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Old 01-31-2014, 01:31 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
I don't have that issue, at least not with that frequency. I generally check my upcoming recording schedule and delete extraneous airings of shows that I know to be repeats but the guide data isn't fully updated yet. I click on the show, select delete, and I'm back in the same spot in the list. Occcasionally it will refresh following the deletion and take me back to the beginning of the list, but it doesn't happen all that often. In fact, I checked the list this morning and deleted at least a half dozen shows from the list without having to scroll back through it to find the next show to delete.
Yeah, happens a bit more often to me. Though I would really appreciate if it warned me it might happen... or if I could determine when it would do it.

Could just be a side effect of the fact my guide data is horribly wrong and shows are marked repeat when they're new runs.
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:17 AM   #152
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Well, sort of. The initial set, maybe. Until it starts having problems and crashing all the time. Then it's DEFINITELY not the same.
And this does not occur for everyone that uses WMC. You just ran into bad luck and decided not to pursue a solution.

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You can get the power consumption way down with a 35W processor, high efficiency power supply, etc, although the TiVo Roamio has even those most efficient HTPC beat by a pretty good margin.
If we're talking about just using the PC as a DVR then I'd agree. However, add in a standalone DVD or Blu-Ray player and the overall power usage is pretty even. My wife wastes more electricity by leaving lights on all over the house so whatever power my HTPC uses is inconsequential.

People have to realize that a HTPC is not something you just buy off the shelf in most cases. You have to want to put in some time and effort to get things to work the way you want. Some hardware platforms work with a simple install and others just drive you nuts. If you're worried about the cost of the hardware and the amount of electricity it uses then you should stick with Tivo because it probably will cost you a bit more in these areas. Overall, it's going to pay off dividends in the convenience it offers as well as the extra features it provides in a single box. The actual value it delivers depends on what you expect from it as well as the amount of time involved in getting it to the point of being stable.

Aside from being a perfectly competent DVR for my needs, it is the only platform that allows me to play ripped DVDs and Blu-Rays with all of the extras stripped out, leaving just the main movie. This does require the use of third party software and codecs as WMC does not support mkv or Blu-Ray playback natively. However, the software is free in some cases and is not difficult to install and use. There may be some media players that also allow you to play mkv files, but then that means you need a 2nd box in addition to the DVR.

I've gotten so accustomed to using HTPCs that I can no longer imagine my life without them. I don't like spending a lot of time working out bugs like I did when I first got started with the hobby. These days, I build them and they just work. Obviously, this doesn't occur as easily for others. I don't use any magic formula nor do I spend a lot of time hand picking hardware. I used to follow guidelines in some of the recommended hardware threads at the AVS Forums and elsewhere, but mainly I just buy whatever hardware suits my needs these days. I mostly like to base my systems on the Intel Core i3 processors as they are cost effective and provide more than enough processing power as well as integrated features to keep costs down (i.e., integrated HD audio and video, negating the need for a standalone graphics card or sound card). The latest Haswell models have apparently fixed the 24 fps bug that many of the purists complain about (i.e., dropped frames once in a millennium when playing movies). I'm not quite than anal so the HD 4000 graphics in older CPUs is fine for my needs.

FWIW, Tivos aren't perfect either. I have not personally experienced the vast majority of reported issues, but these forums are littered with complaints about Tivo problems. The point being that neither platform is trouble free no matter how much you want to paint that rosy picture for Tivo.

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Old 01-31-2014, 12:10 PM   #153
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My reinstall is going well, sort of. I'm having an issue I haven't seen before which is that the SDV channels show no picture, though I do get sound. Ceton diagnostics report "Tuning Channel 751 succeeded." though WMC has a black screen but WITH sound. Other non-SDV channels (local HD network channels as well as HBO HD) work perfectly. Looking at the tuner diags, Signal level is -2.9 dBmV and 30.0dB S/N which seems to be within spec. I will probably run diag collection and send to Ceton unless someone here has an idea what's going on.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:14 PM   #154
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Interestingly, when I go to the TA diagnostics, something odd happens. Not sure if this is common behavior. Flipping through the MTR-700 Diagnostics (this is Motorola country) all of the various status screens look good, including signal to noise. Clicking on Switched Digital Video Status produces an error message, either "Request timed out, try again later" or something about the tuning resolver is busy (didn't write it down).

I did reboot the TA a couple times; best practice seems to be 1) pull power from the TA, 2) remove the USB cable, 3) restore power, 4) wait for solid OK light, 5) reattach USB
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:55 PM   #155
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Interestingly, when I go to the TA diagnostics, something odd happens. Not sure if this is common behavior. Flipping through the MTR-700 Diagnostics (this is Motorola country) all of the various status screens look good, including signal to noise. Clicking on Switched Digital Video Status produces an error message, either "Request timed out, try again later" or something about the tuning resolver is busy (didn't write it down).

I did reboot the TA a couple times; best practice seems to be 1) pull power from the TA, 2) remove the USB cable, 3) restore power, 4) wait for solid OK light, 5) reattach USB
I had the same issue when I first installed a Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCie. I opened a support ticket and within one day had a new special firmware sent to me to install which fixed the issue 100%.
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:23 PM   #156
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Good to know. The folks at Ceton seem to go out of their way to be helpful, even to the extent of contacting the provider on your behalf to work out any issues (although sometimes it can take a while, but they always seem to come through in the end).

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Old 01-31-2014, 01:37 PM   #157
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Good to know. The folks at Ceton seem to go out of their way to be helpful, even to the extent of contacting the provider on your behalf to work out any issues (although sometimes it can take a while, but they always seem to come through in the end). When was the last time you heard about Tivo going to bat for anyone (as in never)?
as in hundreds of reports in the forums here over the years? Seriously, anybody who follows these forums knows of the conference calls between TiVo and cable companies. In the early HD days, TiVo even had dedicated phone numbers specifically for 3 way conversations.

There's been dozens of reports over the years of just simple problems with video and audio on single channels due to a cable company franchise messing up the metadata for the channel or set of channels. TiVo contacts the franchise often, I suspect much more often than they are given credit for simply because things just start working again for the TiVo user. I know they called on my behalf several years ago.

You're way off base here.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:23 PM   #158
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I thought maybe it was a codec problem so I installed the Shark007 package and... now nothing works right. Sigh. Start over, I guess.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:35 PM   #159
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Wow, Shark007 installed an adware IE toolbar! What a disaster. Time to reinstall again, I guess.

Really, I think this PC and my Romaio both should spend time at the bottom of a swimming pool.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:47 PM   #160
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You're way off base here.
Then I stand corrected. I'll admit to not having read every thread that's ever been posted here.

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Wow, Shark007 installed an adware IE toolbar! What a disaster. Time to reinstall again, I guess.

Really, I think this PC and my Romaio both should spend time at the bottom of a swimming pool.
I probably should have mentioned that the Shark007 has at least one item that you should uncheck before completing the installation. It installs it by default unless you clear the checkbox to allow it. You should be able to uninstall it from the Control Panel, IIRC.

What problem did you suspect was caused by a missing codec? You should only need the codec pack if you're trying to play DVDs or Blu-Rays or some other video format. I just looked back over your setup and you indicated you're using Windows 7 Pro, patched. Patched with what?

You may be trying to install more things than are necessary all at once. Try installing just the barebones Windows setup with the Ceton tuners. Get WMC working and stable before you start adding more things into the mix. When things settle down and look like they're behaving, create a backup image so you have a good starting point in case things go south after making additional upgrades. I had many of the same issues you're reporting with my first HTPC as well as one or two other configurations down the road. The problem always ended up being flaky hardware. I had two consecutive Intel motherboards that were bad as well as a couple sticks of memory.

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Old 01-31-2014, 03:01 PM   #161
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Black screen on SDV channels is what I thought might be a codec issue. Harpervision says this might be a known issue (not codec). I thought I ran the Shark installer carefully not to get the overt spamware but nonetheless it installed a bunch of crap on my machine.
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:03 PM   #162
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And this does not occur for everyone that uses WMC. You just ran into bad luck and decided not to pursue a solution.
I tried fixing it, and there was no logical solution. My computer is very simple, not a lot of hardware or software involved. I can only imagine a more complex system with MCE.


Quote:
If we're talking about just using the PC as a DVR then I'd agree. However, add in a standalone DVD or Blu-Ray player and the overall power usage is pretty even. My wife wastes more electricity by leaving lights on all over the house so whatever power my HTPC uses is inconsequential.
An HTPC doesn't replace a Blu-ray player, and those go into deep sleep anyways.

Quote:
Aside from being a perfectly competent DVR for my needs, it is the only platform that allows me to play ripped DVDs and Blu-Rays with all of the extras stripped out, leaving just the main movie. This does require the use of third party software and codecs as WMC does not support mkv or Blu-Ray playback natively. However, the software is free in some cases and is not difficult to install and use. There may be some media players that also allow you to play mkv files, but then that means you need a 2nd box in addition to the DVR.
The ripping Blu-ray use case is nonsense. It takes a lot of time to rip the movies, on the off chance that you ever watch one of them. That's what a shelf is for.

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FWIW, Tivos aren't perfect either. I have not personally experienced the vast majority of reported issues, but these forums are littered with complaints about Tivo problems. The point being that neither platform is trouble free no matter how much you want to paint that rosy picture for Tivo.
Total false equivalency. Yes, any piece of electronics can have problems, and a few people will have them. However, TiVos are generally plug and play, MCE is generally a mess that even people very knowledgable with computers can have trouble with. And then there's the actual user experience. Terrible on MCE, but very good on TiVo.

TiVo is the only competent cable DVR system offered for most MSOs. If it weren't for TiVo and CableCard, I'd definitely have DirecTV.
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:03 PM   #163
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Congratulations, Bigg. You're the first person ever to be added to my Ignore list. Actually, I had you there once before but I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt and saw that you started responding rationally to a few posts. Sad to say that didn't last long. See ya!

Ahhhh. So much better now.

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Old 01-31-2014, 07:38 PM   #164
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Then I stand corrected. I'll admit to not having read every thread that's ever been posted here.
Then why did you feel free to bash TiVo if you had no evidence to back up your insinuation?

I don't understand why you feel you can react strongly when somebody bashes WMC without sufficient evidence in your opinion, but you can bash TiVo without evidence.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:11 PM   #165
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Then why did you feel free to bash TiVo if you had no evidence to back up your insinuation?

I don't understand why you feel you can react strongly when somebody bashes WMC without sufficient evidence in your opinion, but you can bash TiVo without evidence.
It wasn't my intention to bash Tivo, but rather point out what I thought was a benefit in favor of HTPCs (actually, it was Ceton in this instance). I admitted I was wrong so why don't we just move on with it? Based on the number of complaints being posted regularly with regard to Tivo's customer service I'm pleasantly surprised to hear they're doing something right. I don't have a vendetta against Tivo like some people have against HTPCs. I think it's a great DVR.

BTW, I've deleted the statement you found so offensive from the previous post so as not to provide anything misleading. I don't have a problem being corrected if I post something that's inaccurate as I'd like to keep the facts straight.

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Old 01-31-2014, 11:43 PM   #166
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Then why did you feel free to bash TiVo if you had no evidence to back up your insinuation?

I don't understand why you feel you can react strongly when somebody bashes WMC without sufficient evidence in your opinion, but you can bash TiVo without evidence.
Yeah, he clearly belongs the TGB, not here. Apparently those people have the technical skills and patience to spend inordinate amount of times debugging the mess that is MCE.

What a piece of work. False equivalencies are a classic misleading tactic, but so obvious.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:35 AM   #167
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Wow, 3 reinstalls?

I only did one install and not a problem... then again, I knew I had to buy a separate SSD (120GB Samsung) and HDD (3TB Seagate), how to put the video on the hard drive, and installed PowerDVD (boxed copy).

Installed the drivers for my Collossus and it was all good to go. Even managed to transfer not only my recordings from my old HTPC, but also the upcoming list of recordings and stuff. Then just run through the list to get rid of the many duplicates and I have all my season passes and ratings and schedule set in.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:18 AM   #168
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I've done dozens of reinstalls so three isn't all that many. Eventually I discovered I had a couple of bad motherboards that were driving me nuts. If you have to keep reinstalling Windows to try and get things working I'd start suspecting a serious hardware problem. Download a copy of Memtest and check your memory sticks for any problems. If there's a motherboard issue I'm not sure what to do about that. There may be some diagnostic software you can try but I wouldn't know what to recommend. My systems simply stopped working and wouldn't boot after a while.

If your hardware is working and you're using the latest drivers you shouldn't run into any problems installing Windows and setting up WMC. If you are having issues then there's something going on that's probably unrelated to WMC.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:17 AM   #169
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Yeah, he clearly belongs the TGB, not here. Apparently those people have the technical skills and patience to spend inordinate amount of times debugging the mess that is MCE.
LOL, I built a new PC a year ago and installed 7MC once, then added an HD Homerun Prime tuner and got the Cablecard paired with Comcast in no time. Spent about a half a day to get everything working most of which was building the PC itself and waiting for Win7 SP1 to load a zillion updates.

There was no debugging, it just worked out of the box. My only conclusion from reading these horror stories is that some people can do this, some can't. That's all there is to it. But none of it is rocket science if you pick good hardware and take some time to actually do things in the right order.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:49 AM   #170
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To build a decent and equivalent machine to a TiVo, the HTPC is nearly identical in cost. I built mine for exactly the same as the TiVo cost. You have to compare apples to apples, i.e. 6 tuner to 6 tuner.
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TiVo is a bit more expensive now, as they are $1100 now, but back when they were $900 with Premiere, TiVo and an HTPC were very close in price.
Building a HTPC with open source software is definently not a good idea for many people. I am just saying that it is possible, it can be a good choice for some people, and it can save money.

New TiVo Roamio:
Four-tuner model = $700 or possibly much more if paying monthly
Compatible with TiVo Stream

New open source HTPC:
With two tuners = $318* or less + time to put it together** http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...88#post9890288
CableCARD tuner with four or more tuners = aprox. $150
Total with four or more tuners = aprox. $353 or slightly more with a new hard drive
Stream cable tv channels*** to an Android phone/tablet = $1.99 https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....mg.upnp&hl=en

*All functional parts are new except the hard drive
**For those that want to consider that an expense
***Including premium channels such as HBO that are copy protected
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:11 AM   #171
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You forgot-

$200 -- 20 hrs spent finding deals and parts plus assembly/configuration at minimum wage of $10/hr

priceless -- Living somewhere that has no copy - protected channels
I do not count the time it takes to set it up as an expense since I consider it a fun hobby. It is more than 20 hours. It is a never ending process of improving the HTPC. If I were to compare it to my salary, it would be a wee bit more than $10 per hour as a licensed engineer.

Comcast in Palm Beach County, FL does not flag channels as copy protected except for premium channels and the MoviePlex channel.
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:44 PM   #172
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I do not count the time it takes to set it up as an expense since I consider it a fun hobby.
Exactly. You can't put a price on doing something you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it and don't want to put in the time, then don't do it. This is something you do out of choice, not necessity. If you have to complain because your hobby isn't working for you then you need to find a different hobby. Like slowbiscuit said, some people can do this and some people can't.
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:49 AM   #173
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Depends I suppose. Its a hobby until the wife gets used to it and it fails. Then it's a race to get it working again.

So at the beginning it's a hobby. But after a month once it's setup, it's a necessity.

I probably spent 20 hours in the research of computer components, dealing with the shops, building it, fixing it and getting software installed. But I had a semi-working HTPC in the meantime (it was the half-brokenness that got me working on it). I would've preferred to buy it rather than build it, but no one makes HTPCs that meet the requirements (silent, fast, WAF friendly, and looks like a piece of equipment that belongs in the living room, not an ugly PC). I had to change power supplies because my desired one (a fanless one) requires a certain orientation.

Assembly was fun, until you remove the heatsink for the 10th time because you need it to get access to the drive bays. Even a 4U case is quite small because of the limited depth of most living room shelving which limits how deep and where cabling goes.

If it wasn't for the specific needs, I might have just purchased a Mac Mini and be done with it - small, silent, and looks like a reasonable piece of equipment. The NUC looks good, but it's got a noisy fan.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:53 PM   #174
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Depends I suppose. Its a hobby until the wife gets used to it and it fails. Then it's a race to get it working again.

So at the beginning it's a hobby. But after a month once it's setup, it's a necessity.
How true. It's a hobby while you're tinkering with it to work out the kinks and then it just becomes part of your everyday experience. Having a HTPC fail once you put it into service is no different than having a Tivo fail, except you tend to catch flak from the family when it happens because it's all your fault for making them use it.

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The NUC looks good, but it's got a noisy fan.
Both of mine are almost dead silent. I can't hear them unless I put my ear right up to them. When the TV's on they just get swallowed up by the noise floor and disappear.

FWIW, the noise levels for fans of the type used in the NUC vary from unit to unit. My old Dell Zino HD used an almost identical fan, the only difference being the length of the wire harness. I had one fail so I picked up another one on ebay. The replacement was noisier than the original, but not so loud that I couldn't live with it. I spotted a listing on ebay a while back for working fans pulled from NUCs. The seller listed them for about $5 apiece so I picked up a couple to have on hand as spares. The cheapest replacement fan I could find for the Zino HD was about $20.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:34 PM   #175
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LOL, I built a new PC a year ago and installed 7MC once, then added an HD Homerun Prime tuner and got the Cablecard paired with Comcast in no time.
Mine didn't work reliably at all, on a brand new, clean, reliable PC. MCE was the one thing that was a mess.

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Building a HTPC with open source software is definently not a good idea for many people. I am just saying that it is possible, it can be a good choice for some people, and it can save money.

New TiVo Roamio:
Four-tuner model = $700 or possibly much more if paying monthly

New open source HTPC:
With two tuners = $318* or less + time to put it together** http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...88#post9890288
CableCARD tuner with four or more tuners = aprox. $150
Total with four or more tuners = aprox. $353 or slightly more with a new hard drive
Your numbers are all off. You're comparing the stripped down Roamio, so start with the one people actually want, which is $1100 including service. At the time i was comparing, TiVo was $900 (XL4 plus service).

For the HTPC, you can make a zillion different configurations, but if it's a decent machine, the PC will be about $700, the Ceton Card is now $300 (6 tuners), it used to be $200 (4 tuners), and Windows is $100.

Basically, either way, a fully equipped system is about $1100. The Ceton Echo is $175 vs. $250 for the TiVo Mini. The biggest argument for MCE being cheaper is that you'll probably want an HTPC anyways, so you may as well have it all in one box, as opposed to an $800 box and an $1100 box sitting next to each other (I have an HTPC and an XL4 sitting next to each other). This is a valid point on cost, but given how horrible MCE is at being a DVR, it's a moot point. TiVo is so much of a better DVR, that it's worth giving up the HTPC is you're on a tight budget. Otherwise, just get an HTPC and a TiVo.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:51 AM   #176
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MS seems to have put Media Center (which I loved) out to pasture, so I guess that's one rather big advantage Tivo has
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:26 AM   #177
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They're still supporting it though.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:46 AM   #178
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Well I bought the Linksys Media Extender (DVD player version) and MS broke compatibility with it in Windows 8.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:29 AM   #179
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None of the legacy extenders work with Windows 8 except the XBox 360. I believe Ceton may have gotten the Echo to work, but I'm not 100% sure. I know they were working on a fix but don't know if they ever got it to work. The safe bet for using extenders is to stick with Windows 7.

FYI, just because Microsoft stopped any further developments of Media Center doesn't mean it will stop working. You should be able to use WMC for as long as you can get guide data for it.

Edit: I just checked the Ceton website and they have a disclaimer that the Echo, as well as any other non-Microsoft extender, does not work with Windows 8.

Last edited by mr.unnatural : 02-04-2014 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:10 AM   #180
slowbiscuit
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Yep and they pretty well abandoned the Echo too, no new firmware releases in almost a year and there are still plenty of issues with it. The rumor is that they basically gave up on extender development after they ran into issues with the chipset they picked. They were going to release an Android implementation on it too but couldn't get the update to flash reliably so they gave up on that as well.

Very sad indictment of a company that stood by the InfiniTV products but not the Echo less than a year after it was released, Ceton has left a bad taste in the mouth of many Echo buyers.
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