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Evaluate current HTPC, want advice moving forward

jaydee

Diamond Member
May 6, 2000
4,491
2
81
I don't have a full-fledged HTPC, nor do I seek one. All I do is record TV programs on my main PC, encode them to mp4, play them back, typically on the same PC, sometimes over wifi Plex to iPad. We also stream some TV from the internet (Hulu or whatever) and Amazon Prime video, but not too often (maybe once a month on average, more in the winter, less in the summer). This is my main PC (in signature), and I have a USB tuner (Hauppauge WinTV 850). For what it's worth, I only record/playback OTA antenna TV. Mostly sports, PBS documentaries, some movies. I store everything on a low power WHS 2011 machine that has a couple of 1TB drives in RAID 1.

Right now, I am using Windows 8 Pro, recording via Windows Media Center and output to a 32" TV on the other side of the room with a 35' HDMI cord. It's an ok solution, I don't have constant internet at home, I plug in a phone and tether when I need to be online (actually isn't very often), and I can only download the TV guide when I'm online, which is a little bit of an inconvenience, I'd rather pick up the guide over-the-air, like the regular TV does. Another problem is, with WMC I can only record (maximum) of an extra 30 minutes after a program is scheduled to end. Some sports programs go over by 45 minutes or an hour if in overtime/extra innings and I miss the end of the game.

I use handbrake (v 0.9.9) to do encoding to mp4, and use Avidemux to trim the start, end and cut out commercials if I want to keep the recording long-term.

With Windows 10 coming up, like many others, I'm at a crossroad. Do I stay with Win8 and just keep doing what I do (and sacrifice having Windows 10 for my main PC, and live with the above inconveniences)? Or do I upgrade to Windows 10 and find a 3rd party solution? I use Linux (Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu/Mint) a lot at work too, if there's a good Linux solution I have no problem running that in a VM inside of Windows 10.

Just wondering what you all think.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
You are just messing with OTA TV, which means you really don't need WMC. Something like MythTV could use that same tuner, and give you different (maybe better) GUI options.

Since you are familiar with Linux I would play with Mythbuntu in a VM.
 

jaydee

Diamond Member
May 6, 2000
4,491
2
81
You are just messing with OTA TV, which means you really don't need WMC. Something like MythTV could use that same tuner, and give you different (maybe better) GUI options.

Since you are familiar with Linux I would play with Mythbuntu in a VM.
Curious, what does OTA vs cable/satellite have to do with anything?
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Curious, what does OTA vs cable/satellite have to do with anything?
OTA signals have no DRM, so Linux-based systems and open source software can record and store the programs just as good as (I think better as MythTV automates a lot of what you are doing manually) WMC. But for cablecard systems the DRM was designed in partnership with Microsoft, and once WMC support ends the whole "build my own cable box" segment will be a dead end.

I just do OTA myself. I have a MythTV backend feeding my local channels to my many Kodi boxes. Cablecard always felt like a dead end to me.
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
3
81
Poofy, may I ask, where do you live? I'm currently using ServerWMC to link my KodiBuntu box to recordings from WMC on my Win7 server. I'd like to ditch the Windows PC for all the media functions, but I've read that some of the various non-WMC options work better in some areas than others based on the broadcast content and regions. Long story short, if you are in the continental US, and MythTV works for you, that's where I'll start my playing.

Jaydee, my situation isn't terribly different from yours, so hopefully this won't come off as thread-jacking. I'm also just OTA reception, looking to replace WMC.
 

jaydee

Diamond Member
May 6, 2000
4,491
2
81
OTA signals have no DRM, so Linux-based systems and open source software can record and store the programs just as good as (I think better as MythTV automates a lot of what you are doing manually) WMC. But for cablecard systems the DRM was designed in partnership with Microsoft, and once WMC support ends the whole "build my own cable box" segment will be a dead end.

I just do OTA myself. I have a MythTV backend feeding my local channels to my many Kodi boxes. Cablecard always felt like a dead end to me.
How does MythTV pull the tv listings? Over the air (like a regular TV), or through an online service? And is it flexible enough to record up to an hour past when a game is scheduled to end, without having to do separate recordings?
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
If it ain't broke...?

The MP4 conversion and commercial removal can be partially or fully automated on WMC by using DVRMStoolbox or MCE Buddy.
 

Lorthreth

Member
Aug 14, 2004
120
0
86
paintdotnet.netlify.com
I've tried WMC (okish), Mediaportal (cumbersome) and the software which came with my stick, Totalmedia (utter crap).

Just recently I found SichboPVR.
Many times better than anything I've ever used before, looks very clean and runs smooth. It's perfect. It can record series even it seems and much more that I haven't yet found.

There's even a nice device list on that page to check for compatibility.
 

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