or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Gaming & Content Streaming › Networking, Media Servers & Content Streaming › Looking into Windows Media Center/Extenders
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Looking into Windows Media Center/Extenders - Page 2

post #31 of 47
I'm not quite sure how an external tuner (on the network) is accessed by a PC, but I will presume a driver is necessary to be installed in each PC. I believe what you are attempting to do cannot be done. Another PC can't be an extender, it must be its own standalone WMC.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #32 of 47
My setup is like some other people have here. I have one Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime tuner.

It is a small box that has a power connection, a cable coax input and an Ethernet connector. It has three tuners built-into it and has a slot for a Mcard. A Mcard is a cable card that allows authorization for multiple tuners.

The HDHomeRun Prime with the Mcard is stand-alone. To use it however, you must connect to it via the network using a PC. In my case it's typically one of my PC's with Windows Media Center. The WMC PC acts as the live TV guide, DVR and more.

However, the software supplied with the tuner will allow you to connect (via your LAN) to the tuner and watch live TV if you are connected to a cable provider. In my case, I have Verizon FiOS. I have the BASIC package which is $13/mo and the cable card costs another $4/mo. So, I get all local channels and more in both SD and HD.

If you install the software supplied with the tuner to a laptop or another PC, you can watch live TV on that as well. With 3 tuners you can watch 3 different channels on 3 different devices at the same time. Watching recorded programs is only limited by your LAN bandwidth. Windows Media Center is what I use as my guide and DVR.

In my case I have three Xbox360's that I use as media extenders. They work absolutely fine showing HD content AND providing full 5.1 surround sound to my Home Theater setup. I have absolutely no issue receiving full surround sound. I also have no problem at all recording HD content with 5.1 audio and playing it back to my extenders (Xbox360's).

The software Silicon Dust provides connects the PC and the tuner over Ethernet. I wouldn't call this a "driver". However, this setup software is the software required to setup the tuner.

Once it's setup you can use the supplied tuner software on any PC to tune into live TV channels. I haven't tried using my OTA antenna with the device.

I like this type of tuner the best because it allows flexibility in your setup. Because the tuner isn't tied to a specific PC and connects to your network, any device can access live TV.

As others have said, you have three tuners available. As PC's try to connect the tuners become active. The device will automatically assign new devices to an open tuner. Once you have all three tuners active, the next connection attempt will indicate there are no tuners available. You can have all three tuners live and still play recorded TV on other devices on your LAN as long as you have the bandwidth.

I've run Cat5 around the house to cover this. However, for a long run to my upstairs bedroom, I've connected a power-line adapter. This works fine. I'm using a Netgear 4-port powerline adapter. This allows Ethernet to run over your AC power lines.

Also, because I'm using FiOS and and their Actiontec router, I'm using a MOCA to Ethernet adapter for another run to the family room.

I think your biggest issue using a setup like this is having a clean network with some high-speed switches so that you maintain LAN bandwidth. Wireless can be very iffy for HD especially if you're in an area where all your neighbors are running wireless and you're getting interference between channels. Stick with Cat5 or 6 if you can. Power line adapters work fine if you have a clean path between the source and receiver units (no power strip).

I'll try to answer any questions. :-)
post #33 of 47

I'm a little late to this thead, but how do multiple XBOX 360 as extenders interact? Do I need multiple XBox Live accounts if I have more than one XBox 360? Or can the same Live account get WMC running on each XBox, even if, say, two people are watching in different rooms on different XBoxes at the same time?

post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by krpkevin View Post
 

I'm a little late to this thead, but how do multiple XBOX 360 as extenders interact? Do I need multiple XBox Live accounts if I have more than one XBox 360?

 

It's been a while since I have used an extender but WMC/Xbox doesn't use Live accounts. Simply add extenders until you hit the maximum of five active (at the same time).

post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by krpkevin View Post

I'm a little late to this thead, but how do multiple XBOX 360 as extenders interact? Do I need multiple XBox Live accounts if I have more than one XBox 360? Or can the same Live account get WMC running on each XBox, even if, say, two people are watching in different rooms on different XBoxes at the same time?
The extenders don't interact. They are simply RDP (Remote Desktop) clients that connect through your home network to your PC running Windows Media Center. The interface is exactly the same as on your PC (more or less).

You don't even have to have Live or login to use it. In fact, on the extenders I have in a couple of rooms I've simplified the whole thing so it's wife-ready. Meaning, I set it up so my universal remote (Logitech Harmony One) will turn on the TV, AV/Receiver and Xbox with a press of the Watch TV activity.

On the Xbox I set its startup behavior to load Windows Media Center instead of going to the login screen.

So, everything starts up and the Xbox is setting at the TV menu on startup. The remote controls it just like a DVR with screen functions for Live TV, Etc.

Works great! As I said, I have three of them hooked up this way. However, I've since updated my system and now I have an Alienware X51 R2 (Haswell core i7) setup as my Media Center PC right in the living room. So I no longer need to use the Xbox there as a media extender.

Best Live TV/DVR setup ever. Better than any set top box's I've ever used and I've had a TON! Also, saving all that money by not renting multiple HD STB's for multiple rooms and DVR to multiple rooms.

Stick with Windows 7 however. There were many issues running Media Center for Windows 8. I ended up just going back to my Windows 7 Pro machines.
post #36 of 47

Sounds great, thanks! For some reason I had it in my head that all the applications on the XBox desktop required the user to be signed into Live (Netflix for example requires Live. I see the difference now. Netflix is an external site, while WMC is accessing your internal network). I hadn't really tried doing it without since it signs in automatically. Requiring Live for everything seemed like a very Xbox thing to do. Good to know you can get there without signing in. It sounds like a great setup. 

post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlindabury View Post

Stick with Windows 7 however. There were many issues running Media Center for Windows 8. I ended up just going back to my Windows 7 Pro machines.

 

I think this is a relative thing. I have been using WMC and Windows 8 since the preview with zero issues. Now if you are using various apps or have an Echo the story is different. Bottom line there is no compelling reason to upgrade although at the same time based on your installation there might not be any reasons to not upgrade or start there.

post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

I think this is a relative thing. I have been using WMC and Windows 8 since the preview with zero issues. Now if you are using various apps or have an Echo the story is different. Bottom line there is no compelling reason to upgrade although at the same time based on your installation there might not be any reasons to not upgrade or start there.
You may be correct. However I experienced issues I never had on my Windows 7 Pro machines. And this was a completely new install of Windows 8 with only MailWasherPro running. OS on a SSD and a 3TB data drive. I think I had issues with series not recording and some time issues but I don't recall. It was back when Win8 was first released.

The one thing that definitely didn't work were some Windows Media Center add-ons such as My Channel Logos. I forget if mcBackup worked. I just decided why bother with the issues when I knew it all worked like clockwork on my Windows 7 Pro machine. :-) I really hate the guide without My Channel Logos add-on giving me more rows of guide data and the logos as well as ability to adjust the guide grid size.

My WMC machine is always a one task machine. It just sits there and does its WMC thing and (typically) nothing else.
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by krpkevin View Post

Sounds great, thanks! For some reason I had it in my head that all the applications on the XBox desktop required the user to be signed into Live (Netflix for example requires Live. I see the difference now. Netflix is an external site, while WMC is accessing your internal network). I hadn't really tried doing it without since it signs in automatically. Requiring Live for everything seemed like a very Xbox thing to do. Good to know you can get there without signing in. It sounds like a great setup. 
Glad I could be of some help. It's a great setup. If you do it you'll never want to use anything else again. :-)

Only problem is that Microsoft is moving away from this setup. The XboxOne doesn't even support this kind of interaction. It seems they expect you to plug your STB into the XBONE and use that. What a let-down. The saving grace may be that Xbox360's will come down in price. :-)

Good luck with your setup!
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlindabury View Post

I really hate the guide without My Channel Logos add-on giving me more rows of guide data and the logos as well as ability to adjust the guide grid size.

My WMC machine is always a one task machine. It just sits there and does its WMC thing and (typically) nothing else.

 

I tried various apps when I first got into WMC but quickly decided it wasn't worth the bother. A straight install of WMC is all I use. I also use XBMC (Windows and OpenELEC versions). With XBMC's WMC server/client OpenELEC makes a great extender and I currently use a NUC (OpenELEC) in my dedicated room for movie playback and WMC.

 

The first year I had a dedicated WMC computer but have migrated to using my desktop. It connects to my Den's TV as a HDMI secondary monitor and there is only one drawback. When the WMC app isn't the active window most of the keys on the Harmony remote won't work. Having a PC dedicated to WMC doesn't offer me anything else.

 

Regarding apps 99% of my viewing is recording based and the guide might be viewed a couple of minutes a month... I also gave up trying to use WMC for MKV and other playback... I tend to approach WMC as TiVo or a cable company's DVR... it is what it is.

post #41 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

I tried various apps when I first got into WMC but quickly decided it wasn't worth the bother. A straight install of WMC is all I use. I also use XBMC (Windows and OpenELEC versions). With XBMC's WMC server/client OpenELEC makes a great extender and I currently use a NUC (OpenELEC) in my dedicated room for movie playback and WMC.

The first year I had a dedicated WMC computer but have migrated to using my desktop. It connects to my Den's TV as a HDMI secondary monitor and there is only one drawback. When the WMC app isn't the active window most of the keys on the Harmony remote won't work. Having a PC dedicated to WMC doesn't offer me anything else.

Regarding apps 99% of my viewing is recording based and the guide might be viewed a couple of minutes a month... I also gave up trying to use WMC for MKV and other playback... I tend to approach WMC as TiVo or a cable company's DVR... it is what it is.
Wow! You've really been through it. I'll probably make some changes at some point but at the moment it works well for what I need. I'm pretty sure I wasn't having issues playing back MKV's as long as I created them using the right settings. They won't play back on the Xbox's but would on the WMC machine with the appropriate codecs.

I looked at OpenELEC a while ago. I guess it's advanced a bit since I last looked and I'll have to give XBMC another look. Someone mentioned DRM but I'm pretty sure I've backed up and copied my recordings several times between machines and have retained all my recordings and they play back fine. I'll double-check on that.

At this point my WMC does do some dual-purpose duty. It has Steam and Origin loaded so it can double as a game machine. It's in the living room hooked up to the Home Theater big screen and all. I've also connected a Xbox360 Controller Receiver to it and a IR receiver so I can use my Harmony One to control it. I also have a Logitech Revue wireless keyboard working with it. It's pretty sweet.

Thanks for giving me some more ideas on some setup changes. :-)
post #42 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlindabury View Post

I'm pretty sure I wasn't having issues playing back MKV's as long as I created them using the right settings. They won't play back on the Xbox's but would on the WMC machine with the appropriate codecs.

 

I didn't have any issues outside of installing Malware one time while updating the required add-on drivers. I think that's when I decided WMC can do what it does and I'll let XBMC handle the rest. I'm OTA (only) so DRM isn't an issue (for me). I have a soft spot for XBMC and especially the OpenELEC version. The NUC runs from a USB flash drive... no hard drive required and takes about three minutes to install. With the Server and Client software for WMC it removes any need/desire to run Windows for WMC Live TV/recordings.

I have a Xbox 360 4GB E to use as an extender (recent Amazon Black Friday $99 special) that the wife can use if she ever watches TV outside of the den. To a large extent I refuse to invest much into WMC even though it's a great solution. When the guide data disappears I don't want to be stuck with hardware that I can't use. I figure the only dedicated equipment I have now are the HDHomeRun tuners (will work via XBMC) and an Xbox (I could sell). That's why I refused to even look at the Echo.

 

Oh my desktop only has a SSD and I record everything on my NAS via iSCSI. Four recordings and several playbacks aren't an issue over the network and I like not having to store them locally. It keeps the desktop perfectly quiet.

post #43 of 47
i know there's been no activity on this thread for a while, but is a core I3 Haswell 4340 enough computing power for the HTPC where the tuner card is (plan to use Ceton). Also, is it at all possible to use wireless?
post #44 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post

i know there's been no activity on this thread for a while, but is a core I3 Haswell 4340 enough computing power for the HTPC where the tuner card is (plan to use Ceton). Also, is it at all possible to use wireless?

I have an I3 in my "media center" system and it works fine as a client. However it's not my media server and I don't know how it will perform as a server for Media Extenders.
If you already own it, I say give it a try, you can always use performance as an excuse to build a new system.
Ceton has been a winner for me.

One of my extenders uses a wireless connection (720p) and I'm happy with it.
One note, I use the 5g connection, 2.4 seems to have a problem when the microwave is on.
post #45 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post

i know there's been no activity on this thread for a while, but is a core I3 Haswell 4340 enough computing power for the HTPC where the tuner card is (plan to use Ceton). Also, is it at all possible to use wireless?


An i3 is plenty for WMC, I even tried my Celeron NUC and it handled four recordings and playback fine. However the user interface was a little slow. More like the older TiVos.

post #46 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post

i know there's been no activity on this thread for a while, but is a core I3 Haswell 4340 enough computing power for the HTPC where the tuner card is (plan to use Ceton). Also, is it at all possible to use wireless?
i3 is fine. I have a 3225 in my HTPC and it's plenty snappy. 4GB RAM is fine too but get 8GB if you plan to use extenders. Wireless for what? (OK for internet, wouldn't bother trying it for an extender)...
post #47 of 47
I use a wireless connection for one of my xbox extenders, and also stream with no problem to my Nexus 7 using Remote Potato, both 1080p quality.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home

Gear mentioned in this thread:

AVS › AVS Forum › Gaming & Content Streaming › Networking, Media Servers & Content Streaming › Looking into Windows Media Center/Extenders