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Getting started: Single server, Multi-client PVR setup

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Looking to build a system in my home that provides full PVR/DVR functionality on three TVs and a couple iPad/iPhone/WP8 devices, all based off of a single server.

TV Clients should be able to:
  1. Watch recordings
  2. Schedule recordings
  3. Watch Live TV
  4. Timeshift live TV (pause, rewind, 30s skip)
  5. Watch other stored media
  6. Use IR remote

Mobile Clients should be able to:
  1. Watch recordings
  2. Watch Live TV


Server should be able to:
  1. Handle four-tuner cablecard (Comcast)
  2. Utilize external storage (NAS)
  3. Transcode as needed (preferably using OpenCL hardware acceleration)
  4. Flag (and possibly remove?) commercials
  5. Move recordings to "archive"

My budget is~$500.

Right now I've got a low-power WHS with 2TB storage, and a couple of silent gaming HTPCs that could act as (bulky) TV clients. I'd prefer to be able to use XBMC as a client/frontend since then I can use Raspberry Pi or AppleTV devices.

Any thoughts on what software you'd use for a setup like this? XBMC with MythTV or MediaPortal backend? Windows Media Center server and extender clients?
post #2 of 4
Honestly since you want CableCard it seems your only option is a Windows 7/8 based server with Windows Media Center.

For local media on the clients you can use the 360 or Ceton Echo. Plex is really good with streaming media to a bunch of different devices.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I was assuming I had to go with CableCard for Comcast--is there another option?

From the reviews, it sounds like the Ceton stuff is half-baked, and I'm concerned about codec support for pre-recorded media (mkv) in the WMC ecosystem.

Are there other small, quiet extenders for a WMC backend? Can you use XBMC?
Edited by keylimesoda - 11/29/12 at 12:32pm
post #4 of 4
do you want to put movies on your "server?"

if live tv is your focus windows media center is really the best thing available. the ceton tuner has been out for over two years now and works really well. they just released an extender (a small client you put at other tvs). i think the official release date is actually tomorrow, so they are still working out bugs.

if you are just doing tv, you wont have anything to do with mkv. microsoft uses a proprietary container called wtv. all the 2nd gen extenders (which the xbox 360 is) can play them.

you can set up your pc to play any and all containers inside windows media center if you plan on adding different kinds of media files. the 360 is limited in what it can support (bitrate is the number one limitation) and the ceton echo is evolving so its tough to say exactly what it will be able to support, though right now it seems fairly similar to what the xbox can.

you can run things like xbmc or plex but you can not use those to record premium cable channels. you NEED a cable card to do that, and only wmc makes it possible.

the only other potential work around is to buy a capture device. in this instance, you will need a cable box and capture device for each channel youd like to record at one time.
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