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Official Ceton Echo Extender Info Thread - Page 247  

post #7381 of 7721
mariob. Correct, you really do need to include the other equipment, but your pricing is way, way, way too high. I buy all my equipment pretty much one or a few pieces at a time and once you own a good PSU, case, fans, software, etc.. you really go all FrenkenPC and just swap out pieces as time and technology improve. My HTPC also does a lot more than just tuner duty. So, to be fair, I can't compute all the cost to cable cost, but could add the cost of drives. So the HTPC cost to build/rebuild is as follows.

CoreI7 processor $325
SSD Drive $175
4 3TB Drives (These are primarily for DVR duty only) $800 switches are stupid cheap.
Raid 5 Cost (Zip - on MBoard)
MBoard $250
Crazy Fast RAM 32 GB $250
OS $50
GPU $100

Total Cost ABOUT $1700.

My system also can play lossless audio/Blu Rays and 3D anything; including cable 3D content. A cable box can't do any of this stuff except some minimal 3D cable content.

Again, it is not a good comparison as this HTPC also controls all movies, I use it to render stuff, play games, access Hulu, Access Amazon Prime, Access Netflix, Stream Music, etc... but even if I put all this cost on the cable comparison, I still break even in less than one year. As for the rest of my home system, switches are stupid cheap. My Servers are homebuilt and operate on WHS so I can throw any old cheap drive into themif I want. The two servers cost me less than $4000 combined. My entire home network cost well less than $10K, including 7 zones of Sonos. Now my speakers, projector and misc audio video room gear take me way past that but hey, it's my only deep hobby.

I also don't agree my used auction acquired WME's are unusual. You can find them each week at the auction sites. So, if I weren't insane (which I will admit you pegged me on this - I kind of am). A budget minded person could easily build an 8TB Raid 5 HTPC for less than $1.3K. Add 1 InfiniTV for around $200 and for used WME's for about $300. Throw in some cheap cat 5 wires, and you have a system that no cable/satellite competitor can even provide you at any cost. Again, the math is deeply in favor of the Ceton solution. No disrespect to cable but you can not convince me that a cable solution is competitive.
post #7382 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

mariob. Correct, you really do need to include the other equipment, but your pricing is way, way, way too high. I buy all my equipment pretty much one or a few pieces at a time and once you own a good PSU, case, fans, software, etc.. you really go all FrenkenPC and just swap out pieces as time and technology improve. My HTPC also does a lot more than just tuner duty. So, to be fair, I can't compute all the cost to cable cost, but could add the cost of drives. So the HTPC cost to build/rebuild is as follows.

CoreI7 processor $325
SSD Drive $175
4 3TB Drives (These are primarily for DVR duty only) $800 switches are stupid cheap.
Raid 5 Cost (Zip - on MBoard)
MBoard $250
Crazy Fast RAM 32 GB $250
OS $50
GPU $100

Total Cost ABOUT $1700.

My system also can play lossless audio/Blu Rays and 3D anything; including cable 3D content. A cable box can't do any of this stuff except some minimal 3D cable content.

Again, it is not a good comparison as this HTPC also controls all movies, I use it to render stuff, play games, access Hulu, Access Amazon Prime, Access Netflix, Stream Music, etc... but even if I put all this cost on the cable comparison, I still break even in less than one year. As for the rest of my home system, switches are stupid cheap. My Servers are homebuilt and operate on WHS so I can throw any old cheap drive into themif I want. The two servers cost me less than $4000 combined. My entire home network cost well less than $10K, including 7 zones of Sonos. Now my speakers, projector and misc audio video room gear take me way past that but hey, it's my only deep hobby.

I also don't agree my used auction acquired WME's are unusual. You can find them each week at the auction sites. So, if I weren't insane (which I will admit you pegged me on this - I kind of am). A budget minded person could easily build an 8TB Raid 5 HTPC for less than $1.3K. Add 1 InfiniTV for around $200 and for used WME's for about $300. Throw in some cheap cat 5 wires, and you have a system that no cable/satellite competitor can even provide you at any cost. Again, the math is deeply in favor of the Ceton solution. No disrespect to cable but you can not convince me that a cable solution is competitive.

Wow, you get some great deals smile.gif ! I haven't been able to grab 8TB of HD for less than $600 in a few years. I haven't looked on the bay in a while for WMC devices but my last search resulted in a few echo's and some stupid priced ($300+) Linksys devices. My thinking at the time was that given the "state of the echo" all of the available inventory had been scoffed up.

I was assuming all my costs with the fact that you were using "echo's" not other defunct (non-xbox) WMX devices however, ill concede and put the recovery at 12 - 18 months tops. I am really pulling for a viable non-xbox solution in that time. Hopefully, there are a lot of told you so's as well from the ceton crowd.
post #7383 of 7721
Also Mariob, There is no Fios or FIOS like service in our area. There is no phone DSL even and we do live in a fairly dense area of homes, just the old Qwest managed it's business poorly and under improved its system for years. So, cable is it. Many, many of my friends and neighbors have cable bills well in excess of $240 per month. Large homes just tend to have lots of viewing areas and we also receive internet via Comcast. Out total Comcast bill is $124 per month and of course local, state and federal taxes represent about $20 of that amount. Can Dish or Direct TV, provide non DVR service to 3 TV's and DVR service to an additional 6 locations? Also, I get PC WMC service to an additional 4 PC's (Kids rooms only have PC's not TV's) for the included Comcast bill cost and an additional Ceton Card that assigns 4 tuners to that purpose. So, I guess we are really looking at 10 devices with whole room DVR access and 3 simple live TV only devices. Did not mention this earlier as that is so far above and beyond what a cable/stallite box can do it becomes ridiculous to compare. Each PC can access non encrypted stuff off my primary HTPC and servers as well. None of this stuff is particularly hard to put together. Gets a bit weird with Win 8 though.

So not tobe rude. Can a satellite solution do this at any cost? If so, I am guessing it is cost prohibitive beyond a few boxes. Do any providers have a solution across as many as 10 devices? Don't think this is too nuts as my wife will watch a recorded show in the laundry room, zip down to the kitchen, then hang in the family room many times in a week. She will also call if something goes wrong and with a PC solutions I must say, only hobbyists need apply.
post #7384 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

I also don't agree my used auction acquired WME's are unusual. You can find them each week at the auction sites. So, if I weren't insane (which I will admit you pegged me on this - I kind of am). A budget minded person could easily build an 8TB Raid 5 HTPC for less than $1.3K. Add 1 InfiniTV for around $200 and for used WME's for about $300. Throw in some cheap cat 5 wires, and you have a system that no cable/satellite competitor can even provide you at any cost. Again, the math is deeply in favor of the Ceton solution. No disrespect to cable but you can not convince me that a cable solution is competitive.

Unusual in what context? If we're talking about the cost of an Echo ecosystem then talking about the cost of 4 year old used linksys extenders is pretty unusual.

Even if you can sell someone on the cost savings of going with a WMC/CC+Extender model, and you go the "frugal" route, it is still a daunting, if not completely impossible goal for the vast majority of people,

I think it is safe to say the majority of users on this particular forum, are geeks of a pretty elite level. Even considering that, building a reliable HTPC is not a simple and easy task. If it was, Assassin wouldn't be selling a guide to assist people in doing so. Most people lack the ability and the desire to invest that much time and (up front) money for watching TV. I don't know if a majority of people are ever going to be interested in building a PC to dedicate to watching TV. And most people don't have their homes wired for Ethernet, which means tedious, expensive, or sloppy cable installs, or buying even more equipment to get network connectivity to their Echos.

Without some sort of appliance, like the Q, an Extender ecosystem is a complex system to implement.

Yes, you already had a lot of the parts around to build your system, and yes you have the know-how to build a HTPC, and yes you are willing to invest the time and effort in putting together a computer, wire your house for ethernet and configure everything, but do you really, honestly believe that the typical person is willing to invest all of that to reduce their monthly cable bill? Before you answer that, think about how many people are still renting their cable modem, and the only thing they need to do to avoid paying that monthly charge with most providers is go to Best Buy, get a new modem and call their provider to have the new MAC provisioned.

There are two groups of people that are realistically going to pursue a setup like what is being discussed. The "geek" crowd, which is represented pretty well here and likely to go the "budget" route, and the people building $500,000 houses that are having professional installs done for the entire home where expense isn't a huge priority. Neither is a particularly big market.

After seeing my setup my boss inquired about getting a similar setup in his house. (he's in the latter category) I advised him against it for the time being since the Echo isn't nearly mature enough to be reliable for such an installation. I can't imagine the amount of hell that would be raised by him, his wife and his kids, every time it went wonky.

Don't think about how this system works for you... The acid test is how it would work for your friends. Would you recommend a similar system for your friends? Would you build it for them? Would you install it for them? Would you support it for them? With the products out there right now, there is no way I would recommend a WMC/CC+Extender setup for any of my friends. I don't want to invest the time to make sure they build a reliable PC and babysit them through every step of the process, and I'm fairly certain that if I suggested they do so without my help that we wouldn't be friends for very long.

The bottom line is the WMC model has lots of geek appeal, and it can be financially advantageous, but from a hardware standpoint it simply isn't refined enough for mass consumption. Even with a fully functioning, bug free Echo, it isn't.
post #7385 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariob33 View Post

Wow, you get some great deals smile.gif ! I haven't been able to grab 8TB of HD for less than $600 in a few years.

You can a 4TB drive for under $200 now. I bought two external Seagate 4TB drives for $150 each and pulled them out of the case, making it $300 for 8TB. For $600 (at max price for each), you can setup a RAID 5 and have 8TB of free space. I personally setup RAID4 instead so I can use many different sized HDDs and still have a layer of protection. I use disparity, it is free, has a GUI, and works.
post #7386 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

Also Mariob, There is no Fios or FIOS like service in our area. There is no phone DSL even and we do live in a fairly dense area of homes, just the old Qwest managed it's business poorly and under improved its system for years. So, cable is it. Many, many of my friends and neighbors have cable bills well in excess of $240 per month. Large homes just tend to have lots of viewing areas and we also receive internet via Comcast. Out total Comcast bill is $124 per month and of course local, state and federal taxes represent about $20 of that amount. Can Dish or Direct TV, provide non DVR service to 3 TV's and DVR service to an additional 6 locations? Also, I get PC WMC service to an additional 4 PC's (Kids rooms only have PC's not TV's) for the included Comcast bill cost and an additional Ceton Card that assigns 4 tuners to that purpose. So, I guess we are really looking at 10 devices with whole room DVR access and 3 simple live TV only devices. Did not mention this earlier as that is so far above and beyond what a cable/stallite box can do it becomes ridiculous to compare. Each PC can access non encrypted stuff off my primary HTPC and servers as well. None of this stuff is particularly hard to put together. Gets a bit weird with Win 8 though.

So not tobe rude. Can a satellite solution do this at any cost? If so, I am guessing it is cost prohibitive beyond a few boxes. Do any providers have a solution across as many as 10 devices? Don't think this is too nuts as my wife will watch a recorded show in the laundry room, zip down to the kitchen, then hang in the family room many times in a week. She will also call if something goes wrong and with a PC solutions I must say, only hobbyists need apply.

even a WMC single HTPC solution cant do this! That is a single HTPC serve up to more than 5 sets at once. The limit is 5 Extenders connected doing work at same time to one WMC server (at the same time). You may have more connected to the host Media Center box you just can't use more than 5 at one time. So, what your doing must be something way out of this world or have a whole home distributed system.

However with most cable/Sat systems you can easily have more than 6 (I had this at one point with Comcast) all active watching, recording sitting idle at same time. you get even more if you start to count IOS, Windows and Android streaming apps for live TV. I know, for FIOS the max used to be 7 but with advent of MOCA 2.0 equipment this was removed. As a matter of fact for fios I had six boxes at one point and my total monthly bill for all channels was less than $240 (like 209 all channels, 2 DVR's Whole Home service and all premiums). They have bundles where you can do 1 DVR + 5 HD STB's for 46.99 per month. Fios is planning to launch a whole home server solution in Sept which is supposedly on par with the WMC eco system.
post #7387 of 7721
When Ceton still had the InfiniTV in beta, a friend and I recognized the potential for a nice MR-DVR setup and started looking into building a few devices, to sell and went so far as to work with an engineering firm to do some design work and part sourcing. Our little project never really got off the ground because of some distractions we had to attend to outside of the project, but I still feel pretty confident we had a system that would work as a retail item that could be sold at the big box stores, and installed by the average Joe.

Here are the devices we had plans for:

- Media Center Embedded Box, including 6 tuner CC, MoCa connectivity, and BluRay player
- Media Center Embedded Box, including 6 tuner CC, MoCa connectivity, BluRay player, and 7.1 amp.

- Extender w/Moca connectivity
- Extender w/Moca connectivity + BluRay

- eSata Strage Expansion box for Media Center box.

and the Pièce de résistance...

- all in one, cable modem/router/MoCa bridge

This setup would have eliminated a lot of the problems that prevent a WMC setup from being commercially viable. First and foremost everything is connected via MoCa which means that the majority of homes are already wired appropriately for the system. All in one router setup also greatly simplifies setup for the average joe. Media Center Embedded box eliminates the need for building a PC.

Hypothetically, that would get you everything you need to have a viable retail system. Even if it cost 2x the "frugal" HTPC route, it would still be more
post #7388 of 7721
ajhieb.

Most of my friends use a similar system to mine. Some use cable, very few use satellite. Keep in mind where I live. $500K here gets you a pretty small run down home as well. You have to go way deep into the burbs to get more than a 2,000 sq ft home built in the last 30 years for that price. Also, I am not a tech guy career wise. Many of my friends work for tech companies so yes, there are tons of Ceton tuners all over the place out here. Ceton is, of course a Kirkland, WA based company. There also is a big software company in our area that is somewhat involved or recently not so involved) with WMC. (Hint, look to the W in WMC).

As for building an HTPC. I could easily guide my 74 year old mom through that process. It's just legos and sticking with decent brand parts. Think Samsung, ASUS, etc.. I have no engineering skills and building an HTPC is not much more difficult than putting in a cable box and getting it to work. It's just really, really easy to put it together. You also don't need to, just go buy a PC and slap in or plug in a tuner. Go to a Microsoft store and pay a little bit more for a non-bloatware model. Plug it in. Done!

Now, having said that, I am a home video hobbyist. Building a 10+ watching zone uber system is not for the vast majority of users. I freely admit to that. However, going with a cable or satellite solution, such system is presently not even available. I would be comfortable setting up a HTPC with one Ceton Tuner/Cable Card and two WME's or better yet XBox'es for practically anyone in my world of friends. We are a Kindle using/Surface trying, I-Pad consuming area. Heck, I had a friend who had a 45th dudes night birthday party where they set up 7 XBox stations and played Call Of Duty 3 in groups while drinking beer and wine and talking about tech stuff. There must have been 40 portable devices between 16 guys. Every home in my neighborhood also has network wiring built in. This pretty much is the norm in Bellevue/Issaquah, WA . Issaquah Highlands has fiber optic to each home andihas more than 3,000 homes. The cost is part of your homeowners bill. Don't expect you to know our area but you get the drift. Geek-central. Condos have it too. We are wired here. OK, half worked for said software company - but you get the point. It is in oulr local DNA and when I show people my system, warts and all, many people put them in there own homes and have minimal if no regrets. As mentioned I have more network issues than Ceton issues. Actually, I have no Ceton issues - just network problems. Sometimes challenging sand trange to fix.

So, I'll say it again for all the cable box/satellite box lovers. Show me the math that gets a reasonable priced mutli viewing area single DVR solution that does not scream "Ceton is cheaper" with ony 12 to 18 months of ownership. I like math. Math indicates cable boxes are a bad deal.
post #7389 of 7721
Easy to do 5 extenders off the one HTPC. PC's off a different HTPC (Actually Den PC with its own Ceton USB Device. This PC uses the Network feature to provide a tuner to each kids PC. I don't really use these tuners for recording and the kids don't care. I can map the drive of the RAID 5 array and give the PC's access to the recorded content from the main HTPC Raid Array. I haven't recenty, but I can also auto archicve content to the main WHS server and just tell each PC to add the WHS server file(s) to the WMC library of each PC. If there is no flag on the content, the other PC's canp lay the content back. Since I do not subscribe to encypted channels record once content, no problem. I have absolutely no funky stuff. It's all off the shelf and plug and play.

I am oh.....so......much..... not a tech person. This stuff is easy and can be set up within WMC under library management and folders. If you don't follow you can pm me and I can go into furhther detail.
post #7390 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

ajhieb.

Most of my friends use a similar system to mine. Some use cable, very few use satellite. Keep in mind where I live. $500K here gets you a pretty small run down home as well. You have to go way deep into the burbs to get more than a 2,000 sq ft home built in the last 30 years for that price. Also, I am not a tech guy career wise. Many of my friends work for tech companies so yes, there are tons of Ceton tuners all over the place out here. Ceton is, of course a Kirkland, WA based company. There also is a big software company in our area that is somewhat involved or recently not so involved) with WMC. (Hint, look to the W in WMC).

As for building an HTPC. I could easily guide my 74 year old mom through that process. It's just legos and sticking with decent brand parts. Think Samsung, ASUS, etc.. I have no engineering skills and building an HTPC is not much more difficult than putting in a cable box and getting it to work. It's just really, really easy to put it together. You also don't need to, just go buy a PC and slap in or plug in a tuner. Go to a Microsoft store and pay a little bit more for a non-bloatware model. Plug it in. Done!

Now, having said that, I am a home video hobbyist. Building a 10+ watching zone uber system is not for the vast majority of users. I freely admit to that. However, going with a cable or satellite solution, such system is presently not even available. I would be comfortable setting up a HTPC with one Ceton Tuner/Cable Card and two WME's or better yet XBox'es for practically anyone in my world of friends. We are a Kindle using/Surface trying, I-Pad consuming area. Heck, I had a friend who had a 45th dudes night birthday party where they set up 7 XBox stations and played Call Of Duty 3 in groups while drinking beer and wine and talking about tech stuff. There must have been 40 portable devices between 16 guys. Every home in my neighborhood also has network wiring built in. This pretty much is the norm in Bellevue/Issaquah, WA . Issaquah Highlands has fiber optic to each home andihas more than 3,000 homes. The cost is part of your homeowners bill. Don't expect you to know our area but you get the drift. Geek-central. Condos have it too. We are wired here. OK, half worked for said software company - but you get the point. It is in oulr local DNA and when I show people my system, warts and all, many people put them in there own homes and have minimal if no regrets. As mentioned I have more network issues than Ceton issues. Actually, I have no Ceton issues - just network problems. Sometimes challenging sand trange to fix.

So, I'll say it again for all the cable box/satellite box lovers. Show me the math that gets a reasonable priced mutli viewing area single DVR solution that does not scream "Ceton is cheaper" with ony 12 to 18 months of ownership. I like math. Math indicates cable boxes are a bad deal.

you are not even talking apples to oranges at this point. What you are describing is possible for less than $40 per month and the added expense of a bunch of laptops and tablets on any wireless home in the local Boston FIOS market. Your entire argument falls apart when you don't factor in the cost of every one of those "ithingys" accessing the Ceton. The FIOS setup requires no extra tuners just service. I could technically watch from x number of connected wireless devices all for the cost of my monthly service. Which by the way in Boston includes 1 free STB...Hmmm
post #7391 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

Easy to do 5 extenders off the one HTPC. PC's off a different HTPC (Actually Den PC with its own Ceton USB Device. This PC uses the Network feature to provide a tuner to each kids PC. I don't really use these tuners for recording and the kids don't care. I can map the drive of the RAID 5 array and give the PC's access to the recorded content from the main HTPC Raid Array. I haven't recenty, but I can also auto archicve content to the main WHS server and just tell each PC to add the WHS server file(s) to the WMC library of each PC. If there is no flag on the content, the other PC's canp lay the content back. Since I do not subscribe to encypted channels record once content, no problem. I have absolutely no funky stuff. It's all off the shelf and plug and play.

I am oh.....so......much..... not a tech person. This stuff is easy and can be set up within WMC under library management and folders. If you don't follow you can pm me and I can go into furhther detail.

How many people do you think know that there is a version of windows called WHS? What shelf at bestbuy walmart would one grab a copy?

What happens when content begins to get flagged? Now your hunting and limited by the same limitations as all us in the flagged regions...no more free copying and watching.

I was willing to play with you until you threw this setup into the mix. Plug and play really..maybe in Washington (or in the eyes of the big MS) but def not in good ole Boston. We tend to assume it don't work if it doesn't come on after its plugged in smile.gif
post #7392 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

ajhieb.

Most of my friends use a similar system to mine. Some use cable, very few use satellite. Keep in mind where I live. $500K here gets you a pretty small run down home as well. You have to go way deep into the burbs to get more than a 2,000 sq ft home built in the last 30 years for that price. Also, I am not a tech guy career wise. Many of my friends work for tech companies so yes, there are tons of Ceton tuners all over the place out here. Ceton is, of course a Kirkland, WA based company. There also is a big software company in our area that is somewhat involved or recently not so involved) with WMC. (Hint, look to the W in WMC).

As for building an HTPC. I could easily guide my 74 year old mom through that process. It's just legos and sticking with decent brand parts. Think Samsung, ASUS, etc.. I have no engineering skills and building an HTPC is not much more difficult than putting in a cable box and getting it to work. It's just really, really easy to put it together. You also don't need to, just go buy a PC and slap in or plug in a tuner. Go to a Microsoft store and pay a little bit more for a non-bloatware model. Plug it in. Done!

Now, having said that, I am a home video hobbyist. Building a 10+ watching zone uber system is not for the vast majority of users. I freely admit to that. However, going with a cable or satellite solution, such system is presently not even available. I would be comfortable setting up a HTPC with one Ceton Tuner/Cable Card and two WME's or better yet XBox'es for practically anyone in my world of friends. We are a Kindle using/Surface trying, I-Pad consuming area. Heck, I had a friend who had a 45th dudes night birthday party where they set up 7 XBox stations and played Call Of Duty 3 in groups while drinking beer and wine and talking about tech stuff. There must have been 40 portable devices between 16 guys. Every home in my neighborhood also has network wiring built in. This pretty much is the norm in Bellevue/Issaquah, WA . Issaquah Highlands has fiber optic to each home andihas more than 3,000 homes. The cost is part of your homeowners bill. Don't expect you to know our area but you get the drift. Geek-central. Condos have it too. We are wired here. OK, half worked for said software company - but you get the point. It is in oulr local DNA and when I show people my system, warts and all, many people put them in there own homes and have minimal if no regrets. As mentioned I have more network issues than Ceton issues. Actually, I have no Ceton issues - just network problems. Sometimes challenging sand trange to fix.

So, I'll say it again for all the cable box/satellite box lovers. Show me the math that gets a reasonable priced mutli viewing area single DVR solution that does not scream "Ceton is cheaper" with ony 12 to 18 months of ownership. I like math. Math indicates cable boxes are a bad deal.

You're confusing "assembling" a HTPC with "building/configuring one. I could train a monkey to assemble one. that isn't the problem. The problem is on the software end of things. Sure, it's not terribly difficult to load Windows in a PC, and getting WMC configured isn't much more trouble than that... but the devil is in the details. These forums are overrun with people needing help with various problems on the HTPC. If it was as easy as you suggest, this section of the forum would be 1/10th the size thy actually are. HTPC's simply aren't a simple beast to deal with. If configured sloppily, they require a lot of maintenance and configuring them well takes a significant amount of time and a lot of know-how. That just isn't the case for equipment that comes from your provider, whomever that may be. It's a trade off. Most people would prefer to pay a little more for a setup that works just fine in their home and requires no maintenance whatsoever.

Nobody is suggesting that the WMC setup doesn't have advantages, including financial ones. What I'm saying though is that many of the advantages that you toute aren't really advantages for most people, and they certainly don't outweigh the drawbacks.

And I've been using Ceton CC tuners since they were released... and if I include my time at my typical hourly rate, I'm significantly in the red since making the switch. The math might work out for you, but my time isn't free, so it doesn't for me. But I didn't switch to CC just to save money, which is why I'm still using them.
post #7393 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

I am oh.....so......much..... not a tech person. This stuff is easy and can be set up within WMC under library management and folders. If you don't follow you can pm me and I can go into furhther detail.

Based on your setup, I'd say you are in the top 1% of tech people. If you went prattling on about a RAID5 array to most people on the street they would think you were speaking a different language.

Again, I think that living right square in the middle of geek central has greatly skewed your view of what the "typical" person is capable of.
post #7394 of 7721
You are saying FIOS can be set up to access a single location DVR for an unlimited amount of "thingies" using an identical GUI? All for $40? No cost of multi tuners, no equipment charges. You get a free never ending supply of content tuning devices? You lost me. I just would plug in my laptop and get a FIOS tuner and software? With my system, I can do that for 8TB, 20 TB, 50TB, whatever. Each "thingy" as you describe it does cost money. I have included the cost though for the 5 WME's as a total cost vs a cable solution. It is apples and oranges to compare my kids PC's as they use them for other purposes, mainly homework, web stuff, communication. But for no additional cost, the PC's have the same GUI for WMC. My wife, in particular likes this as each device operates the same.

Now via internet any tablet/notebook/device can get streaming information and content to it, but that is very different from getting live cable content and a massive whole home DVR solution. In this situation/example, the cable vs Ceton argument is apples to apples. What does it cost to have that with FIOS. Again, not trying to be rude but either it can't be done or it must be expensive. Streaming internet content is not the same as live content access and a whole home DVR.
I think you might be missing the point and the math.Let's try this..... What does it cost either via a lease of equipment or purchase to have via Boston FIOS a 6 zone Video distribution sytem with DVR that can tune say 6 channels and store 8TB of content? Include taxes and throw in internet and say phone. That would be a good comparison.

I'll start. My system costs $124 per month. HTPC (not mine but doable) $1600, WME's used $350. Network cost $400. (Mine irrelevant already wired)
Total equipment cost could easily be less than $2,000 of which you have a multipurpose device as opposed to a box.

Comcast system similarly equipped would exceed $400 (I get internet and phone as well - don't use the phone though) Ooma is preffered over Comcast.

I figure less than 12 months to pay the delta and have a better system.
post #7395 of 7721
Yes, my opinion is skewed. I agree with you 100% but so are those who say putting together an HTPC is anything other than easy. Raid 5 is just two paragraphs in the motherboard manual. Click a setting, load up the Intel drive and you are done. I could get my mom though it.

I will say that I am a nut though.
Edited by SeattleHTGuy - 5/5/13 at 6:55pm
post #7396 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

Yes, my opinion is skewed. I agree with you 10% but so are those who say putting together an HTPC is nything other than easy. Raid 5 is just two paragraphs in the motherboard manual. Clieck a setting, load up the Intel drive anbd you are done. I could get my mom though it.

I will say that I am a nut though.

ASSEMBLING an htpc is easy. I can point you to 100,000 posts on here that indicate configuring an HTPC is a complete PITA. If you're telling me that you just plugged a bunch of pieces together, installed windows and everything magically worked, then I'll have to assume that you're lying. Pretty much everyone I know that has put together a HTPC spent dozens of hours doing research before purchasing. Several more on the build, several more hours researching for various bugs/problems, and even more time implementing the solutions they researched. That is the typical HTPC experience for most people, and I again I can point you to hundreds of thousands if not millions of posts on this and other forums to back up that assertion.

If you're saying that is "easy" then we are speaking a different language.
post #7397 of 7721
I've been building my own computers since about 1988, was troubleshooting and repairing computers and programs almost 10 years prior. I've written protocol specs on IEEE committees, I've traveled far and wide resolving issues impacting hundreds of thousands of end users. I don't need a HTPC, my requirements are modest and I'm still attracted to shiny disks. But I've built one because of the challenge. Nothing has taxed my knowledge and quest to learn more than this recent journey, nothing (with my clothes on wink.gif ) has been this much fun, but then I'm more happy when things break. I call bull**** on any claims of ease of setup. I have a lot of respect for everyone who participates here - the end goal is a tough one.

Carry on.
post #7398 of 7721
The cost that is never mentioned when comparing HTPC TV systems to Cableco boxes is the cost of the HTPC enthusiasts time to research, build, integrate, network, troubleshoot, upgrade and support one or more HTPC boxes in their home.

How much is your time worth?

From a business perspective, the support model for HTPC systems does not scale. Truck-rolls are required when customer HTPC systems experience any of the following:

- hardware failures
- data corruption
- software upgrades that cannot be completed via remote access
- hardware upgrades that are required to fix an issue
- other malfunctions that cannot be completed via remote access
- changes in cableco infrastructure, particularly Headend consolidation

Can an HTPC business afford that?
post #7399 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

You are saying FIOS can be set up to access a single location DVR for an unlimited amount of "thingies" using an identical GUI? All for $40? No cost of multi tuners, no equipment charges. You get a free never ending supply of content tuning devices? You lost me. I just would plug in my laptop and get a FIOS tuner and software? With my system, I can do that for 8TB, 20 TB, 50TB, whatever. Each "thingy" as you describe it does cost money. I have included the cost though for the 5 WME's as a total cost vs a cable solution. It is apples and oranges to compare my kids PC's as they use them for other purposes, mainly homework, web stuff, communication. But for no additional cost, the PC's have the same GUI for WMC. My wife, in particular likes this as each device operates the same.

Now via internet any tablet/notebook/device can get streaming information and content to it, but that is very different from getting live cable content and a massive whole home DVR solution. In this situation/example, the cable vs Ceton argument is apples to apples. What does it cost to have that with FIOS. Again, not trying to be rude but either it can't be done or it must be expensive. Streaming internet content is not the same as live content access and a whole home DVR.
I think you might be missing the point and the math.Let's try this..... What does it cost either via a lease of equipment or purchase to have via Boston FIOS a 6 zone Video distribution sytem with DVR that can tune say 6 channels and store 8TB of content? Include taxes and throw in internet and say phone. That would be a good comparison.

I'll start. My system costs $124 per month. HTPC (not mine but doable) $1600, WME's used $350. Network cost $400. (Mine irrelevant already wired)
Total equipment cost could easily be less than $2,000 of which you have a multipurpose device as opposed to a box.

Comcast system similarly equipped would exceed $400 (I get internet and phone as well - don't use the phone though) Ooma is preffered over Comcast.

I figure less than 12 months to pay the delta and have a better system.

No, your missing the point! Two fios DVR's (including MRDVR) and 6 HD STB's (1st MRDvr + 4 hd stbs are $46.99 sold as a bundle) would cost me an extra appx $80 (appx) dollars per month. My triple play gives me access to all premium channels, 75/35 Internet, and home phone for 119 per month all delivered via fiber to my home then coax distributed internally. NET: total monthly outlay would equal $200 + about $20 in taxes. That's 220 total monthly.

However, no matter which solution I go with on fios I have access to both premium and other cable channels on my iOS, Xbox and I believe PS3 for no additional fios charge on these devices. This means the kids can watch live tv on their iOS devices anywhere in the house. There is no additional costs for this. They just rolled it out a year or so ago.

Cable Co Value Proposition:
The multiroom DVR allows any STB box to remotely record to any of the DVR's. While its not true tuner pooling its pretty close. If the two tuners on one DVR is consumed a pretty little dialog is presented that says conflict do you want to record on the other? Easy peasy.

I don't need more than 3 TB at the DVR (esata allows a 2TB external + 500GB internal) as we have in-demand. So storing is well unlimited for things I don't watch during let's call it season run. By having the premiums, I have access to all the GO apps services for free. I just go to my dedicated streamer wherever/whenever i want and presto "premium series 1". This is gratis on any device which supports the various go apps or via a PC.

New features are available they push em out. A STB goes on the fritz I drive 5 minutes and grab another one. No need to run any networks all accomplished via moca. By the way if I need hard wired Internet access in a room i grab a moca adaptor. I can then use the existing moca line and walla hard wired 90mbps speeds, no Ethernet wiring needed. I don't deal.

I haven't had comcast in about 4 years but several relatives/friends do and the feature set is pretty similar. I don't know of any, no make that nobody is paying $400+ in equipment monthly. That would be ridiculous.

Similar to you, I live in an area where most folks are either in or involved with engineering or technology. The only proposition that Ceton can provide that would be of true value would be well the original plan. A single solution to best them all. A Q Device with a bunch of mini devices(echo's ) that can handle all my content. Minus the need for continued maintenance outside of hitting a button to accept an-update.
post #7400 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

Yes, my opinion is skewed. I agree with you 10% but so are those who say putting together an HTPC is nything other than easy. Raid 5 is just two paragraphs in the motherboard manual. Clieck a setting, load up the Intel drive anbd you are done. I could get my mom though it.

I will say that I am a nut though.

On the last point we definitely agree..tongue.gif:p
post #7401 of 7721
OK Mariob. $46.99 for 4 STB's? HD with DVR whole home capability does not exist here. As mentioned, no FIOS. What does exist is Frontier in limited markets that Verizon divested a few years ago and Frontier hasn't spent a dime on since. . You seem to never answer the math question. Sort of did this last time but not for our market and then you threw in a bunch of personal limiting qualifiers that totally alter the math and don't come close to answering the question. If you were happy to drive a Yugo and I asked for the performance of an Audi A8, stating you are happy with a Yugo doesn't answer the cost and performance of the A8. What you did state is you pay $220 per month for what is far less than what I get for $124. In two years I have paid then for up to 6 locations and a ton of storage with the difference in expense. My math is still better, your capacity - still less. Who gives a rip if you are happy with 3TB, less than 4 spaces to watch live TV. It is irrelevant and simply diverts from the result. There is no FIOS/Cable/Satellite STB solution available at the same cost given an ownership period of over 18 months. One can do a single ceton tuner HTPC and 1 MCE for less than $500; get a used PC and a Linksys box and the solution I use gets way cheaper. . I can get all the Comcast streaming features for the regular cost. It means nothing to me. My main listening zone is 11.2, my secondary is 7.2 and my third is 5.1. I have no interest in poor sounding streaming content. Also, this has no basis aIl I compare as has been mentioned 'Apples to Apples" I also need more than 3 TB of storage. So, again I would say; Give me the dollars required to do what I do. It's just a bonus my solution is the least expensive for live cable/satellite content. It simply can't be done as you describe.

You are correct that most people don't pay $400 for cable. What they do is settle for less STB's less storage, less flexibilty, and less HD content. This means the free Cable boxes provided for SD content for a kitchen, laundry room, etc. They focus a box or two in primary zones. They simply pay less for less. I pay less for more. So... if you wish to continue don't tell me what compromises you are willing to make personally, state how much it costs to have a big storage DVR and 5 or 6 true "live" capable viewing areas. My needs are not that unique.Throw in kids, different viewing choices, and storage wants go up a lot. Throw in a desire to have good audio and I am not that crazy unique.
Edited by SeattleHTGuy - 5/5/13 at 7:28pm
post #7402 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-c View Post

The cost that is never mentioned when comparing HTPC TV systems to Cableco boxes is the cost of the HTPC enthusiasts time to research, build, integrate, network, troubleshoot, upgrade and support one or more HTPC boxes in their home.

How much is your time worth?

From a business perspective, the support model for HTPC systems does not scale. Truck-rolls are required when customer HTPC systems experience any of the following:

- hardware failures
- data corruption
- software upgrades that cannot be completed via remote access
- hardware upgrades that are required to fix an issue
- other malfunctions that cannot be completed via remote access
- changes in cableco infrastructure, particularly Headend consolidation

Can an HTPC business afford that?

My time is worth a lot. This is a hobby. Having said that, the previously owned cable boxes I had and the Tivo's as well were not without issue. Hobbies though, are hobbies and are not based on financial calculations. I do not golf, but ifIi did money for a club is financial but the hobby is what it is. The Tivo's in particular were an audio nightmare. Getting a cost for like services is imprtant to me. I pay far less for tech than most people around me and have far more capability in my systems.

There seems to be some belief here (by a vocal minority) that buying a basic PC as an HTPC and adding a couple WME's is some type of high effort thing. It's not. I have used this sytem for years now and it works just about all the time. My PC runs in the 9's for Reliability on Windows and the only issues I have ever had involve other network appliances. The Ceton InfinitTV's are pretty bullet proof.

I have never had a software upgrade issue that couldn't be done solved easily and locally. No hardware has ever failed. The cable company here is pretty good at Cable Card issues. The occasional pairing issue is all that i have had issue with. The only problem I have had is an actual fried card. Some haters here seem to try and make this stuff hard; it's not. Don't want to build a PC, buy one. It's not too hard to walk into a Costco. Flea-bay for a used WME. Done....
post #7403 of 7721
Nethawk, it is fun but not that hard. The only issue I have ever had and seems to never be fixed is that you can't set Windows on an ATI card to 5.1 and have WMC at 5.1. It strangely corrupts audio playback. Other than that, it is fairly straight forward. Also, don't add too much to your HTPC and if you have a stable system, stop uppdating everything every day. Chill is the word.
post #7404 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

My time is worth a lot. This is a hobby. Having said that, the previously owned cable boxes I had and the Tivo's as well were not without issue. Hobbies though, are hobbies and are not based on financial calculations.

Then stop harping about the financial benefits, if you're not willing to acknowledge the financial downsides.

Dismissing it as a hobby is no different than mariob dismissing your "advantages" as things that he could do without.

You act as if everybody not using a cablecard/WMC setup is pissing money out the window every month, and that is not necessarily the case. It may be for you, but your case is FAR from typical.
post #7405 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

Nethawk, it is fun but not that hard. The only issue I have ever had and seems to never be fixed is that you can't set Windows on an ATI card to 5.1 and have WMC at 5.1. It strangely corrupts audio playback. Other than that, it is fairly straight forward. Also, don't add too much to your HTPC and if you have a stable system, stop uppdating everything every day. Chill is the word.

You might want to let Assassin know that so he can consolidate his guide. Clearly the hundreds of hours he's invested to write it, were unnecessary as you've summed up everything you need to know so succinctly

And your ability to oversimplify things is truly stunning.
post #7406 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy View Post

OK Mariob. $46.99 for 4 STB's? HD with DVR whole home capability does not exist here. As mentioned, no FIOS. What does exist is Frontier in limited markets that Verizon divested a few years ago and Frontier hasn't spent a dime on since. . You seem to never answer the math question. Sort of did this last time but not for our market and then you threw in a bunch of personal limiting qualifiers that totally alter the math and don't come close to answering the question. If you were happy to drive a Yugo and I asked for the performance of an Audi A8, stating you are happy with a Yugo doesn't answer the cost and performance of the A8. What you did state is you pay $220 per month for what is far less than what I get for $124. In two years I have paid then for up to 6 locations and a ton of storage with the difference in expense. My math is still better, your capacity - still less. Who gives a rip if you are happy with 3TB, less than 4 spaces to watch live TV. It is irrelevant and simply diverts from the result. There is no FIOS/Cable/Satellite STB solution available at the same cost given an ownership period of over 18 months. One can do a single ceton tuner HTPC and 1 MCE for less than $500; get a used PC and a Linksys box and the solution I use gets way cheaper. . I can get all the Comcast streaming features for the regular cost. It means nothing to me. My main listening zone is 11.2, my secondary is 7.2 and my third is 5.1. I have no interest in poor sounding streaming content. Also, this has no basis aIl I compare as has been mentioned 'Apples to Apples" I also need more than 3 TB of storage. So, again I would say; Give me the dollars required to do what I do. It's just a bonus my solution is the least expensive for live cable/satellite content. It simply can't be done as you describe.

You are correct that most people don't pay $400 for cable. What they do is settle for less STB's less storage, less flexibilty, and less HD content. This means the free Cable boxes provided for SD content for a kitchen, laundry room, etc. They focus a box or two in primary zones. They simply pay less for less. I pay less for more. So... if you wish to continue don't tell me what compromises you are willing to make personally, state how much it costs to have a big storage DVR and 5 or 6 true "live" capable viewing areas. My needs are not that unique.Throw in kids, different viewing choices, and storage wants go up a lot. Throw in a desire to have good audio and I am not that crazy unique.

Ok, you think what you must, but for two years time it will take you to recoup that HTPC DVR , tuner, HD and extenders I will have spent less for more than you have. All you have is capability to watch and record 4 shows at once. Can you record 4 yet still watch 8? I riddle you that. No I can and it will cost me in equipment alone to accomplish is a 4 Room MRDvr $46.99 pack and and extra 16.99 for the second DVR. I could get bold grab 2 esata 2tb harddrives $99 each and we have equal storage. So your super available only in your land versus mine available to the masses.
post #7407 of 7721
This thread is going way off topic, but the big feature for me is the integration of all my TV, music and movies all in one place. Plus the aawesome presentation of said content. There is nothing else out there that even begins to compare.
xnappo
post #7408 of 7721
I'm the biggest cheapskate I know. I would not tolerate the hassle of WMC if it weren't for 2 things: 1) the huge cost savings and 2) not having to deal with the worst DVRs on earth (cable DVRs). When I first built my system, I spent $200 to upgrade my PC, $100 for a tuner and used an Xbox I already had for an extender, resulting in a 8 month payback versus cable rental fees. Yes, I've tinkered with my PC a lot and added more tuners and extenders at $60-$100 a pop, but I still come out way ahead in the long run.

I don't begrudge folks who rent DVRs. I did it for nearly 10 years myself. But those rental costs keep climbing and have risen to the point I can no longer tolerate them. Equipment fees alone to replace my current WMC system would be $40-$50 per month on satellite or cable. Having said that, I definitely wouldn't recommend WMC to everyone. I won't even set my own parents up with an HTPC because it's not 100% reliable and I'm too far away to fix it. And if satellite DVRs carried a $6-$7 monthly fee like they used to, I'd still have satellite.

And xnappo and others make a great point that, cost aside, you can have an incredible entertainment system that's impossible to achieve anywhere else, all at a great price. My neighbor pays more than I do for the same cable service (he has to pay for crappy SD cable boxes). Yet I have a whole home HD DVR system and he has no DVR at all, and TV in only 2 rooms. Not to mention all the other stuff I can to with a PC.
Edited by mdavej - 5/5/13 at 8:37pm
post #7409 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post

Then stop harping about the financial benefits, if you're not willing to acknowledge the financial downsides.

Dismissing it as a hobby is no different than mariob dismissing your "advantages" as things that he could do without.

You act as if everybody not using a cablecard/WMC setup is pissing money out the window every month, and that is not necessarily the case. It may be for you, but your case is FAR from typical.

But those financial benefits are real. Hobby is real too. So let's try adding. 1 Ceton Card $200. 1 simple PC $400. 3 WME's $250. 4 Zones $850. Can anyone else offer that for the cost of the lowest level cable package and what would have to be 4 DVR's? Is it bugproof? No, is it difficult to use absolutely no. Math wins. Here in Washington there simply is no other low cost solution.
Edited by SeattleHTGuy - 5/5/13 at 9:38pm
post #7410 of 7721
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post

It could be viable for system installers who can ensure proper wiring/connectivity to the device. But I still say that lack of WiFi support is a deal breaker for the Box Store crowd. Had they included MoCa connectivity (as was originally discussed) to the Echo and Q then it would be much more viable, but too few people have ethernet to the TV, and most wouldn't want to get even more devices (MoCa/PowerLine bridges) to make it work.

MoCa would have been a nice feature. Most homes are already wired with coax. Not sure what that would have done to the footprint of the Echo though. I would never try to push HD video over wifi though. Especially more than one stream. There's far too many variables there, and a lot of crappy access points on the market. And truly, you can run ethernet in the home pretty inexpensively (<$100 per run, in wall). Wired ethernet is the way to go, with MoCa a close second. But it was mentioned earlier. A wireless bridge would probably work fine, it just wouldn't be supported (nor would MoCa). But who cares what is supported? If you can make it work, more power to you!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariob33 View Post

what are these "added features I get that the cable-co can't provide" that you speak of?

My cable company doesn't have a whole home DVR solution. Their guide is pitiful. No on screen Caller ID. 500GB max per DVR.

To get on the cost savings discussion. I too have 5 echos, and a brand new HTPC with two InfiniTV4s. All told I have about $2500 invested in the system. I save about $70 or a month in receiver/DVR fees. It'll take years before I recoup the cost.....but that's not my goal or point. I don't like handing over $70 a month, with nothing that's "mine" at the end of the day. This way, all of this is mine. *I* know how it works, and can fix it if/when something goes wrong.
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