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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 4 months of struggling down the HTPC journey and listening to my wife constantly complaining, I've reverted back to coax direct to the TV and Roku 3 until I can find a better solution.

I think my requirements are pretty simple:
1. Watch and record OTA TV (9 channels)
2. Reliable EPG
3. Stream Netflix, Hulu Amazon, etc
4. Watch an occasional Blue Ray or DVD
5. We probably stream from the Roku more than wach OTA so the Roku is a must

Here's what I tried (Hardware)
1. Asus Vivo PC - Windows 8.1
2. Hauppauge WinTV 955Q USB Tuner
3. Samsung Smart TV
4. Yamaha 5.1 Receiver
5. Samsung Blue Ray Player
6. Flirc
7. Harmony 650

Here's what I tried (Software)
1. Kodi
2. NextPVR
3. MediaPortal PVR
4. Hauppauge V7 Tuner Software
5. Schedules Direct

Here's what happened:
1. Kodi would unexpectedly stop working requiring restart. It worked fine for about 1 month.
2. NEVER got MediaPortal to record (probably a learning curve issue on my part)
3. Gave up on NEXTpvr
4. Constant errors like tuner card unavailable, tuner card busy, etc.
5. I suspect Windows 8.1 was somehow culpable but could never prove it.
6. The Samsung TV, Reciever and Blueray all worked flawlessly using HDMI CEC (Anynet). Power on/off, volume etc.
7. I was able to program the Harmony to cotrol my Roku 3 player and the Flirc seemed to work reasonably well controlling the HTPC
8. Schedules Direct worked fine as long as the card and PVR were working.

I've been reading that maybe I need a more "appliance" like set-up
1. Raspberry PI 2
2. Silicon Dust Tuner
3. OpenELEC
4. TVheadend PVR
5. I think the Flirc and Harmony will control the Raspberry and I already know th Harmony will control the Smart TV, receiver and blue ray.
6. Could I network the Vivo PC with the Raspberry to store PVR recordings?

Suggestions.????????
 

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An integrated single solution sounds nice, but in practice it I found it frustrating. Instead, I use individual components for specific tasks and a Harmony remote to tie the system together. Have you considered:

-Windows Media Center for live TV/DVR (free with any Windows 7, $10 upgrade to Windows 8/8.1 pro, $99 pro pack upgrade to Windows 8/8.1 home version)
-Roku for streaming Netflix, Hulu, Amazon (I use an AppleTV so no Amazon there. I can use the iPad app and Airplay for that if needed)
-Play physical disks on the Blu-Ray player
-Program the Harmony remote to control each component as needed

WMC has worked well for me for live TV/DVR functions. I can't speak to the Hauppauge USB tuner. I use a pair of SiliconDust HDHR Primes for cable card (instead of the OTA versions). They're rock solid.

Given the hardware you've listed, at most you'd need a version of Windows with WMC and maybe a HDHR OTA tuner if you dont get what you need by trying WMC before buying a new tuner.

It's good that HDMI CEC works for you. It caused flaky behavior from my Denon AVR (seemed like EDID issues), so I turned it off on all components.
 

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If you have Windows 8.1 pro you might want to try WMC. I use WMC7 and the HTPC works great as a DVR appliance while using a pair of AverMedia OTA tuner cards & a WMC remote. Once in a while I stream free Hulu or play a DVD. I use a stand alone Blu-ray player for playing Blu-ray discs & streaming Netflix & it works great.

I never tried to make the HTPC an all-in-one device. I figured it was pointless since I still need an AVR & a satellite DVR. From reading a lot of threads I've seen mixed comments regarding playing Blu-ray discs with the HTPC, therefore I've kept my Blu-ray player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm glad to hear that an "all in one" solution is impractical which helps lower my expectations.

I beleive the source of my system failure was attibutable to my backend (card and PVR). It just seemed like a kludge - tuner card software, PVR software and font-end software all trying to talk to each other running within Windows 8.1.

I may be able to resurrect my existing system as suggested using a WMC and a new card.

Question: Can I integrate Schedules Direct into WMC or does it have its own?
Question: Is the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack upgrade for $99 superior to say, just purchasing a developer version of Windows 7?

Thanks
 

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WMC has the guide built in (at least here in the US).

For WMC, I'm not aware of an advantage with Windows 8.1 over Windows 7. In fact, there are a couple of disadvantages (more limited in what extenders can be used, no built-in auto boot to WMC for example). It really comes down to price and your preferences. Some people hate Windows 8/8.1. Some people need the features the pro versions offer (like RDP or the ability to join a network domain).

If you already have Windows 8.1 Pro, then WMC is just $9.99. If you have 8.1 home edition, an OEM copy of Windows 7 home premium edition is cheaper than buying the 8.1 pro pack.
 

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If you go with the Home Edition of Win 7, make sure it's Home Premium and not Basic. Basic is the only version that doesn't include WMC, IIRC.

As for an all-in-one solution, I can't speak to the streaming side of things because I don't use any of them (i.e., Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.). For everything else, a HTPC works great.
 

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If you go with the Home Edition of Win 7, make sure it's Home Premium and not Basic. Basic is the only version that doesn't include WMC, IIRC.

As for an all-in-one solution, I can't speak to the streaming side of things because I don't use any of them (i.e., Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.). For everything else, a HTPC works great.
Thanks for the clarification about the home premium edition. I edited my post above.
 

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I agree with dfkimbro. In my living room, I have a Windows 7 box for live TV, recorded TV, and MediaBrowser (Emby). For DVD/BD discs, Amazon and Netflix, I use a PS3, but if you don't want a gaming system I highly recommend a Roku for your streaming, then just a stand-alone BD player if you need removable media. Or get a BD player with your streaming choices built-in. We almost never play our discs, so we don't use the BD player in the PS3 very often.
 

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I prefer Win 7. I had a problem with W8 because its apps don't support 720p and I have a 32" Samsung I wanted to connect. It's a spare room set so it got an Xbox instead.
 

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If you are going with Win7, I recommend the Pro, it's the sweet spot as mentioned out there. I got the Home Premium and regret it. I wish I had RDP, currently using free version of VNC and it's so slow it's unusable even though I got a fast LAN, and I used to be able to do network sharing very easily on my old XP Pro, I just use Administrator Right and go \\server\c$ and have total access to the HTPC c: drive, with Home Premium, that's not available to me and I have to do some funky sharing configuration thing, what an hassle. Oh and don't buy the OEM version either, it may say it will install by itself requiring no previous version of Windows but in tinny letters somewhere it says it will not install on another hardware, presumably after you register. What happens when your machine breaks, or when you want to upgrade your hardware in a couple of years? throw a perfectly good "disc" to garbage?
 

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I have never had MS refuse to validate an OEM OS on another machine. If you have to call, you just tell them your MB and hard drive crashed.

I will take your words for it. Am very impatience calling any large corporation, and prefer to pay them up front so I don't have to go through the hassle.




They are mostly worried about people running it on multiple computers.

So the retail version has some sort of auto-safeguard?


I was very surprised when porting my old XP, by accident I had it running on my old box and the new box and they were talking to each other over the LAN and I would had expected, like it gives me an error message saying something illegal but it didn't. Very surprised. This was XP retail.
 

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I will take your words for it. Am very impatience calling any large corporation, and prefer to pay them up front so I don't have to go through the hassle.
The one time I had to call MS and talk to a representative it was hassle free. The other times I've had to call it was all automated.


So the retail version has some sort of auto-safeguard?
I believe that the way it works is that you're allowed a certain number of hardware changes per year. If it's been a year or more since you installed the OS it's usually either automatically allowed or you have to call the automated phone center where you never talk to a real person. The only time that the OS is checked is during initial install or when you do a Windows Genuine Advantage validation check, which normally only happens when you are installing certain MS Software (such as the Office Suite). Otherwise, once activated the OS will normally stay activated forever; it doesn't bother "turning you in" on it's own.
 
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