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amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX

[DVR] TiVo vs Windows Media Center?

I've been thinking about ditching the FiOS DVR for a while and had earlier posted a question as to whether people liked their Tivo »[TIVO] Anyone regret getting TiVo?

Now that I've done a bit more research, I'm a little intrigued by Windows Media Center due to the fact that it looks like it can play my Blu-Rays from my Synology RAID server. I currently use a Dune media player for my movies and would like to consolidate the DVR and media player functions into one. Also, the Dune does not support 3D.

So, like my previous post, has anyone setup a Windows Media Server with DVR, or any other kind of media server/DVR for that matter?



Greg2600

join:2008-05-20
Belleville, NJ

Media Center, at least in Windows 7, may not work. It doesn't "see" the AV (SD or HD) coming into my capture/tuner card (Happauge). Only sees the antenna stations. So I can't feed video via a cable from my cable box to the card. I just use the Happauge WinTV program to record instead. I suppose if I had a QAM tuner card with a cable card, it would see that. If it does, then I suppose you could record that way. I believe most cable cards will get all the Verizon stations.


ciucca

join:2004-05-24
Westfield, NJ
reply to amro4

Use a Ceton infiniTV card and you will see every FIOS station with a cable card.



QuaffAPint
A Big Thanks To The Troops

join:2001-01-10
Downingtown, PA
reply to amro4

I use media center with a silicondust box and cable card and works great for all my Extreme HD package channels. I don't use it for the family room TV, because the kids like access to on demand for the freebies there, but for other locations it works just fine. Other than the rare occasional can't find tuner error, where you need to restart media center, I haven't had any problems.

So, if you have a computer hooked up already, or plan to for other things, then you might as well check out using WMC.
--
{Send Secure Notes Free and Easily} :: whisperBot.com



Onedollar

join:2001-08-27
Pomona, CA
kudos:6
reply to amro4

I also use a Silicon Dust HD Home run prime with a WMC box. I also use an app on my hp touchpad android tablet to view live channels off the silicon dust tuner. Remote potato app for viewing recorded content off the WMC and also to schedule, delete recordings.

Be wary of updating firmware on the silicon dust box though as you cannot go backwards in versions if something gets broke. Recommend if you run the stock firmware, and its stable, do not upgrade. Another thing to consider is the family/wife test, as there is some adjustments to gui and habits which maybe needed.


amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX
reply to amro4

It's all me. No family/wife.

Do any of you have it setup to watch your Blu-Rays off of a RAID server?



Greg2600

join:2008-05-20
Belleville, NJ
reply to amro4

When you say Blu-Ray, do you mean the movie has been converted to a playable file, such as MP4? WMC will not play a BR disc or ISO or whatever, I think.


amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX

said by Greg2600:

When you say Blu-Ray, do you mean the movie has been converted to a playable file, such as MP4? WMC will not play a BR disc or ISO or whatever, I think.

No. It's ripped into folder format, using AnyDVD.

amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX
reply to Greg2600

said by Greg2600:

When you say Blu-Ray, do you mean the movie has been converted to a playable file, such as MP4? WMC will not play a BR disc or ISO or whatever, I think.

Oh, missed that last part to your sentence. That's unfortunate. That's why I'm looking at this option instead of TiVo. Strange, though, because MyMovies allows me to index my Blu-Rays in WMC, so I thought that meant I could play them. I could certainly use something like TotalMedia player, but I was hoping to play it right in WMC.


va aviator

@verizon.net
reply to amro4

I have wmc for as long as FiOS has been around. I use ceton turner and get four tuners. Could have more if needed. I use arc soft total media to watch blue ray files.

Love the TV guide which is free.

I use media browser for my DVD library. Is great.


ylinen

join:2002-07-10
Centreville, VA
reply to amro4

Total media is integrated in wmc. Works great.


amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX

said by ylinen:

Total media is integrated in wmc. Works great.

Awesome, that's good to know. I know I can play movies from the RAID server via TotalMedia.

amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX
reply to va aviator

said by va aviator :

I have wmc for as long as FiOS has been around. I use ceton turner and get four tuners. Could have more if needed. I use arc soft total media to watch blue ray files.

Love the TV guide which is free.

I use media browser for my DVD library. Is great.

I read on AVSFORUM that some people were complaining about the slow time to change a channel (about 4 sec) on their Ceton. Someone else posted their HD Homerun takes about a second. How about yours?


Onedollar

join:2001-08-27
Pomona, CA
kudos:6
reply to amro4

I play some mkv files on my main box also without any issues. Had to do some configurations to make wmc recognize and play within my movies. Also additional configuration for cover art to be loaded for library. I am also running on a gigabit network so see no noticeable network impacts when lots of activity going on



QuaffAPint
A Big Thanks To The Troops

join:2001-01-10
Downingtown, PA
reply to amro4

On my gigabit network, it takes about a second I guess to change a channel using the hdhomerun. I used to use the MediaBrowser plugin to watch movies (MKV, AVI) through WMC, but have since moved on to XBMC, and have a MC plugin which switches to it.


amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX
reply to amro4

Can anyone tell me if WMC is limited to three tuners? I would like 4-6 on the same box.



julesism

join:2001-12-12
Lewisville, TX

yes, it does limit BUT I used the following app to fix that:
»www.mychannellogos.com/Pages/Tun···lad.aspx
I have a total of 8 tuners in my setup.


amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX

said by julesism:

yes, it does limit BUT I used the following app to fix that:
»www.mychannellogos.com/Pages/Tun···lad.aspx
I have a total of 8 tuners in my setup.

Cool, thanks.

amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX
reply to amro4

I just went and got the mCard and the HD HomeRun PRIME triple tuner box and am trying it with my desktop PC. Surprisingly setup very easily, especially I'm on Windows 8.

So far, it works great. I just need to figure out how to integrate Total Media into to it so I can play my Blu-Rays from my RAID server.

If this works out, I won't need TiVo or the FiOS DVR's, or even my Dune Media Player.

I appreciate everyone's feedback. Thanks.


UnnDunn
Premium
join:2005-12-21
Brooklyn, NY

WMC is certainly nice, but there are questions as to whether Microsoft is still actively maintaining it. Windows 8 users have to pay extra to get it (though Microsoft is currently offering the upgrade for free through the end of the month) and the Windows 8 version is completely unchanged from the Windows 7 version.

In particular, Ceton has suspended development of their WMC-based "Q" set-top-box since they are unsure of its long-term support status.

Which is too bad, because WMC is seriously awesome.


nyrrule27

join:2007-12-06
Howell, NJ
reply to julesism

im using 8 without any extra software. ceton actually told me they are running 6 in their test machine.


amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX
reply to amro4

I finally decided to go the WMC/Win7 route instead of TiVo. I tried out stuff on both Win8 and Win7 and am a bit disappointed with Win8. There are a few nice hacks that are available on Win7 MCE that are not on Win8. Plus, I don't have to hack Win8 to boot directly into MCE.

I tried everything out that I want to do in piecemeal. I've now got hardware on order to build my box.

I'm building an AMD A10 based rig on an ASRock MicroATX motherboard w/8G RAM, SSD, 2x1.5TB drives in RAID configuration. Also got an MCE remote with IR dongle that programmed into my Harmony remote just fine. Using the HDHomeRun PRIME 3-tuner box with the option to add another. Will use MyMovies (which I've been using for my Dune media player) to build my movie library using Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre 3 or 5 which integrates into MCE.

With this configuration, I can have my DVR and Blu-Ray viewing on one box and eliminate the FiOS DVR and Dune Media player.



billdacat266

@lmco.com

Consider installing a 120gb SSD for the OS (W7-WMC). Do a clean install of the OS; leaving the bloat-ware behind. Your WMC will run like a top with supper quick channel changes and snappy remote response. BTW:You will also enjoy rock-solid system stability.

3x HTPC's HDHR3-CC prime and Hauppaug OTA tuner.

Looking at a new HDHR4-CC that is due out mid 2013.


IanR

join:2001-03-22
Fort Mill, SC
reply to amro4

A similar setup to my own and it works very well:)

I also use an XBox360 as an "extender" and this works well on Verizon FIOS except for HBO. Verizon allows electronic Flags re the HBO channel at the latter's request in order to STOP more than ONE copy of any given HBO program being made. Unfortunately for some sill reason the Flag thinks that playing back fthru the "extender" is comparable to making a second copy and it will not play this way.

By the way the XBox has a FIOS app and streams about 70 FIOS channels thru the XBox separately. I also get ESPN3, HBOtoGO etc etc etc thru the XBox.

MS stopped any real development of the WMC some while ago but did make it compatible with W8. I am willing to bet that when the XBox720 gets rolled out (perhaps end 2013) It will be a full media center/DVR it it's own right.


tennisman94

join:2010-02-18
Palm Harbor, FL
kudos:2
reply to billdacat266

said by billdacat266 :

Looking at a new HDHR4-CC that is due out mid 2013.

That was actually the my favorite announcement of CES, transcoding means that placeshifting is more practical

amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX
reply to amro4

I'm finished with my build and quite happy with it. Certainly MCE is better under Win7 than Win8 as it boots right into it, and behaves more like a media box than a pc.

One nitpick I have is not being able to bounce back and forth between two channels and backing up if I need to. I'm surprised how much I used that. But, I can get past that. The UI is much nicer than the FiOS DVR.

There is one area I'm concernced about, and that is picture quality. Out the box, MCE blacks don't look good and the color does not appear to be as rich. I'll reserve judgement on it until I get both my TV (new plasma) and PC calibrated. I don't know if it's the HDHomeRun PRIME's or the PC itself, because movies through Total Media Theatre look great.

Does anyone know the differences between the Motoroal box video chip and what one would get on a PC?



bohratom
Jersey Shore is back again.

join:2011-07-07
Red Bank NJ

1 edit

said by amro4:

There is one area I'm concernced about, and that is picture quality. Out the box, MCE blacks don't look good and the color does not appear to be as rich.

If the blacks look more like dark grey it could be related to your video card's dynamic range. With my nvidia card I need to use full dynamic range (0-255) for dark blacks and richer colors. Check your video card's graphic settings and make certain its not set to limited dynamic range (16-255).

amro4

join:2008-10-07
Colleyville, TX

said by bohratom:

said by amro4:

There is one area I'm concernced about, and that is picture quality. Out the box, MCE blacks don't look good and the color does not appear to be as rich.

If the blacks look more like dark grey it could be related to your video card's dynamic range. With my nvidia card I need to use full dynamic range (0-255) for dark blacks and richer colors. Check your video card's graphic settings and make certain its not set to limited dynamic range (16-255).

Thanks for that. I searched Anand and found some articles on HTPC's and they had discovered a bug that had that setting you mentioned swapped on ATI's Vision Center settings. I'll check that when I go home tonight.