Win 7, Media Center, HDHR-Prime(s) and strange behavior on a re-deployed system

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by BonzaiDuck, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    I still need to do some more neatly-configured things with my server and my LAN. It has all evolved with less thought about the number of switches and some other things.

    I had an i7-2600K system I'd refurbished and set up for my 92-year-old Moms. She's suffering cognitive decline -- broke her hip -- has to stay on the first floor of the house in a new "bedroom" we've provisioned for her. She wants her computer back. Originally, all these systems used wired Ethernet gigabit. Because of the arrangement with her new room, I didn't want to run another twisted pair wire from a switch in my room -- also on the first floor. Certainly -- I don't want any wires running along the carpet or even the baseboard. We can't have any hazards with Moms.

    We just replaced our CISCO-Linksyks E2000 router with a Netgear Nighthawk R7800. The E2000 just burned out after running 24/7 for about 8 years. The Nighthawk features Wireless-AC. So I picked up a TP-Link Archer Wireless-AC NIC for Moms' box.

    Everything works just fine. We used the stronger 2.4 band even for the slower speed of 450 Mb/s. I need to confirm, but sometimes I thought I saw the connection speed amp up to 1 Gb -- possibly for the duplexing -- I dunno -- maybe my imagination. But it's fast enough.

    So I thought to try setting up Media Center (Windows 7 64) to access the two HDHR-Primes I have down here on the first floor. These are connected to a switch, linked through a cable-drop to an upstairs room (my brother's) where the Nighthawk sits next to the cable-modem and another switch. I've yet to confirm whether this last switch lies between the downstairs unit and the Nighthawk, or the connection goes from the Nighthawk directly to the downstairs switch. I think I would've done it this latter way, though.

    In my room, I have another system with wired connection to the switch with the two HDHR-Primes connected. It has been my main Media Center Live TV and DVR system, and runs most of the time.

    When setting up WMC on Moms' wireless-AC box, I could get all the premiums, and things worked pretty damn well. But if the system went to sleep or hibernated, WMC would report either a "tuner conflict" or a perpetual "searching for tuners" message. Sometimes this latter message would resolve itself and the last selected TV channel would display.

    I noticed when I shut down the WMC in my room, it was much easier to raise WMC on Moms' system without a hitch displaying Live TV. Then I could restart WMC on my own system, and everything would be fine -- until -- until Moms' system went to sleep or hibernated.

    I also have the HD HomeRun DVR (Beta -- as far as I know at the moment) successfully installed on another system and working properly. If all three systems are displaying Live TV cable premiums or encrypted channels, there is never any problem with the HDHR-DVR system or my other Win7 WMC. And if WMC is displaying Live TV, no problem there with all three systems and LiveTV -- as long as I don't restart, shutdown, or sleep Moms' wireless-AC system.

    I have to iron out these quirks. Any 92-year-old with memory-problems, an anxiety disorder and a lack of patience would simply go bonkers. And that's the opposite of the environment I want to create for my parent.
     
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  3. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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    In my mind, this sounds like a WMC issue maybe driver related? Honestly, I see no real solution for the premium content yet (CCI_CO). For the Copy Freely content (CCI-CF) on cable, I personally really love the interface/ ease of use under the Google Live Channels app on AndroidTV (NVidia Shield/ Mi Box/ Sony AndroidTV), as the interface is very intuitive and channel changes are quick.

    I may not be the duty expert on Cable/ CCI content, since I cut the cord in frustration over elements of that very thing...
     
  4. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    No problem for your own blind spots about this. I was able to confirm again today: If I "Close" Media Center on the box in my own room, the "Moms" machine will display any content -- DRM or other -- when starting up Media Center. Then, as I said, I can come back to my room and start Media Center with no problems accessing channels here. But if the Moms system goes through its "optimization" cycle for Media Center while my own computer is displaying Live TV content in this room, resuming the former system by pressing the "Live TV" button throw up a blank blue or black screen.

    I began looking at Wireless-AC access points that I could plug in to my first-floor switch, but you may be correct -- that the anomaly is something else. So before I order another device of $60 to $100, I'm going to investigate further.

    I'm wondering, though, if the problem would resolve itself if I limit the HDHR'-s and/or tuners for either system so they don't overlap. I may try that option, since it's no problem really to run through the "TV Signal" configuration hoops in MC.

    I think I downloaded and installed the latest update to HDHR DVR on a third system, which I'm preparing to eventually replace Win7/WMC. I can't be absolutely sure, but it may be the case that it will now record encrypted channels. I need to check the results of a record operation I started the other day to see if it worked.

    If all the systems ran Win 10, I'd think I'd only need to install the VIEW program and drivers on each system and it would work properly. Someone could correct me, but I think the "Kickstarter" HDHR DVR subscription is knitted to one system for recording.

    And I still think, years after I started fiddling with WMC and tuner cards and HDHR', that I'm confused in some ways about how to make this work for a handful of systems on a LAN. I need to focus more on gathering current information . . . .
     
  5. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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    I can speak to how the HDHR DVR functions,

    One system (or NAS) gets set up to be the "record engine" that does all the recording. Other systems will access the "record engine" for playback, as well as to task that "record engine" to perform recordings.

    Example: you have 3 PC's on windows 10 and 2 nvidia shield clients running the HDHR app. One PC is set up as the record engine. any of the PC's or Shields can tell the record engine to record any show, but only the PC's (right now) will play back the CCI-CO recordings/ Live shows- where as all of the clients can play back or watch live the CCI-CF shows. You cannot access any recordings without using the HDHR app.

    (Only one record engine can be on your network, but I know of no limit on the number of clients)
     
  6. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    Thanks, Karajan -- that confirms my spotty understanding of it.

    I wouldn't know who else has a mix of Win7 and Win10 systems, or who might be working with WMC on a "7" system and HDHR DVR on a "10." That's what I have, though. I've pretty much proven to myself that I can designate the Win10/HDHR-DVR system to record. I can also record on the other two PCs with Win7/WMC, and I can record individually to those systems and archive the material to my WHS-11 server.

    So this morning, I was fiddling with Moms' system again. It was set to a "performance" power setting so it wouldn't sleep. Didn't reboot it -- but during the same boot session I had tried to open WMC Live TV and got the blank blue screen, so I closed WMC. This time -- this morning -- I raised it again and it's displaying the live TV broadcast. Go figure.

    Between the other two machines, there's never any problem -- or there hasn't been one. I'll probably post over at the Silly Dust forums. I'm trying to do a million things at once . . . [Back again . . . ] Yeah . . . One of the situations where this problem would occur with the "Moms" system was the daily "optimization" where Media Center closes and reopens. So it just did that, but -- amazingly -- it brought up USA with Law&Order without a hitch. I don't think any of these anomalies is channel-specific; it's not hardware-related. I can't even be sure that it will happen again after today. Could it be the DHCP lease renewal? In which case I might set a fixed IP address for Moms? I can't say. Maybe it's drivers? But I have the latest.

    I suppose if it works as well as it has over the last 24 hours, I'm always there to assist. But Moms is easily deterred by "extra steps" or glitches . . .
     
  7. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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    I would definitely reserve her IP so that there is one less variable to deal with..
     
  8. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    That's probably one of my objectives for today. I'm still becoming familiar with the menus and capability of our new NetGear Nighthawk R7800 router. Right now, every device in the house is getting its IP from the DHCP server of the R7800. I've been unable to find an "IP reservation" dialog in the Nighthawk's configuration screens. If I can't do that, then I should configure each PC for a fixed IP address after running a network scan with something like "Wake-On-LAN" to assess which IP's are already being used.

    Some Silly-Dust forum thread suggested using the "Advanced" tab on the HDHR' configuration/setup program with the "Repair" button in the middle of the window. I tried that a couple times, and it worked without doing anything to the other machine running WMC. Then, today, I tried it again after raising Moms' system to show "Searching for tuners" -- and it didn't work. The most reliable fix requires closing Media Center on my system, and then starting it on Moms' system. It's as though the two WMC/Win7 systems are competing for some governing role over the tuners, and the wired-Ethernet system doesn't show any difficulty in dealing with it.
     
  9. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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    From p61 of the manual http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/GDC/R7800/R7800_UM_EN.pdf
    To reserve an IP address:
    1. Launch a web browser from a computer or WiFi device that is connected to the network.
    2. Type http://www.routerlogin.net. A login window opens.
    3. Enter the router user name and password. The user name is admin. The default password is password. The user name and password are case-sensitive.
    The BASIC Home page displays.
    4. Select ADVANCED > Setup > LAN Setup. The LAN Setup page displays.
    5. In the Address Reservation section, click the Add button.
    6. In the IP Address field, type the IP address to assign to the computer or server. Choose an IP address from the router’s LAN subnet, such as 192.168.1.x.
    7. Type the MAC address of the computer or server. If the computer is already on your network, you can copy its MAC address from the Attached Devices page and paste it here. Tip
    8. Click the Apply button. The reserved address is entered into the table. The reserved address is not assigned until the next time the computer contacts the router’s DHCP server. Reboot the computer, or access its IP configuration and force a DHCP release and renew.
     
  10. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    I was just browsing and discovered that you'd responded to this. Followed through to step 4/5, and I'm wondering why I didn't stumble across that page.

    I think I'm losing my grip! Thanks for the trouble you went to in laying it out for me. . . .

    The troubles I was having with the WMC system with Wi-Fi LAN connection always occur when the system restarts WMC after a daily "optimization." What works so far (without tweaking the IP address assignment as we're now discussing), is to restart both systems and start WMC first on the WiFi system. But it's annoying. Hopefully, today I'll go around the house, gather my information and tweak this router Address Reservation page. Then -- we'll see what happens . . .

    UPDATE: Still planning to make reservations for all my devices and PCs as I'd done with the old CISCO router before we replaced it with the NightHawk. Today, I was watching the problem system, which went through the daily optimization. [it must be common knowledge: after it does this, it returns to another WMC page like "Recorded TV" and one has to select "LiveTV" to resume a broadcast.] This time, it didn't miss a lick. Also, we had an update from Silly-Dust to the software and firmware for that particular PC. I guess it's a matter for careful observation and patience.

    But there's no reason I shouldn't reserve IP addresses for my LAN.
     
    #9 BonzaiDuck, Oct 5, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017