Setting up a Media Centre/Server for multiple TVs

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Re: Setting up a Media Centre/Server for multiple TVs

Post#21 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:41 pm

Yes, the Xbox sound issue is all perspective. Previous to having owned an Xbox 360 S I used to think it was fairly loud, not too loud that it would drown out any tv sound, but loud enough that it bothered me. My wife mostly didn't care or notice. It is definitely in my opinion far louder than most appliances and most SFF PC's. I then later on picked up an old original Xbox360 (white) and when comparing the original to the Slim, the original sounded like a jet taking off and the Slim was practically a church mouse.

I do own a few Slims though where one is louder than the other and with varying stages of the power supply fan being louder than others...

So I think the "noise" is YMMV based on personal perceptions.
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Post#22 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:53 pm

I've had several Slims, some loud, some quiet. But the older they got, the louder that stupid power brick fan got. In the living room, other ambient noise would drown it out. But in a bedroom, with the TV volume on 1, the fan noise get's pretty distracting. Echo, on the other hand, is always completely silent. I would go for Echo over Xbox in a quiet room.

Then there's the power use issue. Do I really need a 130W gaming machine just to watch TV? I prefer my 5W Echo. Let's say you have 4 Xboxes or Echoes running 4 hours/day. That's $90-$200 per year, depending on where you live, for the Xbox versus $3-$10 for Echo. That difference would pay for a new Echo every year.

I still have a few Xboxes, but my kids use them primarily for gaming, and only occasionally for WMC.
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Post#23 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:09 pm

I like my echo for live tv and recordings. If you plan on playing ripped or digital movies then Xbox 360 is the way to go. But for live and recorded tv I've been happy with the echo, I just use the Xbox for movies.
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Post#24 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:03 pm

I know it's hard to get a ceton echo in the UK but would it work here if you had one?
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Post#25 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:36 pm

^ My Echo works fine for Freeview HD and Freesat HD as well as Media Browser / music playback. :thumbup:

I also use a 360 and will admit that the Xbox has much slicker animations - but it's horses for courses. I like the silent aspect of the Echo for a bedroom.
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Post#26 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:29 pm

Since OllyN (Oliver North?) lives in the UK, the XBox360 and the Echo are his only choices. The other extenders won't work for him. My experience with the Echo was terrible. I couldn't watch an hour of TV without the Echo hanging or rebooting itself. I avoided the XBox because of the complaints about noise for several years. I have recently become an XBox360 convert. I had Linksys and HP extenders and swore by them. Now, I have two XBox360's and plan to replace my other two HP's with XBox360's in the near future. I can't hear them from a distance of more than a couple of meters, and even when I'm that close they are whisper quiet.
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Post#27 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:23 pm

If the OP only uses freeview or freesat he will pretty soon be able to use mediabrowser as his front end with serverWMC and mediabrowser server installed on a windows 7/8 PC.
The front ends could even be android set top boxes....
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Post#28 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:08 pm

something I tried installing on my kitchen media centre PC, is shared remote potato guide - http://madeformediacenter.com/m4mc/app. ... cfc0df0b50

This works well, brings up the guide data from the main media PC, so that all recordings can take place on the main PC, etc. Relies on Remote Potato being installed, but that runs well anyway!
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Post#29 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:41 am

I've done what you are planning to do now for many years. For the last 3 years my extenders were Xbox 360Ss. I never had an issue with the noise on them. The original Xbox 360 is another matter which sounded like a jet taking off.

However, in the last month I have decomissioned the Xboxes and have now moved to a setup built around XBMC clients with Win7 MCE as my server. Setup is as follows:

- Core i3 Server with 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD system drive, 8TB storage. WMC configured and Server WMC installed (enables XBMC to connect to WMC: http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=ServerWMC)
- Clients: DN2820FYKH Intel NUCs with small SSDs and 2GB RAM running OpenElec Gotham Beta and the PVR client for Server WMC

The main advantage of this setup is that the media library is handled much better than WMC. It is vastly quicker with large collections of movies and music. TV handling is not quite as good as in WMC. The main issue that I have is that watching a programme that is currently recording can be tricky, but this is apparently just about to be fixed with a new Server WMC (http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=189065).

My wife completely unprompted last week said that she preferred the new setup to the old one. I think it also helps that the NUCs are far more discreet than "that horrible black Xbox".

I do still think a WMC extender handles currently recording TV better. In every other regard I get a much smoother experience using XBMC as the client.
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Post#30 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:32 pm

Can you watch DRM protected programs (live or recorded) with XBMC?

As an extender Xbox 360 has full access to WMC - program guide, setting/changing recordings, live TV, DRM-protected programs, ...

Of the features available with Xbox 360's - which are not working with XBMC clients?
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Post#31 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:20 pm

No DRM content. However, the poster is in the UK and as a result it is highly unlikely he has this issue.

The guide, recordings and live TV are all available in XBMC.
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Post#32 » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:41 pm

WMC still appears to be the only software solution for US cable DRM-protected content - and the same is true for Xbox 360 extenders connected to WMC.

If MS isn't planning to evolve the WMC platform, perhaps they would be willing to license it (to Ceton and/or Silicondust?). While the volume sales (as a percentage of Windows) might not be enough to interest Microsoft - it could be large enough to be profitable for 3rd parties - especially when they are selling tuners...
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Post#33 » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:52 pm

bob_p wrote:If MS isn't planning to evolve the WMC platform, perhaps they would be willing to license it (to Ceton and/or Silicondust?). While the volume sales (as a percentage of Windows) might not be enough to interest Microsoft - it could be large enough to be profitable for 3rd parties - especially when they are selling tuners...

If someone else created a package that works at least as well as Media Center, and handles copy-protected content and CableCARD (or whatever the next generation replace is for CableCARD), I'd buy it. I think $50-100 would be reasonable.
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Post#34 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:58 am

If you price out how much it costs to do a "whole home DVR" solution using cable settop boxes comparable to what I've done with WMC (running on two PCs) and multiple Xboxes - the additional cable cost for settop boxes could be between $50 to $100 per month!

If someone brought this to market - to ensure there was long term support, I might be willing to pay $50 to $100 PER YEAR.

One of the problems with the Microsoft strategy is that they get all of the sales up front for a user - and nothing again unless they buy a new version.

If we really want a long term replacement - we should be willing to pay something monthly or annually to provide a more stable revenue stream.

Ceton or SiliconDust - have you looked at licensing the WMC source code - and offering that as a product???

Relying on Microsoft is probably not a good bet at this point, unless they're willing to invest in updating WMC, is risky. And, there is a market for providing a better media center that integrates ClearQAM, DRM-protected content, customer personal media, and Internet 3rd party streaming services (Netflix, Redbox, YouTube, ...) into a single package - with "whole home" support.
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Post#35 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:20 am

Well, every company would like to have a recurring revenue stream... but in the PC world... especially for non-corporate customers... that is rare. The best bet for a company to sell to home users is to create a free/low-up-front-cost solution with an "app store" or some other way for customers to buy/rent stuff on an on-going basis. Ceton had that potential when they were talking about the "Q"... but it went the way of the Dodo bird, and after the Echo debacle, I'm not sure that Ceton could generate enough interest... even if it was "free".
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