MS Media Center + MC Extender (Xbox 360 or Ceton Echo) - Recording & Playback of DRM - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-21-2014, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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MS Media Center + MC Extender (Xbox 360 or Ceton Echo) - Recording & Playback of DRM

These questions are for anyone who is using Microsoft Media Center on Windows 7, a multi-stream CableCARD tuner such as the HD HomeRun Prime or Ceton InfiniTV and a Media Center Extender. As far as I know, the only actively manufactured Extenders are the Xbox 360 and the Ceton Echo, although several other models (HP, Linksys, etc) were previously made and discontinued.

Q. - Can Media Center record all DRM'd programs (flagged "Copy-Never" or "Copy-Once") to which I am properly subscribed by my local cabletv provider?

Q. - Can a Media Center Extender (Xbox 360 or Ceton Echo) playback everything that Media Center can record?

I've spent hours reading on the interwebs and yet the answers to the above elude me. The dvr in the settop box that I rent from my cabletv provider can record everything to which I am subscribed, so that's the benchmark. If Media Center can't also record everything that my rented STB can record, then Media Center is not an attractive alternative. Furthermore, if an Extender can't playback everything that MC can record, then it's much less attractive. On the other hand, if MC can record all that my rented dvr can record and if an MCE can playback everything that the MC can record, then I'm finished with paying $20.49 a month to rent a STB+dvr.

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post #2 of 10 Old 07-21-2014, 09:08 AM
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Windows Media Center vs TiVo Premiere

Don't be misled by the title. It is almost entirely about WMC -- hardware, recording, playback and extenders -- and has virtually nothing to do with TiVo.

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post #3 of 10 Old 07-21-2014, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by graystrickland View Post
These questions are for anyone who is using Microsoft Media Center on Windows 7, a multi-stream CableCARD tuner such as the HD HomeRun Prime or Ceton InfiniTV and a Media Center Extender. As far as I know, the only actively manufactured Extenders are the Xbox 360 and the Ceton Echo, although several other models (HP, Linksys, etc) were previously made and discontinued.

Q. - Can Media Center record all DRM'd programs (flagged "Copy-Never" or "Copy-Once") to which I am properly subscribed by my local cabletv provider?

Q. - Can a Media Center Extender (Xbox 360 or Ceton Echo) playback everything that Media Center can record?

I've spent hours reading on the interwebs and yet the answers to the above elude me. The dvr in the settop box that I rent from my cabletv provider can record everything to which I am subscribed, so that's the benchmark. If Media Center can't also record everything that my rented STB can record, then Media Center is not an attractive alternative. Furthermore, if an Extender can't playback everything that MC can record, then it's much less attractive. On the other hand, if MC can record all that my rented dvr can record and if an MCE can playback everything that the MC can record, then I'm finished with paying $20.49 a month to rent a STB+dvr.
Hello gray- I have been using a setup similar to what you describe for a few years now. 3 HD Homerun Prime for a total of 9 tuners (uses multi-stream cable cards) + WMC + Windows 8 + xbox 360 used as extenders + Comcast as my cable provider. I was using Windows 7 until about a year ago. You do not mention your cable provider but my experience with Comcast and the equipment mentioned is that I have had no problems at all recording and/or playing back anything that I am subscribed to. This includes HBO and Showtime. One thing to note if you are seriously considering going to this type of setup is that you will not be able to receive ANY pay per view material. This is not a problem for me as I do not consume any PPV material. It has something to do with two way communication not being possible with the devices and Comcast and I believe that is true with any cable provider but I am not totally certain on that. If you do go with this setup you will not be disappointed. I have been pleased and have just recently recouped my equipment expenses by not having to pay that ridiculous $25 monthly DVR fee. An added plus is that I can stream all my digital content ( all my movies and music) from my "Theatre Server" which is a custom built PC in my home office that has at this time over 20 TB of storage. Anyway....good luck!
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-21-2014, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by raptork30 View Post
Hello gray- I have been using a setup similar to what you describe for a few years now. 3 HD Homerun Prime for a total of 9 tuners (uses multi-stream cable cards) + WMC + Windows 8 + xbox 360 used as extenders + Comcast as my cable provider. I was using Windows 7 until about a year ago. You do not mention your cable provider but my experience with Comcast and the equipment mentioned is that I have had no problems at all recording and/or playing back anything that I am subscribed to. This includes HBO and Showtime. One thing to note if you are seriously considering going to this type of setup is that you will not be able to receive ANY pay per view material. This is not a problem for me as I do not consume any PPV material. It has something to do with two way communication not being possible with the devices and Comcast and I believe that is true with any cable provider but I am not totally certain on that. If you do go with this setup you will not be disappointed. I have been pleased and have just recently recouped my equipment expenses by not having to pay that ridiculous $25 monthly DVR fee. An added plus is that I can stream all my digital content ( all my movies and music) from my "Theatre Server" which is a custom built PC in my home office that has at this time over 20 TB of storage. Anyway....good luck!
Raptork30,

Is the 20 TB of storage a NAS or dedicated fileserver? Or do you have that much onboard storage for the workstation(s) that run Media Center for you? It's just a WAG, but I'd bet that you have workstation(s) that run Media Center with a reasonable amount of local storage (e.g. 2 or 3 TB) and then some sort of central storage where your media files are aggregated for long term storage. If that's the case, how are you handling the task of moving recordings off of the workstation running Media Center and on to your central storage? Or did you hack the registry of the Media Center pc to have it write its records to a mapped drive on the central storage?

In my situation, I have a 6 TB NAS which is my central storage for the home. Each tv has an attached Intel NUC running XBMC to stream any content stored in the family library. I envision putting Media Center on a Win7 workstation somewhere on my network and an Xbox 360 (not yet purchased) to act as an extender at each tv. For the last several years, I rarely record anything on my cableco rented dvr. Just The Daily Show and Colbert Report and the occasional futbol/football/basketball game. The stuff that I do dvr, I watch once and then let it age off of the dvr. This all leads up to the question: how much local hdd recording space is enough? I don't ever expect to need or want to store more than about 20 hours' worth at any given time. Even recording in HD, how much space is sufficient for that?

Gray

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post #5 of 10 Old 07-21-2014, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by graystrickland View Post
Raptork30,

Is the 20 TB of storage a NAS or dedicated fileserver? Or do you have that much onboard storage for the workstation(s) that run Media Center for you? It's just a WAG, but I'd bet that you have workstation(s) that run Media Center with a reasonable amount of local storage (e.g. 2 or 3 TB) and then some sort of central storage where your media files are aggregated for long term storage. If that's the case, how are you handling the task of moving recordings off of the workstation running Media Center and on to your central storage? Or did you hack the registry of the Media Center pc to have it write its records to a mapped drive on the central storage?

In my situation, I have a 6 TB NAS which is my central storage for the home. Each tv has an attached Intel NUC running XBMC to stream any content stored in the family library. I envision putting Media Center on a Win7 workstation somewhere on my network and an Xbox 360 (not yet purchased) to act as an extender at each tv. For the last several years, I rarely record anything on my cableco rented dvr. Just The Daily Show and Colbert Report and the occasional futbol/football/basketball game. The stuff that I do dvr, I watch once and then let it age off of the dvr. This all leads up to the question: how much local hdd recording space is enough? I don't ever expect to need or want to store more than about 20 hours' worth at any given time. Even recording in HD, how much space is sufficient for that?

Gray
Gray - I keep things very simple. Only one computer that runs the whole house and xbox 360's at each TV (4 total). Networking is all hardwired. I do have a main theatre room where the audio equipment is. The other TV's are simpl;y bedroom TV's. No bells and whistles there. Storage is 6 internal 4TB drives (mirrored and striped so actual storage is only around 10TB) and a backup is accomplished right now simply by USB attached drive. Considering a NAS in the near future. Keeping movies on the internal drives right now simply for speed and serving them up through the Media Browser plugin for Windows Media Center. To answer your question about how much storage for recording... I really don't know as I never pay attention to space requirement because I have more than I will probably ever need. You can set the amount of recorded TV space that Window Media Center will use somewhere in the settings. I know nothing about XBMC. I have read that 1 hour of HD recording requires approx 6 GB so with your 6 TB storage you probably will never have an issue. The pros of running numerous xbox's as extenders means only one computer, everything central, not having to build mulitple computers. The con with this setup is one catastrophic failure with the computer means the whole house is down. However, I do have a cheap Win 8 comp that I can throw in its place if repairs are ever needed. Hope this helps.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-22-2014, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graystrickland View Post
These questions are for anyone who is using Microsoft Media Center on Windows 7, a multi-stream CableCARD tuner such as the HD HomeRun Prime or Ceton InfiniTV and a Media Center Extender. As far as I know, the only actively manufactured Extenders are the Xbox 360 and the Ceton Echo, although several other models (HP, Linksys, etc) were previously made and discontinued.

Q. - Can Media Center record all DRM'd programs (flagged "Copy-Never" or "Copy-Once") to which I am properly subscribed by my local cabletv provider?

Q. - Can a Media Center Extender (Xbox 360 or Ceton Echo) playback everything that Media Center can record?
Yes and yes. All you lose vs. the provider's crappy DVR is video on demand. Don't bother with the Ceton Echo btw (it has a lot of issues), pick up a couple of cheap Xbox 360 4GB Slims with broken DVDs on craigslist or fleabay. With the free streaming update (no need to pay for Live now) the 360 is a no-brainer IMO. Personally I think 2TB is plenty of storage, but we're not hoarders here. We watch and then delete and always have plenty of space.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-22-2014, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-22-2014, 07:40 AM
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Yes and yes. All you lose vs. the provider's crappy DVR is video on demand. Don't bother with the Ceton Echo btw (it has a lot of issues), pick up a couple of cheap Xbox 360 4GB Slims with broken DVDs on craigslist or fleabay. With the free streaming update (no need to pay for Live now) the 360 is a no-brainer IMO. Personally I think 2TB is plenty of storage, but we're not hoarders here. We watch and then delete and always have plenty of space.
Hi slow & gray- I would completely agree with you about the Ceton Echo. I tried one and in my experience it was not very good. An xbox on the cheap on craigslist or ebay is probably the way to go.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-22-2014, 07:41 AM
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-18-2014, 09:40 AM
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Does anyone have a n updated info on the Ceton Echo? I just got one a few weeks ago. Honestly it works great! It is a bit sluggish. What kind of issues are people having?
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