Windows 7 and Media Center.......Heaven????

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by routerspecialist, May 13, 2009.

  1. routerspecialist

    routerspecialist New Member

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    Jun 19, 2008

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    So, I setup Windows 7 on a spare PC with Media Center. I also installed an Hauppauge 2250. Win 7 recognized it immediately, setup both analog and digital channels perfectly. The Hauppauge kit I purchased included a remote, so I decided to get it all a test drive.

    Surprising Results!

    I'm thoroughly impressed. I recorded Fringe and some other stuff in HD. Then I reviewed it today. Very, very nice.

    The guide is great. Very easy to use, selecting programs to record also easy. Scheduling recordings very simple.

    Excellent playback, especially in HD. Easily as good as my Tivo, if not better. Commercial skip built-in to the remote.

    This is very usable!
     
  2. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    MCE is good. However, good luck finding a system in a HTPC case designed to be always on that fits into a entertainment center and cablecard support (and is quiet). You can buy these but they cost much more than a TiVo HD with lifetime. Personally, it isn't worth the trouble in my household of 4 people. The software does work pretty well (although wishlist support doesn't exist to the level of TiVo's system which makes it hard to auto record sports).
     
  3. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

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    Hmmm. Interesting! What are the hardware & CPU specs? Is there a need for a big processor (or several)?

    Thanks!
     
  4. routerspecialist

    routerspecialist New Member

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    No big cpu; It's a q6600, quite old actually (2 years old, design dates back over three years). Hard disk is 1 TB WD. The tuner is, as I mentioned in my original post, an Hauppauge 2250. Graphics is strictly average: an nVidia 9600GT.

    It's all connected to the same TV as my Tivo is. And GUESS which is more reliable????? (Hint: it ain't the Tivo....)
     
  5. MickeS

    MickeS Active Member

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    Reliable how? Don't hint. Give us the facts.
     
  6. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    how did you record HD from cable with that setup?
     
  7. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Even at idle a PC like that is drawing ~200W of electricity. A TiVoHD only draws 38W.

    I have a decent MCE PC, in a nice home theater friendly case, but I almost never use it because I feel guilty leaving it on all the time because it's such a power hog.

    Dan
     
  8. TiVo Steve

    TiVo Steve New Member

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    I built a HTPC using a very power efficient AOpen MoDT (Mobile on DeskTop) motherboard. I use a HDHomerun for ClearQAM, and I run Vista Media Center to record network TV. The "green" news... it draws around 65 watts and runs very cool and quiet! It's been in use for over a year now, and has been extremely reliable! :up:

    I recently sold my "lifetimed" Series 1 and Series 2 units... I may soon put my TiVo HD up for grabs... those new "ads" are starting to bug me! :(
     
  9. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    And guess which costs you $40 a month in electricity to run....

    A full time running desktop PC running media center is NOT a good use of resources.
     
  10. bschuler2007

    bschuler2007 Frustrated owner

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    AMD just demo'd their DTX form factor that will make the "fit into an entertainment center" thing moot. I am sure a Tivoish case will me made in the DTX factor.
     
  11. Revolutionary

    Revolutionary Too sleepy for TV...

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    AOpen is coming out with a PC designed to hang on the back of a flat panel TV later this year. It is small and quiet and runs an Atom CPU. It won't do h.264 in HD, but is perfectly capable of HD MPEG2. Pared with a cable-card tuner and Windows 7, it might make for a very capable and inexpensive HD DVR. It should be capable of running DVRMSToolbox to at least tag commercials to be skipped, as well. But you would have to offload recordings to do anything with them (just like a Tivo). I'm toying with the idea, but I may wait until something like this comes out that can handle video conversion duties.
     
  12. routerspecialist

    routerspecialist New Member

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    Okay, I'm responding to three questions:

    Regarding Reliability: My Tivo blows up almost every time it plays downloaded Internet Video. Sometimes it blows up doing nothing. And, for those so offended by these remarks (and they ARE TRUE), I've been down the road of troubleshooting with it and with some of the folks on this board (who INSISTED it was the disk causing the problem, which it turned out not to be - wasting ENORMOUS amounts of my time.) and I'm NOT going there again. This board is filled with owners of Tivo HDs having problems with rebooting.

    Regarding HD Content: Comcast cable provides HD content on the local channels. That means I can pick up ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, in HD and some others local to my area. No, I can't pick up USA HD, TNT HD, etc.....
    But the bulk of what I record turn out is on the major channels.
     
  13. routerspecialist

    routerspecialist New Member

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    Very interesting! I could see your setup working very well. Someone else mentioned using an Atom processor to keep power usage down; I could see that working, as I think the main issue to making this work is a good graphics card and a good tuner.

    But, the fact that Win 7 recognized everything right away, and was up in literally in about 20 minutes.....plus you get Win 7, which I think is fabulous......and the Win 7 price is just fine...
     
  14. jlac839

    jlac839 New Member

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    San Jose, CA
  15. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    engadget seemed less than pleased as well. Seems the Atom setup in that revo made gamers scale back the graphic quality and since flash could not make use of the graphic card acceleration thinks like HuLu and YouTube just did not run well at full screen.
     
  16. bschuler2007

    bschuler2007 Frustrated owner

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    I like the AMD spyder DTX platform myself. With the onboard power management throttling down/turning off cores and gfx.. Unlike some, I am willing to spend a little on power to have performance and the size of a TivoHD, I am used to that. Dunno why people look at Atom, Ion, etc. The cost saving are not THAT huge compared to going from 32" SDTV to 65" HDTV. Overall, I cannot wait for the 3rd party Win7 media centers and media center add ons.
     
  17. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    And there's the rub. This thread is completely apples and oranges compared to a Tivo used for full digital cable recording. For OTA and clear QAM? Sure, you've got an argument. But for the majority of Tivo HD buyers (IMO), you don't. Cablecard HTPCs are still too damned expensive because of the tuner cost, and you're stuck with Windows.
     
  18. fyodor

    fyodor Active Member

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    In theory, once Comcast's "cavalry" digital transition project is over, you should be able to get all of the basic cable SD channels via QAM (Comcast's DTAs do not support decryption). Thus far, the switched-over areas have been able to receive all of their basic SD channels via QAM. This doesn't necessarily make it a good idea though. I used to have a computer PVR that could receive all of my channels over firewire, but got rid of it because it was too unstable and unreliable.

    The other problem with QAM is that your cable provider can change the channel mappings without warning.

    F
     
  19. routerspecialist

    routerspecialist New Member

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    I should have mentioned that I have all of the SD (in analog) channels and only the local channels in HD. I can record USA, but not USA HD.

    Still, my overall point is that this is pretty awesome. Previous MCE encantations were troublesome and problematic (at least for me). This one works, receives HD just fine, does not need cable cards and is very stable. No pause ads either!
     
  20. bschuler2007

    bschuler2007 Frustrated owner

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    Actually the apples and oranges thing is why I am so excited. That's just not true anymore. I guess you didn't hear.. but Windows 7 no longer requires OCCUR for HD. So every HD channel you can get via cablecard is now available in Windows 7 including Payperview, etc.. One of the sat TV providers has already announced a tuner for Windows 7 that will allow it to tune all it's channels and record, etc.. in full HD. You can even build your own HD HTPC again! OCCURS is dead. It still requires/has HDCP protection so, if you have a HDTV from 10 years ago.. yeah.. your screwed.. but otherwise.. YIPPEE! Will have to wait and see how the broadcast flag is used though.. but that will affect Tivo HD's as well.

    So basically.. design your own TivoHD and lose nothing but the annoyances and monthly fee.. sounds great to me.
     

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