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Report: Microsoft's Surface Pro as a secondary HTPC - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Miracast is not natively supported in Windows, even in Windows 8. The only solution I know of that supports Miracast is Intel's WiDi (in the newest release of it at least), but unfortunately the Pro uses a Marvell wireless chip, which means no WiDi.
post #32 of 54
yes, unfortunately no miracast for the surface frown.gif

I am waiting with baited breath for a full windows 8 tablet that will support miracast (or something similar).

Although might have to settle for 5.1 LPCM audio even then frown.gif I am also interested in the next few revisions of intel graphics. Looks like it is catching up discrete graphics quite well. (I dont expect it to catch up entirely ofc smile.gif )

Yes they are expensive as htpcs, but offer way more than the average box in your lounge smile.gif
post #33 of 54
definitely a let down frown.gif not a deal breaker but still...

HD4000 is imo is already good enough for most casual players. Of course, there is room for improvement.

I carry mine everywhere with me, battery is 5-6 hour for me for most things, and extremely fast.

best purchase in a long time.
post #34 of 54
Stardock is offering a program called Modern Mix. It allows you to control apps in a way that totally streamlines the Surface Pro app functionality. Check out Modern Mix. It's $4.99 and worth every penny. I've had my Surface Pro 128g for about a month now and it's hands down my favorite Windows device of all time.

Check it out:

http://www.stardock.com/products/modernmix/purchase.asp?utm_source=StardockSoftware&utm_medium=email&utm_term=04092013&utm_content=BUYNOW&utm_campaign=ModernMix+GA+Reminder
post #35 of 54
Miracast will be supported in 8.1.
post #36 of 54
Has anyone tried getting live tv on the surface pro?

I was about to bridge my infinitv4 but I found that it cannot be done with Windows 8.

Is there a way to treat it as an extender for tv access.... I use pled for everything else
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilwheezy75 View Post

Has anyone tried getting live tv on the surface pro?

I was about to bridge my infinitv4 but I found that it cannot be done with Windows 8.

Is there a way to treat it as an extender for tv access.... I use pled for everything else

Have you tried one of the HDHomeRun devices like the Prime? They don't have to be plugged into the computer instead they just have to be on the network. I feel like this option would work, although I can't comment on how it plays over a wireless connection.
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilwheezy75 View Post

Has anyone tried getting live tv on the surface pro?

I was about to bridge my infinitv4 but I found that it cannot be done with Windows 8.

Is there a way to treat it as an extender for tv access.... I use pled for everything else

HD Homerun should work, it is supported by Media Center.

I use DVBlink (dvblogic.com) with MediaCenter on my Lenovo Ideapad Lynx as a client. Works great. Unfortunately limited support for NA users.
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilwheezy75 View Post

Has anyone tried getting live tv on the surface pro?

I was about to bridge my infinitv4 but I found that it cannot be done with Windows 8.

Is there a way to treat it as an extender for tv access.... I use pled for everything else
Are you referring to windows 8 on the surface pro or windows 8 on the host? Network tuners does work as a client for windows 8 rather easily my biggest problem as having to go back to the host and assign tuners back to it. I have heard many over on thegreenbutton.tv have got it to work as a host as well doing it manually though a few have had problems.

My biggest concern is the "lack" of ethernet (though a usb ethernet adapter can be used) as wireless can be iffy in some locations and the mini displayport and the built-in display being hdcp compliant for WMC but often with displayport a restore down then back to maximize will allow protected content to play but some still have problems..
post #40 of 54
Sorry I should have given more details.

I have a htpc with a infinitv4 built in and a surface pro. I went to cetons website to get info on how to assign the tuners to the network which it looks as if they refer to it as bridging. They also note that this is not compatible with windows 8. Just windows 7.
post #41 of 54
Thread Starter 
Posting an update to this thread after installing Windows 8.1.

After installing the upgrade on my Surface Pro (original Surface Pro, not the Surface Pro 2), I found that once again I had lost HD audio codecs (DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD) in the Windows 8.1 Sound Control Panel. When connected via HDMI to an AV Receiver that supports the formats, the Windows Sound Control Panel does NOT list the HD codecs under the Properties > Supported Formats tab.

As you can read in previous messages, after some running around I previously tried downloading the HD 4000 graphic/audio driver direct from Intel's site, and after installing, the HD codecs were available (which was great news) and worked wonderfully when playing back material with HD audio. I figured I would try the same thing again after installing Windows 8.1, which of course overwrote my installation with their default driver.

1) The link in my original message to the manual download of the driver reports a Page Not Found error
2) The automated tool on Intel's website for analyzing your computer for possible driver updates is not able to identify the Surface and so cannot provide any driver updates automatically (not surprised by this)
3) Intel's website DOES allow users to manually navigate to current driver software for their graphic device, so I found the new location for the HD 4000 driver and saw that they even had a Windows 8.1 version available (posted on 10/17/13, about a week after this message was written.)

Unfortunately, and here's the bad news, after downloading and trying to install both the .EXE and .ZIP versions of the driver from Intel, the installer reports an immediate error of "The driver being installed is not validated for this computer. Please obtain the appropriate driver from the computer manufacturer. Setup will exit."

So, it appears that Microsoft has not only continued to inexplicably "turn off" support for HD audio codecs in their implementation of the HD 4000 driver, but they have now taken steps (perhaps inadvertently) to prevent users from easily installing the original reference drivers from Intel directly.

Someone may be able to figure out a "trick" for fooling the installer into working on a Surface (perhaps by modifying one of the .INI files), but that's beyond me to figure out, and it doesn't bode well for future driver updates that DO come from Microsoft.

And HD audio codecs are such a niche / hard-core enthusiast subject, that I'm afraid any attempts to contact Microsoft technical support regarding the matter won't do any good, it's just not something they're going to cover in their support database. The first time I tried (as you can read in the original messages) Microsoft tech support actually suggested I take up the question with Intel, and their tech support are the ones who eventually pointed me to manually installing their driver the first time.

I did also originally reach out to Panos Panay (Surface Product Manager) about the issue, and surprisingly he did respond and said he would look into the issue, but that was back shortly following the launch of the original Surface Pro almost a year ago, and I did not hear back from him (though I'm sure he receives hundreds of emails a day, and was quite busy at that time.) Maybe I'll try emailing him again unless someone figures out a different approach.

-Robert
post #42 of 54

Hi, rsinclair.

 

I thought I had the same problem with my surface pro I, but eventually MPC-HC solved everything for me.

 

Install it, run it, go to options/internal filters, click audio decoder, and check everything under "bistreaming".

 

I use a minidisplayport>hdmi cable plugged to a yamaha rxv673 : the amp receives every format when I use this configuration, including DTS-HD and DOLBY TRUE HD.

 

I couldn't believe it because I lost the "spdif" option in VLC since I "upgraded" to windows 8.1, and since then my amp received nothing but PCM from the Surface, but there it is, working fine, thanks to MPC-HC! ;)

post #43 of 54
Thread Starter 
@grabuzor, sounds like by doing that you are having your receiver do the actual audio decoding, by sending a raw bitstream of the sound data to your receiver.

If/when Microsoft ever restores this functionality to the Surface and/or Windows 8.1, the computer would be able to handle the decoding without 3rd-party software like MPC-HC, which not everyone is going to use in their playback system.

Glad you found a workaround! But I'll hold out hope that Microsoft and the Surface team will address the issue, which to me remains inexplicable.

-R
post #44 of 54
Just to push the boundaries a bit, has anyone tried to mount a BR ISO and play a native BR on either the Surface Pro or Pro 2?
post #45 of 54
Yes I played BR ISO on the Surface Pro 2 with no issues. The Intel HD 4400 Graphics card on Surface Pro 2 supports True HD and DTS HD Master Audio format.
post #46 of 54
Thread Starter 
Couple of notes:

• I've confirmed that grabuzor's approach of using MPC-HC's LAV Filters will decode the audio at the player level, and pass the signal onto an AV receiver. My Denon displays "Multi In" with this method, meaning it's receiving an already-decoded signal from the playback source. Can't tell with 100% certainty that it's playing back the DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD soundtrack though (as opposed to regular Dolby or DTS tracks) since the Denon doesn't "see" those formats if the sound is sent to it already decoded (i.e. the Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD 'lights' don't appear on the AV receiver.)

• I've tried playing back a Blu-ray disc direct from a USB-attached Blu-ray drive, but had no success on Windows 8. I tried the hacks available for VLC 2 to get it to play Blu-ray discs but to no avail. I also tried a trial edition of Corel's WinDVD Pro 11 (which presumably has licensed the HD audio codecs and includes them) but inexplicably get an error "Plaback with current display driver is not supported" on the Surface Pro! And that's not a rabbit-hole I'm interested in going down to try to find a fix for.

Edit: I had better luck with disc-based playback using a trial of CyberLink's PowerDVD instead. I was able to play back a Blu-ray direct from disc, and as expected it also caused the "Multi In" to fire on my Denon AVR, so it's sending a decoded signal, but same as MPC-HC, can't tell for sure if it's sending the HD audio or just standard.

• Hankori's note is interesting that the Surface Pro 2 has seemingly properly-enabled TrueHD and DTS-HD drivers… perhaps they set those drivers up correctly at the factory for the new generation of hardware? Now if they'd just patch the system software for us lowly original Surface Pro owners.

-R
Edited by rsinclair - 11/17/13 at 1:39am
post #47 of 54
Probably Microsoft didn't license/pay the fees to Dolby Labs (otherwise it would have been supported originally) so once they were notified that there was a back door to get it to work they had to close the hole or pay the fees, one or the other.
post #48 of 54
I don't have my Pro 1 any more, but the Pro 1 used Microsoft audio drivers. The Pro 2 came with the Realtek ones installed out of the box. As far as I know, the Pro 1 and 2 use the same audio chip, so I'd bet that you could install the Realtek drivers on the Pro 1 and get the same functionality.
post #49 of 54
Hi,

got any further with fixing the bitstreaming on surface pro 1? I am considering picking 1 up since the price is so low now.

From my understanding you used to be able to load the drivers manually, but since upgradiong to windows 8.1 you cant any more and the standard surface drivers dont support bitstreaming HD audio?

I havent seen an update on this issue so am wondering if there is any work around?

cheers
post #50 of 54
Thread Starter 
Hey Rbentlye100, since my last post I recently tried connecting the Surface 1 to my AV Receiver, and it DOES now show the HD/lossless audio codecs!

I haven't changed anything in my setup since my last post, so I can only assume that a recent hardware/firmware update (which I update to religiously) has resolved the issue. Since I haven't changed anything or done anything differently, I can't post any steps or directions that might help out, but fingers crossed hopefully it will "just work" at this point.

-R
post #51 of 54
sweet smile.gif thanks for the responce.

Have you come accross any negatives after your year or so of use? Especially any relating to htpc use?

I have picked 1 up for £405 (128gb), same price as a 16gb ipad air! Like a kid before xmas now smile.gif
post #52 of 54
How about bitstreaming HD audio on Intel Atom Bay Trail tablets work ?
post #53 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsinclair View Post

... since my last post I recently tried connecting the Surface 1 to my AV Receiver, and it DOES now show the HD/lossless audio codecs!

...I've confirmed that grabuzor's approach of using MPC-HC's LAV Filters will decode the audio at the player level, and pass the signal onto an AV receiver. My Denon displays "Multi In" with this method, meaning it's receiving an already-decoded signal from the playback source. Can't tell with 100% certainty that it's playing back the DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD soundtrack though (as opposed to regular Dolby or DTS tracks) since the Denon doesn't "see" those formats if the sound is sent to it already decoded (i.e. the Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD 'lights' don't appear on the AV receiver.)

So to be clear, you simply installed the sourceforge MPC-HC media player, and you now get the HD sound via HDMI to your receiver? Is that just via the MPC-HC media player or does the Windows Media Center (and others) video playback pick up those codecs as well?

Thanks
Gary
Edited by Gary.ds - 1/14/14 at 9:40am
post #54 of 54
Thread Starter 
@Rbentley100, I haven't had any other negatives, but I only use the system as a secondary HTPC, not my primary (which gets daily use.)

@Gary.ds, yes, this is just with a standard MPC-HC installation. I haven't tried any other player (such as WMC native).

-R
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