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Which software

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
All,

Thanks to people on here I have decided on my new hardware

But what I'm not sure about is the O/S or software to use

I am currently/previously use XP with XBMC.

I am thinking of Windows7, but is this sufficient to support a HTPC (Satellite tuners, movie playback, etc) on its own or do I need something on top like XMBC, MediaPortal?

What is the preferred solution?

Thanks,

J.
post #2 of 19
Windows 7 Media Center is currently the best HTPC software available, in my opinion. And with the Media Browser plug-in, one of the nicest looking Movie/video organizers out there (And MyMovies is about to release version 3 that may rival the looks of Media Browser and kill it in software stability).

Exactly what are you planning on using to capture the satellite feed to your HTPC?
post #3 of 19
+1 for win7 and MB.
post #4 of 19
Could you guys elaborate on your Win7/Media Center setups? I'm currently experimenting with it, and as far as I can tell, the only thing it potentially does well is recording live tv (and even that required manually modifying registry keys before it would work).

As far as the library functions go, indexing and fetching data for movies and prerecorded tv episodes, XBMC does it all automatically. WMC does not. I'm trying to get MediaScout to create the metadata for Windows Media Center, but it is very picky about folder structure (one per season, one per movie??) where XBMC is not. MediaScout will rearrange all the files to suit its needs, but that screws up both my other XBMC boxes and my backup server. It also looks like it's going to be a manual setup/refresh every time new content is added.

I want to experiment with MediaPortal (already using that skin w/XBMC) and see how it compares as well.

So, how are you using WMC, what are you watching on it, where and how are the files stored, and what plugins or patches did you have to add in order to get the behavior you wanted from it?
post #5 of 19
I agree that W7 + Media Browser is an excellent combo. I just got the MyMovies 3 pre release but have not had a chance to test out.

XBMC won't do you any good with live tv. Media Portal is a good alternative but I have heard horror stories about setting up the tv side. SageTV is a solid alternative to WMC (especially if you are looking for a server/client solution for your whole house), but the UI is a little outdated (there are some big improvements though with SMW, etc...) and installation/maintenance can be a little more involved than it should be
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by saf-t scissors View Post

Could you guys elaborate on your Win7/Media Center setups? I'm currently experimenting with it, and as far as I can tell, the only thing it potentially does well is recording live tv (and even that required manually modifying registry keys before it would work).

As far as the library functions go, indexing and fetching data for movies and prerecorded tv episodes, XBMC does it all automatically. WMC does not. I'm trying to get MediaScout to create the metadata for Windows Media Center, but it is very picky about folder structure (one per season, one per movie??) where XBMC is not. MediaScout will rearrange all the files to suit its needs, but that screws up both my other XBMC boxes and my backup server. It also looks like it's going to be a manual setup/refresh every time new content is added.

I want to experiment with MediaPortal (already using that skin w/XBMC) and see how it compares as well.

So, how are you using WMC, what are you watching on it, where and how are the files stored, and what plugins or patches did you have to add in order to get the behavior you wanted from it?

With MediaBrowser for WMC it will automatically grab your metadata. However, I use MetaBrowser to do so. You can then create virtual folders, etc...
post #7 of 19
Automatically grab the metadata that... who creates?

Where's the app that scans the folders on the server periodically and creates metadata for the files it finds? I have tried MediaScout, but unless I'm missing something, it seems to be an incomplete and unacceptable solution.

Speaking of Media Browser, how do you get the shows and films that Media Browser finds to show up in WMC with the rest of the Movies and TV? All the Media Browser stuff only shows up in the Media Browser folder, leaving some shows here, some shows there, movies in two different places, etc.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by saf-t scissors View Post

Automatically grab the metadata that... who creates?

Where's the app that scans the folders on the server periodically and creates metadata for the files it finds? I have tried MediaScout, but unless I'm missing something, it seems to be an incomplete and unacceptable solution.

Speaking of Media Browser, how do you get the shows and films that Media Browser finds to show up in WMC with the rest of the Movies and TV? All the Media Browser stuff only shows up in the Media Browser folder, leaving some shows here, some shows there, movies in two different places, etc.

You can run metabrowser to automatically scan your video collection and add metadata as it is added. Also, MediaBrowser does this when loading as well (similar to how XBMC handles), so I don't understand where the incomplete solution is?

Also, I am not sure what you mean about some shows here and some shows there? Media Browser will have its own link in WMC (either on a strip or in the Extra Programs sections). All your video collection that you have set up in WMC will show under media browser, there is no reason why you would need to go back and forth between mediabrowser and any other app in WMC to view your collection.
post #9 of 19
I've tried both XBMC and WMC, and I find XBMC to be superior in all regards. XBMC's handling of metadata scraping is second to none. I also find the Aeon skin to be more attractive than any of the WMC addons (though admittedly, that's just personal preference). It may be worth it to have WMC record your shows, but use XBMC as your actual frontend for browsing and playback.

Alternately, if you wanted to try Linux, you could use MythTV to record shows. MythTV can be integrated directly into XBMC.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

You can run metabrowser to automatically scan your video collection and add metadata as it is added. Also, MediaBrowser does this when loading as well (similar to how XBMC handles), so I don't understand where the incomplete solution is?

Also, I am not sure what you mean about some shows here and some shows there? Media Browser will have its own link in WMC (either on a strip or in the Extra Programs sections). All your video collection that you have set up in WMC will show under media browser, there is no reason why you would need to go back and forth between mediabrowser and any other app in WMC to view your collection.

WMC has folders for "TV" and "Movies". Shouldn't the files that Media Browser finds go under there? The way I'm looking at it now, locally-recorded and live tv shows up under the TV menu, but shows saved to the server (DVD rips, etc) go in a separate Media Browser folder. The same goes for movies. Is there some way to fix this, so all the media goes into the proper folders automatically?

As far as Media Scout goes... all my content is currently saved like this:

/TV Shows/Show Name/Show Name S01E01.avi

Movies are either
/Movies/Movie Name/Video_TS
or
/Movies/Movie Name.avi

XBMC has no problem with that. It finds and indexes them all.

Media Scout wants to move and rename all of that stuff to suit its own scheme. It wants a separate folder for each season of a show, for example. Well, that breaks the XBMC boxes I already have. Their libraries will all have to be wiped and recreated just to satisfy Media Scout. It screws up my backup server, too.

The only thing Media Scout has been able to do so far is to create an xml file for each TV show. There's no episode information, and it crashes every time it tries to index the films.

Does that make more sense? I understand that WMC will work differently from XBMC. I'm honestly hoping it's better. But in order to get far enough along to decide whether or not to migrate, it first needs to work with the system I already have.

Thanks!
post #11 of 19
Media Browser will not work with your current video structure. It works just how Media Scout wants to move the files (it's a more common structure, hence the reason Media Scout wants to fix it for you). I'd be surprised if XBMC didn't support it.

Every single type of video file can be displayed by Media Browser, including Recorded TV (though you have to get around the fact of how 7MC saves the file name which isn't compatible with Media Browser metadata search, but there are programs out there that can monitor your recorded TV folder and rename them to the standard SXXEXX format and place them in their Season XX folder of their series.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by saf-t scissors View Post

WMC has folders for "TV" and "Movies". Shouldn't the files that Media Browser finds go under there? The way I'm looking at it now, locally-recorded and live tv shows up under the TV menu, but shows saved to the server (DVD rips, etc) go in a separate Media Browser folder. The same goes for movies. Is there some way to fix this, so all the media goes into the proper folders automatically?

As far as Media Scout goes... all my content is currently saved like this:

/TV Shows/Show Name/Show Name S01E01.avi

Movies are either
/Movies/Movie Name/Video_TS
or
/Movies/Movie Name.avi

XBMC has no problem with that. It finds and indexes them all.

Media Scout wants to move and rename all of that stuff to suit its own scheme. It wants a separate folder for each season of a show, for example. Well, that breaks the XBMC boxes I already have. Their libraries will all have to be wiped and recreated just to satisfy Media Scout. It screws up my backup server, too.

The only thing Media Scout has been able to do so far is to create an xml file for each TV show. There's no episode information, and it crashes every time it tries to index the films.

Does that make more sense? I understand that WMC will work differently from XBMC. I'm honestly hoping it's better. But in order to get far enough along to decide whether or not to migrate, it first needs to work with the system I already have.

Thanks!

Your setup is slightly different then mine. I have the following:

/TV Shows/TV Show Name/Season/Episodes.mkv
/Movies/Movie Name/Moviename.mkv

I don't use MediaScout because I believe it stopped being developed a while back. Instead I use MetaBrowser which handles all movies and tv shows. The above folder structure I use works perfect with WMC but also XBMC, SageTV, etc... To get it to work, just as jrwalte suggests, you would have to change around your folder structure. Obviously this may not be ideal for you. Possibly as a test I would move just a few of your movies/tv shows over to this folder structure so you can test out WMC without changing your entire library. If you don't like it then no harm done, you can always continue to use XBMC as your main UI and just rely on WMC to record tv (not optimal to be maintaining two systems but it would work).
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi again

Thanks for all the replies (amazed by how many have replied)... looks like I might have opened a can of worms

I will be using the system to watch and record live TV (hence due Sat receivers) - mostly SD but some HD. It will be used for watching download movies (AVI, MKV, MPEG), watching DVDs (SD and HD), used for listening to music.

Content will either be Live from the turners, or served from another PC/Server (although the HTPC will have a 1TB disk, so I could store locally).

I have never tried XBMC for live content, only movie playback.

I am concerned/puzzled by which software to chose, that will support both my tuners and allow me to record and watch at the same time. I am looking at something that will be easily controllable from a remote, and simple to use (my other half will be using it to watch TV, etc).

My library isn't huge, about 100 movies, about 400 songs.

Many thanks,

J.

ps - My other half does like the ability of iPlayer and ITV Catchup on the XBMC.
post #14 of 19
IMO, if you have win7 (or Vista) use Media center. Its already installed and integrated to work.

dont use two front ends (xmbc for movie and MCE for tv) you will hate it. if you have a wife, they DEFINITELY hate it.

Win7 Media center dvr is second to none, it is amazing how well it works, it never crashes, and is 100% reliable.

As far as media browser goes... there is some minor setup that you need to do, but it really is the best add-on for MCE there is.

With some minor tweaking, you'll be happy you went this route.

check out www.hack7mc.com for howtos on everything you want to do.
post #15 of 19
Exactly which two tuners are you talking about that you will be using to support recording from a satellite STB?
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwalte View Post

Exactly which two tuners are you talking about that you will be using to support recording from a satellite STB?

I actually had the same question. The options here are slim to none here as I think there is only one real solution. At least for HD and it is not an internal tuner.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

I will be using 2 off Hauppauge WinTV Nova-S2 HD PCI cards - not a cheap solution

Will W7 support both these cards ok?

I might even consider a cheap USB Video capture unit for plugging in my Wii

I will give W7 a try, if it fails to deliver, I will try MP or MM3 on top

J.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_UK View Post

Hi there,

I will be using 2 off Hauppauge WinTV Nova-S2 HD PCI cards - not a cheap solution

Will W7 support both these cards ok?

I might even consider a cheap USB Video capture unit for plugging in my Wii

I will give W7 a try, if it fails to deliver, I will try MP or MM3 on top

J.

Those are fta cards. You guys have fta up over there in the uk still??? It is all down here in the states and canada. That card is for illegally decrypting satellite signals. Sorry if your aware of all this.

If you already have satellite service and want to record it then this is what you want; http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

Apologises for the delay.

Yes we have FTA SD and HD content (albeit not much HD)

Those cards do not offer "decryption", they are purely tuners - without any CI

My hardware has turned up, build will start this week - with Windows 7

I'll see how that goes... if it sucks then MediaPortal here I come

J.
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