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Will Windows 10 still have windows media center support?

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bunnyfubbles

Lifer
Sep 3, 2001
12,250
3
0
including it with most versions of 7 and then moving to charging $100 extra to get it for 8 was the death knell

as relatively simple and painless as it is to use the software (e.g. its about the only software that can utilize my HDTV Wonder PCI tuner card, a product where official support ended with 32bit XP and even that official tuner software was/is a huge PITA to get working) it still requires too many extras for the average person to make use of the software that it doesn't really matter how painless the software is itself

now if that $100 included something like an HDHomeRun network tuner along with a decent indoor antenna then Microsoft would have something with actual potential of market penetration if not proliferation

but for the most part people just don't/didn't know that their copy of Vista/7 had WMC to even begin to pursue getting use out of it (failure of marketing), and thus never used it and is a major reason why it was phased out of being included in 8 as a standard
 

Ranulf

Golden Member
Jul 18, 2001
1,548
114
106
So win7 is better for WMC than 8.1 at this stage? I have licenses for both at the moment and wondering which I should use for my htpc.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,110
353
126
So win7 is better for WMC than 8.1 at this stage? I have licenses for both at the moment and wondering which I should use for my htpc.
I think the only positive aspect of Windows 8.x compared to Windows 7 as a HTPC OS is that Windows 8 has the Modern UI, which can serve as a 10-Foot UI. Unfortunately, that's about it. Windows Media Center is not a Modern app, which means you'll get dumped back to the desktop if you exit it. You can also use third-party tools to edit WMC's menu and add just about anything that you want. I have a button that opens up Steam in Big Picture Mode, and Plex's installer has an option to add a button (no third-party editor required).

The big issue is that it really depends on which 8.x license you have. If you have vanilla 8.1, you will have to upgrade to 8.1 Pro ($100) to have the privilege to then pay Microsoft $10 for Windows Media Center. WMC is available on all versions of Windows 7 except for the Starter Edition, which isn't something that we run into anyway.

I usually stick with Windows 7. Albeit, I specifically built a NUC with Windows 8.1 Pro, slapped it on the back of a touchscreen monitor, and use it as a HTPC. I did get the WMC pack on it as well.

EDIT:

Another important thing that I forgot to mention is that WMC in Windows 8.x is far more restrictive on the extenders. You can read a little bit about it from Microsoft, but the gist is that the XBOX 360 is the only extender that will work with WMC on Windows 8.x.
 
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Ranulf

Golden Member
Jul 18, 2001
1,548
114
106
Huh, I missed that WMC needed 8.1 pro. I have a license for that too but its slated for another machine. Looks like win7 it is. Thanks Aikouka.
 

jdoggg12

Platinum Member
Aug 20, 2005
2,685
11
81
Is there a DIY for dummies on using my HTPC in place of Comcast's HDDVR? If not, anyone have a cliff notes of what's needed? It seems that everything I've found thus far is for OTA tuner cards and non-digital cable card tuners... which defeats the point of trying to do it at all, IMO.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,110
353
126
Is there a DIY for dummies on using my HTPC in place of Comcast's HDDVR? If not, anyone have a cliff notes of what's needed? It seems that everything I've found thus far is for OTA tuner cards and non-digital cable card tuners... which defeats the point of trying to do it at all, IMO.
You would need some sort of tuner that supports CableCard such as the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (3 concurrent streams, external, Ethernet), Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe (6 concurrent streams, internal, PCI-E), or Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH (6 concurrent streams, external, Ethernet). You'll need to get a CableCard from Comcast. You probably already have one if you have a HD-DVR (I've never used one, but I'd assume that you do). Last, you need a computer with Windows Media Center for full usability. There are other pieces of software that can access most content, but they are restricted from playing any stream that has been marked Copy Once. You'll see that a lot on HBO and such.

Most of the setup is handled through setting up the tuner device, and then Windows Media Center walks you through the rest. The only hardship at this point really depends on who you talk to at Comcast. When I setup my first tuner card, it took about five calls to Comcast to get them to finally set it up properly. They kept insisting that there was an issue and they needed to send a tech out, but I kept stating that it didn't require a tech. Eventually, I got someone that could properly enter letters and numbers. :p

Note: Choosing a tuner can seem a bit daunting, but it really just comes down to what you need. The biggest difference between the Silicon Dust and Ceton offerings is the number of concurrent streams. The HDHomeRun Prime has three tuners, which means you can watch three streams at once (I'm pretty sure two computers watching the same channel still use two tuners). The Ceton devices have six tuners, which means you get six streams.

Tuner sharing/pooling is another big thing. Tuner pooling allows multiple computers to share tuners dynamically. It's a feature that's really only available in the external devices. Internal devices like the InfiniTV PCIe require you to dedicate tuners to specific computers if you want to share the tuners.
 
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bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
If you like your purchase of a particular tuner as I did with a Silicon Dust Homerun Prime, you can add a second one of these for six shared tuners. It requires a second CableCard, which are $1.76/mo. here.
 

jdoggg12

Platinum Member
Aug 20, 2005
2,685
11
81
You would need some sort of tuner that supports CableCard such as the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (3 concurrent streams, external, Ethernet), Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe (6 concurrent streams, internal, PCI-E), or Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH (6 concurrent streams, external, Ethernet). You'll need to get a CableCard from Comcast. You probably already have one if you have a HD-DVR (I've never used one, but I'd assume that you do). Last, you need a computer with Windows Media Center for full usability. There are other pieces of software that can access most content, but they are restricted from playing any stream that has been marked Copy Once. You'll see that a lot on HBO and such.

Most of the setup is handled through setting up the tuner device, and then Windows Media Center walks you through the rest. The only hardship at this point really depends on who you talk to at Comcast. When I setup my first tuner card, it took about five calls to Comcast to get them to finally set it up properly. They kept insisting that there was an issue and they needed to send a tech out, but I kept stating that it didn't require a tech. Eventually, I got someone that could properly enter letters and numbers. :p

Note: Choosing a tuner can seem a bit daunting, but it really just comes down to what you need. The biggest difference between the Silicon Dust and Ceton offerings is the number of concurrent streams. The HDHomeRun Prime has three tuners, which means you can watch three streams at once (I'm pretty sure two computers watching the same channel still use two tuners). The Ceton devices have six tuners, which means you get six streams.

Tuner sharing/pooling is another big thing. Tuner pooling allows multiple computers to share tuners dynamically. It's a feature that's really only available in the external devices. Internal devices like the InfiniTV PCIe require you to dedicate tuners to specific computers if you want to share the tuners.
This is EXACTLY the kind of response I was looking for. You're a AT hero in my book, Aikouka! Thank you :)
 

jdoggg12

Platinum Member
Aug 20, 2005
2,685
11
81
Finally had a chance to look at those cards and have a question... Why are the Ceton tuners so much pricier than the Silicon dust one? Any real value that you get for the extra price or is it just name/marketing?
 

lucia

Member
Jan 12, 2015
159
12
46
I have 2 machines running Mediacentre, neither of which will be upgraded to Windows 10 if Media Centre isn't included - as having invested HD tuner cards, etc that would instantly be rendered useless with the upgrade.
 

lsd

Golden Member
Sep 26, 2000
1,158
13
81
Finally had a chance to look at those cards and have a question... Why are the Ceton tuners so much pricier than the Silicon dust one? Any real value that you get for the extra price or is it just name/marketing?
The infinitv has 6 tuners, the SD has only 3.
The 4 tuner infinitv and 6 tuner SD have been discontinued.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,110
353
126
Finally had a chance to look at those cards and have a question... Why are the Ceton tuners so much pricier than the Silicon dust one? Any real value that you get for the extra price or is it just name/marketing?
As mentioned, you get twice as many tuners. You should also avoid buying one for full price as they usually have sales that knock off at least $50. I know I've seen them advertise the sales on their Facebook page, and when I was looking them up, I think Newegg had them on sale.

It all comes down to how many channels you want to be able to watch and/or record at once, and since the external units can be easily shared with any computer, anyone viewing should be taken into account. You can buy more than one SiliconDust tuner, but you will need another CableCard. CableCards are only guaranteed to be free for the first one as that's mandated by the FCC. In some cases, they'll only tack on a small fee (maybe about $2) but some Cable companies charge between $5-10 per month for another card. So, when comparing costs, it is worthwhile to keep those extra expenses in mind.

One thing to be aware of with the Ceton tuners is the ETH 6's unresponsive issue. The ETH 6 has a problem where it just sometimes stops working. The only way that I've found to fix it is to cycle power. I can't remember if it has happened to me on the latest firmware, but I've definitely had it happen in the past. Although, it usually only happens every few months. The issue doesn't seem to be heat-related or anything like that, as I put a really quiet fan on top of my ETH 6, which dropped the temperatures by about 20-25C. (The ETH6 has a status webpage that you can view.)
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
Finally had a chance to look at those cards and have a question... Why are the Ceton tuners so much pricier than the Silicon dust one? Any real value that you get for the extra price or is it just name/marketing?
I went with the HomeRun Prime after reading reviews (and two Homeruns were significantly cheaper than one (more poorly reviewed) InfiniTV 6.

Reviews like this Amazon one put me off:

"Worked" for roughly a year before it started having issues. I use "worked" loosely, as slow tuning and error messages plagued me. My setup are 5 Windows computers (Win7 & Win8.1) across a gigabit network.The big issue occurred early in June/July 2014.

Basically, it became extremely hit or miss when the tuner would express "Subscription Required" all the time. Live TV? Recorded TV? It was very random for a while with mostly misses. I filed a trouble ticket to Ceton explaining that nothing had changed in the network nor have I done anything to any of the computers that might express this behavior. This is when I realized how much of a headache I was about to go through. Ceton's ticketing system basically assigns you a case number and every 24 hours someone is supposed to get back with you. Well... apparently anyone; because they would not comprehend (or look at the previous ticket messages) that this was across my entire network, not just 1 PC. If you did not attach a log file, they would reply "please attach a log file" even if you asked a question that didn't even require it.

What did troubleshooting involve? Uninstalling services that didn't exist (plex-- I think I was told 3 times to uninstall this which I hadn't even heard of until they said something), uninstalling legit services that have been running on my computer for years with no previous tuning issues (virtualbox), turning off sleep mode (probably the only reasonable suggestion), and installing Windows hotfixes. Eventually it got to the point where their logs were insufficient so I sent over Wireshark captures for them to look over. Nothing changed their minds, they wouldn't believe their device was not properly functioning. I changed the CableCARD... I limited the scope of the network to just the Ceton and 1 PC... Firmware updates... I tried everything I could think of. Eventually the ticket ended up asking me to bring a new, fresh installed computer on the network because they claim that Windows Media Center was messed up on all 5 of my PC's. I did eventually end up doing this and you can guess the result (spoiler: it still didn't work). This exchange occurred over the course of 2 months before I had enough.

I gave up and got an HDHomerun Prime. Guess what? It worked. 5 minutes hardware/software install. 10 minutes to call Comcast to get the signal to work. Channels are tuning more quickly, and the interface (although a little more plain) tells me exactly the information that is most meaningful to me.

I think the thing that irks me the most about Ceton is the last message they sent on the ticket. I basically wanted to see if I could get a refund, but didn't really expect them to deliver as it had been 1.5 years since the purchase date. They said "All refunds are handled through the retailer you purchased the unit from. They provide a generous 30 day no questions asked return policy". I though to myself-- apparently they don't warranty their units? Because when I buy a $300 piece of hardware nothing screams at me more than a "generous 30 day warranty (through Amazon)".

TL;DR Skip this junk device and go for the HDHomerun Prime.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,110
353
126
I went with the HomeRun Prime after reading reviews (and two Homeruns were significantly cheaper than one (more poorly reviewed) InfiniTV 6.

Reviews like this Amazon one put me off:
Hm... that issue does sound strange, and I don't think I've ever encountered it. As I mentioned, my main issue is the ETH 6 just not working for some reason, and it only occurs once every few months. I thought it might be related to the higher temperatures, which is why I tossed a fan on it. As mentioned, it did reduce the temperatures significantly, but that didn't help.

Although, I did forget to mention that it is rather slow to tune channels. It takes somewhere around 5-10 seconds to tune a channel, which is rather ridiculous. I looked up Comcast's CableCard rental fees (after the first free one) and it's supposedly only $1.50 a month.

EDIT:

Is there a DIY for dummies on using my HTPC in place of Comcast's HDDVR? If not, anyone have a cliff notes of what's needed? It seems that everything I've found thus far is for OTA tuner cards and non-digital cable card tuners... which defeats the point of trying to do it at all, IMO.
One other thing that I never thought about mentioning is the stuff that you can do on the software side. One of my favorite add-ons to WMC is My Channel Logos. The default look on WMC is to use the channel call sign, which isn't exactly all that pleasant to look at or to figure out what it means. MCL can add the logo for most channels to the guide, and it can also remove the call sign from the guide.

For editing the menus, I still use Media Center Studio, but it's not really supported anymore. The software can be a little flaky, but it works. There's a newer piece of software called MCE RTB, but I've never used it. Although, I'm thinking about giving it a try since it's only a couple bucks. MCE RTB looks like it does a lot of the same stuff as MCL (also paid software), so you wouldn't need both of them.
 
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BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
6,027
330
126
I just wish I could trust my local Comcast franchise to give CableCard a try. By my experience with their Internet service, I feel like it couldn't be better and that puts me off.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
One other thing that I never thought about mentioning is the stuff that you can do on the software side...
I really like the fact that since most of the cable channels here (Charter) are flagged 'copy freely' those recordings are available across the network including to Android devices via Media Browser or Remote Potato in HD. One of us can use a tablet to watch one thing while the TV is playing something else.
 

jdoggg12

Platinum Member
Aug 20, 2005
2,685
11
81
Thanks to your feed back (Aikouka, lsd, and lucia) I purchased this HD Homerun Prime. I don't get why they don't offer a unit that offers all of the good features in one... I'm looking for the PRIME's ability to do premium channels in HD... and the EXTEND's capability to stream HD over WiFi.

Again, thank you guys... the great thing about this setup is that it'll save me $30/month that I'm paying for HD DVRs that rarely get used... between Netflix and Amazon prime, I don't watch much cable, and I'm too lazy to switch the receiver to cable from the HTPC since I can't throw whatever I'm watchin in a window and keep using the net. (Not setup with dual monitors b/c my main computer/TV is a 110" projection screen) The ability to watch live, windowed cable on my computer is something I've wanted for YEARS!

Anyone that's currently streaming HD over wifi with one of these, how's the quality/stability for you? What router are you using?
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
Anyone that's currently streaming HD over wifi with one of these, how's the quality/stability for you? What router are you using?
It depends on your system, but using an i7-920 and a Netgear Nighthawk X4 I can view 1080P on a tablet using the 5Ghz band. On another tablet with only wireless N it can only do 720P without sync issues.

I've never used the direct streaming from the tuner, we play WMC's .wtv files over wireless using Remote Potato.

If you want to be able to record multiple HD shows while watching one on the main TV and at the same time watch HD on a tablet (it has to transcode on the fly for this) I would recommend at least a quad-core.
 

jdoggg12

Platinum Member
Aug 20, 2005
2,685
11
81
It depends on your system, but using an i7-920 and a Netgear Nighthawk X4 I can view 1080P on a tablet using the 5Ghz band. On another tablet with only wireless N it can only do 720P without sync issues.

I've never used the direct streaming from the tuner, we play WMC's .wtv files over wireless using Remote Potato.

If you want to be able to record multiple HD shows while watching one on the main TV and at the same time watch HD on a tablet (it has to transcode on the fly for this) I would recommend at least a quad-core.
Not sure if it'll be an issue - my main PC is an i7 4770K, with 8GB of RAM, GTX760, 256GB 840 Pro SSD OS drive with 2x WD Black 3TB storage drives... however... my router is a WNDR3800 and may be the weak link in the situation...?
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
Not sure if it'll be an issue - my main PC is an i7 4770K, with 8GB of RAM, GTX760, 256GB 840 Pro SSD OS drive with 2x WD Black 3TB storage drives... however... my router is a WNDR3800 and may be the weak link in the situation...?
N speeds are good enough, but you may not be able to stream 1080P stably.
 

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