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Windows 8 HTPC upgrade experience

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Upgraded the HTPC from Vista (built pre-win7) to windows 8 a couple of days ago. The highlights:

The "upgrade" itself (going from Vista it is more of a clean install) was smooth. My biggest issue was what the installer was going to do with my two partition drive. When they say the install will wipe everything on the install drive, do they really mean install PARTITION? Yes they do mean that, but I was worried. I had 750Gb of data on that other partition.

Base system is AMD 780G based, with 4670 discrete graphics, Realtek ALC889 audio and 4850e dual core CPU. Audio out is 5.1 analog.

1. I had to manually locate the drivers for my Hauppage WinTV-Nova td-500 DVB-T tuners. They work fine once installed though.
2. At this point I have just run with the drivers installed by Win8, staying away from the AMD legacy 12.6 win8 catalysts and Realtek audio drivers for now, as (blu-ray/hdtv/games) seem to work well enough. Caveats below.
3. Installed Mediaportal 1.3 beta (win8 supported), no issues in HDTV playback or music.
4. Tried to install my copy of WinDVD Pro 11 (I bought a copy which was working wonderfully on Vista). Fails to run. Not win8 compatible, looks like Corel are letting this one die. Pity.
5. Installed TMT5 trial. Blu ray stutter... Refresh rate matching no help. Indeed it left my desktop at 24Hz...
6. Installed PDVD12 trial. Blu ray nice and smooth :-) PAL DVD playback stutter :-( Thankfully Mediaportal can manage stutter free DVD playback.
7. Installed windows media center pack, seems to work ok, but Mediaportal is a more familiar (better?) solution. Looks like Microsoft aren't making things easy for media playback on HTPCs either.

So my working Windows 8 HTPC solution is:

Mediaportal for HDTV and DVD playback and PowerDVD12 for bluray.

Quite liking the performance upgrade on the system going from Vista to Win8. Seems much snappier.

Pretty disappointed that Cyberlink can't get DVD playback working right on my system... Shakes head. I winced all the way thru the DVD we watched tonight, but I couldn't take time out from our watch to "Let me just tweak that to get DVDs playing properly". WAF would never recover. Hopefully she didn't notice the hitching, I'm not even going to ask. So on my system we have these Win8 bluray playback results:

One product failed to run at all. One product failed to playback bluray smoothly. One product played bluray fine but could not manage smooth DVD playback. Maybe I just need to try with new hardware ;-)

Dale
post #2 of 36
Thread Starter 
Well my windows 8 experiment is over :-(

I have reverted back to Vista for the following reasons:

1. Digital TV showed occasional visual corruption. Nothing I did could get rid of this, installing AMD catalysts, audio drivers, latency checks etc. The glitches are common to MediaCenter, Mediaportal and Hauppage WinTV. This is the main reason for the return to Vista, it is very hard to go from perfect playback to glitches every 5 minutes.

2. My purchased WinDVD software which gives great service with bluray and DVD will not run on Win8

3. PowerDVD 12 can play bluray but fails to play PAL DVD smoothly on the system.

4. The standard win8 photo screen saver was poor compared to the vista one :-)

I have an image of the win8 install, perhaps I'll try again later, if perhaps Corel actually release a Win8 compatible version of their product.

Dale
post #3 of 36
Try Win 7.

Vista is a dog.
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'd rather not shell out for a win7 license :-)

Vista works fine, I was just hoping to upgrade to something a bit more contemporary.
post #5 of 36
My Blu-ray playback on Win8 with TMT5 is smooth. However, I have it running on an Intel i5. No problems with my Ceton cablecard tuner either. My latest project is to see if I like MyMovies instead of MediaBrowser. I've got the latest MM on my Win2012 Essentials server and connecting my HTPC with MM and have the MM collection manager on my laptop. Haven't had a chance to check out the MM smartphone app.

If I like it I'll ditch MediaBrowser and turn off metaBrowser. Then probably cough up the $50 for 2,500 MM points.
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

My Blu-ray playback on Win8 with TMT5 is smooth. However, I have it running on an Intel i5. No problems with my Ceton cablecard tuner either.

Yeah, I have no doubt some configurations work fine. In my case though the win8 upgrade was a main-purpose downgrade.
post #7 of 36
Upgrade? No wonder, clean install, start afresh.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Upgrade? No wonder, clean install, start afresh.

A Vista "upgrade" is a clean install. For vista the "upgrade" consists of you being left with your old windows install in a windows.old directory.

I doubt I would have had a different experience on an empty partition.
post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
Corel have released Windvd 11.5 upgrade which has win8 compatibility. I'll have to give win8 another spin.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Gave win8 another spin. After a new SSD, 72 Win8 updates, mediaportal 1.5 and WinDVD 11.5 all seems well with TV and blu-ray.

Only remaining problem is the photo screensaver is broken.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 View Post


Vista is a dog.
Lots of people say this, but in 5 years of Vista 64, I had less issues than the last few months of 7 and 8.
post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
Oh well, a step too far...

I did the win 8.1 upgrade thing as the "compatibility" app led me to believe all was well. Bad move.

I should have checked out the state of the AMD 4670 graphics driver for win 8.1. Seems there is not one yet, and Minecraft (for the kids) needs OpenGL which does not come with the Microsoft driver which replaces your catalyst in the upgrade.

And the digital TV glitching returned with a vengeance in 8.1. It seemed to have been mostly cured in Win8, but was horrible under Win 8.1. The glitches are in the recordings, not playback issues, so I suspect some driver problem with my older Hauppage DVB-T tuner.

So, darn it, back to Vista 32. This HTPC is too much used to be crippled.

Problems at 8.1 level:
  • Digital TV recordings using Hauppage NOVA TD 500 exhibit video corruption (in the recording, not just in playback)
  • Win 8.x photo screensaver fails to work with keyboard navigation (left arrow key kills playback "an error is preventing the slideshow")
  • Video app cannot play some standard videos that play perfectly well in windows media player... What is with that?
  • No AMD legacy catalyst driver for Windows 8.1
  • Under Win 8.1 IR remote via iMon fails to recognize keypresses in some software, this was fine in Win 8
  • Finding your apps is *hard*
  • Grumpy looks from children and wife at the Win 8 user interface.

I do wonder what Microsoft are thinking with Win8. However, my likes:
  • UI uses the 40 inch TV well, everything is nicely sized for the big screen.
  • 5.1 sound configuration works nicely out-of-the box with Win8.
  • Proper SSD support
  • Snappy performance
  • Modern and supported!
post #13 of 36
On the other hand I've upgraded my HTPC to Win8.1 with no issues. I have a Sandy Bridge build with a Ceton cablecard tuner.
post #14 of 36
Does your WinDVD 11.5 work on Windows 8.1? Mine stopped working, though I have yet to try a reinstall. It worked on Windows 8.
post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

Does your WinDVD 11.5 work on Windows 8.1? Mine stopped working, though I have yet to try a reinstall. It worked on Windows 8.

Sorry, I didn't try it. Once I discovered I had no AMD driver it was game over. It did work on win8.
post #16 of 36
My experience of upgrading from Win 8 to 8.1 has been mixed: no issue with 2 PCs, but I had to do a clean install on the third one. I tried many, many things (removing hardware, using old system images, refresh, etc. to no avail and would consistently end up with a black screen on the first voluntary shut down... This was cruel as, before then the PC was perfectly functional under 8.1, and could be put in sleep... just not shut down!

This being said, once upgraded everything works fine with 8.1. The only thing which is not there yet is 10 bit drivers for my FireGL3D video card, but this should come in due time.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dale7344 View Post

Finding your apps is *hard*

Why do you feel this way? The hardest thing to me is having to actually REMEMBER a programs name. But typing it in is actually easier than searching through dozens and dozens of programs, at least to me. But then, I have lots of programs installed on my machine.

I'm considering the same "upgrade for my Win 7 machine, mostly because I've exhausted y options for speeding it up. But I have 8 on another family members PC, and finding programs seems fairly easy.

Btw, why not simply revert to your Win 8 image?

Sent from my Nexus 7
post #18 of 36
Yeah, typing is so easy on an HTPC using a remote rolleyes.gif

BTW, the vast speed increase you get going from 7 to 8 is highly exaggerated. I'd rather have an HTPC that boots 1 second slower yet still works with my Echos and WMC add-ons and is easy to navigate. I gave Win 8 the old college try on my HTPC and the few benefits didn't outweigh all the drawbacks.

Sent from my Win 8.1 netbook with StartIsBack
Edited by mdavej - 11/3/13 at 11:32am
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Yeah, typing is so easy on an HTPC using a remote rolleyes.gif

BTW, the vast speed increase you get going from 7 to 8 is highly exaggerated. I'd rather have an HTPC that boots 1 second slower yet still works with my Echos and WMC add-ons and is easy to navigate. I gave Win 8 the old college try on my HTPC and the few benefits didn't outweigh all the drawbacks.

Sent from my Win 8.1 netbook with StartIsBack

+1. Yep, greatly exaggerated. Most of these reports are from fresh 8/8.1 installations. Any Windows installation will slow down over time, and that goes for 8 as well.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Yeah, typing is so easy on an HTPC using a remote :rolleyes:BTW, the vast speed increase you get going from 7 to 8 is highly exaggerated. I'd rather have an HTPC that boots 1 second slower yet still works with my Echos and WMC add-ons and is easy to navigate. I gave Win 8 the old college try on my HTPC and the few benefits didn't outweigh all the drawbacks.Sent from my Win 8.1 netbook with StartIsBack

Actually, I was responding to Dale, who had already said he had gotten Win 8 working OK. When he went to 8.1, he encountered new issues and gave up.

I don't understand your reference to using a remote. If you want to launch a program using icons, what exactly is stopping you in Windows 8?

And yeah, my install of 7 takes over two minutes from boot till I can actually use it for anything, maybe longer. And that's using an ssd.
It's time for a fresh install. So if I'm going to do all that work, why not try 8? Are you saying there is some conspiracy being perpetrated by Windows 8 users?

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

I don't understand your reference to using a remote. If you want to launch a program using icons, what exactly is stopping you in Windows 8?

And yeah, my install of 7 takes over two minutes from boot till I can actually use it for anything, maybe longer. And that's using an ssd.
It's time for a fresh install. So if I'm going to do all that work, why not try 8? Are you saying there is some conspiracy being perpetrated by Windows 8 users?

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
My Win 7 HTPC wakes and is ready to run in 3 seconds. It may have been 2 seconds on Win 8, I can't remember exactly. Not a big difference. I never shut down or reboot. On my PCs with Win 8 and 8.1, cold booting isn't that much faster than it was in Win 7.

In Win 7 I can use arrows to easily navigate. On Win 8, I can't. All the buttons you would expect to do something (arrows, page up/down, esc, backspace, tab, etc.) do nothing in Metro. It's touchscreen/mouse or nothing. In Win 8 desktop mode, the opposite is the case. To find anything, you have to get to the charms bar and start typing. I could launch from shortcuts as you said, but I want the easy option of browsing for a program. This is difficult in Win 8 without a start menu replacement. Regardless, with enough 3rd party software and tweaking, I can make Win 8 somewhat usable, but it still won't work well with my extenders, so what's the point.
post #22 of 36
Gotcha.

Sorry to go off topic, but if by chance you use an Android device (not sure if there is an IOS version), Unified Remote works really great with Win 7 (and I assume 8).

I use a Harmony remote, but when I need to type, or use of a mouse, Unified Remote is really nice. It also has custom layout remotes for WMC, Boxee, VLC, I think maybe XBMC, and a few others.

Sent from my Nexus 7
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

Actually, I was responding to Dale, who had already said he had gotten Win 8 working OK. When he went to 8.1, he encountered new issues and gave up.

Hi, the reasons why I stayed away from 8:
  • Win 8.x photo screensaver fails to work with keyboard navigation (left arrow key to go back one photo kills playback "an error is preventing the slideshow")
  • Video app cannot play some standard videos that play perfectly well in windows media player... What is with that?
  • Finding your apps is *hard*
  • Grumpy looks from children and wife at the Win 8 user interface.

We enjoy our photo album coming up on the big screen, and we often want to go back and look at that last crazy photo again :-). It really is just retrograde that Win8 can't do as good a job as Vista displaying photos...
The video app not being able to play vids smells half-baked as well.
Finding your apps is possibly just a lack of experience thing, but still trickier than it needs be. Perhaps I'm just a visual not textual type.
And seriously, the family prefer Vista...

And finally, I neglected to take an updated Win8 image before I made the move to win8.1. Having to redo the updates and installs was another negative...

Dale
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

Why do you feel this way? The hardest thing to me is having to actually REMEMBER a programs name. But typing it in is actually easier than searching through dozens and dozens of programs, at least to me. But then, I have lots of programs installed on my machine.

I'm considering the same "upgrade for my Win 7 machine, mostly because I've exhausted y options for speeding it up. But I have 8 on another family members PC, and finding programs seems fairly easy.

Btw, why not simply revert to your Win 8 image?

Sent from my Nexus 7

I'm often bemused by the defnse of Win 8 that amounts to "if you find the interface a pain in the ass you can alsways start a program by typing it's now, wow Win8 even finds stuff with just the first few letters"

It seems to me a retrograde step that Win8 is to be used as a text driven menu system via the keyboard...seriously?
post #25 of 36
Typing the name or searching through a list of everything (aka Win7 style) - it comes down to personal preference. You can click the down arrow and get the same list of everything in Win8.1 (and you type the name in Win7), so there really is no difference between them.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebiroth View Post

I'm often bemused by the defnse of Win 8 that amounts to "if you find the interface a pain in the ass you can alsways start a program by typing it's now, wow Win8 even finds stuff with just the first few letters"

It seems to me a retrograde step that Win8 is to be used as a text driven menu system via the keyboard...seriously?

What I don't get is why people find the Start Screen so tough to use to begin with. It's all about personalization. Spend some time personalizing it the way you want, and it becomes a great customized dashboard and launch point. The few times you want to run something that isn't pinned, you can search by typing.

The one thing that is indeed unfortunate is that Metro doesn't work well with a remote. I've never used a remote to start programs in Windows 7 either, so I don't know what the best way to go about it is, but in Win 8.1, you can navigate the start screen using the keyboard arrow keys, so that shouldn't be too hard with a programmable remote.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlantNGo View Post

What I don't get is why people find the Start Screen so tough to use to begin with. It's all about personalization. Spend some time personalizing it the way you want, and it becomes a great customized dashboard and launch point. The few times you want to run something that isn't pinned, you can search by typing.

The one thing that is indeed unfortunate is that Metro doesn't work well with a remote. I've never used a remote to start programs in Windows 7 either, so I don't know what the best way to go about it is, but in Win 8.1, you can navigate the start screen using the keyboard arrow keys, so that shouldn't be too hard with a programmable remote.

The Start Menu in Win7 doesn't work well with a remote either.

I got into the habit of typing to find the program in Vista so Win8(.1) works fine with me. At first I thought it was another step because I was hitting the Win-Key and then clicking the search icon before I began typing. Then I discovered you simply hit the Win-Key and start typing and it automatically does the program search.

To me launching Word by hitting Win-Key, W, O, Enter is easier than clicking Start, All Programs, Office, Word. Even doing it with the GUI in Win8.1 all you would need to do is click Start Button and then Word (assuming you have it added to the Metro screen).
post #28 of 36
I did not like the win8 start screen initially but have gotten used to it and actually really like it now that I have it customized to my regularly used apps. I really like the app store for getting more functionality easily and the netflix app in win8 is GREAT! Finally 5.1 audio from netflix and the video is buttery smooth, so much better than any browser based method. I once preferred my PS3 for netflix for quality reasons but now the win8 app is on par and I never turn on the PS3 anymore unless I want to play a game. I also ordered a new blu ray drive for the PC and will be testing BD playback tonight.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakerja View Post

I did not like the win8 start screen initially but have gotten used to it and actually really like it now that I have it customized to my regularly used apps. I really like the app store for getting more functionality easily and the netflix app in win8 is GREAT! Finally 5.1 audio from netflix and the video is buttery smooth, so much better than any browser based method. I once preferred my PS3 for netflix for quality reasons but now the win8 app is on par and I never turn on the PS3 anymore unless I want to play a game. I also ordered a new blu ray drive for the PC and will be testing BD playback tonight.

Just an FYI if you weren't aware that Windows will not play BD discs out of the box.
post #30 of 36
There have been reports elsewhere that some commands on MCE remotes no longer work in Win 8. Skip Fwd for example has been changed from Ctrl+F to Ctrl+Alt+F. Has anyone else experienced this? My remote still works perfectly, so I'm wondering how this is possible.
Edited by mdavej - 11/5/13 at 10:25am
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