Am I the HTPC forum Village Idiot? Stuff I should've figured out a few years ago . . .

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by BonzaiDuck, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    Always coming in here, fretting about some problem related to my cable-TV Charter/Spectrum subscription, my Silly-Dust HDHR-Prime tuners, encrypted content under Windows 10 without Media Center.

    I think I've lost brain-mass or something these last few years. I feel stupid. For at least a couple years, Charter has been advertising something they call the "Spectrum Live TV App." All this time, I'm fiddling with my HDHR' tuners, fretting over wireless network cable TV transmission and oddball things. I never bother to download some "App." I don't like the word "App." Call it an "Application," but tell me it's a "program." Send it to me on a disc to get my attention.

    So now, I see with our cable-TV subscription, I only need to log in to a freaking web-page and I can select any channel we subscribe to for computer viewing -- including "On Demand?"

    The more options I have, the more confused I get.
     
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  3. XavierMace

    XavierMace Diamond Member

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    I would say you're slow to adapt. Which is pretty common, especially in people of your age. You're definitely more savvy than my parents and IIRC you're a little older than my mom. I had a hard enough time teaching her how to use an iPod and a Harmony remote.

    Anyways, cable companies have made app's as a last ditch effort to try to save their cable TV business. As far as app, application, program goes, they all mean the same thing and "app" is the more common vernacular these days. As is no physical media. That's also why you see so little progress/innovation being made on the DVR front. At this point, it's like why bother. There's generally only 2 TV shows I would kinda like to see as they air. 1 is available directly on Amazon Instant Video for streaming on release nights. The other I COULD get through HBO Go, but I'm not paying their prices so I'll just wait for the Bluray and rip it. But in both cases, it's streamable right from an app on any device I want and from anywhere.
     
  4. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    I want to examine this concept of "slow to adapt." I don't dispute what you say.

    But everything forward of the Industrial Revolution was an effort by human civilization to reduce work and simplify or just make possible what had not been possible before. So we seek some status-quo -- what car we drive or whether we drive one at all, how we communicate -- by e-mail, telephone, text or Twitter. The machine or infrastructure that supports the status quo becomes a matter of routine. Where we once got off the sofa, walked ten feet and twisted a knob on the TV, we simply point a remote control. We keep comfy on the couch. Everything at our fingertips.

    And thus we came into this computer application (hardware plus programs) of an HTPC or HTPC function. We have surmounted the learning curve. Media Center and similar applications like SageTV, MediaPortal, KODI and so forth provide some variation in what is otherwise an interface that folds in pictures, music, movies, videos and "Live TV."

    Now, I can get Netflix separate from how it was knitted to WMC -- a feature no longer available in the latter. I can get all sorts of subscription options. How many different goddam subscriptions do I have to manage? How many different and unintegrated applications, players or browsers do I have to use, when I was happiest with just a single interface? And if I subscribe to this or that service, when does such a subscription become a runaway train? Or is it just a hemorrhage in my wallet? Do I want to pay X dollars so I can simply view a single movie? Do I want to do the accounting and bookkeeping for that? Or do I just settle on the uncertainty of a bill and its variable amount at month's end?

    It just seems with the pace of technical change and shifts in markets or fade-out in a prevailing means of obtaining media content, all the labor-saving advantages or time saved through convenient routine is eroded by throwing up one new learning curve after another.

    what did I do in the last week or so? I finally can say I've built the basis for a home security system accessible from any PC in the house and any tablet, laptop or cell-phone. I don't like fiddling with a cell-phone to make these configurations. The touch-screen is too damn small.

    So I can now see the images from my security cameras on my tablet, and I can get cable-TV on my tablet.

    I just get exasperated when I have to work with these new touch-screen interfaces -- get familiar with Android and other tasks. I spend as much time figuring out how to set up and configure some lifestyle "solution" as I spend using it.
     
    Kartajan likes this.
  5. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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    This is why I found a "consolidator" that I like (in my case Plex), and make the effort to tie in the things I want through that interface. It keeps things more consistent. I just try to look closely at the hardware and software that performs the tasks that I want.... And I like to keep as much as possible in the realm of "pay once and done", since the prevalent business model of "ongoing stream of income" just adds up too quickly for my taste.

    (I know that is not much help for those saddled with DRM, as those solutions are always a PITA for any kind of consolidation/ integration standpoint.)
    <No Netflix, No CATV, 1 IPTV (The Filipino Channel for the wife), big Plex library, Amazon Prime [mostly for the shopping]>
     
  6. Fallen Kell

    Fallen Kell Diamond Member

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    The DRM issues are what kept me from upgrading to Silicon Dust and cablecard tuners. I'm still living off my Haupauge HDDVR. I do need to look into new recording software (was using SageTV, but it is essentially dead).
     
  7. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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    Still using the "analog hole", or just recording CCI-CF on the Hauppage?

    DRM LIVE PLAYBACK is possible under (Windows 10, Windows Media Center on Win 7/8, PS3, and a miscellaneous handful of TV's) w/ SD's HDHR Prime and a properly authenticated CableCard.
    >Android/ AndroidTV is supposed to get the same capability soon (which is a surprise, since an earlier version of the android app did do DRM playback)
    SD's beta DVR is expected to be able to record/ playback DRM at some point- but do not expect that to happen quickly (I got tired of waiting, went OTA instead).
     
  8. bradly1101

    bradly1101 Diamond Member

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    I hear ya. I have Spectrum but have yet to check out their app. since WMC on Win7 fulfills my needs (2xHDHR's). But in 2020 I guess I'll have to switch because of Win7's end-of-life. I'm an old fart and I guess that's why I like to stick to what works for me, but not too long ago MS and/or Rovi hobbled WMC (at least in my area) by no longer providing accurate or timely guide updates, requiring the Schedules Direct/EPG workaround. I noticed that a lot of new hardware doesn't have Win7 drivers, forcing an OS upgrade if you need to upgrade your HW. Quite frankly that pisses me off. By the time that happens for me I'll probably need the next OS, then the next... I know they all want my money, but I can be a frugal sort (so "last century").

    From what I just read, the Spectrum app. only streams from certain networks, so it's still WMC for me because it works with all channels. Although I have Netflix, I just don't have the time to need more streaming services.
     
  9. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    Well, consider this. If you could integrate the Spectrum app into a media software organizer like WMC, KODI, MediaPortal etc., you could keep everything else. But I haven't yet discovered a way to make a green-button remote work with the web browser and Spectrum app.

    If one HAD an integrated solution with WMC, the future looks less certain.

    I paid the $25 for a year's Schedules Direct subscription and downloaded epg123. That solved for me the problem of two WMC /Win7 systems showing "No Data Available" on channels for about 3 weeks running. I think we had suspected that "guide maintenance" and other costs were obligations MS wanted to discontinue.

    It occurs to me that the Charter/Spectrum App should really make it unnecessary for me to keep one of the STBs we rent @ about $6 or $7/mo. I ordered the third STB just as a fallback if there would be maintenance or any other troubles related to my main HTPC-functioning computer. But if I can simply plug in an HDMI cable from my AVR/HDTV, I can simply use another computer to watch TV with the Spectrum App while I tinker and fix things.

    Yeah. Yes indeed. I'm going to return that STB tomorrow and trim the bill a bit.
     
    #8 BonzaiDuck, Oct 28, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  10. bradly1101

    bradly1101 Diamond Member

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    That's what I like about WMC, it's basically "free." Without a cable STB, I'm counting on my HTPC's reliability (which reminds me - I haven't checked for dust in a while).

    According to the Spectrum website, their app. is available in Samsung TV's, which I have, but with WMC being able to do so much, I never looked into it, but I assume the TV's remote will work for that. An all-inclusive interface would be nice without fumbling with remote keyboards, etc.

    We tried using the cable cos. DVR, but it had the clunkiest interface I'd ever seen. That was when Spectrum was Charter. I can only hope they've upgraded that.

    Just like with WMC going south, who knows what's around the bend.
     
  11. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    I stumbled onto web-site mention and links for the shareware known as epg123 as a solution for the "MS versus Rovi" phenomenon that leaves us with "Data Not Available" in our guide listing and no certainty that it will be restored.

    epg123 requires a subscription to Schedules Direct, with a 7-day free trial, a two-month @ $7 (approx.), and a 12-month subscription for $25. People will ask "Why should I pay $25 for a year's worth of Guide listing updates when I had it for free from MS?

    Without directly addressing that question, I verified from the SD tech-support that a subscription is applicable to an entire "household," and a household may consist of more than one home. for instance, a beach home or vacation home is part of an overall "household."

    So we resolved this guide listing problem with epg123 and Schedules Direct on two computers (so far) and a single outlay for the year of $25. You should probably donate something to the epg123 developer as well.

    This is something I could post in another thread as an "advisory" for stubborn Windows Media Center holdouts like myself. If someone thinks I should create that thread, say so and I will do so.