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chachster
Premium
join:2002-08-07
Westerville, OH
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·AT&T U-Verse
·WOW Internet and..

Few questions regarding TV packages / Media Center

I'm debating between the 15/1 and 30/3 internet.

Then I am trying to see if there is a package offered by WOW that offers all of the channels including HBO,Showtime,Cinemax,Starz.

Right now I have ATT Uverse 450 that includes all the premiums, looking to see if there is something similar.

I'm looking at having one WOW HD/DVR and cable card for a Media Center PC. Haven't bough the Centon card for the cablecard, but figured that it would be my best choice. Having 2 xbox's, I know I can use those as extenders. I would either have to build two additional PC's or find a good extender for those (I have to do more research on Media Center.. just think it would be a good transition since I am used to since ATT uses Media center (yet customized)

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
No need for a standalone cable box of any kind. They're all crap anyway Just get the Ceton card and use Media Center, and get extenders.

Not addtional PCs; those won't work well enough at all, especially with premium channels and copy protected shows and sharing tuners out. You really need extenders. XBox is the current piece, although soon enough you'll buy Ceton's extenders instead (see their web site).

thegreenbutton.tv is your source for Media Center info.

Digital TV Signature plus 15Mb internet is $85.00. Includes Starz/Encore. HBO, Cinemax, Showtime are each $16/month. That's just the service, no hardware, no cable modem. Roll your own or rent theirs. If you roll your own hardware, add $3.50 for cableCARD.

Their web site has all this information.

The replacement for your Uverse is WOW's Ultra TV with six tuners and 500GB of storage (I think). The base unit plus an extender is $25, and each extender after that is $15. That includes cable modem. Kinda pricey, I think.

Or if you wait until later this year, not only will Ceton start selling Media Center extenders, they'll also start selling the Q--which is their Media Center-based six tuner answer to Ultra TV and whatever Uverse offers. You buy the Q and (unlike WOW's setup) can use it on a single TV. You can use it with XBox extenders. Or you can buy the Ceton Echo extenders. The point is, you buy it and it's yours--it's not $50+/month rental to the cable company.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
reply to chachster
and btw, if you PM me your name, email address, and ZIP code I will put you in for a WOW referral, which will get you $25 credit.


Big Jimmy

@wideopenwest.com
reply to chachster
The 15/1 (or is it 15/2 for new customers?) is great for me. It queues up Netflix fast, Youtube HD videos don't need to buffer, and downloads are great. Unless there wasn't a price difference for you, I'd start out with that, and then bump it up to the 30/3 if you needed it.

The Ceton card is pretty fantastic, and you're right on track with the 360 units as extenders. Ceton is also going to be releasing an extender in the fall, which should offer some advanced functionality and lower power consumption than a 360, which I think will be around $170. The extra PCs wouldn't do you any good as an extender though, as they would only really be usable to view what you've already recorded. You'd think that someone would have come up with a software-based extender client, but it hasn't, and won't. The extenders will let you watch any cable station you've got access to, change DVR settings and watch recorded TV (anything that's on the media center PC), and all you've be able to do with a PC is play back the files you've recorded (as long as there's no restrictions on the recording, based on the cable station).

Bear in mind though that the extenders, or more specifically the cablecard won't give you access to ANY on-demand content. You'll get the TV stations and the music stations, but on-demand is completely inaccessible. Also, you'll need to phone-in PPV purchases, although it's painless as long as you call before the event starts. For example, I order UFC PPVs, and at 7pm there's almost no call wait time, whereas around 9 or 10 (the events strat at 10) it's a little rough.


chachster
Premium
join:2002-08-07
Westerville, OH
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·AT&T U-Verse
·WOW Internet and..
reply to adam1991
Thanks for the great information. When I was going through the WOW website, I didn't see a place to order a Cable card. That 3.50 is much better than the STB.

I'm not trying to say X is better than Y. I also have another cable company (that was acquired but hasn't transition yet available) I'm just looking to make use of the hardware I already have. Media Center just makes the most sense. I also like the fact that Clear QAM is available if I just want to run it to my TV sets that have a built-in tuner.

I'll be visiting thegreenbutton.tv. As I said, I needed to do some more research and having played with Media Center since XP. I've ran a quick test on my Windows 8 preview, but will be re-installing Windows 7.

I also like the fact that if the cablecard doesn't work when the tech is there that I have a great chance of getting it working with WOW_Dan here. Hopefully it doesn't come to needing him, but if it does, at least that is an option.

The website says that the first receiver is free (I'm assuming it's SD as adding HD at $7 would not show as free but SD at $7 does) If I can get the HD non DVR (so I can access ON-Demand as that's not possible with CableCards) that's not bad since it's included in price.

I'm probably a couple weeks out before pulling the trigger but wanted to start my information gathering now.

I had a call from a sales rep that could offer my an addition $5 off a month, but he said I had to chose by Sunday (It's Monday now) I'm not one that jumps on with deadlines from a sales rep. When I am ready I can call him back and see if its still available or not, if not I'll hit you up on the promo (as I'm sure I can't have referral and "special offer" combined)

So what I am looking at now (as far as hardware)

PC running Windows 7 with Media Center
-Ceton 4 Tuner Card (either PCIe or USB)

TV-1 - XBox using Media Center
TV-2 - XBox using Media Center
TV-3 - (Non HD TV - DTA from WOW?)
TV-4 - (Not used frequently - Kid Play Room - Built in Tuner - Just coax, could also hook up an old XP MCE PC to watch recorded TV)
TV-5 - (Not used frequently - Built in Tuner - Just coax)

We really only use 3 TV's regularly, at most 2 in use at a time. Right now with the everything U-Verse 450 and 12Meg Down/1.5Meg UP internet I'm close to $200. The end of promotion was some sticker shock. Just need to cut somewhere and think that moving to Media Center and using my XBox makes sense. Just need to make sure it is wife/kid friendly (The 3yo knows how to pause and unpause when she has to run out of the room)

Is there anything available now that is not an XBox that is reasonably priced for an extender for the other. If I can get the one HD Receiver from WOW instead of SD Receiver to get the Ondemand great, but if only the SD can be "free/included in price" makes no sense for the $7/mo, I could get Netflix for a dollar more and stream that instead.

I really only used HBO as we are Games of Thrones fans, but I guess I could order that during the time it is on and cancel afterwards to help control costs.


TKJunkMail
Premium
join:2005-12-09
reply to chachster
I signed up for the Digital Signature HD, 30Mbps Internet, and phone a few weeks ago. I also use Media Center and extenders. Everything is working well so far. For now, all of the channels I get have the CCI flag set to copy freely. Otherwise, if your media center PC dies or you want to replace it you would lose all your recordings.

Had one issue with the internet over the weekend where my speeds dropped to 10kbps. I rebooted the cable modem and everything went back to normal. Hopefully that's not a recurring issue.

mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI
reply to chachster
said by chachster:

Is there anything available now that is not an XBox that is reasonably priced for an extender for the other. If I can get the one HD Receiver from WOW instead of SD Receiver to get the Ondemand great, but if only the SD can be "free/included in price" makes no sense for the $7/mo, I could get Netflix for a dollar more and stream that instead.

You can always look at craigslist for used Xbox 360's. There are plenty available for $100 or less. Even if the dvd drive is wonky, you can still use it to stream from WMC.

If was going strictly with WMC and extenders, I would also get a Roku player for each tv. That, with a Netflix sub will make up for not having cable "On Demand".

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
reply to chachster
quote:
The website says that the first receiver is free
yeah, but it also says you get a discount for not taking the "free" first receiver...

So you're an Insight customer, now a T-W customer? Run away. Run hard.


chachster
Premium
join:2002-08-07
Westerville, OH
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·AT&T U-Verse
·WOW Internet and..
Currently on U-Verse. I'm looking at going with the Digital Signature and 15/1 (or is it 2? website states 1meg up)

I guess I should also look at buying a cable modem to save on those fees? Or should I just rent it? If I can find something that will support the 30/3 and something users have found KNOWN to work, might just do that as well.

Right now I need to rebuild my current machine back to Windows 7. I have been running Windows 8 Customer Preview.

I've been doing some reading and looking at either the Centon Infini 4or SiliconDust HD Homerun Prime.

I'm going to start out using my Desktop until I do the research and build a HTPC so I can have more than 2 TV's connected (The two XBox's) Move the HTPC to one TV and an XBox to another and that would meet my current needs. I can always run the others with just basic using Clear QAM channels

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
WOW entry level broadband is 2/0.5 or something, and the next level up is 15/2. Used to be 15/1, but they decided very recently to change the upload speed to 2. No warning, no notification, nothing. And no price increase. They just haven't updated the web site, that's all.

Any DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem will do you. I use Moto Surfboard. Others just rent, figuring the five bucks a month is decent insurance to pay for them to fix broken ones. Although, their standard modem they give you for the 15/2 service for some reason has a bug that it won't upload faster than 1.79.

Ceton tuner, either internal or external, does 4 streams. SiliconDust does only 3.

wowcoder

join:2010-03-04
said by adam1991:

the next level up is 15/2. Used to be 15/1, but they decided very recently to change the upload speed to 2.

I'm pretty sure for new customers, it is 15/1 as mentioned on the website. I can't find it right now, but I believe there was another thread that talked about the 2 Mbps bump just for the existing customers since they had bumped other customers that were on 8/1.


chachster
Premium
join:2002-08-07
Westerville, OH
I know the website says it is 15/1, but have heard 15/2

Anyone know for sure? The 15/2 would be a little bit above with what I currently have.

Can someone confirm?


AlexE4

join:2006-12-16
Park Ridge, IL
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
I just signed up for WOW Ultra TV with a similar setup to yours. I'm on the 15/2 package.. which is the only 15 down package available here. I've also got a cablecard which is $3.50 extra per month which I have installed in a HDHomerunPrime, which is essentially the same thing as the Centon tuner.. except it's a networked box with gigabit ethernet and 3 tuners. Silicondust also offers a 6 tuner box, the 6-CC which takes 2 cable cards... and I currently use 2 Xbox 360's as extenders. No copy once flags that I can find on any channels so far, including HBO/ premiums etc. I'd highly recommend the HDHomerunPrime as it's a standalone tuner that connects directly to your network instead of to the PC first, then network, as opposed to the Centon.

alan92rttt

join:2012-02-27
reply to chachster
I used to run media center PC's in the house.

With ultra TV and my Blu-ray player I do not feel the need.

The ultra gateway has 6 tuners and 500gb for storage and it extendable via esata.
It can connect and serve DNLA content to the players from my server

The blu-ray player has access to the online services.

And I get to access all the on demand offerings that cablecard can't support.

With the current state of technology I can't see a reason to deal with Media PC's over the ultra setup.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
well, I don't care about On Demand--it's difficult to use, especially compared to finding the same thing on hulu or whatever. My dad has it and uses it now and then, but it's clunky.

Then there's the $40/month for the hardware rental, compared to my one time purchase of either my own home build HTPC or a Ceton Q.

And--now here's the icing on the cake--if it's my own Windows Media Center setup, I have incredible flexibility to do what I want with the software *including* my favorite: commercial skip. Once you've had commercial skip, it's incredibly hard to go back.


Big Jimmy

@wideopenwest.com
Yeah, that's about the same boat that I'm in. I've got the Ultra TV lined up for my parents, because it'll be great for them, but for me, the Ceton was an amazing investment. I've got a "cable box" that's got 2TB of storage on it, can watch ANY internet streaming service, blu rays, etc. I've played around with Comskip, and it's pretty slick, but it's easy enough for me to just FFWD through them manually on normal TV.

For me, the coolest part is that I can archive whatever I want. For example, I've got Modern Marvels set to record, which has about a billion episodes, and MCE Buddy will drop them down to 720P and yank out the commercials to shrink them down. I'd be SHOCKED if UltraTV would be able to handle over 150 episodes without adding external storage, plus all of my other recording.

alan92rttt

join:2012-02-27
reply to chachster
I've grown out of the I have to record and keep everything mind set.

The Untra system has integrated ondemand into the UI its not like the older boxes. Ultra TV searches the guide and ondemand for content. If I want to watch Alphas I search that and I see all channels its on and all the entries on ondemand.

If I want something long term I can still record it to my media server from the player in the den.

I pay $25 a month for the ultra hardware, Which is $21.50 more than a cablecard. The cost of all the hardware and software to setup a PC with 6 tuners and setup a system in the living room that is wife friendly will pay that $21 for a long time.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
reply to Big Jimmy
said by Big Jimmy :

Yeah, that's about the same boat that I'm in. I've got the Ultra TV lined up for my parents, because it'll be great for them, but for me, the Ceton was an amazing investment. I've got a "cable box" that's got 2TB of storage on it, can watch ANY internet streaming service, blu rays, etc. I've played around with Comskip, and it's pretty slick, but it's easy enough for me to just FFWD through them manually on normal TV.

For me, the coolest part is that I can archive whatever I want. For example, I've got Modern Marvels set to record, which has about a billion episodes, and MCE Buddy will drop them down to 720P and yank out the commercials to shrink them down. I'd be SHOCKED if UltraTV would be able to handle over 150 episodes without adding external storage, plus all of my other recording.

Yes and yes. (How does MCE Buddy skip the commercials without ShowAnalyzer or Comskip?)

BTW, here's a tip for FF on Media Center: you could use the 30 second skip button, pressing it multiple times--or you could hit a number and then the skip button. That's the equivalent of hitting the 30 sec skip button that number of times.

I tried this out last night watching Ice Road Truckers. I determined that each break was about 3.5 minutes long. So I would hit 7 then the 30 sec skip button, and voila--I skipped right over the commercials by hand.


Big Jimmy

@wideopenwest.com
For my day to day programming I just leave it in the WTV format, the only thing I'm using MCE Buddy for (with Comskip) is to transcode the Modern Marvel eps. I really dig the series, so I set Media Center to record all HD eps.. big mistake. 2TB is a lot of storage, but at 8gb/ep.. well, you get the idea! I've only got an i3 2100 in there, which is plenty for HD/Blu-ray playback (Intel's HD series IGP is pretty fantastic), but for transcoding more than a few shows a day it would get overloaded in a hurry. It's idle most of the time now, since I set it to only record new eps and am slowly working my way through the archive, but with the storage I've got available I'm not bothering to transcode the day to day TV.

That's an AWESOME tip, I'll have to give it a shot! Usually I hit it three or four times, then go one by one, and track back where I need to.