What to use for Windows 10 WMC "clients"?

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

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What to use for Windows 10 WMC "clients"?

#1

Post by bob_p » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:17 pm

In our environment, we have a central WMC server that drives a "whole home" DVR environment. The WMC has 2 SD (3 tuner) and 1 Ceton (4 tuner) CableCard boxes plus 5 Xbox 360 extenders to drive TVs throughout the house.

Before travelling, I will copy the WMC server's non-DRM Recorded TV and Videos (downloaded programs) folders over to my tablet PC and laptop to watch on the trip, using my tablet on planes and my desktop at hotels. The laptop has an IR remote control. With both the tablet and laptop, I take advantage of WMC's ability to quickly skip forward and backward in recorded programs to navigate around the commercials - which I can do using the remote control on the laptop.

If I update my systems to Windows 10 (except for my WMC server - which will stay on Windows 8.1 until either WMC dies or SD's DVR can be a WMC replacement), it's not clear what I should use on my laptop and tablet to play .wtv files. If possible, I'd prefer not having to convert the .wtv files into another format (though that is a last resort). Plus, I want something that provides quick response for skip forward/backward, plus access via IR remote control.

Any recommendations???

adam1991

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#2

Post by adam1991 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:21 pm

IR remote may be an issue, but VLC is the go-to for anything like this, and will play .wtv files.

Oh:

http://www.arenddeboer.com/mce-remote-with-vlc

mdavej

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#3

Post by mdavej » Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:05 pm

PotPlayer also works well and is somewhat remote friendly.

Can you not put WMC on Win 10 now?

bob_p

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#4

Post by bob_p » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:55 pm

I've tried VLC - but it doesn't appear to do well when trying to skip forward in .wtv files - at least with the default settings. I'll take a look at PotPlayer - at first glance, it appears to play the wtv files better than VLC and skips instantly forward and backward. Will do more research about using a remote to control playback.

WMC is not officially supported on Windows 10. There is a hack that appears to get some of WMC running on Windows 10 - and likely enough to at least playback non-DRM .wtv files. But because this isn't supported by Microsoft, there's always a possibility a Windows update could break the installation. Though, this might be a reasonable short-term solution, if only used for .wtv playback - and not worry about getting the program guide or recording working.

I did some testing of MCEBuddy yesterday to convert WTV to MP4 - which would give more options for playback. But MCEBuddy (at least on my testing with a high-end desktop PC) was taking a very, very long time to convert a single file into a high quality MP4 - and even though I could do the conversions overnight - it looks like it could take longer than overnight to convert multiple programs that are recorded in a single evening.

Not planning to upgrade any systems to Windows 10 until I've found a solution to this...

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#5

Post by mdavej » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:11 pm

bob_p wrote:Not planning to upgrade any systems to Windows 10 until I've found a solution to this...
Then I highly recommend you don't upgrade, if you can call it that. You're far better off staying in Win 7/8/8.1 for WMC related things. Even if you get Pot Player working to your satisfaction with a remote (which isn't easy), launching and choosing titles to play is still going to require a mouse. This will be true of anything except Kodi, Embey, Plex, etc. And nothing is going to support copy once content.

bob_p

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#6

Post by bob_p » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:20 pm

I plan to keep the server on Windows 8.1 until either SD provides a WMC replacement with their Kickstarter project or Microsoft does something to kill WMC (which could be as soon as next year).

As for the other 8 Windows systems (desktops, laptops, tablet), I want to upgrade those to Windows 10 before next summer's free upgrade offer expires. I also would strongly prefer to have all of the systems (except the WMC server) running the same Windows version - so when I start upgrading one of the systems, I'll probably go through the entire group and upgrade all of them.

PotPlayer looks promising. It plays the .wtv files much better than VLC - including rapidly doing forward and backward skips. It doesn't appear to provide all of the navigation controls (such as fast forward or reverse) and out-of-the-box it doesn't support all of the IR remote buttons (though you can skip forward and backward using the remote's arrow keys).

If the Windows 10 Windows Media Player (with the DVD pack installed) provided navigation support (FF/REW, Skip) that worked with a remote - that would be another option - but I'm assuming that doesn't work since Windows 8.1 doesn't have full navigation support.

If I'm willing to live with having the .wtv files converted to a different format (.mp4?), it also appears there could be several options that might work (such as using Plex or Kodi).

mdavej

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#7

Post by mdavej » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:15 pm

I eventually got PotPlayer mostly working with a remote. There is a setup area where you map remote/keyboard keys to commands.

bob_p

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#8

Post by bob_p » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:03 pm

It appears using a combination of Plex and PotPlayer will get close to what I have with WMC and Remote Potato.

When travelling, I can copy the .wtv files to my Windows laptop & tablet - and play them directly with PotPlayer, without having to do any conversion. And PotPlayer does accept IR remote commands to skip forward and backward. Plus there may be an Android app I can use as a remote control, which should provide more functionality.

I've set up a Plex Media Server on the laptop and on my home WMC server. There are apps that run on many devices - which can access the WMC's library of RecordedTV and Videos - both on my home LAN and remotely - with streaming and download support. While it doesn't support the program guide and ability to schedule recordings that RemotePotato supports, this does at least allow access to video programs on many devices - including Chromecast.

When I tested yesterday, TV recordings showed up immediately when I looked at the Plex library while the programs were still being recorded - I didn't try to do playback while the recording was live - something still to test. What I did notice is that when I came back later - the Plex library on my app was still showing only a partial recording - and I had to go to the server to manually force it to rescan the recordedTV library to get access to the full program. Also need to research this one.

There may be better solutions out there - but at least I've found one combination that appears close enough for me to use. And, this combination might also work with SD's DVR software - so getting this working now might also help if/when SD produces a usable WMC replacement.

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#9

Post by bob_p » Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:38 pm

Took the plunge yesterday and upgraded my laptop and desktop to Windows 10 - and plan to use a combination of Plex on my laptop and PotPlayer on both devices to support watching recorded programs, offline, while travelling. And will re-evaluate when SD releases their updated View app - to determine if I'll use the same or different "clients" for remote, offline viewing.

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#10

Post by Chillout » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:27 pm

If you have a Silicon Dust tuner you can try running Emby, it provides live TV with tv guide support, LAN and WAN access to TV and other media.

http://emby.media/

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#11

Post by bob_p » Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:22 pm

emby and kodi are other options that I briefly looked at - though for now, my top priority was only playing back WMC recorded TV programs (non-DRM). If I want to watch any TV channels while in my house, I can use Comcast's X1 browser and mobile apps - which will show any of my subscribed channels - while on my home network.

I am hoping SD will implement enough functionality in their DVR project so I can use it as a WMC replacement on our home "server" - and could deploy the same software on my other devices - which would get back me back to using the same environment to watch live or recorded TV on all of my windows (and possibly Android) devices.

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#12

Post by Chillout » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:47 am

bob_p wrote:my top priority was only playing back WMC recorded TV programs (non-DRM).
Not an ideal option, but you could use MCE Buddy to convert all the .WTV files into another format (MP4, MKV) that Emby, Plex, Kodi,etc will recognize.

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#13

Post by bob_p » Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:54 pm

I looked at MCE Buddy, which would end up converting every program recorded by WMC.

I went with the combination of Plex and PotPlayer for now because PotPlayer plays the .wtv files reasonably well (VLC struggles when trying to skip forward & backward) and I will only use Plex in the few times when I want to stream the programs over to my Android devices.

When it becomes clear SD will have enough functionality to be a replacement for WMC as our "whole home" DVR, I'll likely make another pass at options, based on any software that has integration with SD's DVR software.

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#14

Post by brycehh » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:33 pm

I have been successfully using MCEBuddy for years with good results. You should look a little more carefully at it. It supports Handbrake hardware encoding if you have a modern Intel core processor and my recordings render in just about the same speed as the recording. So, a one hour recording takes about one hour to convert. There are also options to automatically choose which programs to convert. As a side benefit, after installation, I found the the regular version of VLC can play WTV files because MCEBuddy loaded the missing codec so I don't have to use the crappy Windows 10 VLC app.

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#15

Post by bob_p » Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:51 pm

Good suggestions on MCEBuddy and VLC.

For our environment, most playback of recorded programs is done either from a local or network drive using an app that can play .wtv files without any conversion (WMC or PotPlayer). We only need the files converted for the small percentage of the time we want to stream to an Android or Chromecast, either locally or remotely. That's why something like Plex appears to be a better solution - doing the conversion as part of the streaming process, rather than MCEBuddy which will convert every file - with most of those converted files never being used.

I've tried the regular version of .wtv files with VLC - and they play back fine, except for skipping forward and back (around commercials). With PotPlayer, the skips are almost instantaneous, with VLC it pauses. It's possible there is a setting with VLC to fix this, but I haven't found it.

For now, I'm probably going to stick with the Plex/PotPlayer combination - and now start converting all of our PCs over to Windows 10, except for the WMC server (which will continue to run 8.1 until a replacement "whole home" DVR solution appears).

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#16

Post by Chillout » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:57 pm

I like that MCE buddy takes all the .wtv files, strips out all the commercials, and converts them to a universally compatible format 1/3 the size with no noticeable quality loss.
It allows me to direct stream the video to extenders without any transcoding eating up my CPU.

Btw, Emby is a whole home DVR/HTPC... it will record, stream locally and over the internet all media including live tv. it supports tv guide... If WMC stopped working tomorrow, id switch to Emby. The only thing holding me back is 'training' my entire family to use a new interface they are not used to. It took me a long time for them to get comfortable with WMC..

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#17

Post by mogulman » Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:20 am

I have a Windows 10 PC in my basement. It used to be windows 8 with WMC. My recordings are on a different Win 8.1 HTPC WMC.

I used Mydigitalife hack, to install WMC on my windows 10 PC, installed DTBaddin so it will skip commercials. Then mapped a drive back to the HTPC and used this for the Recorded TV Media Library on my Windows 10 PC. Seems to work fine.

To make it easier for travel, maybe you could copy the files you want to watch to a Onedrive location that both machines have access too. Then setup WMC on the travel PC, to use the Onedrive location as a media library?

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#18

Post by bob_p » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:15 pm

Have you been able to get the WMC on Windows 10 to work with DRM programs? Since I can't playback DRM programs on my laptop or tablet, I could look at using the WMC hack on Windows 10 - though I'm concerned that Microsoft could do something intentionally or unintentionally that will break the hack at some point. I'd prefer being on a "supported" solution, if possible.

For travelling, I usually pre-copy the already recorded programs so I can view them offline (like on an airplane or if I'm at a hotel with poor internet). Before leaving, I'll copy all of the unwatched recorded TV and videos to my laptop and tablet and will only need to update them if there's something new recorded that I want to watch before returning home. And if that happens, I can use Plex to convert the videos to a smaller format and download them. Since my home uplink is usually 12Mbps, copying videos overnight directly from home should be OK without having to need OneDrive as an intermediary.

Good suggestions...

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#19

Post by Slion » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:09 pm

Switch your whole system to MediaPortal.

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#20

Post by STC » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:32 am

DRM + MediaPortal = No Workie
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