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Best set up options for FIOS HTPC to stream to other TVs

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

 

After doing a bunch of research on this forum and some others, I think I've got a general idea of what i need, but not sure on the best method of content delivery.  Hoping to get a little help in that area.  Here's what I'm trying to accomplish:

 

Goals:

-FIOS Cable inlet and HTPC are in office (same house, no TV in this room).

-Ability to stream live cable to TV in living room

-Ability to stream recorded shows to living room and bedroom

 

Pretty sure I'm going to go with the Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe or Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe (slightly cheaper) for use with my HTPC, unless someone advises against those options.  That enables me to just rent a $4 cable card from FIOS instead of a box and DVR.

 

My main question is this... Once I have the Ceton tuner card installed in my HTPC, what are my best options for streaming live TV to the living room?  Is this experience decent?  

 

Also, if I have this set up I'm assuming that the best DVR option is to use the windows media thing built into Windows 7?  Once I have some recorded shows from TV, what's the best way to get those on other TV's?  Can I use plex and chromecast to accomplish this?

 

Thanks in advance for all the support, this is my first post but I love what I've read on other threads so far.

post #2 of 22
The best and native solution is Windows Media Center Extenders. If your package includes any of the premium channels, it is your only option.

If not, then you can think outside of the box, but if you switch to a different provider later on, who does copyright protect non-premium channels (TWC), then you will still need to get Windows Media Center Extenders.

you can have up 5 simultaneous MCE units, and TV connected to the HPTC for a grand total of 6 simultaneous TV's. You can pair up additional extenders, but you will be limited to 5 at once.

Your hardware requirements, per Microsoft are: 1 CPU core and 1GB of RAM per TV connected to the system.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

The best and native solution is Windows Media Center Extenders. If your package includes any of the premium channels, it is your only option.

If not, then you can think outside of the box, but if you switch to a different provider later on, who does copyright protect non-premium channels (TWC), then you will still need to get Windows Media Center Extenders.

you can have up 5 simultaneous MCE units, and TV connected to the HPTC for a grand total of 6 simultaneous TV's. You can pair up additional extenders, but you will be limited to 5 at once.

Your hardware requirements, per Microsoft are: 1 CPU core and 1GB of RAM per TV connected to the system.

What are my best MCE alternatives?  I'm eventually going to buy an XBox One which doesn't include MCE apparently...  It seems Microsoft is phasing out support for MCE, I'd like to do this setup once the right way instead of adjusting it again in the future.  I wish Plex supported live TV, I would just be good to go with my Chromecast then.

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

What are my best MCE alternatives?  I'm eventually going to buy an XBox One which doesn't include MCE apparently...  It seems Microsoft is phasing out support for MCE, I'd like to do this setup once the right way instead of adjusting it again in the future.  I wish Plex supported live TV, I would just be good to go with my Chromecast then.

If you go with Windows 7 WMC then your choices are: Linksys, HP, D-Link which are no longer made, so you would have to buy used. Or Ceton Echo, and XBOX360. You can also buy XBOX360 with a broken DVD drive, and it will function as an extender. Even the banned one will, but only for basic TV functionality. It won't play your digital media without the optional media pack, which you need Live Silver (Free) to install.

If you go with Window 8 WMC, then XBOX360 is your only choice.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post


My main question is this... Once I have the Ceton tuner card installed in my HTPC, what are my best options for streaming live TV to the living room?  Is this experience decent?  

Also, if I have this set up I'm assuming that the best DVR option is to use the windows media thing built into Windows 7?  Once I have some recorded shows from TV, what's the best way to get those on other TV's?  Can I use plex and chromecast to accomplish this?

I have two extenders - an Xbox 360 and a Linksys DMA2100. Both play live and recorded tv great. They are wired (along with a bluray player, Slingbox, and Google TV) to a 100mbps router. Once in a great while I'll get a momentary "Network Error" blip where it drops a few frames, but its certainly not pervasive.

I still don't understand exactly how Chromecast works - but it does have to be streaming over wifi. But heres how I use Plex in conjunction with WMC:

WMC gives long goofy file names when it records something. It includes the channel, program, date, time, etc. There are programs to rename files, but it isn't done by default. Plex (the server software component) expects you to have files named in a proper fashion. If you are going to record a series like Big Bang Theory thats easier to do, but its still not automatic. But if you are recording numerous one off shows (think National Geographic specials) you will have trouble identifying them. It won't recognize or display files with long WMC names.

I solved this problem by calling my Recorded TV files "Home Movies." Plex will stick any video file in a "Home Movies" library. That way I can get them on my phone to watch at lunchtime or on the bus. But I'm still stuck with difficult to read file names that I have to be willing to sift through. Heres an example from my phone:




Thats the Android interface, which I guess you'd need to use for Chromecast? I still just don't get that.
Edited by pittsoccer33 - 1/21/14 at 10:09am
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post


If you go with Windows 7 WMC then your choices are: Linksys, HP, D-Link which are no longer made, so you would have to buy used. Or Ceton Echo, and XBOX360. You can also buy XBOX360 with a broken DVD drive, and it will function as an extender. Even the banned one will, but only for basic TV functionality. It won't play your digital media without the optional media pack, which you need Live Silver (Free) to install.

If you go with Window 8 WMC, then XBOX360 is your only choice.

Damn... there's really no good "new" future proof options.  I feel like my hand is being forced towards some sort of TIVO device and a slingbox.  Or just paying damn FIOS a ton more money per month for multi-room DVR.  I'm currently only paying for internet, and I don't see myself adding cable TV soon if it's this big of a pain to do live television and DVR on my HTPC. 

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

Thats the Android interface, which I guess you'd need to use for Chromecast? I still just don't get that.

Nice, thanks for the screenshots.  With Plex now officially supporting chromecast, all you would do is the following:

-have Chromecast installed on the target TV (just plugged in)

-Open plex app on your phone (from your above screenshots)

-Press the 'Cast' button in the app - only active if you have a chromecast on the network

-the video you selected now plays on the TV

 

This is great, but my main beef with it is that I can't do live TV this way.  It appears windows media center is the ONLY program currently capable of recording the new "copy once" channels from FIOS, brighthouse, time warner, etc...

post #8 of 22
WMC and a cablecard tuner doesn't manipulate the digital cable stream at all - it displays it exactly as your box does. For 99% of users that means MPEG2 video and AC3 audio

Chromecast supports neither. That means live tv on it is definitely out. It also means you would either have to manually convert all your recordings after the fact or use Plex to do it in real time (which works pretty well but I'd hate to rely on it for perfect playback). Also, since its going to require wifi, its going to have to compress the signal quite a big because digital cable rarely streams well over a wireless connection.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

-Press the 'Cast' button in the app - only active if you have a chromecast on the network

So does it go

phone-->router-->pc-->router-->phone-->router-->chromecast?

or

phone-->router-->pc-->router-->chromecast?

I just ask because youre looking at a decent amount of wifi bandwidth to send HD video all over the place.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post


So does it go

phone-->router-->pc-->router-->phone-->router-->chromecast?

or

phone-->router-->pc-->router-->chromecast?

I just ask because youre looking at a decent amount of wifi bandwidth to send HD video all over the place.

Once your chromecast gets the signal that you're trying to load a plex video, it doesn't stream anything from the phone.  It loads it directly from your HTPC running plex server.  But it is over wifi.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

Damn... there's really no good "new" future proof options.  I feel like my hand is being forced towards some sort of TIVO device and a slingbox.  Or just paying damn FIOS a ton more money per month for multi-room DVR.  I'm currently only paying for internet, and I don't see myself adding cable TV soon if it's this big of a pain to do live television and DVR on my HTPC. 

You must be new to this. There is NO such thing as future proof in electronics. Whatever you buy, is obsolete before you open the box.

Not sure how future proof TiVO and FiOS boxes are, but they are not. TiVO Premiere, which is only a couple years old, is obsolete now, and has been replaced by Roamio. And people paid premium for it.

If you want future proof, you have to get something that is flexible, which is HTPC.

If you don't have FiOS TV, you won't be able to get CableCARD, nor will there be TV feed in your coax. Verizon turns it off if you are not TV subscriber.

I have 5 Linksys extenders, and outside of inability to play MKV, they are far from obsolete. There are ways to make it work. I just automatically convert everything to XVID, which they support. It is cheaper for me that buying all new extenders.

They work for their intended purpose, which is "whole house DVR" and they work well. XBOX works even better. It has faster interface, and you can throw a lot more file formats at it.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post


You must be new to this. There is NO such thing as future proof in electronics. Whatever you buy, is obsolete before you open the box.

Not sure how future proof TiVO and FiOS boxes are, but they are not. TiVO Premiere, which is only a couple years old, is obsolete now, and has been replaced by Roamio. And people paid premium for it.

If you want future proof, you have to get something that is flexible, which is HTPC.

If you don't have FiOS TV, you won't be able to get CableCARD, nor will there be TV feed in your coax. Verizon turns it off if you are not TV subscriber.

I have 5 Linksys extenders, and outside of inability to play MKV, they are far from obsolete. There are ways to make it work. I just automatically convert everything to XVID, which they support. It is cheaper for me that buying all new extenders.

They work for their intended purpose, which is "whole house DVR" and they work well. XBOX works even better. It has faster interface, and you can throw a lot more file formats at it.

Haha not new just dissapointed that there's no standard.  But you're right, Xbox is the way to go.  I have a 360, I'm just ticked off I have to have an Xbox One, but still keep my 360 around to stream live TV.  Seems so silly

post #13 of 22
Having premium channels really limits your options. I'm on FiOS but don't have HBO/Showtime, etc so all the channels I get are "copy freely" which gives me many choices. I have my main HTPC in my basement theater room, running 7MC and using an HDHOmerun network cable card tuner. My living room HTPC was also running 7MC with just an SSD, so I was using it kind of like an extender, i.e. no local recordings. That worked OK, but I had a few problems, namely I'd have to wake up the HTPC in the basement and re-start 7MC in the living room before it would be able to access the recorded TV folder.

Since then, I've installed XBMC in the living room and the wmc.pvr add-on to the basement HTPC. Now I have a unified "whole home" DVR that works much better. And a WOL add-on wakes up the basement HTPC every time the living room HTPC wakes up.

And MediaBrowser now also works with this kind of live TV setup, so there are more alternatives out there.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDLIVE View Post

Having premium channels really limits your options. I'm on FiOS but don't have HBO/Showtime, etc so all the channels I get are "copy freely" which gives me many choices. I have my main HTPC in my basement theater room, running 7MC and using an HDHOmerun network cable card tuner. My living room HTPC was also running 7MC with just an SSD, so I was using it kind of like an extender, i.e. no local recordings. That worked OK, but I had a few problems, namely I'd have to wake up the HTPC in the basement and re-start 7MC in the living room before it would be able to access the recorded TV folder.

Since then, I've installed XBMC in the living room and the wmc.pvr add-on to the basement HTPC. Now I have a unified "whole home" DVR that works much better. And a WOL add-on wakes up the basement HTPC every time the living room HTPC wakes up.

And MediaBrowser now also works with this kind of live TV setup, so there are more alternatives out there.

I didn't realize most FIOS channels were flagged 'copy freely'. That's good news. I'm not looking for any premium channels, I simply don't watch that much TV. I may just stick with Hulu+ for now because of that, but I have the commercials and not getting every show I like (for instance Archer isn't on there)

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post #15 of 22
Same here. I'm on FIOS, but no premium channels. I have Intel NUCs at two TVs in addition to my primary HTPC. Since my recorded shows on the main HTPC aren't flagged, I have the RecordedTV folder on that PC mapped to the NUCs so I can access them for viewing on the other TVs. If I only wanted to watch and record TV I'd strongly consider going with extenders. Unfortunately, for some reason I got constant network errors with every extender I tried and could never find any issues with the network itself. I also have a server with lots of movies ripped to mkv files. I use XBMC on each PC for streaming them to their respective TVs.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

I didn't realize most FIOS channels were flagged 'copy freely'. That's good news. I'm not looking for any premium channels, I simply don't watch that much TV.

If they weren't copy freely you wouldn't be able to use Plex at all.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

I didn't realize most FIOS channels were flagged 'copy freely'. That's good news. I'm not looking for any premium channels, I simply don't watch that much TV.

If they weren't copy freely you wouldn't be able to use Plex at all.

Oh true... I missed that

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post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

I didn't realize most FIOS channels were flagged 'copy freely'. That's good news. I'm not looking for any premium channels, I simply don't watch that much TV. I may just stick with Hulu+ for now because of that, but I have the commercials and not getting every show I like (for instance Archer isn't on there)

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

That's why I mentioned it, wasn't really clear from your other posts if it was a limiting factor for you or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Same here. I'm on FIOS, but no premium channels. I have Intel NUCs at two TVs in addition to my primary HTPC. Since my recorded shows on the main HTPC aren't flagged, I have the RecordedTV folder on that PC mapped to the NUCs so I can access them for viewing on the other TVs. If I only wanted to watch and record TV I'd strongly consider going with extenders. Unfortunately, for some reason I got constant network errors with every extender I tried and could never find any issues with the network itself. I also have a server with lots of movies ripped to mkv files. I use XBMC on each PC for streaming them to their respective TVs.

I probably would have gone with an extender as well, but already had the parts to build another HTPC, so....*shrug* Plus it's a bit of redundancy in case one or the other is down.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

I didn't realize most FIOS channels were flagged 'copy freely'. That's good news. I'm not looking for any premium channels, I simply don't watch that much TV. I may just stick with Hulu+ for now because of that, but I have the commercials and not getting every show I like (for instance Archer isn't on there)

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

You said you wanted to future proof. Relying on the content to remain not copyright protected is not future proof. Even if Verizon never flags it copyright protected, one day you may want to switch to Cable, and if your cable TV provider is Time Warner, then all of their content is copyright protected.

Then what? You just killed your whole set up.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnomyar220 View Post

I didn't realize most FIOS channels were flagged 'copy freely'. That's good news. I'm not looking for any premium channels, I simply don't watch that much TV. I may just stick with Hulu+ for now because of that, but I have the commercials and not getting every show I like (for instance Archer isn't on there)

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

You said you wanted to future proof. Relying on the content to remain not copyright protected is not future proof. Even if Verizon never flags it copyright protected, one day you may want to switch to Cable, and if your cable TV provider is Time Warner, then all of their content is copyright protected.

Then what? You just killed your whole set up.

You're right, but when that flag flips isn't that the point of having an HTPC? it's flexible to adapt to whatever comes my way. Have to do the best with what's available, there doesn't seem to be a one size fits all.

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post #21 of 22
When the flag is flipped all that hardware besides your HTPC becomes door stops. Why not get the most flexible hardware now instead of gambling that the flag won't flip?
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

When the flag is flipped all that hardware besides your HTPC becomes door stops. Why not get the most flexible hardware now instead of gambling that the flag won't flip?
That's what I'm trying to figure out, what hardware to get. Do you have alternatives to MCE? And a cable card tuner? I'm. Let being sarcastic, I'm seriously trying to find the best hardware.

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