TiVo pros and cons vs. WMC HTPC - Page 5 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #121 of 201 Old 09-06-2015, 10:54 AM
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Thanks!

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Probably best to ask the rest in the Tivo Community forums where all the experts hang out.
I did post there as well, but wanted to post here to get the spin from the HTPC side of things.
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post #122 of 201 Old 09-06-2015, 01:38 PM
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"Tivo Bolt" appears to be the next model: http://zatznotfunny.com/2015-08/tivo...eplace-roamio/

That post and the following ones have a little bit of info about what they're expecting (4k possibly), but it will probably be released well after this current sale ends.
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post #123 of 201 Old 09-06-2015, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike_Boulanger View Post
I currently use Emby but understand there is a Plex app for TiVo.
I tried Plex and it was a dismal experience - uninstalled the server after three days. I think you'd have to be crazy not the spend a few bucks and purchase a "real" local streamer. With them well under $100 nowadays there is simply no excuse for a far superior experience. Including media management and viewing.

It's just a little worse than TiVo Online viewing via your browser. As with a Roamio it doesn't work at all unless you have a TiVo Stream on your network. Another local streaming piece missing from the puzzle.

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post #124 of 201 Old 09-06-2015, 05:47 PM
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Yeah upgrading the drive in the Roamio Plus I got last year was the first thing I did, wasn't worried about warranty issues. And it's been fine.
Makes me smile, remembering getting my two Replay 5080 back in 2004 and immediately, before even turning them on, swapping them out for a 160 and a 200 (yeah, those were the days). Dirt simple.

Those babies lasted until I retired the Replays due to loss of analog cable in mid-2011.

For the record, when analog cable switched to digital I went to WMC and cableCARD. That lasted 4 years, until something went wacky with the whole cableCARD part of it--so I dumped pay TV and went straight to OTA, cutting $63 out of my cable bill.

I bought some refurb Silicon Dust ethernet tuners, and they plugged right in and immediately--without hassle--fed my existing WMC setup, complete with my existing scheduled OTA network recordings. Nice.

But here I sit with an almost 5 year old WMC setup, fully aware of what THAT means--and fond memories of my ReplayTVs.

Trust me when I say, as much as it will absolutely KILL me to lose automatic commercial skip, I see a Tivo system in my probably not-so-far future.

I wouldn't have said that a few years ago, but with the non-premium cable channels going to crap and with Netflix and Hulu (no commercials!) filling in the gaps, the world has changed. I don't watch as much actual television as I used to, and the OTA networks became the primary source of that within the last year or so. I no longer care about the two cable-only tiers of programming I used to have. That $63 savings from cutting pay TV went to fund two more streams of Netflix (an additional $4 over the Netflix I already had) plus commercial-free Hulu ($12)--a very fair tradeoff.

And as much as I was worried that the family would revolt, let me tell you--my wife easily fit right in with the new setup, and the kids even more so. Kids nowadays really don't care, in this world of Netflix and Hulu and Youtube.

All I used that WMC computer for was recording and watching TV, and I put Roku beside every TV--and all I'm using Roku for is Netflix and Hulu, with an occasional Amazon rental. I guess Tivo would provide a complete solution.

Yeah, I'll miss my WMC much in the same way I miss my ReplayTV. But such is life.
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post #125 of 201 Old 09-06-2015, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I just want to say "thanks" to everyone who's replied so far. It's good to know there's a decent solution if and when I give up WMC.
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post #126 of 201 Old 09-07-2015, 05:50 AM
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I just want to say "thanks" to everyone who's replied so far. It's good to know there's a decent solution if and when I give up WMC.
A lot of the pros are based on the current sale. You'll need to ask again if you are giving up WMC after the sale is over.

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post #127 of 201 Old 09-08-2015, 05:56 AM
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Having owned literally dozens of Tivos and numerous WMC PCs I think I can speak frankly about each platform. Cost of Tivo vs. HTPC is a useless argument. You have to decide which platform gives you the value and features you want. Both systems are considered luxury items and not necessities so cost shouldn't even be a factor. If it is, you're mostly saving pennies over the long haul on one vs. the other. Power consumption is another useless argument. My NUCs probably use about the same power or less than a Tivo mini.

Every household has different requirements for watching TV. You should decide which platform best suits your needs for you and your family. If your family is more accepting of technology and can adapt more easily then WMC might work for you. If your wife and kids aren't technically savvy or don't want to be bothered, then Tivo is probably the better choice. My wife has always been stubborn when accepting new things, yet I got her to move away from the cable company set top box and migrate to a WMC extender (huge disaster), back to the STB, S3 Tivo, Samsung cablecard SMART TV box, and eventually to a NUC with WMC, which is now used on three different TVs in addition to a primary HTPC. The NUCs all get a live TV feed from a HDHR Prime and are used mostly for watching live TV and streaming movies and videos from an unRAID server.

When I first built my cablecard HTPC I was also using two S3 Tivos. I used both platforms for recording TV until I felt comfortable enough to switch over to the HTPC exclusively for all of my recording chores. I now use my HTPCs for watching and recording TV and streaming movies and videos from my server. I don't miss my Tivos one bit. Every HTPC I've ever built has been as reliable as any Tivo I've ever owned. That's not to say I haven't had my share of problems with both platforms, just that one is no more or less reliable than the other. Windows 7 has been the most reliable platform I've used from Microsoft to date. I've had very little exposure to Windows 8, mainly because I bought a copy the day it was released and couldn't figure out how to use it so I went back to Windows 7. I will probably migrate my desktop PCs to Win 10 at some point, but all my HTPCs will remain on Win 7.

To be fair, I have no hands on experience with anything newer than the series 3 Tivos so I can't honestly comment on them. I only know what I've read in the forums over at the TCF, but they seem like they've made huge strides in improving the UI and other functions. I personally don't use streaming services and most of the latest bells and whistles offered by Tivo would be wasted on me. I'm on FIOS so I can share just about anything between HTPCs, except what's recorded on Fox or Fx (I don't subscribe to HBO).

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post #128 of 201 Old 09-08-2015, 09:49 AM
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Going forward it is going to be difficult to recommend a WMC HTPC with Xbox 360s for extenders. Both products are dead-ends. The HTPC option going forward would be something like the SiliconDust DVR. I don't see Ceton coming through with anything at this rate https://twitter.com/cetoncorp/status...rc=twsrc%5Etfw

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post #129 of 201 Old 09-09-2015, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
4. pyTivo is working great for me.
So pyTiVo is a backend server for distributing other content to the TiVo box?
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post #130 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 05:14 AM
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So pyTiVo is a backend server for distributing other content to the TiVo box?
Yes. I think it can also pull content off the TiVo box as well.

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post #131 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
Going forward it is going to be difficult to recommend a WMC HTPC with Xbox 360s for extenders. Both products are dead-ends. The HTPC option going forward would be something like the SiliconDust DVR. I don't see Ceton coming through with anything at this rate https://twitter.com/cetoncorp/status...rc=twsrc%5Etfw
Just curious why you think WMC is a dead end? Do you really think WMC will stop working before your soon to be last generation Tivo stops working? This is not a knock on Tivo either, I considered it too.
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post #132 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:10 AM
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Just curious why you think WMC is a dead end? Do you really think WMC will stop working before your soon to be last generation Tivo stops working? This is not a knock on Tivo either, I considered it too.
He probably meant it's an evolutionary dead end, as it's been stagnant forever now. Plus, many people can't work with the current guide data from Rovi.
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post #133 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:20 AM
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Just curious why you think WMC is a dead end? Do you really think WMC will stop working before your soon to be last generation Tivo stops working? This is not a knock on Tivo either, I considered it too.
I think the difference is clear - WMC is no longer an active product at Microsoft. Although it is technically still supported since it is included with Windows 8, there will obviously be no future enhancements and likely only problems going forward (like the guide provider switch, removal of the Netflix plug-in, etc.).

For people who have been 100% happy with the platform and only care about live and recorded TV then maybe riding WMC out is the smart choice. For people like me who wanted more out of the platform and saw potential growth moving now makes the most sense. I can sell all of my HTPCs and tuner devices and probably break even buying TiVo hardware with a lifetime subscription. By making that switch I'll get a smoother multi-TV viewing experience, no HDCP handshake issues, streaming and easy copy to mobile devices, current and supported products, an 800 number my wife could call if needed, lower power use, 1 source viewing and easy remote control of Netflix/Prime/Hulu, and the potential for future growth/updates/features.

If TiVo lasts another 3-5 years as it should, I'll be very glad I made the switch.
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post #134 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:23 AM
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Just curious why you think WMC is a dead end? Do you really think WMC will stop working before your soon to be last generation Tivo stops working? This is not a knock on Tivo either, I considered it too.
Because you have to buy an old version of Windows to get it. It was one thing to recommend Win 7 downgrade over Win 8 due to many reasons. I'm just thinking of that person that buys a Dell and wants to use it as a HTPC. You'll now have to wipe Win 10 off and put in Win 7 (or Win 8). Then if they want an extender you'll have to get an old Xbox 360 to pair up with it.

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post #135 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:41 AM
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It just seems like people are trading in a platform with one big deficit (WMC streaming apps), for a platform with another big deficit (Tivo local video streaming aka Emby/Plex). Does Tivo roll out "future enhancements" to their older models as well? I would just be worried that when the Bolt comes out I once again have a product not receiving new features.
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post #136 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by 3rob3 View Post
It just seems like people are trading in a platform with one big deficit (WMC streaming apps), for a platform with another big deficit (Tivo local video streaming aka Emby/Plex). Does Tivo roll out "future enhancements" to their older models as well? I would just be worried that when the Bolt comes out I once again have a product not receiving new features.
Many people have a second box to stream local files fine. Android TV, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox.
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post #137 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:58 AM
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It just seems like people are trading in a platform with one big deficit (WMC streaming apps), for a platform with another big deficit (Tivo local video streaming aka Emby/Plex). Does Tivo roll out "future enhancements" to their older models as well? I would just be worried that when the Bolt comes out I once again have a product not receiving new features.
I am using Emby now with WMC - you're right that without trying the Plex app I don't know with certainty that I'll be 100% happy. Apparently it's limited to 720 so that's a concern, but I don't do any critical watching at most of my TVs so 720p isn't an issue there. In my theater room with 132" screen I do care, so will be keeping an HTPC there, in addition to a TiVo Mini, for more critical viewing. I already have multiple sources and a nice universal remote in that room so that's not an issue.

There are also other options to consider if I'm not happy with Plex. Lots of people seem happy with PyTivo, and a friend of mine with a TiVo manually copies his rips to his TiVo which works well for him.

Yes, they do support older models. As far as I know they still push out updates to their Premiere model which is last generation, and they do offer incentives to move up to newer models if needed. I'm holding out for the Bolt release to see what it's all about.
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post #138 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 06:59 AM
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Many people have a second box to stream local files fine. Android TV, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox.
I could do that but my first option is to stick to 1 source/1 remote. Otherwise I might keep WMC and use sticks for my streaming apps.

Ideally I'd like to see the Bolt have legacy cable card support for today, and be more in line with Roku/Fire Stick/etc. as far as pushing streaming apps. That would give me the best of both worlds, and in my opinion would be a good niche for TiVo to be in as they push towards a complete IP TV solution.

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post #139 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 07:19 AM
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I guess that is my point, that with WMC (or any HTPC DVR really) you still need a secondary device for streaming apps. With Tivo you will need a secondary device to play full res. local files and for the streaming apps not available on Tivo.


Now if you just are wanting to get the PC disconnected from the TV (and some of the issues that come along with it), and have better extenders, than I can see the reasoning.
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post #140 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike_Boulanger View Post
I could do that but my first option is to stick to 1 source/1 remote. Otherwise I might keep WMC and use sticks for my streaming apps.

Ideally I'd like to see the Bolt have legacy cable card support for today, and be more in line with Roku/Fire Stick/etc. as far as pushing streaming apps. That would give me the best of both worlds, and in my opinion would be a good niche for TiVo to be in as they push towards a complete IP TV solution.
Throw in a Blu-ray player too.
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post #141 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 07:36 AM
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I guess that is my point, that with WMC (or any HTPC DVR really) you still need a secondary device for streaming apps. With Tivo you will need a secondary device to play full res. local files and for the streaming apps not available on Tivo.
Not in my situation. I'm confident one of the options will suit my needs for ripped movies (Plex, PyTiVo or manual copy) in all but 1 location. And the multi-TV experience is so much better with TiVo. Other streaming apps would be nice, but I only really care about Netflix and Prime.

If I was paying big $ to make the switch I might hesitate, but in my case it's a pretty horizontal move financially.
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post #142 of 201 Old 09-10-2015, 04:35 PM
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I have used a Panasonic DVR, DTVpal DVR, Magnavox DVR and WMC. I have read, for years, how great Tivo is but the cost has been prohibitive. With the recent WMC guide change (that took three days to resolve) and the possible Microsoft abandon of WMC in favor of their Xbox DVR. I took advantage of the Tivo sale, I finally bought a Roamio. For the past two weeks I have been using the Tivo with mixed feelings. I find the Tivo guide is similar to the pre-Rovi guide of the WMC. It is not surprising since both the Tivo & WMC Pre-Rovi both came from Zip-to-it. The Tivo guide marks new series shows with a "New" label which is nice feature not on WMC. The current WMC guide from Rovi has less information than before. The most missed info is on movies, missing rating stars and date made but Rovi is working to improve it's guide, hopefully. Tivo's "Suggested" feature is something new to me and I did find three new shows from it but I suspect in a few more weeks I will ignore it or find it annoying. I do find moving through Tivo menu's cumbersome compared to the wireless mouse, on the arm of my chair, I use to control WMC. With WMC I have two HDHomerun tuners connected to two different antennas giving me a total of four channels. Each antenna points in a different direction (E & SW) that allows me more stations than using just one antenna. Something you can't do with a Tivo. I can also assign priorities to the tuners for each channel.

Overall I prefer WMC as my primary DVR due to ease of use and features. Plus I can surf the web and stream missed episodes and shows not available OTA. I gave up cable years ago and do not miss anything especially the bill. I will put the Tivo on the antenna to my bedroom TV and possibility use it to record the few shows my WMC four tuners miss. Then copy the shows to my WMC with Kmttg, The Tivo is really my insurance in case WMC is abandoned.
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post #143 of 201 Old 09-14-2015, 04:57 AM
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I always love it when people declare a software product to be dead. WMC is alive and well and will continue to thrive as long as Microsoft provides guide data for it. The only thing that has ceased with WMC is any further development. The way I see it, WMC is fine as is and apparently Microsoft thought so too and just stopped making changes to it. There's not much point in further development if you've got it where you want it. I'm sure they could have come up with all sorts of bells and whistles to keep it shiny and new, much the way that Tivo does, but for a DVR package it's an extremely stable and competent platform. There could have been some more polishing done to the way guide data is displayed as well as some other areas, but that's just minor tweaking to a product that's essentially complete.

As far as having to buy an older OS to use it, so what? That's actually a bonus because you can probably pick up licensed copies of Windows 7 dirt cheap these days. I've got four HTPCs running Win 7 and have no plans to switch over to a different OS. As long as the hardware still works there's no reason to change. Used PCs with Win 7 already installed are probably available for low prices as well. I know that Newegg sells a lot of refurbished PCs pretty cheap and no doubt others do as well. You really only need to find hardware that still has the right drivers available for it.

WMC is far from dead. The switch to Rovi for guide data ensures it will be around for the foreseeable future. Aside from a few minor glitches with recordings, I have had no major issues with the switch. All of my HTPC s are running fine with the Rovi guide data.
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post #144 of 201 Old 09-14-2015, 05:27 AM
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Would you recommend someone to build a WMC HTPC five years from now? Probably not.

What about four years? How about three years? Two years? One year? Today?

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The only thing that has ceased with WMC is any further development.
Not really true. Netflix add-in is pretty broken as-is and will be gone shortly, guide data has worsened, only extender still available is Xbox 360 which is not ideal, etc.


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The way I see it, WMC is fine as is and apparently Microsoft thought so too and just stopped making changes to it. There's not much point in further development if you've got it where you want it.
I think what occurred is Microsoft saw less use of WMC than they had hoped so they stopped putting resources into it, which stunted its development, thus a self-fulfilling prophecy. WMC was supposed to be an entertainment hub where you could access OTA, cable, and IP-based TV services, along with locally stored media. They never pushed the product as they should so it has stagnated for many years. It's really not much better than it was back in the XP Media Center Edition days. Technology has moved on and Microsoft has stripped it to the bare essentials that, thankfully, still work. They never pushed the IP-based TV beyond a decent for its time (but never updated) Netflix plug-in and some useless and gimmicky streams.
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post #146 of 201 Old 09-14-2015, 08:18 AM
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They never pushed the product as they should so it has stagnated for many years. It's really not much better than it was back in the XP Media Center Edition days. Technology has moved on and Microsoft has stripped it to the bare essentials that, thankfully, still work.
Still, even without many changes for years WMC is still better for my OTA purposes than anything current.
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post #147 of 201 Old 09-14-2015, 08:24 AM
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Still, even without many changes for years WMC is still better for my OTA purposes than anything current.
Quite amazing, isn't it? I'm surprised no one has it right yet. So many players are 1 or 2 pieces short of a great, complete product. If Amazon and Netflix had a published API for 3rd parties to utilize I think those of us who value those streaming options would have some decent options out there.

There are good options for people who want just 1 or 2 big features, but for those who want what WMC originally promised it's pretty depressing.
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post #148 of 201 Old 09-15-2015, 05:45 AM
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Would you recommend someone to build a WMC HTPC five years from now? Probably not.

What about four years? How about three years? Two years? One year? Today?
I can't predict the future, can you? Asking what I would recommend five years from now is just a stupid question that I doubt you could answer. I would only recommend building a HTPC to someone that was already computer savvy. With that in mind, I wouldn't have a problem recommending a WMC HTPC as long as they understand the caveats involved. I will be using my WMC HTPCs for as long as I can get guide data for them. If WMC is no longer a viable option then I will likely switch to a different DVR app and continue to use my HTPC for recording. The only caveat would be recording copy protected content, such as HBO, but since I don't subscribe to HBO it's not really an issue for me. I've already paid for five years worth of guide data to SiliconDust for their DVR app so I've already got a backup plan should Microsoft pull the plug on guide data for WMC. However, with the recent switch to Rovi I don't see that going away anytime soon. If I did subscribe to any channels that were flagged then I might consider getting a Tivo to record them and use my HTPC for everything else. I did that back when I had DirecTV. I used my HD-Tivos for recording DirecTV and my HTPC for all of my locals.

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Originally Posted by Mike_Boulanger View Post
Not really true. Netflix add-in is pretty broken as-is and will be gone shortly, guide data has worsened, only extender still available is Xbox 360 which is not ideal, etc.
I've never used the Netflix add-in. You forgot about the Ceton Echo, which is understandably forgettable. Windows 7 still supports all available extenders. I would never switch to Windows 8 to use WMC for a myriad of reasons.

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I think what occurred is Microsoft saw less use of WMC than they had hoped so they stopped putting resources into it, which stunted its development, thus a self-fulfilling prophecy. WMC was supposed to be an entertainment hub where you could access OTA, cable, and IP-based TV services, along with locally stored media. They never pushed the product as they should so it has stagnated for many years. It's really not much better than it was back in the XP Media Center Edition days. Technology has moved on and Microsoft has stripped it to the bare essentials that, thankfully, still work. They never pushed the IP-based TV beyond a decent for its time (but never updated) Netflix plug-in and some useless and gimmicky streams.
What happened was that Microsoft just dropped the ball in promoting WMC. Their commercials were about as vague as they could be and anyone that knew about WMC mostly got wind of it via word of mouth or through various forums. Microsoft has a track record of poor promotion for their products and educating the consumer. Their sheer arrogance is the main cause for many of their products dying off due to lack of interest and awareness.

Last edited by captain_video; 09-15-2015 at 05:56 AM.
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post #149 of 201 Old 09-15-2015, 08:27 AM
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The only thing I'd lose by going to a TiVo is the My Movies interface for my disc collection.

Is there any software app that will work with PS3 or TiVo to stream MKVs or ISOs from a server?
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post #150 of 201 Old 09-15-2015, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jtscribe View Post
The only thing I'd lose by going to a TiVo is the My Movies interface for my disc collection.

Is there any software app that will work with PS3 or TiVo to stream MKVs or ISOs from a server?
Plex for MKVs. Not sure if it has Cinavia on the PS3.
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