how you want to use your HTPC. In the distant past, codec packs tended to cause more problems than they fixed. The Shark007 codecs have become a staple for most HTPC users around here and they work as promised.
Interesting...

You are quite correct with the fact I was using Vista back then,
Coming from XP which had no HDCP / DRM crippling, the experience with Vista was a nightmare...
Back then if you had one element in your HTPC that was not HDCP compliant, image resolution and audio was instantly down rez'ed,
An HDCP compliant machine cost $$$ back then, and despite spending what would be considered plenty of money these days, it was not very long before I got completely fed-up with WMC...
I remember now, that when I stopped using WMC, I started using MPC-HC (from the .ru site) and later included LAV and MadVR afterwards,
Then I bought a license for Media Browser and launched MPC-HC for MKV and PDVD 8 (or 9 it was) for BR ISO playback...

Then came along XBMC with HD audio bitstreaming and my tweaking days were over for good...
Despite the temptation to see what WMC looks like these days, there is no piece of media equipment in my domain that runs on windows anymore... those days are gone for good... unless M$ starts to give windows away at no cost and they cut all the DRM crap...
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post #21 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 05:29 AM
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Another recent development is mediabrowser3 (MB3) with integrated theatre(MBT) which you can optionally support mpc-hc and madvr and which can be driven from a tablet or smartphone . No longer need wmc!
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post #22 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TripleFun View Post
No longer need wmc!
You need WMC if you use it as a DVR for flagged content. There's other no way around it short of renting a box from your provider or buying a Tivo.
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post #23 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post
Interesting...

You are quite correct with the fact I was using Vista back then,
Coming from XP which had no HDCP / DRM crippling, the experience with Vista was a nightmare...
Back then if you had one element in your HTPC that was not HDCP compliant, image resolution and audio was instantly down rez'ed,
An HDCP compliant machine cost $$$ back then, and despite spending what would be considered plenty of money these days, it was not very long before I got completely fed-up with WMC...
Completely understandable. I never used Vista myself, but I shied away from it for the reason that the majority of users say it sucked badly. I had previously been using XP with BeyondTV for recording OTA programs. I had DirecTV back then and used the HR10-250 HDTivos for satellite channels. When the Ceton cablecard tuners became available I made the switch to Win 7 with WMC. I had already switched from DirecTV to FIOS at that point, but I was still using Tivos for scrambled content. I had a lot of growing pains with a lot of hair pulling, but those days are long gone. I've easily set up a dozen or more HTPCs with Win 7 and rarely had problems with any of them. They're still PCs so I do run into an occasional glitch now and then, but that's the nature of the beast.

I'm currently running one main HTPC with Win 7 and a Ceton InfiniTV 6 and three Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 ATSC dual tuner cards. I also have three Intel NUCs running Win 7 with a HDHomeRun Prime and a HDHR Dual for TV viewing. All of the run XBMC for streaming content from my unRAID server. I'm on FIOS so I can share content recorded on the main HTPC with any of the NUCs.
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post #24 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 06:24 AM
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Openelec XBMC Gotham on Zotac Zbox FTW.
  • Super easy to install-boot from USB and your off
  • Excellent audio and video performance
  • Plays anything
  • gazillions of plugins
  • Native support for HDhomerun
  • PVR clients

XBMC used to be a bit of a hobbyist effort as it required some tweaking here and there.
Today its a breeze and suitable for anyone.

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post #25 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 08:21 AM
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So what is the reason for XBMC/PLEX vs just using WMC?

Balky.... You'd also have to pay extra for WMC as it's no longer part of windows 8 package that's probably the only reason I haven't tried it if I'm honest. Never had a purpose for it before either. The only time I've used a pc for satellite tv was when I had vaio software that did it all.

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post #26 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 08:29 AM
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I wonder if the Plex app on XBOX One will have a large affect on the usage statistics.
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post #27 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 10:37 AM
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by royalpython View Post
Balky.... You'd also have to pay extra for WMC as it's no longer part of windows 8 package that's probably the only reason I haven't tried it if I'm honest. Never had a purpose for it before either. The only time I've used a pc for satellite tv was when I had vaio software that did it all.
Heh heh heh... am I surprised?... that is typical of M$... always looking for every possible means to leech their clients...
Despite making millions of $$$ in net profit annually... I'm almost pretty certain the reason for doing this will be financially based... like wanting to shift WMC development resources to something else because they aren't selling enough WMC copies to justify it's existence in the first place...
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post #28 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 10:45 AM
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Says that guy using a linux machine with simple freeware XBMC ^

Personally that experience is rather boring to me. Different strokes for different folks. Each their own. I personally have no problem with MS software no matter how much $ they might make. Being successful is a poor reason to hate a company IMO.
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post #29 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post
Heh heh heh... am I surprised?... that is typical of M$... always looking for every possible means to leech their clients...
Despite making millions of $$$ in net profit annually... I'm almost pretty certain the reason for doing this will be financially based... like wanting to shift WMC development resources to something else because they aren't selling enough WMC copies to justify it's existence in the first place...
Of course it's financially based! Since every version of Windows 7 included a copy of WMC, they were paying decoder license fees for every copy of Windows 7 that was sold, whether the person using Windows 7 ever even loaded WMC. Now they can pass that cost to the people who actually use the product. I don't really see a problem with that, except that we've all gotten used to "free" software.
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post #30 of 97 Old 07-01-2014, 10:26 PM
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Says that guy using a linux machine with simple freeware XBMC ^

Personally that experience is rather boring to me. Different strokes for different folks. Each their own. I personally have no problem with MS software no matter how much $ they might make. Being successful is a poor reason to hate a company IMO.
Sorry if you misunderstood me, but I don't hate M$, nothing I have said so far indicates hatred, but if you have ever been in a situation where you don't get what you paid for, you might understand why I am dissatisfied... I wish you had bought Vista and upgraded all your hardware and spent a lifetime tweaking and still not getting the results you want...
Save me the speech about Hollywood cartels, DRM blah blah, I think I know all of that, I just don't think it is right to pass development costs to the few who most likely bought windows 8 because of WMC... IMO paying for the OS should be enough... gluttony aside...

Just for your info, it is not about free software, I have generously donated to many open source projects, including wiki... and setting up a Linux box requires a bit more intelligence, know how and perseverance when compared to setting up a windows machine,
You have no idea of the feeling of achievement you get, when you can set up and run a Linux box the way you want... your comment makes it clear...
I also own 2 iPads, change my iPhone each time a new version comes out, one iPod classic in the car and a second iPod classic in the bedroom... just to let you know that I will gladly pay if the product works as advertized...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkimbro View Post
Of course it's financially based! Since every version of Windows 7 included a copy of WMC, they were paying decoder license fees for every copy of Windows 7 that was sold, whether the person using Windows 7 ever even loaded WMC. Now they can pass that cost to the people who actually use the product. I don't really see a problem with that, except that we've all gotten used to "free" software.
I think you should speak for yourself mate... and I believe there are better ways of doing this, like providing a WMC version that installs and turn your windows machine into an appliance-like kind of device... google Openelec if you need more information...
Such a version can be sold separately to those who need WMC "if" M$ really needs to pay decoder license for every copy...
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