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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I've decided to ditch cable/satellite and go with OTA HD antenna supplemented by streamed content and some semblance of a DVR.  I've always thought I had a pretty good grasp on tech stuff, especially for a female, until now but the amount of option out there and their interconnectivity is just confusing.

 

Capabilities needed:


-Stream live, recorded, and existing media content (TV/movies, music) from Desktop to 2 TVs (one HD, one SD). In my streaming device I don't need access to hulu, netflix, etc because my 360 already provides that.  unfortunately I can't use WMC as I am running XP.  For my current library I use Playon MyMedia (only plays stuff I already have) routed through the 360, but I can't access it from my other TV (Eq list at the bottom).  I recently downloaded XBMC but have not looked at it at all.

 

Here is the current equipment list:

1 HDTV in living room connected via HDMI to an XBOX 360. The 360 is hardwired to a client bridge Linksys 54G running ddwrt that is connected wirelessly to the desktop computer in another room.

The Desktop computer is running XP PRO SP3 (no media center) and is hardwired into a Gigabit B/G/N router. Video card is a Radeon HD 4800 (PCI-E). Mobo is Gigabyte ED45-UD3P. Has two PCI-E slots. Computer is also used for office tasks, picture editing, and minor gaming.

 

-Internet service of 30 Mbps.

-Two external HDs already loaded with media content. Have another 1TB external that is currently empty.

-kindle and 1 smartphone

 

Here are the rest of the capabilities needed

-Able to view in HD ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and have access to TNT/TBS/ION channels

-HD recording capability of two shows simultaneously with ability to play back on both TVs (understand HD limitation with the SD TV)

-Remote control for both TVs or ability to control via smartphone/device

-Relatively intuitive so my roommate can figure it out without complaining.

 

Limitations:

 

-Cannot add another "brick sized" device to HDTV area or create wired HTPC-HDTV connection

-Not a fanapple, so would rather not go with apple TV if possible.

Budget = Minimal

Open to ALL options, except sticking with cable/satellite

 

I've looked at Roku, Pi, nextPVR, XBMC, simple.tv, and some internal/external tuner cards/options but I just can't figure out how which one would work or how they would work together.

 

Thanks so much for reading and any assistance you can provide. I look forward to your great ideas!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24428382


I've decided to ditch cable/satellite ...

... Here are the rest of the capabilities needed

-Able to view in HD ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and have access to TNT/TBS/ION channels

Before addressing the technical details of your questions and requests, I'm just curious how you plan to accomplish/address the above quoted portion of the objectives? Most here consider "cutting the cord" to be that you are going to do without cable/sat subscription services. TNT, and TBS are cable networks so the only way to view their broadcast content is with a cable/sat/IPTV/Fios subscription service. These networks do have webpage/internet streaming available. But internet streaming from a webpage is not the same as the broadcast service. Is this okay with you or are you expecting full broadcast service from these sources? If you're okay with internet or webstream and only plan to watch a few episodes of a certain show then any streaming device or a PC with a web browser will do. If you really want to watch the live tv broadcast then the only method to receive them is a subscription service of some sort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Sorry for the confusion.  For any TNT/TBS shows I plan to stream from the web somehow, either Hulu or direct from the network website. 

  I have been doing more research on what configuration would work best for streaming to the two Tvs, recording, & EPG with the tech limitations that I have...but everytime I think I am getting a grip on it, four more things pop up.  Appreciate any assistance someone can give.

 

 
 

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The easiest option would be to upgrade your pc to Windows 7 so you can run Windows Media Center. You can purchase a dual tuner like this or this . These devices would allow you to record 2 shows at once. This would then allow you to stream Live and Recorded TV to your XBOX 360. You would have to purchase an additional 360 for your other TV though. If you have good reception this would give you access to all the channels you listed except TBS and TNT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Unfortunately purchasing win 7 and another 360 is not possible due to the cost involved and the size of the 360...looking for a smaller device which does not cost as much.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24436212


Unfortunately purchasing win 7 and another 360 is not possible due to the cost involved and the size of the 360...looking for a smaller device which does not cost as much.

Look into free XBMC and such. IT is not as easy and intuitive to set up as WMC, but you give that up in price (free)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24436212


Unfortunately purchasing win 7 and another 360 is not possible due to the cost involved and the size of the 360...looking for a smaller device which does not cost as much.

If you have to stay on WinXP then you'll have to get one of the software packages that still work on WinXP that can also control a TV tuner card. It's been a while since I messed with WinXP so I don't remember all of the pieces but seems like the most common were either MCE2005 (XP's version of today's WMC), BeyondTV and SageTV all ran on XP. Seems like Nero had a 10ft UI as well but I don't remember the name (maybe Nero TV Suite?). So you'll likely need to go get one of these older packages which are likely not supported anymore. I know for sure MCE2005 and Sage are not supported. BeyondTV may still be around.


You'll need an ATSC tuner card that is compatible with which ever software you choose. SDHomeRun Dual is likely the most flexible but I don't know if these older software packages are compatible with it.


If you get Sage, they sponsored their own hardware extenders; you may be able to get one or two on ebay (none are supported any longer). Xbox will work as an extender for MCE2005 (don't know if that also means XBox360). I think BeyondTV may work with Rokus and other streamers.


MediaBrowser3 server would work with Rokus but unknown if the MB3 architecture is supported under WindowsXP.


So the line of criticality and single point of failure seems to be the use of WinXP. As gonzo90017 said (and I have to agree) the issue with trying to do this without Win7 is what makes your situation difficult. All of the newer capabilities have come out with Win7/Win8 as the baseline. These capabilities mostly aren't compatible with WinXP anymore and the stuff that is compatible with XP isn't easy to obtain anymore.


You could also investigate using Linux, as a lot of the Linux/Myth architecture is free but then you'd have to do a lot of setup and config that you might not be familiar with.


Your answer is not here in this post but it gives you some stuff to think about. Make a decision on which you think the best options for you are and then I and others can start helping you set it up. My quick advice is the same as gonzo90017's - ditch the XP and go with Win7.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

do certain HTPC programs work better with some tuners than others?  Do some tuners work better with certain antennas?

I  am going to have to upgrade into Win 7 as the ones you identified as outdated and the next versions of XBMC, mediaportal, etc will elim XP support.

 

I guess MCE will initially work via 360 for the HDTV.  Think I might want to eventually move towards XBMC or mediaportal.  Is nextPVR a better option?  How does simple.TV play in all this?

 

From what I understand Roku is not compatible with XBMC...so if did go that route for the upstairs TV my streaming options would be limited to chromecast, pi with wireless dongle, or another 360?..would a cheap DLNA blu-ray player be able to handle streaming live TV or watching recorded shows?

 

Or does a device like a Dune HD TV 303D eliminate the need for all of that?

thanks!
 

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As you can tell, there are as many ways to configure and run a whole house TV distribution system as there are questions that you are asking. None are the right one or wrong one. All can be the right one for you and your situation, just dependent on your situation. That is the reason that I suggested you pick an architecture and then assemble the pieces to go with it as opposed to having some pieces and then trying to form fit an architecture to it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24445498


do certain HTPC programs work better with some tuners than others?

Pretty much at this point all of the front ends and back ends work well with the current market of tuners. This goes only for OTA. Most will even work with cablecard tuners but it is left up to the cableco as to what you'll actually get from a DRM/encryption standpoint. To get everything you pay for out of cablecard you'll need WMC7.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24445498


  Do some tuners work better with certain antennas?

All OTA ATSC tuners will have an RF port that takes input from either a QAM cable source or straight off the air from an antenna. Some tuners are more sensitive than others but all will work/function. Depends upon your location as to what you can get away with. More urban areas can usually get away with an indoor antenna or rabbit ears. More suburban and rural areas likely need a higher gain antenna (either outdoor, attic or roof mounted). Some antennas have higher/better gain than others. You'll need to check your location to determine the best one. If you're really in a fringe area you'll likely need an amplifier and direction pointing equipment...it just depends.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24445498


I  am going to have to upgrade into Win 7 as the ones you identified as outdated and the next versions of XBMC, mediaportal, etc will elim XP support.

You can still go on ebay and find devices that support WinXP. It's just that most people have moved on to Win7/8 and other platforms so the knowledgebase of what to get and what pieces work together is dwindling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24445498


I guess MCE will initially work via 360 for the HDTV.  Think I might want to eventually move towards XBMC or mediaportal.  Is nextPVR a better option?  How does simple.TV play in all this?

Again, nothing is better...nothing is worse...it's a matter of preference and what you want to get out of it and how much time/aggravation you are willing to put up with to make it work that is the issue. I'm sure NextPVR, XBMC & Mediaportal are extremely capable systems, as is Linux-Myth. However the amount of time and effort needed to get them setup and running were not advantageous for me. For me, WMC7 & extenders was the easiest to set up and get running. I did all of my customization by adding Mediabrowser2 (and now MB3). I felt I went through enough pain just getting that up and running let alone trying to do other things like XBMC, Plex, NextPVR. I did dabble with JRiverMC for a minute or two but it too was a little more configuration required than I was prepared to put in so I dropped it and came back to WMC7.


SimpleTV, I have no clue. I've settled on an architecture and I don't see where SimpleTV helps, augments or replaces it so I've personnaly ignored it. Others with experience may chime in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24445498


From what I understand Roku is not compatible with XBMC...so if did go that route for the upstairs TV my streaming options would be limited to chromecast, pi with wireless dongle, or another 360?

I wasn't aware that XBMC didn't support Roku...I thought that it did. XBMC users will need to chime in here to help with that. I do know that MediaBrowser3 supports Roku. With MB3 you can have the server work with WMC7 through MB Classic or with their own front end MB Theater. MB3 is just now implementing live TV within their own environment. They are using ServerWMC to get live TV back out of WMC7 and into a web browser environment (the same as XBMC). They are trying to get that to work out to individual client UIs but hasn't happened yet. In any case the environment is still dependent on WMC7 as the TV/PVR backend so you really don't gain anything by it other than the possibility so far to serve TV out to a mobile environment. we're hoping that the MB3 folks will be the savior to get us all off of WMC7 one day...its not there yet. MB3 I believe also works with NextPVR as backend but since I don't use NextPVR I've not investigated. I also think MB3 is working with JRiver to get them integrated as well. Don't know the status of that either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24445498


...would a cheap DLNA blu-ray player be able to handle streaming live TV or watching recorded shows?

The bluray player can handle streaming (good conditions of course -- i.e. avoid wireless network for any video streaming). Is DLNA ready for prime time in terms of broadcast LiveTV? In my opinion no. It's a steep curve to set up because you still have to have a tuning device of some sort...likely mounted in or to a computer and then you'll need to port that to a DLNA server. I tried it with JRiver and it was not satisfactory for me. It didn't buy me anything more or better than my current PC with extenders model. Then there is the business of how you have to watch TV using DLNA, to me is not as smooth and user friendly as a purpose driven 10ft UI and a remote control.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24445498


Or does a device like a Dune HD TV 303D eliminate the need for all of that?

thanks!

I haven't used a Dune, Slingbox or Popcorn Hour so those that have will need to chime in.


If you're locked in to WinXP my advice would be to first investigate whether XBox360 can be used as an extender for MCE2005. If so, your first move might be to see if you can get a copy of MCE2005 and load it up. That and an ATSC tuner may be all that you need. If 360 isn't compatible and you still want to stay with XP, check to see if you can get Sage, Beyond or MediaPortal. If you can get Sage then see if you can find some of their old extenders. They also made Sage software that would let another PC serve as an extender (only works for OTA) but you're also now looking at having 2 PCs. Likely not something you want to do.


With your one PC now and already in possession of an XBox360 (in my opinion) your most cost effective / least aggravative solution is to get a copy of Win7Home Premium (cheapest with WMC7 built in) and an HDHomeRun dual tuner (ATSC/QAM networked tuner). Assuming you have an ethernet switch for a home network, with these pieces you are already set to go with a distrubuted TV environment.


Again, assess where you are...then decide where you want to go. What do you want it to look like when you're done? Is the biggest question to answer before deciding where you want to go.
 
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[quote name="edyohome" url="/t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24448616"

If so, your first move might be to see if you can get a copy of MCE2005 and load it up. That and an ATSC tuner may be all that you need.[/quote]


You'll also need a codec if you're going to use XP.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arfows  /t/1520561/how-do-i-set-up-htpc-on-non-mce-xp-and-a-composite-tv#post_24458253


i haven't had any luck finding MCE 2005 to download as a program to add to my XP...from what I read/was told, MS doesn't offer it that way.

That may be right, seems like I do remember MCE2005 as being like a special version of WinXP or something that didn't just load on top of it like a separate application. Could be why can't find it anywhere. I'm thinking some of the torrent sites probably would have a copy. Otherwise, just try to find Sage, Beyond, Mediaportal or JRiver. XBMC may also work on top of WInXP you'll have to check their system requirements to confirm. In any case once you get a frontend/backend combo that works with your OS, you'll need a hardware tuning device that works with your software. HDHomeRun is probably the most versatile but may have so restrictions on what software packages it will work with.


Because you may be pushed out of the Microsoft architecture, that likely will preclude you from using Xbox as an extender. If that is the case, you'll need to investigate using Roku or some other type streamer as your extending/distributed device. Because Roku is a DLNA device and JRiver can be set up as a DLNA server, that might be the next best thing you can set up with WinXP.


To stay inside of the Microsoft environment and use Xbox, your best bet is to get Win7 HomePremium. You can check the stickies at the top of this forum for how to's and setups for most of the popular frontends or backends. Let us know what you decide.
 
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