Worth building new HTPC with WMC / Homerun Prime / Xbox 360 setup...

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#1
Now that I see that M$ is dropping support for WMC and the recent guide issues, I have a question. I've been planning on using WMC to stream my TV using two HD Homerun Primes to multiple XBox 360 extenders in my home (finally wired with Cat6 last weekend). With all of this going on, its it even worth trying it now?

I can't use anything else right now as TWC uses the copy once (IIRC) flag on all of it's channels....*sigh*.

Thoughts....
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#2
The rumors of WMC's death have been greatly exaggerated. Except for some hiccups with the guide which should work themselves out, it should still be a viable solution for many years. If you already have a Win7/8 system to serve as a recording box, you have minimal if any downside to trying it out. This doesn't need to be a 24/7 system, if sleep works properly on it. It's also pretty easy to configure something to move recordings to a server or NAS once they are recorded. For non copy-protected content, you can also get commercial skipping functions working if desired.

Put Kodi, Emby, and/or plex on the win7/8 computer and then put anything from a FireTV stick up to a full computer at each TV, and you will also have the ability to play anything at any TV. Sadly, the Xbox360's ability to play other files is somewhat limited.
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,256
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#3
Since TWC has all of their channels protected with the copy once flag, will I not be limited as to what I can watch recorded TV with (i.e. an XBox 360), no?
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#4
The xbox360 will be able to stream anything that the Win7/8 system can record, including copy protected. If it's a Win7 recording box, you also have other extenders to choose from. The Xbox360 is the most powerful extender but it is often also the ugliest and nosiest. Win8 is limited to the Xbox360 as an extender.

I don't personally do copy protected material since I"m OTA only, but the following should be true. Somebody will correct me if I'm wrong.

Copy protected: Only playable on the computer itself or an extender connected to it, cannot be converted to other formats, cannot do commercial skipping (the big FU from your cable company to copy protect crap that you can download freely OTA!!!).

Freely copyable: Can play on any WMC computer regardless of where recorded, can do commercial skipping or cutting, can be easily converted to other formats if desired.
 
May 15, 2000
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#5
Raspberry pi 2's plus kodi (openelec) and certain add ons are a way better solution. They are silent compared to a noisy ass xbox, they use less power, and they play any file. Use a trakt.tv account to manage everything across multiple boxes and multiple users if you wish. You can either setup a server to store your media files or attach an external drive to a router (assuming your router supports usb) and you got yourself a whole home media distrobution and playback system.

I tried for many years to give MS a shot at doing the same thing but they either dropped the ball, created half ass solutions, or were cock blocked by tv/media providers, and I eventually gave up and went with a kodi only setup. With a trakt.tv account syncing everything across every box, life doesn't get any easier.
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,256
72
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#6
Raspberry pi 2's plus kodi (openelec) and certain add ons are a way better solution. They are silent compared to a noisy ass xbox, they use less power, and they play any file. Use a trakt.tv account to manage everything across multiple boxes and multiple users if you wish. You can either setup a server to store your media files or attach an external drive to a router (assuming your router supports usb) and you got yourself a whole home media distrobution and playback system.

I tried for many years to give MS a shot at doing the same thing but they either dropped the ball, created half ass solutions, or were cock blocked by tv/media providers, and I eventually gave up and went with a kodi only setup. With a trakt.tv account syncing everything across every box, life doesn't get any easier.
But will they play live TV from an HDHomeRun Prime that has the majority of the channels protected with the copy once flag (DRM)?

(90% of the channels of TWC are protected).
 
May 15, 2000
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#7
But will they play live TV from an HDHomeRun Prime that has the majority of the channels protected with the copy once flag (DRM)?

(90% of the channels of TWC are protected).
I'm not sure, I gave up trying to play live tv with a computer/device, including using an HDHomerun prime (it now just sits in a box).
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#8
I'm not sure, I gave up trying to play live tv with a computer/device, including using an HDHomerun prime (it now just sits in a box).
Yes, it was a pain but I've finally got the PlayReady part of WMC reset and playing all of the channels on the PC to the TV. Now to get the Xbox 360 extenders up and running.

HTPC built
House wired with Cat6
Two HDHomeRun primes paired with CableCards up and running
WMC 7 up and running with live and recorded TV
Flirc remote setup (in progress)
XBox360 extenders: Purchased but not installed

Life is good! :p
 
Nov 27, 2001
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#9
Copy protected: Only playable on the computer itself or an extender connected to it, cannot be converted to other formats, cannot do commercial skipping (the big FU from your cable company to copy protect crap that you can download freely OTA!!!).
You can skip around in a protected file, but you can't permanently remove commercials as that requires a re-encode. Since I normally do a 5-minute before/after recording setup, I'll usually skip ahead to the start of shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Although, WMC is really weird when you try to watch a show that's already recording and skip around. You've gotta be super careful, because it will snap to the start time, which is usually not when the show started. Last time I did this, the show started around 8:58.800, but snapping kept putting me to 9:00.000. So, I'd miss at least a minute of the show. :$
 
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Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#10
I'm not sure, I gave up trying to play live tv with a computer/device, including using an HDHomerun prime (it now just sits in a box).
The answer is no, which is why the XBMC box won't work for the OP.

You can skip around in a protected file, but you can't permanently remove commercials as that requires a re-encode.
I was referring to marking the commercials for automatic skipping, by comskip or showanalyzer. To my knowledge, this can only be done on unprotected content (e.g. all OTA).
 
Nov 27, 2001
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#11
I was referring to marking the commercials for automatic skipping, by comskip or showanalyzer. To my knowledge, this can only be done on unprotected content (e.g. all OTA).
Ah, okay... that makes sense as those programs are unable to read the file due to the encryption.
 
Apr 5, 2005
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#12
WMC still works fine for me. use it while it lasts
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#13
Well, it's built (and testing on the living room table). 3 XBox 360's running as extenders. Only big issues were the Netflix wouldn't install on the Xbox 360's (wouldn't download - kept hard locking the XBox. Thought it was overheating issues but finally discovered if I didn't log in, they would work fine).

Now I need to figure out a TWC app (or something automatic) for the Media PC. The APP works fine on the XBox 360's for On Demand. Don't know of an 'app' for the PC. Could just get a wireless keyboard/mouse (Logitech K400 maybe) and do it that way.

Flirc unit is pretty damn awesome. Now debating on getting more of them for the XBox 360's to use the remotes that we already have (for familiarity).

Finally, I did have guide issues to start but they seem to have worked out the issues on their end.

Quiet pleased so far with the results. :)
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#14
The xbox360 should work with any Media Center remote, or a Harmony programmed for the "Media Center PC."

If a WMC computer and Xbox are in the same area, they will respond to the same IR commands.
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#15
The xbox360 should work with any Media Center remote, or a Harmony programmed for the "Media Center PC."

If a WMC computer and Xbox are in the same area, they will respond to the same IR commands.
Wife likes and has used the TWC remotes for a decade (we have extras). I would like to get a FLIRC and use it as the Xbox 360 remote since she is used to them. Based on what you just said, looks like I could set up the Flirc to use Media Center commands and it would work on the XBox 360. The Native XBox 360 profile for the Flirc is MIA on the Flirc programming app even though it shows.
 
Apr 8, 2001
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#16
I was going to say if you already had the hardware, go ahead and set it up it still works fine (and as a TWC customer, the 360 extender about the only way to go due to their copy setting).

As some new getting into it, they should wait at least till next year to see how the new SD stuff turns out before deciding between that, tivo, or cable company.


BTW, I got a couple 360 used media remotes at gamestop for about $10 each, set the 360s to boot into WMC, and as far as wife is concerned it's same as using a cable box.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,239
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#17
You could just get a Hauppauge HD-PVR 2 or similar device and record from a cable box. You may need to record over component (lots of people can record from HDMI but some equipment might be needed), but it works really well and at the end of the day you have a file that you can do whatever you want to it (i.e. transcode, strip commercials, edit., etc).
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,256
72
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#18
It's all built. Everything in place and running (new CAT6 network, Windows 7 PC (low power Core I3-4130t with 16GB ram, 128GB Intel SSD and 2TB WD Green. All running on a Pico_PSU). 3 - XBox 360's running as extenders (plus TWC app or On Demand and Netflix).

After tweaking, it all works very well. Few more tweaks when I get time but right now, I'm pretty darn happy.

All of the cable boxes (5 of them) back to TWC!
 
Apr 8, 2001
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#19
That's one thing bad about my media server, only running with 4gb ram and it's starting to show. Will be fixed though once the new Intel cpus are readily available and a sandy cpu I have gets relegated for the media system.
 

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