Want to set up a HTPC with Verizon FiOS

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rsutoratosu

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2011
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Yes, you need a PC with Windows Media Center to record shows and watch live TV. There are other media center software packages out now that have some compatibility with cable card tuners but none are yet fully compatible like WMC, so currently it is the only viable choice.
ok because I do have 6+ tv in the house and only 2 boxes.

If I use wmc to record the shows, how do I watch them from another tv ? is there a simpler box to get or do I need a pc at every tv to watch off the main wmc ? sorry I never did this before but the word 'save tons of money' off ceton's site got me
 
Sep 12, 2004
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ok because I do have 6+ tv in the house and only 2 boxes.

If I use wmc to record the shows, how do I watch them from another tv ? is there a simpler box to get or do I need a pc at every tv to watch off the main wmc ? sorry I never did this before but the word 'save tons of money' off ceton's site got me
If you have wired Ethernet at or near the TV locations you can use WMC extenders (an Xbox360 or one of the older extenders like the Linksys/Cisco DMA-2100). The 360 is fine if you don't mind the noise from it. The DMA-2100 can be had on eBay from $75 - $100. Ceton has the Echo, which was supposed to be THE next-gen extender, but they are buggy and Ceton hasn't been able to iron out the kinks so I can't recommend one.

If you don't have wired Ethernet you can try powerline networking or MoCA (multi-media over cable). Wireless (at least wireless-N) just isn't viable, particularly for multiple locations. The new AC standard might work but I haven't tried it yet.
 
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rsutoratosu

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2011
2,673
4
81
Yeah im well lit in the house.. i have 16 drops in my living wall alone. 3 gigabit switches. I just put in 4 drops in my 2 kitchen wall with 2 pairs of coax.

I used to use the slingbox in the house but it's such a hassle.

So I read into more of the ceton and there seem to be pixelation issues from some of the reviews.. I think ill hold of on this till the tech gets better.. who knows.. maybe when my fios contracts ends in jan ill have it built

thanks for the info.. that linksys dma looks good
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
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Yeah im well lit in the house.. i have 16 drops in my living wall alone. 3 gigabit switches. I just put in 4 drops in my 2 kitchen wall with 2 pairs of coax.

I used to use the slingbox in the house but it's such a hassle.

So I read into more of the ceton and there seem to be pixelation issues from some of the reviews.. I think ill hold of on this till the tech gets better.. who knows.. maybe when my fios contracts ends in jan ill have it built

thanks for the info.. that linksys dma looks good
No one is releasing "better" tech. This tech has been out for YEARS. If you are getting pixelation issues it's more likely because of a weak signal(I've researched this a lot and still haven't bit til now so I'll let ya know how my experience is. This is the only problem I've seen that was solved but a LOT of reviews of products almost always the problem is either user error or soemthign the product itself cant control). Some times you do have to call and ask them boost the signal. There is CD software you can use to measure the signal (I'm not sure which brand includes this) so don't think that it's just a brand issue. I heard about this issue and the person was testing it and they first bought 1 tuner, had the issue and returned it. Then tried another and same issue and then got a tuner with this CD software and figured it out. They called Verizon, who then boosted the signal and it all worked out ok in the end.

I too waited for "better" tech. The game isn't changing until h.265 is a standard and is shipped with cable boxes for 4K content and that won't be for 4-5 years probably anyway (just my theory but who knows how long they'll hold onto this standard).

I JUST bought a Ceton InfiniTV 4 though so I'll let ya know how it goes tomorrow when I set it up. I will say though that I notice pixellation on my feed now. You can notice a lot of imperfections in 720p content if you sit close enough and have a large enough display. Not much you can do about it!
 
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Sep 12, 2004
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No one is releasing "better" tech. This tech has been out for YEARS. If you are getting pixelation issues it's more likely because of a weak signal(I've researched this a lot and still haven't bit til now so I'll let ya know how my experience is. This is the only problem I've seen that was solved but a LOT of reviews of products almost always the problem is either user error or soemthign the product itself cant control). Some times you do have to call and ask them boost the signal. There is CD software you can use to measure the signal (I'm not sure which brand includes this) so don't think that it's just a brand issue. I heard about this issue and the person was testing it and they first bought 1 tuner, had the issue and returned it. Then tried another and same issue and then got a tuner with this CD software and figured it out. They called Verizon, who then boosted the signal and it all worked out ok in the end.

I too waited for "better" tech. The game isn't changing until h.265 is a standard and is shipped with cable boxes for 4K content and that won't be for 4-5 years probably anyway (just my theory but who knows how long they'll hold onto this standard).

I JUST bought a Ceton InfiniTV 4 though so I'll let ya know how it goes tomorrow when I set it up. I will say though that I notice pixellation on my feed now. You can notice a lot of imperfections in 720p content if you sit close enough and have a large enough display. Not much you can do about it!
Yes, the pixelation issue is related to signal strength, something that is relatively easy to resolve, particularly for the more techie types. Verizon can boost the signal but it is also a good idea to check how your cable drops are configured. The fewer splitters involved, the better. Some also use a signal amp when absolutely necessary.

If you have an InfiniTV device no special CD software is required to check your signal strength. Ceton includes diagnostic software that will tell you the signal strength for each tuner (on the Devices tab, click on the "Go to InfiniTV Device Webpage" button and select a tuner that is tuned to a channel).

I never have any pixelation problems. The only rare problem that I do see is macroblocking. I don't believe that's an issue with the Ceton though. It's just a standard cable glitch, a signal burp, from time to time. When I visit my parents they have far more frequent macroblocking events on their TVs and they use Comcast cable boxes. With cable or sat there are always going to be occasional signal issues. Nothing available now is ever going to provide a perfect picture all of the time.
 

glugglug

Diamond Member
Jun 9, 2002
5,341
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What about DVR functionality? I'll probably still need the Verizon box to watch recorded shows/movies?
NO. The PC running Windows Media Center is a far superior DVR to anything FIOS or any other cable provider offers.
 

glugglug

Diamond Member
Jun 9, 2002
5,341
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Linksys DMA is not Windows 8 compatible (and hasn't been supported by Linksys since 2008). Also, it doesn't support playing back H.264 recordings (some of the newer/lesser used HD stations are starting to use that), and has sucky codec support for downloaded videos.

Your best bet, by far, is Ceton or HDHR Prime for your tuner, XBOX 360 for any screens other than the one directly on the PC.

No remote is included, for the PC I recommend a good wireless keyboard as the best remote, although there are many others available, some as little as $8.

For my 3 XBOX 360s, I use these: http://www.iboyds.com/microsoft-universal-media-remote-x360-b4o-00001.aspx

Note, I said 360. THE XBOX ONE WILL NOT WORK.

Also: The FIOS ActionTec router is a dual band MoCA adapter. By default it does MoCA on 1GHz frequency over the coax for the WAN connection to the ONT, and 1.1GHz to talk to any set top boxes. If you don't either turn this feature off or even better switch to your own router since you already have wired ethernet everywhere, it will interfere with the reception of about half a dozen channels that this is a harmonic of unless you put a low pass filter in front of the tuners. For users without ethernet wiring, the MoCA is actually pretty nice. It has enough solid bandwidth for HD streams to about 3 extenders simulaneously. The powerline adapters can barely handle one (and even that will be flaky).
 
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Sep 12, 2004
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Other than the 360, no extender is Windows 8 compatible, one reason I refuse to move to Win 8 on my HTPC. Thanks MS. :mad: For anything other than watching Live TV and WMC recorded TV the DMA-2x00 extenders are basically useless. While the 360 is better in that regard it will still choke on high-bandwidth Blu-ray rips so it isn't a great solution either. If you want to set up a system that can basically handle anything you can throw at it the only real solution is to use an ethernet-based CC tuner (the HDHR Prime or InfiniTV6 ETH) and have SFF PCs at each TV. Even with that there are limitations on watching TV recordings that are flagged copy once so it's still not perfect. Unfortunately there is no perfect solution out there so one has to pick and choose what's the best fit for them.

And, yes, MoCA is a superior solution to PowerLine networking. It's more reliable, more stable, and has less latency issues. I have MoCA adapters set up between my HTPC and router (I don't use Verizon's router) and it's blazing fast. Regarding the low-pass filter, if you have a Verizon truck-roll to set up your CC tuner, ask the tech for one. They will give you one for free.
 

Alan G

Member
Apr 25, 2013
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My FIOS setup is rather simple since I only have one TV to set up (the second is an old analog Sony Trinitron up in the bedroom that my wife seems content with). I don't record multiple shows at the same time period so I'm using a Hauppage 2650 tuner. Graphics are handled by the i3 Ivy Bridge 4000HD CPU and since I don't require lots of long term storage I have a 500GB WD Blue HDD. The one thing that was immediately apparent was the improved video quality compared to the Verizon set top box. I have had no issues at all with pixelation either through WMC or routine Internet streaming of sports events (WiFi through my Actiontec router which is only about 20 feet away from the HTPC which has the Gigabyte H77N-WiFi MoBo).

The only minor glitch that I encountered was the white flickering on HBO HD programs. This is a known problem and one has to turn off the 'Adaptive Contrast Enhancement' in the Intel Graphics Control panel. Other than that I'm pleased with how things are working and I'm saving $15/month on rental charges (though I do with Verizon had a lower rental cost for the Cable Card).
 

rsutoratosu

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2011
2,673
4
81
I was pricing up my order as my current contract ends 1/2015 and they'll jack up the price to like 130-140 from 95/month.. So how exactly does the htpc get TV listing guide ?

Use the multi-stream CableCARD with compatible devices to view limited FiOS TV features

• For CableCARD compatible devices and digital-cable-ready televisions.
• View all FiOS TV standard definition and high definition subscribed channels.
• Does not support Video on Demand, the TV listings guide, or any additional interactive TV features.
 

glugglug

Diamond Member
Jun 9, 2002
5,341
1
0
I was pricing up my order as my current contract ends 1/2015 and they'll jack up the price to like 130-140 from 95/month.. So how exactly does the htpc get TV listing guide ?
When you do the TV tuner setup it asks you your zip code and gives you a list of TV providers to pick from for the guide listings, which are all downloaded from zaptoit by some MS licensing agreement.

Praying that continues to be the case with consumer versions of Windows 7 having end of support in 1/2015 and Windows 8 in 2018 ....... If not there are already 3rd party apps to sideload guide data in other countries where MS doesn't have any guide listings, I just don't know how well these work with 815 channels.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
640
121
Yes, the pixelation issue is related to signal strength, something that is relatively easy to resolve, particularly for the more techie types. Verizon can boost the signal but it is also a good idea to check how your cable drops are configured. The fewer splitters involved, the better. Some also use a signal amp when absolutely necessary.

If you have an InfiniTV device no special CD software is required to check your signal strength. Ceton includes diagnostic software that will tell you the signal strength for each tuner (on the Devices tab, click on the "Go to InfiniTV Device Webpage" button and select a tuner that is tuned to a channel).

I never have any pixelation problems. The only rare problem that I do see is macroblocking. I don't believe that's an issue with the Ceton though. It's just a standard cable glitch, a signal burp, from time to time. When I visit my parents they have far more frequent macroblocking events on their TVs and they use Comcast cable boxes. With cable or sat there are always going to be occasional signal issues. Nothing available now is ever going to provide a perfect picture all of the time.
When I said "CD Software" I meant included stuff. I just didn't know whether it was CD or had to be DLed. Anyway, I got pixellation only when I was doing heavy downloading (downloaded all games I got with my 7950), and some transcoding. When I'm just watching TV, I'm fine. It was also only in XBMC, and I had XBMC updating my whole library as well when I was watching.

Otherwise, channel switching is slow, up to 4 seconds sometimes, but the recording works, TV is great, and having a guide that isn't slow is amazing. Sort by any way I want, scroll as fast as I want, it's great in that respect.
 

glugglug

Diamond Member
Jun 9, 2002
5,341
1
0
The pixelation can also be caused by the HDD not keeping up, which it sounds like may be happening in your case. It is best to have dedicated spindle(s) for recordings.
 
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