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Nice post!

I will offer a different view from clinging to WMC, that is to migrate away from WMC in favor of Emby as a software platform. I use Emby to replace my DVR functions for TV using silicon dust tuners. It stores all of my ripped media from discs that I own, and it plays great to my main home theater PC or any Roku stick anywhere in the world that has internet access, or to my Android smartphone or tablet, or numerous other devices. It just works! For a while I thought they would rip WMC out of my cold dead fingers, but now I'm very happy that I have moved on and no longer need to worry about outdated software components.

Again thank you for an excellent post.

I wonder whatever happened to ReneThx?
 

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I will offer a different view from clinging to WMC, that is to migrate away from WMC in favor of Emby as a software platform. I use Emby to replace my DVR functions for TV using silicon dust tuners. It stores all of my ripped media from discs that I own, and it plays great to my main home theater PC or any Roku stick anywhere in the world that has internet access, or to my Android smartphone or tablet, or numerous other devices. It just works! For a while I thought they would rip WMC out of my cold dead fingers, but now I'm very happy that I have moved on and no longer need to worry about outdated software components.
The only caveat with this, and it's a big one, is that WMC is the only option for recording DRM channels (typically things like HBO, but sometimes nearly every channel in some cable TV systems). In my case, the only channel that I've cared about that we subscribe do that has DRM is FX. Now that The Americans has ended, I don't believe there's anything on our FIOS service (that we pay for) that has this issue.

JRiver Media Center is another excellent choice as a DVR.

I wonder whatever happened to ReneThx?
I suspect he got exhausted from keeping the build guides updated and moved on to other things. He had to have put in a TON of work each time he put a guide together. I miss his contributions here though.
 

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HTPC wmc movie and music play back

It is very quiet now days on this thread. But I have had some new experiences lately with my years old WMC HTPC that I thought might be of interest to those of us who haven't found a better alternative and still use WMC.

1. If you are not running your HTPC on a solid state c drive make the change. I actually have two WMC HTPC computers. One on silicon and one with spinning C drive. I knew the solid state drive worked well but had attributed the marginal performance of the spinning drive computer to its age and build up of programs etc. Changed it to a solid state drive. What a change. I use several Ceton extenders on it with the Ceton cable card tuner. Everything is now responsive and better than it has ever been. Huge transformation.

2. My original Ceton tuner card went bad. I really didn't know what was going on. Getting lots of messages like "you must set up cable TV" from WMC, missed recordings which had never happened over many years of use. Just unreliability. I bought another used Ceton. Put it in the solid state C drive HTPC and it immediately stabilized. The responsiveness of the newer Ceton tuner is much better than my first generation Ceton card ever was. So if you are seeing strange things with a first generation Ceton, a newer or new card may transform your experience and give a new life to your HTPC.

3. I use Acronis for backup. I had to recover my c Drive from a backup. Found out that old Win 7 (on two of my computers) will not run their Linux recovery software. Ended up having to do a new Win7 install on my c drive and install Acornis there to access "recover disc" function to rebuild my C drive from my good backup. I eventually was successful but took me two days of trial and error before I got a bootable drive. But the end result is just fine. My advice is to clone your working c Drive now to create a backup bootable drive so that if your main c drive fails, you can boot the spare and clone it back to a fast solid state drive to go forward. Also, I am now backing up my C drive and any other drives separately in Acronis rather than using a "backup computer" catch all mode so that I can easily access a "recover disc" option for each individual disc from my backup. This function produces a bootable c drive from a backup. A true Acronis expert may have a better solution but this one works, at least for me.

4. The Digital Cable Advisor may not be available to download anymore to add back in to a Win7 install like mine which did not have it as part of WMC as delivered. I couldn't find it on line and if I had not recovered my C drive, I may have lost the cable card DVR/tuner functions in my HTPC. I imagine there has to be a place somewhere to download this but I recovered my backup before I had to really dig deep to find it.

5. I never see it talked about but one of the best things about WMC is its ability to play ripped CD's of recordings that were designed to play seamlessly between tracks without silence gaps without gaps in the playback. I don't know of another solution, though there may be one out there.

So after a couple of days of battle, my HTPC is working better than ever. Anyone else have new user experience and tips for those of us who just can't let go of WMC? Anyone know of a solution that does all of the things WMC does (edit channel guide, play lossless codec music seamlessly, have massive recording capacity)? I don't.

I do also have a new Apple TV. It is good but I have not given in and moved to the Apple ecosystem so it is a growth process for me to unleash its capabilities. It does the streaming thing well. WMC HTPC and AppleTV together have everything covered so far as I can tell.
I have watched this forum for many years, mostly to reading reviews. I thought I had posted here a while back, but I guess I am wrong. I could not use my old username.

Anyway, I use 2 NUCs for my HTPCs and they have done well. I would like to update to the latest NUCs in the future so that I can watch my Movies through PowerDVD. I feel that the NUCs would be a good fit because they are SGX compatible which PowerDVD requires for 4K UHD playback. If someone uses a different mini HTPC that supports SGX and UHD HDR playback please let me know.

Currently I use Mymovies "mymovies.dk" for cataloging my discs and disc playback. It became a little lame when WMC went away and I tried Kodi and Jriver, but they did not suit me as well as Mymovies, so I used WMC on windows 10 which seemed a struggle for me to maintain.

I did not know what I could do and I invested a lot of time updating and cataloging my discs in Mymovies and was afraid that I would have to abandon all the work that I had done. Last year a developer came out with a Mymovies companion, which has gradually grown to be a good replacement for my WMC needs. No, it does not have DVR playback or the ability to play tv shows with a cablecard. It does display and play my Movie discs and play my music much like WMC did. It also uses other players other than PowerDVD like MPC-HC, MPC-BE, VLC and a few others. For music it plays mp3, Flac, m4a, and a number of other formats. I really like this software playback tool and if it is used for those functions it is quite good. I have no affiliation with the guy who developed this product, but I have done commentaries on the mymovies site stating my satisfaction with the product. I don't know whether you are required to use mymovies with it, but I do anyway. It is called Chameleon media center and you can find posts on it at the mymovies web site.

Also, because of difficulties with my Yamaha receiver, I am only able to play my music and movies via toslink. I also would like a recommendation on a good USB external sound card that I can hook up to my NUCs. I have seen that creative Labs and Star tech have a couple of external sound cards and I was wondering whether others use them, or can recommend another company. I am mostly looking four something that will do 5.1 to 7.1 playback.
 

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Quick question: I ran out of SATA ports in my server. I do NOT have a RAID set-up. Currently, I run WD RED drives and pool them utilizing StableBit DrivePool and monitor them utilizing StableBit Scanner. So, I was thinking of purchasing one of these cheap cards: I/O CREST 4 Port SATA III PCI-e 2.0 x2 Non RAID Hard Drive Controller Card Marvell 9235 Chipset

Thoughts? I've read somewhere that these cards can be extremely slow... but, if all I need is to access static media isn't this all that is needed? They would just be for the pooled drives. The other components would use motherboard SATA ports.
 

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Annoying WMC guide warning

Anyone know how to stop the annoying WMC pop up warnings that the default TV Guide listing service is going away? I have been on another guide service for years and could do without the pop ups. Also, does anyone know what is likely to happen once Win7 is no longer supported? Can we run it without too much worry if one uses a current virus protection service, particularly on a single purpose WMC dedicated PC without any critical personal info on it?

I hate to lose WMC.
 

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Anyone know how to stop the annoying WMC pop up warnings that the default TV Guide listing service is going away? I have been on another guide service for years and could do without the pop ups. Also, does anyone know what is likely to happen once Win7 is no longer supported? Can we run it without too much worry if one uses a current virus protection service, particularly on a single purpose WMC dedicated PC without any critical personal info on it?

I hate to lose WMC.
If you setup EPG123 (there's a subforum for it on TheGreenButton), it should take care of that for you.
 

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Guys, I suggest dumping WMC and going to Win10 and using Emby with its native Emby Theater app. I run my HTPC with Emby's server and Emby Theater on the same PC, and use Schedules Direct for guide data with Emby Server recording. Works great.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 

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Guys, I suggest dumping WMC and going to Win10 and using Emby with its native Emby Theater app. I run my HTPC with Emby's server and Emby Theater on the same PC, and use Schedules Direct for guide data with Emby Server recording. Works great.
I'll certainly take a look at Emby, but does it truly have DVR feature parity with WMC (other than support for DRM channels such as HBO)? Some specifics:



  • Support for both OTA and CableCard tuners simultaneously.
  • Support for series recordings with the ability to exclude repeat episodes
  • Support for keyword recordings so you can have it record all shows with something like "NHL Boston Bruins at" in the name or "Robert De Niro" in the actor list?

I had looked at Plex and it's missing simultaneous support for multiple tuner types (there's a way to make it work, but it's sort of hacky) and doesn't have keyword searching.

JRiver Media Center is a great alternative to WMC that supports all the above and much more - the recording rules they've implemented are extremely flexible and they support multiple tuner types simultaneously. The only real issue is that their recording engine doesn't run as a separate process from the UI, so if the UI crashes (and it does from time to time), it brings the recording engine down with it. The folks at JRiver don't seem to get the significance of this issue and have been unwilling to split the recording engine into a separate service. The other issue with JRiver is that the user interface and configuration is overly complicated, but after initial setup has been done it's not a huge negative and is a plus in some respects because it's super configurable. JRiver also appears to be a viable business that should continue to exist for a while.
 

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Guys, I suggest dumping WMC and going to Win10 and using Emby with its native Emby Theater app. I run my HTPC with Emby's server and Emby Theater on the same PC, and use Schedules Direct for guide data with Emby Server recording. Works great.
  • Support for both OTA and CableCard tuners simultaneously.
  • Support for series recordings with the ability to exclude repeat episodes
  • Support for keyword recordings so you can have it record all shows with something like "NHL Boston Bruins at" in the name or "Robert De Niro" in the actor list?
If Emby can do all this I'll consider moving to Windows 10 and using it.

If you want to hold to WMC a little longer, another option is Windows 8.1, which won't lose support from Microsoft until 2023.
 

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I cant speak to in depth details for the Emby recording; I do basic recordings OTA for series I like. I cut the cable cord in 2009 and mostly use Emby to record/watch OTA plus play my movie library which is ripped from Blu-rays. I stream a lot more now as the quality has improved, or just wait until whole seasons are on Blu-ray, so my reliance on broadcast TV is now almost nil.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 

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I cant speak to in depth details for the Emby recording; I do basic recordings OTA for series I like. I cut the cable cord in 2009 and mostly use Emby to record/watch OTA plus play my movie library which is ripped from Blu-rays. I stream a lot more now as the quality has improved, or just wait until whole seasons are on Blu-ray, so my reliance on broadcast TV is now almost nil.
What we're asking about is honestly pretty basic DVR functions, but it's amazing how often companies leave out such functionality. Bonus points would be received if Emby can be told to record all new games for a given sports team, something that some DVR's (Tivo, I believe) can do. You just pick a sport, then the team, and the DVR picks up all the games for you. This (or keyword searches that work) is important for me because I never watch sports live - I almost always wait until about 45 minutes after the start time so I can skip intermissions and commercial breaks and finish the game just about caught up to live. I'll try to take a look at Emby over the weekend. My brother and I started looking at Plex and TVHeadEnd, but they both had showstopper limitations (I already mentioned the Plex issues and TVHeadEnd doesn't support CableCard tuners without a TON of effort on the user's part).
 

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If Emby can do all this I'll consider moving to Windows 10 and using it.

If you want to hold to WMC a little longer, another option is Windows 8.1, which won't lose support from Microsoft until 2023.
Wasn't WMC a paid add-on in Windows 8.1? If so, is it still available for purchase or (legal) download? Even though I suspect my Windows 7 system will continue to work fine for now as is, I wouldn't be against upgrading to 8.1 if I could do so without running into any issues since it would add a few more years of update support.
 

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What we're asking about is honestly pretty basic DVR functions, but it's amazing how often companies leave out such functionality. Bonus points would be received if Emby can be told to record all new games for a given sports team, something that some DVR's (Tivo, I believe) can do. You just pick a sport, then the team, and the DVR picks up all the games for you. This (or keyword searches that work) is important for me because I never watch sports live - I almost always wait until about 45 minutes after the start time so I can skip intermissions and commercial breaks and finish the game just about caught up to live. I'll try to take a look at Emby over the weekend. My brother and I started looking at Plex and TVHeadEnd, but they both had showstopper limitations (I already mentioned the Plex issues and TVHeadEnd doesn't support CableCard tuners without a TON of effort on the user's part).
When I switched from Directv back to cable I looked at Emby as a recording engine (I currently use it as a media backend on my server), the big limitation I found is the lack of ability to do keyword recording such as you mentioned. I believe it is on the list for future development though.

The only DVR software I found so far that functions as close to my experience with Directv was Channels DVR. It's not free costing $8 per month or $80 per year but that does cover guide data, which so far seems to be of high quality. The developers seem to be very active and responsive.

So far I like it.
 

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The only DVR software I found so far that functions as close to my experience with Directv was Channels DVR. It's not free costing $8 per month or $80 per year but that does cover guide data, which so far seems to be of high quality. The developers seem to be very active and responsive.

So far I like it.
Thanks - I'll take a look at it. As much as I am very happy with how WMC works, it would be nice to move on to a current OS and software with support.
 

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Wasn't WMC a paid add-on in Windows 8.1? If so, is it still available for purchase or (legal) download? Even though I suspect my Windows 7 system will continue to work fine for now as is, I wouldn't be against upgrading to 8.1 if I could do so without running into any issues since it would add a few more years of update support.
I'm not sure, I do know you need an 8.1 Pro license to use Windows Media Center within 8.1, I never used 8.1 for very long though so I haven't really researched the topic, I upgraded to Windows 10 shortly after installing 8.1 initially in my gaming PC.

For my HTPC / Media Server I'm sticking with Win 7 and my cablecard for as long as possible. Using EPG123 and SchedulesDirect for guide updates.
 

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I'll certainly take a look at Emby, but does it truly have DVR feature parity with WMC (other than support for DRM channels such as HBO)? Some specifics:



  • Support for both OTA and CableCard tuners simultaneously.
  • Support for series recordings with the ability to exclude repeat episodes
  • Support for keyword recordings so you can have it record all shows with something like "NHL Boston Bruins at" in the name or "Robert De Niro" in the actor list?

I had looked at Plex and it's missing simultaneous support for multiple tuner types (there's a way to make it work, but it's sort of hacky) and doesn't have keyword searching.

JRiver Media Center is a great alternative to WMC that supports all the above and much more - the recording rules they've implemented are extremely flexible and they support multiple tuner types simultaneously. The only real issue is that their recording engine doesn't run as a separate process from the UI, so if the UI crashes (and it does from time to time), it brings the recording engine down with it. The folks at JRiver don't seem to get the significance of this issue and have been unwilling to split the recording engine into a separate service. The other issue with JRiver is that the user interface and configuration is overly complicated, but after initial setup has been done it's not a huge negative and is a plus in some respects because it's super configurable. JRiver also appears to be a viable business that should continue to exist for a while.


Emby can do all that except I believe key word recording. I've never seen a DVR do that, since they usually record through the drive.

I know you can of course record sports. So that might help you in that area. I haven't tried to get all games from a certain team.
 

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Emby can do all that except I believe key word recording. I've never seen a DVR do that, since they usually record through the drive.

I know you can of course record sports. So that might help you in that area. I haven't tried to get all games from a certain team.
Every decent DVR I've ever used, including Windows Media Center and JRiver Media Center, supports keyword searches for recording. I have no idea what you mean by "they usually record through the drive".

For keyword searches, there are various degrees of support, but the better implementations (such as JRiver) allow you to specify a list of criteria such as something along the lines of this:

Code:
Title contains 'NHL Hockey' 
AND
SubTitle contains 'Boston Bruins'
AND
Duration > 120 minutes
AND
Channel is one of (7.1, 576, 578)
The Title and Subtitle restrict the list to Bruins hockey games, the Duration eliminates 2 hour replay broadcasts, and the Channel list eliminates full length replays of games on the NHL Network. These options obviously go beyond simple keyword searching (which would be the Title and Subtitle portions, but could be extended to things like searching the Actor list or any other text field in the EPG data), but demonstrate some of the flexibility that some DVR's offer.

Windows Media Center keyword searches aren't quite that flexible (channel can only be restricted to 1 channel or all channels), but work well enough.

If Emby doesn't have keyword searches, then it's probably a waste of time for me to even try it out. Sporting events are just one good example of where keyword searches would be used.

Plex doesn't have keyword searches and from what I've seen also doesn't have a feature where you can tell it to record all games for a sports team.

I experimented with NextPVR (on Windows and my brother is experimenting with the Docker version) over the weekend are here are some initial findings:

- The setup process is an abomination in both Windows and Docker
- When scrolling through the channel list to restrict a recording to a specific channel, you get the call sign, but no the channel number which makes it difficult to know where you are in the list of channels
- The overall UI is very dated
- It can integrate with other UI's, such as Kodi, but the integration is FAR from ideal (all channel numbers are lost, for example)

The bottom line is that NextPVR doesn't look like a good option to me.

Mark suggested Channels DVR, but they don't have an evaluation option. It sounds like one can get a refund if unhappy with it, so it may still be worth evaluating.
 

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Last time I looked, Emby supported its own PVR functions and also allowed plugins like Next for example. Presumably still the case. The Emby forum would be able to give feedback on which option on the platform might be best for this need.

I used to be a big PVR guy but broadcast TV is becoming less and less relevant to me, and I'm not into sports, so many use cases now are outside my focus.

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Because of COVID-19 effectively putting the world of sport on pause.

The time has come to cut the cord, tomorrow will be the first day in about 30 years I haven't had cable TV in some form or another.

I've used a CableCard and tuner with WMC in my HTPC for the past 8 years now, but at this point was only being used for live sports.

Maybe I'll resume my subscription in the future...
 
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