Media Center in Windows 10

Discussion of getting WMC to work on Windows 10 (unsupported)
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1080p4me

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Media Center in Windows 10

#1

Post by 1080p4me » Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:09 am

Have been resisting switching to Windows 10 for a very long time for 2 main reasons...1. It's nothing more than a virus/malware/phishing scam disguised as an OS and 2. Because I didn't want to lose my media center for watching live hd tv ota with my 2 tuner hdhomerun which from what I understand has been one of the more difficult and frequently mentioned tuners to get working with the various hacks. I've read some, not nearly all of the posts here and checked the latest notes/comments on versions up to 8.8.4 and looked for the new 8.8.5 but even the info on those hacks still claim to have issues with current and older versions of win10 let alone future versions that tend to invalidate media center and having to start from scratch again if successful at all. My question/idea/suggestion...is it possible or a better idea to run windows 7 in a virtual machine in windows 10 and hopefully thereby be able to run Media Center without having to deal with all the hacks and persistent issues even after doing so? As a side note regarding Windows 10 and it's native invasive settings and properties, Spybot has a line of software called Antibeacon which originally was free but was later incorporated into newer versions of spybot s+d, but just like firefox and many other softwares, older versions are still available online and I was able to install the last free version which can be found and will block over 200 telemetry services that not only continuously send private information to microsoft but also in doing so can slightly slow down your PC as well as download speeds, I believe it also blocks many other telemetry services from Nvidia and others.

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Scallica

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#2

Post by Scallica » Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:42 pm

Many members of this forum run Windows 7 in a VM on either a Windows 10 host system or Hyper-V or VMware ESX. However, if you plan on doing so, plan on using extenders for TV watching. Trying to watch content through the VM console will likely not work if the content is copy-protected.

Also, what old version of Anti-beacon did you find that is free?
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#3

Post by StinkyImp » Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:40 pm

1080p4me wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:09 am
...is it possible or a better idea to run windows 7 in a virtual machine in windows 10 and hopefully thereby be able to run Media Center without having to deal with all the hacks and persistent issues...
For what it's worth, my 2 cents:

I have a $100 Dell small form factor Windows 7 Pro machine with EPG123 hooked up to my main TV and a roof mounted antenna. I'm going to run this setup until it blows. Hopefully that won't be for a few more years (decades? :crazy:).

The only thing I can foresee breaking it is the inability to find ATSC 3.0 tuners that will work with it.

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#4

Post by 1080p4me » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:52 pm

Scallica wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:42 pm
Many members of this forum run Windows 7 in a VM on either a Windows 10 host system or Hyper-V or VMware ESX. However, if you plan on doing so, plan on using extenders for TV watching. Trying to watch content through the VM console will likely not work if the content is copy-protected.

Also, what old version of Anti-beacon did you find that is free?
I'm going to trust you on that, you have much more knowledge than I on the subject, although I can't figure out why if the OS, other software and drivers all work, which would mean the registry should be in order, why WMC wouldn't work just as it did in Windows 7? Would which VM chosen cause a different result? The free version of Antibeacon I'm using is V.3.0.1.73, there may be a slightly newer version that is still free but this is the last one that I found to work properly for free.

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#5

Post by 1080p4me » Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:03 pm

StinkyImp wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:40 pm
1080p4me wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:09 am
...is it possible or a better idea to run windows 7 in a virtual machine in windows 10 and hopefully thereby be able to run Media Center without having to deal with all the hacks and persistent issues...
For what it's worth, my 2 cents:

I have a $100 Dell small form factor Windows 7 Pro machine with EPG123 hooked up to my main TV and a roof mounted antenna. I'm going to run this setup until it blows. Hopefully that won't be for a few more years (decades? :crazy:).

The only thing I can foresee breaking it is the inability to find ATSC 3.0 tuners that will work with it.
I was hoping not to have to do that also, forever and/or when Win7 quits working properly or feel safe using it on the multiple desktops and laptops I have, although one can use them offline as just a tv tuner/player, there would be the issue of updated guide listings to deal with. I played with a few linux distro's awhile back and I know that PlayOnLinux/Wine allows running many Windows programs/apps with scripts but not sure if there's one for WMC and if it works any better than the current crop of versions used here. I do realize that there are other options for recording tv with guides both in software and hardware, which is probably the road I'll end up taking when kicked off Win7. Just an old dog who didn't want to give up his prize bone.

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#6

Post by technodevotee » Sat Nov 23, 2019 6:22 pm

1080p4me wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:52 pm
I can't figure out why if the OS, other software and drivers all work, which would mean the registry should be in order, why WMC wouldn't work just as it did in Windows 7
Windows Media Center was part of Windows (which is why it lives in \windows\ehome) and was fully integrated into Windows, dependant on parts of the core operating system.

While WMC was a supported product, Microsoft would ensure that any changes to Windows didn't break WMC but since they discontinued it, they haven't had to worry about that and certain parts of the core operating system have been changed or completely removed.

We are now bumping up against the limits of which parts of the operating system can be reinstated and a case in point is the old DRM system that CableCards rely on.

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#7

Post by Scallica » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:59 pm

1080p4me wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:52 pm
I'm going to trust you on that, you have much more knowledge than I on the subject, although I can't figure out why if the OS, other software and drivers all work, which would mean the registry should be in order, why WMC wouldn't work just as it did in Windows 7? Would which VM chosen cause a different result?
I'm no expert on virtualizing WMC. There are other members here that know much more than I do. The main issue is HDCP. I think almost all virtualization platforms don't support HDCP passthrough.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-band ... Protection
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#8

Post by 1080p4me » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:30 am

Scallica wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:59 pm
1080p4me wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:52 pm
I'm going to trust you on that, you have much more knowledge than I on the subject, although I can't figure out why if the OS, other software and drivers all work, which would mean the registry should be in order, why WMC wouldn't work just as it did in Windows 7? Would which VM chosen cause a different result?
I'm no expert on virtualizing WMC. There are other members here that know much more than I do. The main issue is HDCP. I think almost all virtualization platforms don't support HDCP passthrough.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-band ... Protection
Haven't tried either yet as I'm not at the end of my line at this time, but supposedly both MediaPortal and Kodi (on which MediaPortal is based) support playback and recording of ota hdtv in Windows 10, but I don't know it for a fact and it's not as refined as WMC but is also supposed to have a tv guide. When the time inevitably does come to find a WMC replacement, I may just dump windows altogether as many have done and I have contemplated before and go with one of the Linux Distro GUI versions...Linux Mint Cinnamon, Solus, Zorin, etc.. I think I will begin playing with all the previous and various options mentioned above and specific to my Hdhomerun tuner with Windows 10 and if I find one that works really well I'll report back.

A little off topic but back to Antibeacon that you inquired about, if you want to know a more thorough description of how windows 10 spies on you and how you can bypass most of it, this youtube video is how I came upon Antibeacon to begin with....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1kGMCfb2xw (Prevent Windows 10 Spying On You, Privacy & Security Matter!), it's a little long but very informative.

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#9

Post by 1080p4me » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:52 pm

OK, dug up an old sff hp desktop core 2 duo running windows 7 ultimate 32 bit and decided to try this grand experiment and see how it went.
My particular set up involves using the Hdhomerun 2 tuner scenario.
I downloaded both the Hdhomerun Windows latest software from their site as well as the Windows 10 app from the store, while both were not needed,
I initially had some issues with the app version not playing correctly in Hdhomeruns "View" due to an out dated Visual C++ I believe,
but was working when using the latest Windows installer from Hdhomerun, which was newer than the version I had on my Windows 7 desktop prior to moving to Windows 10.
*Don't trust the "firmware up to date" that displays in your old version of Hdhomerun.
While it wasn't a simple or super easy process to find the right version of WMC and get it working correctly,
it wasn't that bad and actually many of the hardships had to do with using such a slow, limited desktop.
Anyways for those of you in a similar quandary and or looking for "The Windows Media Center Install for Windows 10 from Windows 7 for DUMMIES" (ME),
here is a basic step by step with some vital links:

1. First, no matter what you may read to the contrary, you can still upgrade to Win 10 from Win 7 for free using the following link:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/softwar ... /windows10 and select "download tool now".
*I ended up with Windows 10 Pro 1909 build 18363.

2. Be sure you have the latest Visual C++ update and don't rely on Win10 to automatically do it for you, I had to download it myself per a notification/error message.
The latest is Version is for 2019 which works the same and is backwards compatible for Versions 2017/2015.
Link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hel ... -downloads

3. Don't mess with any other versions other than the v13 version so kindly supplied by technodevotee with both 32 and 64 bit versions and any fixes you'll need, which you will.
link: https://technodevotee.co.uk/WMC-Downloads.htm

I tried various other versions 8.8.4 and others and none worked even after using supplied fixes, btw, 8.8.4 said it was only for 64 bit,
so V13 by technodevotee is the only one that worked for my 32 bit. Even though it installed on the first try and WMC even recognized both my 2 tuners right off the bat,
I was so giddy, that after my TV Guide updated and I tried to watch a channel, I kept getting that there was a tuner conflict with no available tuners,
the fix was to use technodevotee's "replace dll's" which fixed everything and now WMC in Windows 10 1909 is definitely a reality and not just a dream.
Now I just have to figure how or where I want to get the EPG when it stops in January. There's EPG123, along with Schedules Direct, the EPG part is free but the needed
Schedules Direct part is a paid subscription although pretty cheap, not keen on giving my payment info to a 3rd party and it takes some reconfiguration of the installation of
WMC that was just completed, so I'm looking for other possible free and reliable long term options, yes I'm cheap and mistrusting.
Hope my notes on installation help some other somewhat technically challenged...enjoy.
Oh, can someone tell me if or what is the best sure fired way to permanently stop windows updates? I can download from the catalog any further updates if needed.
Last edited by 1080p4me on Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#10

Post by 1080p4me » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:03 am

Ok, figured out how to permanently disable updates via gpedit.msc so I'm good on that. Still wouldn't mind any input on EPG alternatives?

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#11

Post by Space » Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:53 am

1080p4me wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:52 pm
...
1. First, no matter what you may read to the contrary, you can still upgrade to Win 10 from Win 7 for free using the following link:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/softwar ... /windows10 and select "download tool now".
*I ended up with Windows 10 Pro 1909 build 18363.

2. Be sure you have the latest Visual C++ update and don't rely on Win10 to automatically do it for you, I had to download it myself per a notification/error message.
The latest is Version is for 2019 which works the same and is backwards compatible for Versions 2017/2015.
Link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hel ... -downloads
...
Your first two links don't work...

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#12

Post by unclebun » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:21 am

EPG123 with a subscription to Schedules Direct is THE alternative. As in the only. I've been using it a couple of years now, and it works great. Never have those white knuckle times twice or three times a year with the guide data only going out three days and no updates available.

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#13

Post by garyan2 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:03 am

1080p4me wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:52 pm
There's EPG123, along with Schedules Direct, the EPG part is free but the needed
Schedules Direct part is a paid subscription although pretty cheap, not keen on giving my payment info to a 3rd party and it takes some reconfiguration of the installation of
WMC that was just completed, so I'm looking for other possible free and reliable long term options, yes I'm cheap and mistrusting.
Nice. Just want to make 1 clarification.

No payment information is given to Schedules Direct; payment is through PayPal. What is also nice, there is no automatic payments or anything like that. They just send a reminder email that your membership will expire around 30 days prior to the anniversary date.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#14

Post by Space » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:40 am

Also, some credit card providers offer limited use or one-time use credit card numbers, so even if someone gets the card number, it is useless to them.

My CitiBank card allows you to set up a Virtual Account Number (VAN) to which you can assign an expiration month and a maximum limit that can be charged to it. Also, after a charge is made on the VAN, any subsequent charge (assuming the limit has not been reached) can only be made by the same vendor that made the initial charge. This allows me to have a single VAN that I use for my monthly car insurance payments. If anyone happens to get this number (like via an on-line security breach) no one will be able to use the number to make any charges (any attempt will be denied, unless they are my insurance company).

You may say that you are not responsible for any non authorized charges, so why bother with this? That may be true, but you don't want to go through that hassle of having to prove you didn't authorize the charge(s) and also having to get a new CC card/number. In addition, if you use VANs for all your reoccurring payments, even if you do lose your physical card, or have that number stolen, you don't have to change any of the VANs that are being used by all the various vendors, as they will be automatically attached to your replacement card/number and should continue to work without change or having to notify any of your service providers.

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#15

Post by 1080p4me » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:38 pm

Your first two links don't work...
[/quote]

Sorry, for some reason GB shortened the links, let me try again:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/softwar ... /windows10
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hel ... -downloads

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#16

Post by 1080p4me » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:48 pm

unclebun, garyan2, and Space, thank you for the EPG recommendations, very much appreciated. While EPG123/Schedule Direct seems to have wide approval and use as one of the primary alternatives to WMC's EPG, I know for a fact that there are other types of software and scripts/bat files/etc. to accomplish this also, I was just seeking input/advice/experiences others may have knowledge of. The obvious choice here is EPG123/Schedules Direct and I will take a serious look and possibly give it a try. Thanks to all for their input. Happy Thanksgiving for the gift of WMC on Windows 10 and to all of you.

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#17

Post by technodevotee » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:05 pm

My experience of the free alternatives to MS Guide Data here in the UK over a year or so of experimentation was a tale of sheer frustration with error prone download processes and missing, incorrect or outdated information.

On the other hand, the combination of EPG123 and Schedules Direct has given me two years of almost trouble free guide data.

In terms of configuration there seems to be very little to choose between EPG123 and the other free alternatives and It has to be said that the EPG123 client provides superior functionality to the other methods I tried.

Furthermore, on the rare occasion that I have had issues, they have been resolved very quickly. Gary has often resolved problems in an update before you encounter them and if it is something he's not seen before, he'll ask for additional information and more often than not comes back with a fix within a day or two.

Schedules Direct can also be very quick resolving issues.

I HATE paying for anything but for me, the combined annual cost of a few beers for Gary and the Schedules Direct subscription is definitely worth it for the WAF it provides.

My only regret is that I didn't start using it earlier.

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#18

Post by 1080p4me » Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:06 am

technodevotee wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:05 pm
My experience of the free alternatives to MS Guide Data here in the UK over a year or so of experimentation was a tale of sheer frustration with error prone download processes and missing, incorrect or outdated information.

On the other hand, the combination of EPG123 and Schedules Direct has given me two years of almost trouble free guide data.

In terms of configuration there seems to be very little to choose between EPG123 and the other free alternatives and It has to be said that the EPG123 client provides superior functionality to the other methods I tried.

Furthermore, on the rare occasion that I have had issues, they have been resolved very quickly. Gary has often resolved problems in an update before you encounter them and if it is something he's not seen before, he'll ask for additional information and more often than not comes back with a fix within a day or two.

Schedules Direct can also be very quick resolving issues.

I HATE paying for anything but for me, the combined annual cost of a few beers for Gary and the Schedules Direct subscription is definitely worth it for the WAF it provides.

My only regret is that I didn't start using it earlier.
technodevotee, first THANK YOU for your v13, secondly for your added recommendation of garyan2's project. While I realize nothing is perfect... in your own words "Schedules Direct has given me two years of ALMOST trouble free guide data." I also read a number of other threads on here with heated debates about this topic and numerous comments/complaints requiring issues/tickets needing to be solved/written but I will not go there and was not my intention to invite any controversy with my innocent request for alternative EPG options. zap2xml, EPG Collector and mc2xml are all free and there are a number of other ways of approaching this.

Hate to sound like a cheapskate but:
1. I am disabled and live on $800.00 a month, so yes, $25 here and there adds up, especially when it's possible to get any of those things for free. It's not about a feeling of entitlement as others referred to in "heated threads", in my case and many others I suspect, it's about real need.
2. Unlike remarks made in the afore mentioned "heated discussion threads" on this subject, I do not either spend that same amount of money on cigarettes/smoking or Starbucks or any luxuries for that matter and the whole point in "cutting the cord" is not to stop paying one source only to pay others for what's free, not just Schedule Direct but people who supposedly "cut the cord" then subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Disney, etc. and end up paying nearly what they were paying Directv/Dish/Comcast/etc. for.
3. I actually used to be on this site years ago and don't know what happened to my account, whether I deleted it or TGB did from long term inactivity, but I only signed up again to get and maybe give a little back in the process of figuring out how to deal with the end of WMC's EPG come January. Personally as I expressed in my very first post, I am not that fond of Windows 10 and it's abundance of spying, sharing and selling personal data, and limiting to the extreme, configuration options that were available in Windows 7, which in my humble opinion is the greatest OS written to date which is why I never even touched Windows 8 and still reluctant to use Windows 10. The only other motivating factor for me to consider Windows 10 is 4k support that I've been trying to work towards.

With all said, I most likely will not check back in. I find it's usually better to just lurk on forums of all types instead of getting drawn into the politics and drama that often take place. Again, I Truly wish everyone only the best and a Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years as I leave. Take care.

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#19

Post by technodevotee » Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:14 pm

1080p4me wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:03 am
Ok, figured out how to permanently disable updates via gpedit.msc so I'm good on that. Still wouldn't mind any input on EPG alternatives?
I thought that I had permanently stopped Microsoft installing updates on my PCs by using the settings in Group Policy but sadly it isn't that simple. My PC updated itself while I was away from home for a week over the Christmas period last year and, when I returned, I discovered that none of my scheduled recordings had worked because WMC had been uninstalled.

In August, more or less the same thing happened again and I created this thread on the subject: viewtopic.php?f=97&t=12358.

It turns out that there are numerous mechanisms by which MS inveigle updates into a PC and they are extremely difficult to prevent. There are a number of utilities designed to do the job and the one I use is Stopupdates10 from here: https://greatis.com/stopupdates10/.

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