• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Will Windows 10 still have windows media center support?

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

SlitheryDee

Lifer
Feb 2, 2005
17,253
18
81
So this thread prompted me to start messing around with Kodi, and I think it will make a suitable replacement for WMC when the time comes to do that. There are a few things that aren't quite right with it though. Messing around with PVR back ends has proven to be kind of a pain, my remote doesn't control all of kodi's functions and can't be configured to do so, and audio pass through doesn't work despite working in every other application. I'm sure I can work out the majority of these problems over time. The audio problem isn't a big deal because I wanted to use kodi's volume amplification option anyway, and I think replacing my IR receiver with an ehome model will allow me to get the remote working properly. Finding a PVR backend other than WMC that will support a cable card tuner is going to be tricky though. There's only one listed on the Kodi wiki, and my anti-virus software immediately flagged it as malware when I tried to install it. I guess I'll have to come back to that later.

There's a lot to like with kodi though. The fact that it maintains all your settings on a per-video basis is brilliant. So many times I've had to tab out of WMC to find the proper subtitle track for a movie, which sometimes caused the video to stop playing or restart and then wasn't saved for the next time I watched the movie. That alone makes me want to use Kodi for all my movies from now on. There are a ton of add ons available that give Kodi too many abilities to list, from appearance to home automation control. There is little doubt that Kodi can be a superior media center to WMC if you take the time to configure it properly.
 
Last edited:

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
314
126
and audio pass through doesn't work despite working in every other application.
In the audio settings make sure to change it over to advanced in the bottom left of the screen. That will allow you to tweak the passthrough options. I am stickler about passthrough so I have Kodi passing through everything it can.

I think replacing my IR receiver with an ehome model will allow me to get the remote working properly.
The HP Ehome IR receivers were at one point the high standard for Kodi but depending on your remote FLIRC might be better. It is the new hotness, I love it for controlling apps that you launch from Kodi (that normally require a keyboard to exit) like emulators.

Finding a PVR backend other than WMC that will support a cable card tuner is going to be tricky though. There's only one listed on the Kodi wiki, and my anti-virus software immediately flagged it as malware when I tried to install it. I guess I'll have to come back to that later.
I would recommend just running your WMC backend in Kodi for as long as you can. It is the best backend:

http://kodi.wiki/view/Add-on:PVR.WMC

If WMC really goes away I am sure a good replacement will come, but right now it is still the best backend option. Makes for a gradual transition.

There is little doubt that Kodi can be a superior media center to WMC if you take the time to configure it properly.
I would say Kodi is the best media center period once configured. Other things you can do, all within Kodi and all controlled by a remote if you have a FLIRC:

-run better skins like Aeon Nox that make WMC feel as dated as XP. Do this last though after everything works because some settings are hidden on some skins.

-run emulators with a GUI that shows the full boxart via Rom Collection Browser. It can launch every game you ever owned from Atari through Wii via rom collection browser and Kodi. I have each console's controller with a USB adaptor so Kodi makes a perfect retroconsole.

-run video add-ons that allow you to get an OCEAN of streaming content from news to major network stuff (aka what is on their website) to education stuff to sports. Installing the Superrepo is a great way to start:

https://superrepo.org/get-started/

-Configure different menu options for special content like 4k content or 3D content to keep it separated. Also you have the ability to group movies by their collections, or to sort through them by actors/years/genres/etc.

-You can have a bunch of different Kodi boxes all through your house and it can keep all those video settings you like (including watched status and where you left off) synced between those devices via MySQL. I currently have 7 Kodi clients in my house that share the same library.

-There are tons of cool screensavers that can show fanart from your collection or pictures from your NAS in a Ken Burns-ish slideshow. I have one in my kitchen that pulls in info from RSS feeds and random displays it in a cool way. It looks very futuristic.

-Easily launch Steam or any other app you want to launch

-Finally Kodi is open source and free, so you can make your own skin or your own plugin. There are plenty of really cool stuff out there already just to sift through!

Kodi is not for someone who wants turnkey, but if you are willing to fiddle it is king.
 
Last edited:

Griffinhart

Golden Member
Dec 7, 2004
1,130
1
76
This is so disappointing. I've had a WMC/Ceton/Cable Card media server setup for about 3 years now streaming television to various PC(s) and laptops (and one Xbox 360) connected to my network.

I shouldn't be surprised that it all turned out to be a technological dead-end and that I won't be able to substantially improve it. It just worked too well and cheaply, can't have that! Beat the new, more expensive FiOS streamers STB(s) by about...3 years!
I've been using WMC with the Ceton/Infinitv card too. Just this weekend I changed my Media Center over. I have been using a homebrewed PC w/ Windows 7. I just picked up the HP Stream mini and the HD Homerun Prime and am using WMC with Win 8.1. I hear that WMC will be an add on again for Win 10, but it's not available yet in the tech preview yet.

I'm hoping that it is indeed in Win10, at least as an add on. Fortunately with the HDHomerun I am covered if it isn't. I can use XBMC or any number of PVR solutions. I can also stream to any device on my network and even stream live TV to my Roku with it.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
5,996
325
126
And how are you using the Stream mini? Is it just as a front end to the homebrewed PC? Are you using the OEM SSD, or did you swap it out?
 

Griffinhart

Golden Member
Dec 7, 2004
1,130
1
76
And how are you using the Stream mini? Is it just as a front end to the homebrewed PC? Are you using the OEM SSD, or did you swap it out?
Stock SSD. I added 4GB of RAM and I am using an external 4TB USB3 HD for storage. It is replacing the homebrewed PC entirely. The CableCARD tuner is the HDHomerun Prime.

I should mention that the Windows 8.1 w/bing doesn't let you add Windows Media Center. I had to get the Win 8.1 Pro Pack upgrade. In the end, it would be cheaper to get the Pavilion Mini (same form factor, just a different color) for $350 which has a regular copy of Windows 8.1, 4 GB of RAM and a 500GB HD. I just don't know what the power consumption on it is. I have metered the Stream Mini while recording 3 channels at 17 Watts or less.
 
Last edited:

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,082
341
126
I should mention that the Windows 8.1 w/bing doesn't let you add Windows Media Center. I had to get the Win 8.1 Pro Pack upgrade. In the end, it would be cheaper to get the Pavilion Mini (same form factor, just a different color) for $350 which has a regular copy of Windows 8.1, 4 GB of RAM and a 500GB HD. I just don't know what the power consumption on it is. I have metered the Stream Mini while recording 3 channels at 17 Watts or less.
Just to note, the difference between regular 8.1 and 8.1 with Bing! is pretty much just that Bing! is the default search provider. You'd still have to buy the Pro Pack upgrade, because Microsoft only offers the Windows Media Center pack for 8.x Pro.
 

Griffinhart

Golden Member
Dec 7, 2004
1,130
1
76
Just to note, the difference between regular 8.1 and 8.1 with Bing! is pretty much just that Bing! is the default search provider. You'd still have to buy the Pro Pack upgrade, because Microsoft only offers the Windows Media Center pack for 8.x Pro.
Ah, I didn't realize that it was a Pro vs not pro.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,082
341
126
Ah, I didn't realize that it was a Pro vs not pro.
Yeah... it still boggles my mind why Microsoft restricts Windows Media Center so much. It was included on all versions of Windows 7 with the exception of the Starter edition, and they removed it as a pack-in on Windows 8 because they didn't want to pass the unnecessary cost onto the consumer. How kind! Unfortunately, while the cost was purported as a fair $9.99, most Windows machines come with the base Windows 8.x, which means you also have to pay $99.99 for an upgrade to Windows 8.x Pro. Real class act, Microsoft. It's also worth noting that the Pro version just gives you a bunch of features that most consumers don't want and nothing in the Pro version is actually required to make WMC work.

The real test is if they'll continue to milk their more niche customers with different versions of Windows 10. Microsoft is making the upgrade free for a year, but I haven't heard whether there will be any tiers for Windows 10. All we've heard about so far are the different windows update methods.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
5,996
325
126
Stock SSD. I added 4GB of RAM and I am using an external 4TB USB3 HD for storage. It is replacing the homebrewed PC entirely. The CableCARD tuner is the HDHomerun Prime.

I should mention that the Windows 8.1 w/bing doesn't let you add Windows Media Center. I had to get the Win 8.1 Pro Pack upgrade. In the end, it would be cheaper to get the Pavilion Mini (same form factor, just a different color) for $350 which has a regular copy of Windows 8.1, 4 GB of RAM and a 500GB HD. I just don't know what the power consumption on it is. I have metered the Stream Mini while recording 3 channels at 17 Watts or less.
I guess I am not so understanding of the need for WMC over other options. For instance, why not Kodi? BTW, I didn't know there were different versions of Windows 8.1 across the Stream/Pavilion mini models.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
5,974
11
81
I guess I am not so understanding of the need for WMC over other options. For instance, why not Kodi?
Because WMC is ready to go almost right out of the box. I tried Kodi prior to settling on WMC... everyone sure talked it up... but I don't need the 'inth degree of adjustment, I need something simple my wife and daughter can run. Kodi seemed cluttered to me... but that's just my opinion.
 

Griffinhart

Golden Member
Dec 7, 2004
1,130
1
76
I guess I am not so understanding of the need for WMC over other options. For instance, why not Kodi? BTW, I didn't know there were different versions of Windows 8.1 across the Stream/Pavilion mini models.
WMC is easier to use. I like the interface, I can use my Xbox 360 as an extender to different TV's and it just works. I have been using WMC for more than 12 years at this point and it has just worked for me.

I'm sure Kodi is decent but I didn't need to reinvent the wheel. I just needed to update my hardware to something with a lower power foot print. My Media Center went from 85Watts at idle to 9 Watts at idle.
 

Raincity

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2000
4,471
12
81
I guess I am not so understanding of the need for WMC over other options. For instance, why not Kodi? BTW, I didn't know there were different versions of Windows 8.1 across the Stream/Pavilion mini models.
Kodi does not do PVR on the backend.
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,026
184
106
I would rather pay for WMC than TIVO. TIVO is great but WMC seems to have the best combination of customization (Media Browser, etc) and ease of use (OTA, DVR, Cablecard, Program Guides, etc). Doesn't WMC support control of set top boxes via IR blasters too?
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,026
184
106
Yes it can. The file format is DVR-MS and there seems to be minimum (if any) compression...about a 1GB/Hr for me.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
5,996
325
126
Yes it can. The file format is DVR-MS and there seems to be minimum (if any) compression...about a 1GB/Hr for me.
1GB/hour seems rather low, no? When you think about it ...

Broadcast television 1080-interlaced is about 18 Mbps on a 6 MHz channel, or rather that is what it is capable of. Naturally this is in uncompressed form (I think), but this translates into much, much more than the 1GB/hour you are suggesting.

At your quoted rate this would translate to only 2.33 Mbps, which is a far cry from HD.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,082
341
126
I'm not sure what he's doing to his recordings, but I don't see that sort of compression. That would be something like h.264 with medium-ish settings. WTV files use MPEG2, which means they're quite big. I looked at a few files and a 1h10m file (hour show with padding) was 7GB. Unsurprisingly, half-hour show is generally half that.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
So did I read correctly, somewhere above, that if you want to tune/record encrypted cable channels you have to use WMC? As opposed to JRiver or Kodi?

What about OTA channels?

Maiyr
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
58
86
So did I read correctly, somewhere above, that if you want to tune/record encrypted cable channels you have to use WMC? As opposed to JRiver or Kodi?

What about OTA channels?

Maiyr
It doesn't depend on encryption, it depends on the CCI flag. Copy Freely flags don't require WMC. For programs with Copy Once flags, WMC is mandatory. You won't (or shouldn't) ever see any of the other flags in use.

All OTA broadcasts are flagged Copy Freely by FCC mandate.
 

Hdgamer

Member
Feb 25, 2013
54
0
66
Another WMC user that used media browser that switched to Plex. Getting a plex pass and using my phone as a remote, or to carry all my library with me is a huge plus!!! Didn't really use wmc for the tv aspect of it though, but I do know Plex has a growing list of apps kind of like a smart box would have. They're just really lacking at the moment. To me it's more of the future then what wmc was.
 

evident

Lifer
Apr 5, 2005
11,551
125
106
this is typical microsoft. create something that fills a niche, then leave all its users hanging and just hope it disappears.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY