Building a BETTER 8.1 Media Center....discussion

Building a BETTER 8.1 Media Center....discussion

Post#1 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:49 pm

So,

This place is dying(low new chat unless it's troubleshooting) and it's too bad, WMC IS still such a great product. I wanted to bring this subject up figured we could get a discussion going... COME ON JOIN IN !!!!

INCASE you didn't know. The Windows 10 WMC is actually WMC RIPPED from 8.1...Yep, the version your running if your running WMC 8.1.. Now with this, there is a lot of mods involved with this, including LIVE TV/recorded over RDP and other things.

The problem with WMC on Windows 10, is after the Anniversary update, they removed the old DRM, creating a NEW one to support HDCP 2.2 and 4K content, that the old one was not optimized for. This pretty much abandoned all programs that used the old DRM, including Zune and WMC (a few other 3rd party applications as well). This would cause anyone with a cable card to be SOL, yea, some worked with a work-a-round(HDR models) but, DRM channels are very hit or miss if even working at all.

So, in a NUT shell, if you have a cablecard tuner, running WMC on Windows 10 is bad thing and just asking for trouble. The other problem here, after a annual update, WMC will be removed in a lot of cases.

And now, how do we BUILD a better WMC ? So you install Windows 8.1, with or with out WMC (if you have WMC, remove it), and install the newest version of Windows 10 WMC.... this should allow some hacks to be enabled but, as Windows 8.1 still has the OLD drm (with no plans to remove it), cablecard tuners should be happy and DRM channels should work.

It will work... anyone do this and what is your results....INSTALLING it on 8.1....
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DavidinCT
 
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Post#2 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:18 pm

Somehow I don't see the point of this? You're essentially using an unsupported hack to drop the same version of WMC onto 8.1 that it would have if you just put it on using legitimate methods. There are no magical updated files you get the advantage of using, since it'll use the native built-in Windows 8.1 files and ignore any of the files requires fro Windows 10, since the underlying driver architecture and APIs are native Windows 6.3 (8.1's actual windows version is 6.3) you don't need to emulate 6.3 at all. Essentially, it's a roundabout way to get the same thing and possibly break other things.

I'm running a Windows 8.1 media center and am very happy doing so, it's smooth (it performs better than on Windows 7), and its only major limitation is lack of support for HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0 works just fine, thanks!), and it will already dynamically re-negotiate HDCP versions depending on content to the lowest required. For instance, turning on Cablecard channels causes a 1-2 second blackout as it re-negotiates the HDCP, and going to Blu-Ray causes a short blackout again. E.g. Windows 8.1 is perfect as-is for cablecard and requires no modification. Also, I run all current updates and have no problems - by not hacking my system to bits, I get 100% reliability, including guide updates, which is very important for the WAF.

The trouble, as you mentioned, comes with the fact that the older PlayReady 1.x and 2.x is no longer supported on Windows 10 CB or CBB, being replaced with Windows 10's PlayReady 3.0 which is not backwards compatible. This causes problems with 4K content (including Blu-Rays). However, PlayReady 2.9 from Windows 10 LTSB 2015 (which will be supported until 2025-ish) does work with WMC hacked on, as well as HDCP 2.2 and Blu-Ray. As your play anything Rosetta stone, LTSB is the way to go. For the moment though, my best output device is a Pioneer Elite Kuro, which is 1080p Deep Color, and runs just fine on HDMI 1.3 and earlier HDCP versions - this will be a bridge I cross when I finally update that TV in a few years as OLEDs finally become competitive to where Plasmas were several years ago (they're close, but not quite to the Elite Kuro level yet).
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Post#3 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:22 pm

Just stepping back and looking at the situation as a whole, it would be pretty convenient if someone were to build a Win 10 1511 image with WMC, EPG123, and whatever other patches are necessary to get it up and running for DRM & Cable Card users, and used that as kind of a WMC "Golden Image". I say Windows 10 instead of 8 just because the store is still getting new apps but I'm not sure if that branch gets updates.
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Post#4 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:03 am

jachin99 wrote:Just stepping back and looking at the situation as a whole, it would be pretty convenient if someone were to build a Win 10 1511 image with WMC, EPG123, and whatever other patches are necessary to get it up and running for DRM & Cable Card users, and used that as kind of a WMC "Golden Image". I say Windows 10 instead of 8 just because the store is still getting new apps but I'm not sure if that branch gets updates.

That's actually not that difficult to do per se (I certainly have that expertise), but there are two avenues to go with this:

1) Use build 1511 from when it was CB/CBB, and disable updates. The trouble is, the store will stop working soon since it will quickly be out of support (Oct 10, 2017), and an update to 1607 causes trouble.

2) LTSB will remain in support for quite a while, but it doesn't have the store, or Edge, so the apps benefit is negated and you might as well stick to Windows 8.1, which does have apps. It also requires either a $7/month/seat subscription, or VLSC access to license it. Its only real benefit in this case would seem to be the support for 4K Blu-Ray, which for a pure WMC system running no other apps may be of use - but streaming services would realistically require a second device or PC, or via dual booting. Most content apps don't support App-V or even running on a Hyper-V console session, so using a VM for it is out.

For me, the answer is that I'm waiting on 8.1. I don't have any 4K Blu-Ray discs to worry about as I also don't own a 4K TV yet, and that purchase is a couple of years away since to me color fidelity and image integrity is more important than image resolution. Meanwhile, there are a few things going on in the background: Silicondust is working on a CableCard DVR, which hopefully soon will be able to support the full featureset of WMC's recording, at least in a limited sense, and MyMovies is looking into playback alternatives on other platforms. I may end up on an Xbox One in each room, or keep trucking with a HTPC, just without WMC, we'll have to wait and see. Windows 8.1 is under mainstream support through January of 2018, and extended support through 2023 - and with moving Windows 10 LTSB only buying me about 2-3 years of extended support, I have about 5.5 years to decide where to go. :)

Also, making it easy for me is that my HTPC computer is dedicated hardware (see my thread about my setup). I have a separate desktop with a 6 core Xeon and a boatload of RAM and SSDs in it, along with a pair of 24" displays and Bose speakers, a pretty potent HP ZBook that I'm typing this on, a Surface 3, and some other computing devices - not even counting my wife's stuff. Ergo, there's no valid reason that I would ever use my HTPC for anything other than its intended purpose, so staying in a supported configuration to me is more important than new whiz-bang features. I even have wireless display adapters on every TV, so if I really wanted to, I would simply stream whatever from whichever device I happen to have with me at the moment.
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Post#5 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:58 pm

It sounds like you are both on to something with Windows 8.1 but I still like W7MC because I like the WIn 7 interface as a whole more than that of 8.1 David, I think the big thing holding WMC back is lack of development, which is something I don't entirely understand. I would guess that quite a few users are moving to platforms with a more simple interface. Those who want a flashier interface have things like Kodi, so that might leave WMC somewhere in the middle? Don't get me wrong, I still prefer it over all of the others because live TV works great, and it has a customizable, attractive interface. My big question if I were a new WMC user on Win 8.1 is how to get WMC on my machine if I can't buy it from the store but I think I know the answer. I personally don't see the end for WMC just yet because its stable, reliable, and comes baked into Windows. The thing to do if you want to see WMC live longer, I think, would be to make some applications for it, or at least make something flashy like a cool theme. I don't think your going to get a huge new user base but you can at least mobilize the user base that is already there a little more. At the end of the day, I for one am trying to learn the ins and outs of WMC so that I can continue to use it and see it grow. The more people I have doing that along side me, the more successful I'll be at it but I don't expect much.
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Post#6 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:28 am

What would really set windows media center apart from all the others are decent plugins for basic streaming services, or even just one or two of them. The top two on my list would be Netflix, and Spotify. We already have youtube capability with youtube leanback in kiosk mode, and you can even add it to your start menu directly as long as you know how to write an xml, and .reg file, and use an online guidgen. The playready capability means that it has most of the others beat from the get go.
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Post#7 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:18 am

Look I wanted to bring this up to see if there was a different way to do this. As the Windows 10 WMC is better than WMC on 8.1. Using Windows 8.1 you can accept updates that wont break DRM, or uninstall Windows media center (as your license will support it).

Now one of the BIG features I am interested in is TS's WMC 10 hack, supports RDP Windows Media Center that plays everything. Think about it... Again, this is for discussion and proof of concept.

Creating a Windows 8.1 unlimited RDP sessions (known hack), build a Raspberry PI 3, set it to boot to RDP and connect to your WMC machine.

The BIGGEST limitation with Extenders (360) is codecs and bit rate accepted on video. Now if you can play them via RDP, the rendering is done on your HTPC and you would even be able to play x265 videos or movies ON A EXTENDER. Only limitation is audio, I don't think you will be able to get Dolby Atmos or DTS-HD master from a RDP session, but, if there is a way to bitstream, it might be possible.

IF you can get everything playing over RDP (as it claims it could), it could be the NEXT step in a Super Extender. And how much do you ask ? Under $50 (Raspberry PI 3 is about $35-40 before case, power cord and MicroSD card)

Thinking about the Better WMC, and a better extender...

This is why I am suggesting a Better 8.1 extender as TS's hacks don't work on WIndows 7...

For the record, my WMC machine right now is based off Windows 7...
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Post#8 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:02 pm

Now i'm contemplating switching all of my machines to 8.1 but my biggest limiting factor is that I already own a linksys extender that I need to have. After reading around a few other boards, I get the impression that 8.1 has better cpu management but Win 10 does have better support for future media platforms.
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Post#9 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:46 pm

jachin99 wrote:Now i'm contemplating switching all of my machines to 8.1 but my biggest limiting factor is that I already own a linksys extender that I need to have. After reading around a few other boards, I get the impression that 8.1 has better cpu management but Win 10 does have better support for future media platforms.


Keep in mind, a lot of apps that run on 10, will run on 8.1...

If you have a "cable card", 10 is not a solid option for you, or in anyway if you want to use WMC, Read the users, where a major update comes down and WMC is gone. Re-install "sometimes" will bring back your configurations.
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Post#10 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:51 pm

Biggest obstacle to this is a legit way of getting the WMC key for 8.1, is it not?
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Post#11 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:08 pm

I'm pretty sure you can just use the WMC version they add on to Windows 10 because it was actually plucked from Win 8
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Post#12 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:46 pm

JTScribe wrote:Biggest obstacle to this is a legit way of getting the WMC key for 8.1, is it not?


Nah, if you wanted to. You could install Windows 8.1 and then download the newest Windows 10 WMC... and install it (it's modified to install on Windows 10 but, it's fully compatible with 8.1 as it's the version ripped from 8.1)

And if you really wanted to cover the license for it, ebay is a good source a WMC key.
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Post#13 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:35 am

DavidinCT wrote:how do we BUILD a better WMC ?

jachin99 wrote:I think the big thing holding WMC back is lack of development

jachin99 wrote:The thing to do if you want to see WMC live longer, I think, would be to make some applications for it


I think this might be what you've been waiting for: A New Project for Modern WMC Development
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Post#14 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:34 pm

W10MC wrote:
DavidinCT wrote:how do we BUILD a better WMC ?

jachin99 wrote:I think the big thing holding WMC back is lack of development

jachin99 wrote:The thing to do if you want to see WMC live longer, I think, would be to make some applications for it


I think this might be what you've been waiting for: A New Project for Modern WMC Development


Looking forward to progress !
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