Windows Media Center vs TiVo Premiere - Page 27 - AVS Forum
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post #781 of 917 Old 05-21-2014, 06:06 PM
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Thank you, Charles R, for this thread. Of all the threads I have come across, yours is the only one I have read start to present and plan to follow.

A few months ago I got a SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual HDHR3-US ($61), one of the last it seems, to try out wmc. I was considering building an HTPC vs getting my first Tivo, so your thread was just what I needed. At some point, I believe you suggested, that getting a sale/clearance pc could save some cash vs. building. Someone else mentioned used pc's on craigslist and refurbished pc's. So, I have been looking for deals. So far, it does look like building will be more expensive.

Now, you "got bored," and built one. By shopping parts, "pieces at Fry's with a great price that have rebates..." - do you think you saved anything over a, retail pc, sale/deal?

Also, you went with win7. Since you have used both for wmc, do you think win7 is better than win8pro?

I have also just started trying out xbmc gotham. I have xbmc integrated in wmc and the WMC Add-on in XBMC, so that I can start xbmc from wmc and/or use wmc from within xbmc.

I am confused by your post above, where you say, "XBMC allows you to view WMC (OTA) either without Windows (OpenELEC, etc) or with Windows 8 without upgrading to Pro with Media Center."

I do not understand, how with xbmc, you can get wmc, without a Windows version, that includes wmc. I read that you can run xbmc with just, "OpenELEC, etc" but can you really have wmc, on a stand alone pc, without windows?

I ask because after all I have read, I concluded my best bet was a win7 or 8pro machine because of the $110 upgrade cost to get from win8 to 8pro with wmc. If I can really run wmc, on a win8 pc, that will open a lot more options - so, I would really like to know how to do it.

Again, thanks for the great thread and to all who help the less knowledgeable, like myself.
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post #782 of 917 Old 05-21-2014, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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  • Hardware wise I think buying a sale/close-out PC (find one with Windows 7 HP or Ultimate) is the best bang for the buck. The build I just posted was less than $500 without any OS. A NUC would be less expensive and less powerful at the same time. You can find an i3 for less. I built it as I just got the bug and over time I'm sure I'll reconfigure it various ways and knowing the pieces per se should help. I already have my eye on a video card...
  • I used Windows 7 for one or two reasons. I have a few licenses so it didn't cost me anything. I would have had to purchase Windows 8 Pro OEM and purchased Media Center. Performance wise I can't tell a difference. Overall I do prefer Windows 8.
  • Running XBMC with the WMC Add-on via OpenELEC or with Windows 8 (without Pro and Media Center) I was referencing clients. Taking for granted you have another PC running WMC (server).

 

Currently, and I have for the most part the last two years used my desktop (i3) as my WMC PC (server as I call it). It's reliable enough that WMC doesn't have to have a dedicated PC and I seem to have even worked out my iSCSI issue. Where I record directly to my NAS. So I basically see the WMC PC as being free since it's pretty sure you have a PC going in. Mine hibernates like a champ so power usage isn't an issue.

 

Once you want extender/clients it becomes more complex and perhaps TiVo starts looking better. That's another can of worms.

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post #783 of 917 Old 05-22-2014, 08:11 AM
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If you ever think you'll get any extenders (besides Xbox), you should avoid Win 8. There are no improvements to WMC in Win 8.

For full functionality and simplicity for live and recorded TV, you can't beat Win 7, WMC and extenders. If you do primarily file streaming, then XBMC makes more sense.

FWIW, my HTPC was $50 on eBay. I added a couple hundred bucks worth of upgrades to get to my current 3TB, 6 tuner system that serves 5 TVs, 4 of which are extenders. I also plug in a Pi running openelec when I want to experiment.
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post #784 of 917 Old 05-22-2014, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

If you ever think you'll get any extenders (besides Xbox), you should avoid Win 8. There are no improvements to WMC in Win 8.

For full functionality and simplicity for live and recorded TV, you can't beat Win 7, WMC and extenders. If you do primarily file streaming, then XBMC makes more sense.

FWIW, my HTPC was $50 on eBay. I added a couple hundred bucks worth of upgrades to get to my current 3TB, 6 tuner system that serves 5 TVs, 4 of which are extenders. I also plug in a Pi running openelec when I want to experiment.

mdavej, do you have personal experience with both win7 & 8pro running wmc & xbmc?

Charles R has used & talked about both, is using extenders and says, "Performance wise I can't tell a difference. Overall I do prefer Windows 8." From what I've read, win8pro is less wmc friendly but that can be over come, it boots quicker and since newer, likely better for future.

For myself, win7-HP is what I am currently using to "play" with possible HTPC setups, so it would be easier - but I'm not convinced that it is better. Ultimately, if I go with a retail pc deal, the OS is just one more variable in deciding if it is a good deal - I might prefer win7 but if a win8pro machine is significantly less ...

What I am really trying to sort through now is hardware. Charles R has said Intel i3 should be good. I am not a gamer, so an i5 is probably over kill but how low can I go, without problems?

I plan to replace my TV, may go 3D, so I imagine, Blu-ray quality 3D video, would be the most demanding thing I would do (from file/stream, not disc player). Can an Intel Core 4th Gen i3 with Intel HD Integrated Graphics 4400 handle that?

Whenever I try to search processors/graphics everything seems to be about games. I'd like to hear more about what people are using in their HTPC's for playback/streaming of HD audio/video and their experience, problems. I'd rather be over-powered than under-powered - i.e. rather have something play then not.

So, could people chime-in with what they are running and their success or problems playing different material?
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post #785 of 917 Old 05-22-2014, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Windows 8 doesn't support old school extenders. Of which personally I'd avoid anyway. Outside of that WMC is virtually identical as the only other difference I can think of off the top of my head is Windows 8 missing the option to boot into WMC. I simply prefer the Windows 8 overall interface. CPU wise WMC will run nicely on almost any hardware. For 3D playback the video card or the chip's internal video drivers come into play. I think the new i3 and i5 chips share the same video. My i3 is the 4600 and if I remember the i5 is as well. Anyway CPU power doesn't really come into play. For 3D the player will however as XBMC only supports a few formats and you'll have to purchase a player to view all of the available 3D formats.

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post #786 of 917 Old 05-22-2014, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by happy2Lurk View Post

mdavej, do you have personal experience with both win7 & 8pro running wmc & xbmc?
Yep. I ran Win 8 for a few months with WMC and XBMC. I ultimately rolled back to Win 7 on my HTPC. I run Win 8 everywhere else. I never reboot, so a few seconds faster boot is not worth losing extender compatibility, among other things. My PC wakes in about 5 seconds under Win 7 anyway, far faster than my TV powers up. If I go temporarily insane and want the Fisher Price interface on Win 8, I've got a dozen other devices I can use for that. If I want 100% compatibility with all extenders, WMC add-ons, add-ins, etc., I'm sticking with Win 7.

XBMC is not for me. Copy protected content doesn't work, and I simply don't find the interface very intuitive or attractive. If I were OTA only, I'd probably give it another look.

Charles and I take completely different approaches because we have different requirements and desires to tinker. I want the shortest, cheapest path to live an recorded TV in 5 rooms. I want simple, small, quiet efficient boxes in each room with a common interface, effortless setup, low price and above all, ability to stream copy protected content everywhere. XBMC only meets some of those requirements. Extenders meet all of them. They may not meet your requirements though.

I can't really speak for Charles, but I gather he enjoys putting together all those little NUC boxes and wants to do quite a bit more than live and recorded TV and has no copy protection issues to deal with.

Bottom line is it all depends on your goals and time, effort and money you're willing to put in. I can buy an Echo off the shelf and have it up and running in about 2 minutes. No assembly required.

Sounds like you value future proofing above all else and have no desire to use extenders. So Win 8 will be fine for you, as will PCs at every node. I'll move off Win 7 only when absolutely necessary 6 or 7 years from now, if I still have cable then. For the foreseeable future, I'll keep what I've got.
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post #787 of 917 Old 05-22-2014, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Charles and I take completely different approaches because we have different requirements and desires to tinker.


Yeah. I'm OTA only and worse case three or four displays (if you count the exercise room) and only one that gets used daily. If I had more of a traditional installation I'd go TiVo since they introduced the Minis. For me WMC costs virtually nothing and hasn't given me a reason to punt. In my second viewing area (that's never used) I want/need a PC there anyway for HD file playback. So I get WMC in there for free as well. I could put a dedicated streamer that supports HD audio/video in there but it wouldn't be much less than a PC and I'd still need an extender if I want to watch TV.

 

The exercise room currently has the Xbox E that's allocated for the Hearth room if we ever get a TV in there...  since it's currently collecting dust I'll move it in there if the need arises. It just plays a few exercise DVDs so a low-end media player would more than do when the time comes.

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post #788 of 917 Old 05-23-2014, 04:28 AM
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The software may have cost you nothing, but the hardware...
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post #789 of 917 Old 05-23-2014, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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The software may have cost you nothing, but the hardware...

 

I think you missed the point. :) In my Den I use a desktop 99% of the day. Outside of the tuners I already have the hardware. In the theater I already have a PC for movie playback...

 

It's posted along the way... full disclosure.

 

  • $120 - Four tuners
  • $0 - NAS storage already is use
  • $0 - IR receivers already in use
  • $0 - Two computers already is use
  • $99 - Xbox E 360 (currently should be listed as $0 since it's used for exercise videos)
  • $0 - Several Media Center licenses for Windows 8 (available back in the day)
  • $0 - Windows 8 Pro upgrade (vendor rebate)
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post #790 of 917 Old 05-25-2014, 08:25 PM
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I think you missed the point. smile.gif  In my Den I use a desktop 99% of the day. Outside of the tuners I already have the hardware. In the theater I already have a PC for movie playback...

It's posted along the way... full disclosure.
  • $120 - Four tuners
  • $0 - NAS storage already is use
  • $0 - IR receivers already in use
  • $0 - Two computers already is use
  • $99 - Xbox E 360 (currently should be listed as $0 since it's used for exercise videos)
  • $0 - Several Media Center licenses for Windows 8 (available back in the day)
  • $0 - Windows 8 Pro upgrade (vendor rebate)
Hey, I love my HTPC and all, but you're answer is cheating a bit. wink.gif But I'm a hobbyist myself and have multiple pc's, EHD's, coax splitters, ethernet switches, etc. too. So your costs are about the same as mine.

Now how about what it would cost doing your set-up for a person who only has one weak desktop or laptop in the house and needed to start from scratch. I myself would replace one pc for another Xbox 360 (which can be found cheap on craigslist all of the time now) as an extender.
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post #791 of 917 Old 05-25-2014, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey, I love my HTPC and all, but you're answer is cheating a bit.

 

I didn't cheat one penny. Nor did I state what anyone's else cost would be... for that matter I didn't even recommend a course or solution for anyone. I think you missed the For me...:) Of course everyone is different. That's why it's good is see what other people are doing versus someone stating what they should do per se.

 

If you read the post that generated that response you'll see I already stated what I would probably do if I was starting from scratch with a more traditional installation... but again that's just me. Regarding your person with only a weak desktop or laptop I'd need to know untold details and charge a rather large consulting fee to come up with a valid solution. :) 

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post #792 of 917 Old 06-09-2014, 11:57 AM
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It would seem that Windows Media Center doesn't play nicely with browsers as far as sound goes. While watching a sporting event over the weekend, I got tired of the commentary, so I decided to turn WMC's volume all the way down and have Pandora play music out of Google Chrome instead. However, the browser's sound refused to play anything while Windows Media Center was on. Thought that was weird (and disappointing). This happened regardless of whether I turned Chrome/Pandora or Windows Media Center first.
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post #793 of 917 Old 06-09-2014, 12:02 PM
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It would seem that Windows Media Center doesn't play nicely with browsers as far as sound goes. While watching a sporting event over the weekend, I got tired of the commentary, so I decided to turn WMC's volume all the way down and have Pandora play music out of Google Chrome instead. However, the browser's sound refused to play anything while Windows Media Center was on. Thought that was weird (and disappointing). This happened regardless of whether I turned Chrome/Pandora or Windows Media Center first.
In sound device settings, uncheck "allow devices exclusive control", then all will play simultaneously. This can cause other HDCP problems though, so just be aware of that.
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post #794 of 917 Old 06-09-2014, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowenap View Post

It would seem that Windows Media Center doesn't play nicely with browsers as far as sound goes. While watching a sporting event over the weekend, I got tired of the commentary, so I decided to turn WMC's volume all the way down and have Pandora play music out of Google Chrome instead. However, the browser's sound refused to play anything while Windows Media Center was on. Thought that was weird (and disappointing). This happened regardless of whether I turned Chrome/Pandora or Windows Media Center first.
In sound device settings, uncheck "allow devices exclusive control", then all will play simultaneously. This can cause other HDCP problems though, so just be aware of that.

Where does this setting reside?
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post #795 of 917 Old 06-09-2014, 01:45 PM
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Where does this setting reside?
IIRC, click the speaker in the tray, then at the top of the popup, then the advanced tab.
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post #796 of 917 Old 06-20-2014, 05:11 AM
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The HDHomerun QuickTV shows more channels than WMC does. How do I get WMC to show the same channels? Thanks.
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post #797 of 917 Old 06-20-2014, 05:27 AM
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^^^
Run TV setup again in WMC and pick the appropriate lineup.
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post #798 of 917 Old 06-20-2014, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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^^^
Run TV setup again in WMC and pick the appropriate lineup.
I have to use a different zip code. If I use my actual zip code I don't get the correct channels. So you can try adjacent zip codes to see if that helps.
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post #799 of 917 Old 06-20-2014, 06:29 AM
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It's interesting how much a different zip code makes a difference, even if it's one that's merely a 20 minute drive away. Here in Buffalo, it gets especially tricky with Canadian channels, although my current zip code has the guide listings for every channel I watch except for one.

EDIT: if there are any Canadians or people that live on US border cities that are looking at this thread, here's a good link for a workaround:

http://pnear.wordpress.com/2011/04/2...edia-center-2/

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post #800 of 917 Old 07-18-2014, 06:36 AM
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Just discovered this thread and see lots of interesting stuff to read. I also use Silicon Devices HDHomerun Prime with WMC, Wish they made a 6 tuner though.
I am quite peeved that the new XboxOne cannot be used as an extender. My interest is because while the XBox360 use as an extender is good it "only" gives 720P output.

Ian
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post #801 of 917 Old 07-18-2014, 06:38 AM
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while the XBox360 use as an extender is good it "only" gives 720P output.
A few thoughts:
-no cable signal is above 720p/1080i.
-an Xbox 360 with an HDMI cord can scale and output 1080p

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Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
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post #802 of 917 Old 07-18-2014, 07:15 AM
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Just discovered this thread and see lots of interesting stuff to read. I also use Silicon Devices HDHomerun Prime with WMC, Wish they made a 6 tuner though.
I am quite peeved that the new XboxOne cannot be used as an extender. My interest is because while the XBox360 use as an extender is good it "only" gives 720P output.
Ceton 6 tuner model is pretty solid now with the latest firmware.

Some hate the Echo, but I love mine (all 4 of them), and they're 1080p, tiny, cool, cheap and silent. My Xbox hasn't done extender duty in a long time. Tried Netflix on it a few weeks ago when they dropped the gold requirement, saw it was limited to 720p then turned it back off. Haven't used it since. But I could have sworn I got 1080p from Xbox when I ran WMC. Are you sure you don't have some setting wrong?
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post #803 of 917 Old 07-18-2014, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I am quite peeved that the new XboxOne cannot be used as an extender. My interest is because while the XBox360 use as an extender is good it "only" gives 720P output.
Xbox 360 supports the following video file formats:

MPEG-2
Maximum resolution of 1920x1080 (1080i).
H.264/MPEG-4


Simply purchase a Celeron NUC (OpenELEC) or etc for $150 and you'll get it free after x hours via a electrical company rebate.
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post #804 of 917 Old 07-18-2014, 11:55 AM
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Thanks

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post #805 of 917 Old 07-18-2014, 02:31 PM
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Just keep in mind that since you use a Prime, that means you have some encrypted content, possibly, that can only be played on WMC or an extender like Xbox, Echo, Linksys, Dlink, etc.
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post #806 of 917 Old 07-22-2014, 11:13 AM
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Just keep in mind that since you use a Prime, that means you have some encrypted content, possibly, that can only be played on WMC or an extender like Xbox, Echo, Linksys, Dlink, etc.
Encryption isn't the problem, it's the copy protection, i.e. "copy once" vs "copy freely".
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post #807 of 917 Old 07-23-2014, 02:58 PM
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For anyone interested in going whole house with a Roamio + Minis, there's a couple of sellers on fleabay advertising discount codes that will save you a ton of money. Just search for Tivo discount code there and offer them $30 or so for a code when you're ready to buy. Roamio Plus w/lifetime is $600, Minis are $174 and you can throw a bigger drive in the Roamio by yourself (only difference between Plus and Pro is 1TB vs. 3TB drive).
What's the deal with these? Charles about has me talked into going Roamio Basic + Mini with lifetime subs for my whole home solution since I'm starting from scratch. Plus I'm pretty sure my wife will like the Tivo better. We're OTA only and I hate to drop this kind of coin, but the machines should retain value decently if something like Tablo got good enough to go with full time.


ETA: After some research, it appears the promo code I was looking at on ebay is legit enough. here's the fine print:
http://sellmoretivo.com/register

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post #808 of 917 Old 07-24-2014, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I know some (many?) aren't crazy about Windows 8(.1) versus Windows 7 but after using Windows 7 for a while I must say there is one area where Windows 8.1 is far superior. That's regarding its audio drivers. With Windows 7 bouncing between inputs on the AV receiver, using two displays and other conditions it tends to get confused and simply removes the AV receiver from the audio devices. Most of the time a reboot will bring it back however at times that doesn't work. Especially when you are using one display and routing the audio to the other HDMI output. With both versions I'm using Intel HD Video/Audio drivers.

Bottom line for a simple installation it probably doesn't matter. In my dedicated room any extra cost would be well worth it. So much so I removed the Windows 7 from the room and replaced it with a streamer. This was before I realized it was a Windows 7 issue and not the PC itself.

Regarding TiVo pricing I presume the $100 Lifetime discount code still works and if you catch TiVo on sell the pricing appears very close to the promos which technically aren't transferable (I'm fairly sure). Fry's often has the basic unit for $169 and you can save $30 (net) by purchase a refurb antenna for $20 and getting a $50 discount.

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post #809 of 917 Old 07-25-2014, 05:00 AM
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The Tivo discount codes are much better if you want anything more than a Roamio Basic.
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post #810 of 917 Old 07-25-2014, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles R View Post
I know some (many?) aren't crazy about Windows 8(.1) versus Windows 7
It's mostly a matter of the interface and MS trying to force the use of a tablet/phone UI on a business desktop. That is pretty much why business has rejected Win 8 and sticking with Win-7 which still holds 50% of the OS market. Under the hood, Win-8 has a lot going for it over Win-7 in terms of speed and efficiency of code. It is a better core. MS has heard business say loud and clear they don't want another Vista and all this will be "corrected" in Win-9 (Threshold) which has the Win-8 core and returns to the traditional desktop UI.
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- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine


Last edited by Kelson; 07-25-2014 at 07:44 AM.
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