Thinking about going HTPC, but I need help!

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Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
WMC is only available on Vista, Win7, and Win8. I'm not sure if Vista is still 100% supported with things like tuners. Win8 needs an addon that costs a few bucks. You may be able to run a virtualized copy of Vista on your server, but I'm not certain of this.

A new Win7 computer installed at your TV location may be the best bet, since you don't already have a device there anyway. On that computer you can run WMC to record TV, and you can also run things like Kodi, netflix, etc.
 

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,486
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106
Yes, now that I have a better understanding of what will be needed,a new OS will be necessary.

Vista is OK, but with extended support ending in 2 years, I may just get a license for 7.

Tell me about Kodi. Their website is not being very responsive for me atm.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
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Yes, now that I have a better understanding of what will be needed,a new OS will be necessary.

Vista is OK, but with extended support ending in 2 years, I may just get a license for 7.

Tell me about Kodi. Their website is not being very responsive for me atm.
I would also advise dumping VISTA, even if only for a Win 7. You could also assess the latter choice in your eagerness to stay current, but for myself I'm sticking with the Win 7-64 licenses we have here for a few reasons of my own.

I'll also be interested in what others have to say about Kodi/XBMC, PLex or Myth.
 

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,486
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Another PC down the road may be necessary. But for right now, the PC (server duty) I have now will have to do. I have a couple other towers in the house, but they are quite old, and not ideal for what I am wanting to do.

Vista is a license I have doing nothing. So that is the only reason it is an option, but I really doubt I will be going with an OS I will have to upgrade later. By the time 7 is done, I will probably be ready to upgrade something anyway.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Another PC down the road may be necessary. But for right now, the PC (server duty) I have now will have to do. I have a couple other towers in the house, but they are quite old, and not ideal for what I am wanting to do.

Vista is a license I have doing nothing. So that is the only reason it is an option, but I really doubt I will be going with an OS I will have to upgrade later. By the time 7 is done, I will probably be ready to upgrade something anyway.
I had VISTA working with an AverMedia tuner card. I don't think I ever tried it with the Silly-Dust device. I have tech-savvy friends who spend their money at the "older" end of the spectrum, and still use XP for this or that machine. I have a "different sense of balance." All the machines in the house have Win 7 and it works well with WHS without any special "patches" (there was one to allow client backup of a Win 8 system).

I used to spring for every new OS version that came along. Always -- extra work, when you also "use" your computers for everyday bidnis. You can get "upgrade" versions -- true. But if I move to a later OS, I want to do it for all the machines at once. It's also an "expense" item . . .

No reason you shouldn't CONSIDER Win 8.1. You can actually use it as a "home-server" OS as well as for a workstation. For Win 7 (at least) you should be able to get a downloadable Win 7 installation package with the license/product-key from BuyCheapSoftware.com or DiscountMountainSoftware.com. There should be other sources -- you probably know them.

Of course -- XBMC/Kodi, Plex and MythTV free you from these decision factors -- truth be told.

Also -- I must correct my misunderstanding of the cablecard/HDHR' matter. It isn't "paired" with a PC on your LAN, according to bradly1101. My own problem: I "borked" the activation on my second HDHR', so I need to correct that . . . too . . .
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,690
292
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www.bradlygsmith.org
Yeah I forgot to mention that re-seating a cable card resets its activation. And when activating a second CableCard tuner, unplug the working tuner with the activated card, that way you make sure they only see the new card during activation. Be sure to tell them about the working card and that you want that one left as is. Re-run Setup TV Signal, and if using more than four tuners of one type with Tuner Salad (<$4) they will show up here.

I did notice that after programming a few series, adding a new one took a little while, and not always with a spinning wheel. I guess it needs to look at different possibilities (on an i7-920/12GB/SSD/HDDs).
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
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Yeah I forgot to mention that re-seating a cable card resets its activation. And when activating a second CableCard tuner, unplug the working tuner with the activated card, that way you make sure they only see the new card during activation. Be sure to tell them about the working card and that you want that one left as is. Re-run Setup TV Signal, and if using more than four tuners of one type with Tuner Salad (<$4) they will show up here.

I did notice that after programming a few series, adding a new one took a little while, and not always with a spinning wheel. I guess it needs to look at different possibilities (on an i7-920/12GB/SSD/HDDs).
Barring any hardware concerns (like a DVI-to-HDMI cable and how to configure it in MC) -- I finally put in my own call on that 2nd HDHR' issue and its cablecard. For anyone else interested, bradly1101 may have hit the nail on the head about that, because I DID remove that card to write down its serial number.

Since they have a customer database relationally linked to their database of devices and cards, they keep a log of customer contacts, and I confirm here that my tech-support contact today was "reading from the script" of previous success. It seemed pretty easy and short to "re-do" what had been done before and what I wanted him to do again.

On the Tuner Salad item, they are now charging some $4-something to download it, calling it "32-tuner salad" or something similar. I can see how it would be useful, to hardware addicts such as myself -- (or any number of folks in these forums.)

I've spoken before about the busy person's inclination for assigning causation, and that multiple causes can act independently or together. The HDCP issue had made me confused about "the" (any) PC and activation for protected content. But if all the configuration is done between the Silly-dust with cablecard and the provider, then the PC/HDCP issues become separate and easier to understand. There IS NO pairing of the HTPC itself and the rest of the parts or subscription. The PC merely configures to use the HDHR' (s).

bradly1101 -- He has . . enlarged my mind!

Just as an afterthought -- there shouldn't be any trouble with an I7-920/12GB-etc., though. The spinning ring can be troublesome with my overclocked SB-K. You never can be totally sure about "how it will all end," and there are things that happen which make it . . . .perpetual.
 
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Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,255
698
126
Not to hijack ketchup79's thread but seems to be relevant to what I'm about to undertake. Building mini-itx Core I3 HTPC with 2 HDHR's. Should I try to activate them both at the same time or do one, make sure it all works and then call back and do the other?

Seems like a hit or miss as for ease depending on who you talk to at the cable company.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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900
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If you mean me by "BD" -- yeah -- folks here are pretty tolerant -- call me 'ol blabber-mouth.

We-ull!! Seems HDHR' is popular at the moment.

I'm certainly going to "stay tuned in" here.

And -- yeah -- I'd do one HDHR' at a time. Perhaps that was my oddball intention of making two PC's mutually exclusive as to the WMC and HDHRSetup use of tuners. Harder to test on one PC if you have to continually change the TV Signal configuration for subsets of two HDHR's -- or HDHR'-'s. IT's either that or "Tuner Salad" and watching the LED lights to see what channel did what and with which and to whom.

Get one working, then do the other.
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,255
698
126
If you mean me by "BD" -- yeah -- folks here are pretty tolerant -- call me 'ol blabber-mouth.

We-ull!! Seems HDHR' is popular at the moment.

I'm certainly going to "stay tuned in" here.

And -- yeah -- I'd do one HDHR' at a time. Perhaps that was my oddball intention of making two PC's mutually exclusive as to the WMC and HDHRSetup use of tuners. Harder to test on one PC if you have to continually change the TV Signal configuration for subsets of two HDHR's -- or HDHR'-'s. IT's either that or "Tuner Salad" and watching the LED lights to see what channel did what and with which and to whom.

Get one working, then do the other.
I'll be on one HTCP (not built yet but partially purchased) and will be getting a copy of TunerSalad.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
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I'll be on one HTCP (not built yet but partially purchased) and will be getting a copy of TunerSalad.
I guess if I had a point to make, it would be that I'm not going through more trouble with the second HDHR' than I did with the first one, and the first one hasn't really given me trouble since I first got it to work. And if I'm getting all but encrypted HD channels on #2, it will eventually work for the whole enchilada. It CAN be fairly easy as bradly1101 says, but there's also Murphy's Law.

But Bradly1101 and others (I've seen in forum posts elsewhere) are able to set up two HDHR'-'s successfully.

Anyone in any of these forums would agree: Patience is the key . . .
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,690
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
I guess if I had a point to make, it would be that I'm not going through more trouble with the second HDHR' than I did with the first one, and the first one hasn't really given me trouble since I first got it to work. And if I'm getting all but encrypted HD channels on #2, it will eventually work for the whole enchilada. It CAN be fairly easy as bradly1101 says, but there's also Murphy's Law.

But Bradly1101 and others (I've seen in forum posts elsewhere) are able to set up two HDHR'-'s successfully.

Anyone in any of these forums would agree: Patience is the key . . .
Is it on a gigabit network? Have you tried it with tuner sharing (all six in the pool)? That's how mine is set up.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
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Is it on a gigabit network? Have you tried it with tuner sharing (all six in the pool)? That's how mine is set up.
I could do that, but I explained why I wanted to isolate it first. I really don't think there's anything wrong with the hardware. I'm in that "Newegg 30-day window."
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
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One HTPC?

(Sorry, but I'm a complete noob when it comes to this stuff).
Well, on this forum, I think we all have modest opinions of ourselves. I still FEEL like a noob, and I've been fiddling with tuner cards and "HTPC" for more than ten years.

I think with the HDHR' especially, it's good to distinguish "HTPC." As Bradly1101 insinuated -- well -- take my household network -- five machines and three users of which four PC's are workstations. They can ALL have TV on their computers once I sort out my own little problems. So ALL the machines are "HTPC's" more or less, because the tuners are on the network -- not in the box.

Once I'm sure I have both my devices working to spec and subscription, I can allocate the tuners to other machines. Or I can record six programs at once on the same computer . . .HTPC . . . whatever . . .

Perhaps you could say an "HTPC" is a configuration with an AVR and a Samsung Ultra-HD "curve" TV. Or we can talk about HDTV-enabled computers, or some computers enabled for non-HD if the parts aren't up to snuff for HDCP.

UPDATE: MY OWN PROBLEM: [and other recent threads]:

OK-ayyyy! We got encrypted HD on the second HDHR' now. Only thing I can say about it: once you get "reactivated, revalidated . . revindicated and reassimilated" -- power-cycle the HDHR', access it through the software, run a re-scan to redetect the device.

BACK TO KETCHUP's QUESTIONS!!
 
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bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,690
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
The only other glitch I had when adding a second HDHR was my fault for not completely following the directions in the Setup Guide. By not entering then exiting the HDHR Setup program it failed to update the HDHR's firmware, so there was a mismatch which was easily fixed. Also the Advanced tab in that program has a 'Repair Windows components' button.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
126
The only other glitch I had when adding a second HDHR was my fault for not completely following the directions in the Setup Guide. By not entering then exiting the HDHR Setup program it failed to update the HDHR's firmware, so there was a mismatch which was easily fixed. Also the Advanced tab in that program has a 'Repair Windows components' button.
Well . . . that's the value of a forum like this -- sharing information before people plunge in with both feet. Without the protected content features, there would be less of a complication troubleshooting any of it. You wouldn't have to "activate" a cablecard. But it's not rocket science, and overlooking something as you describe or as I experienced -- in my case, failing to power-cycle the HDHR' or rescanning for devices through its PC software -- they're "Little P-I-T-As" that seem to irritate new HDHR' users.

At least, that's what I'd seen scanning forums and cust'r-reviews for the product. It's truly a great product -- no doubt about it. But I wouldn't have done searches that turned up all those little irritations if I didn't need to troubleshoot it on my own.

Look at all the stuff we read through in these forums! It's always easy to miss some small print in the little setup booklets. Many folks are just "in a hurry." The up-side -- Silly-Dust has good info on their web-site for set-up and troubleshooting, sometimes even specific to cable-provider.
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,255
698
126
This is exactly the way the cable companies want it too. Make it difficult to have a 'choice' and people will run to the cable boxes that you cannot purchase every time. Pretty sad.

With that said, I'm trying to learn as much as possible from those that have already done this to make the transition easy and for some reason, I'm scared that it will still be a pain in the butt. :(
 

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,486
217
106
This is exactly the way the cable companies want it too. Make it difficult to have a 'choice' and people will run to the cable boxes that you cannot purchase every time. Pretty sad.

With that said, I'm trying to learn as much as possible from those that have already done this to make the transition easy and for some reason, I'm scared that it will still be a pain in the butt. :(
Agree on that point. That's one reason I have not done anything yet, and appreciate those that have joined in.

What I find frustrating is that there are people all over the place saying "here is how to build a computer," and go through it step by step. But, when it comes to software? Oh, pick one of these, you will probably like it. It does "everything."

This thread is going places, and I hope it continues to do so.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
126
This is exactly the way the cable companies want it too. Make it difficult to have a 'choice' and people will run to the cable boxes that you cannot purchase every time. Pretty sad.

With that said, I'm trying to learn as much as possible from those that have already done this to make the transition easy and for some reason, I'm scared that it will still be a pain in the butt. :(
If it's the HDHR', you should only need to hook it up to your LAN, run the software the first time to assure that it's there. It now occurs to me that info provided by WMC that needs to be given to the cable-provider for activation is available through the HDHR' setup software under "CAbleCard Menu." CableCard Menu will show as a second item of sub-menus "CableCard /Host ID Screen." Write down those two numbers -- the screen will even provide the number to call for your provider, which is encoded in the card.

Once you're Activated, VAlidated etc. and the main HDHR' webpage status screen shows "Success, success, success" and "ready" for Card authentication, OOB Lock, Card Validation and Tuning-Resolver, you should be good to go with the Media Center setup.

As I noted, you should power-cycle the HDHR' once you've activated with the provider and before you check for "success, success . . . "-etc. Do the Channel Lineup detection and scan, which can take a good half hour to complete.

You need to have MC download and configure "Digital Cable Advisor" and go through the setup screens. It will provide the same information with the card and host ID's and phone-number, but you should just click through the screens.

You're right that the extra complications or tedium is Jack Valenti's fault with the media content-protection Nazis, but . . . that's the way it is.

You could also go the route of having an internal PCI-E tuner card with coax ports. This would connect to your provider's STB, and needs a single channel. The Windows MC remote receiver (infrared device) has option cables that stick on your STB close to its own infrared sensor and allows you to control it that way. I just haven't experimented with the STB/tuner-card option recently, but I once had it working. It wasn't all that much of a problem, either.
 
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bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,690
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
"CableCard /Host ID Screen." Write down those two numbers
Also there was a different series of letters on the card's label that they wanted in my case. I have Charter too and I think they already know what hardware you picked up or was sent to you.

I guess I was lucky with the HDHR's. It's almost total content control and access (except for those copy protected shows on connected devices).
 

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,486
217
106
That is good to hear bradly1101. Hopefully others are just as lucky with this.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,384
900
126
That is good to hear bradly1101. Hopefully others are just as lucky with this.
Well, the pressure to "get it done" so you have all your subscribed channels derives from a need to verify the unit works properly. I'd be willing to guess that the QC defective percentage on HDHR'-'s is small, but if you order from the Egg, there's that 30-day window of time if Egg needs to replace it.

Any "shortcoming of luck" would otherwise come from some little mistake or something missed. It's even possible the cable provider could make a mistake first time around.

Also -- if we're all goo-gah today over the HDHR' -- you can file away for further reference the fact that you can also configure the unit directly to an RJ-45 NIC port of your system. the instructions for that should be at the Silly-dust web-site. I think this would mean that the user reverts to a more traditional concept of HTPC because the device is only connected to a single machine -- no less than if it were a PCI-E tuner card.

A lot of folks have recommended Ceton products, and they have their advantage and their drawbacks. I'm just happier than a pig in shit that I stumbled onto the HDHR' -- for various reasons.
 

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