I forgot how to do this: set "source preference" in WMC

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I forgot how to do this: set "source preference" in WMC


Post by DSperber » Tue May 28, 2019 2:41 am

For the life of me I can't locate the explicit instructions for how to do this. Nor can I "stumble into" the proper dialog/wizard in WMC intself to allow me to accomplish what I want to accomplish. It's a very simple request, and I'm sure that at some time in the past 10 years (of using WMC center with both OTA Hauppauge and cablecard Ceton tuners) that I DID at one time know how to do this. But I can't recall how to do it now. So I'm asking for help, from anybody who can tell me what path needs to be followed.

I have both Hauppauge OTA/ATSC (fed from roof antenna) and Ceton cablecard tuners (fed from cable) in my HTPC. I prefer using the "un-recompressed off-air local broadcast network channel feeds instead of the recompressed Spectrum-provided duplicate local network channels when both are available. So, for example, NBC-4 LA is 4.1 OTA/ATSC (via Hauppauge) and is 1203 from Spectrum (via Ceton).

When I want to record something on NBC I want WMC to select the 4.1 offering rather than the 1203 offering. That means have a tuner-preference or "source preference", for the Digital ATSC tuners rather than the Digital Cable tuners, whenever a choice is available for the identical program. I believe this was part of the sought after "source preference" setup that I vaguely remember but can no longer find, to somehow state that I "prefer" the digital ATSC tuners over Digital Cable tuners when all are available for a given program.

Does anybody know what I'm asking and looking for? Do you know where this "source preference" setup is located? If I wanted to always choose 1203 over 4.1, or 4.1 over 1203, how/where would I specify that preference?

Now as it turns out, yesterday I performed some surgery on my physical production win7 HTPC. I removed the old 4-tuner Ceton PCIe InfiniTV card and replaced it with the newly freed-up 6-tuner Ceton PCIe card (from my other HTPC, which now uses a 6-tuner Ceton ETH network tuner). I also removed the old 2-tuner Hauppauge WinTV HVR-2250 card and replaced with a newly purchased 4-tuner Hauppauge WinTV QuadHD card. In the process though I didn't realize it at the time, my previously established "series recording - HD Preferred" for 2019 French Open tennis tournament (carried on both Tennis Channel 406 and NBC 4.1/1203) were impacted. When an airing was on NBC, for some reason 1203 was selected instead of the 4.1 I wanted to be selected, unlike had always been the case in the past.

Hence my search for both "cure and solution" as well as trying to re-find what I had this strong recollection existed but that I could for some reason no longer find, namely "source preference" setting to indicate I always wanted 4.1 to take preference over 1203, given a choice. I never did find it, which is why I'm asking here and hoping somebody else remembers where this setting really is located... assuming my memory is not letting me down.

Now previously (but post-hardware surgery) I had been puzzled by my ability to VIEW a cable TV channel (selected from the Guide) but not RECORD it. Some investigation revealed that as a result of the hardware swaps an re-running of TV Signal Setup all six Ceton tuners had become UN-CHECKED for each digital cable channel. I was thus now forced to manually RE-CHECK all six Ceton tuners for each and every digital cable channel, and only after that could I actually now once again RECORD anything on cable. Remembering I had to do this unexpected thing, I decided to just CANCEL my series recording for the French Open (which was showing 1203 instead of 4.1) and re-set it.

Amazingly, this time I now showed 4.1 chosen in preference to 1203, the exact reverse of the original situation I was unsuccessfully trying to fix earlier. And now, it had somehow "fixed itself" even though I never did actually change anything somewhere in Settings of any kind. And yet, somehow the Digital ATSC tuners once again now had preference over the Digital Cable tuners, when a choice was available for the same program.

So the actual problem is actually resolved (magically, by itself, and not by some changed setting somewhere).

But I still would like someone to help me remember where "automatic tuner source preference" is actually specified, if it actually is. If I really did want 1203 over 4.1 anytime a program was shown on NBC, how would I do that (without actually manually setting channel 1203 for recording)?

Hopefully somebody knows the answer to what I'm asking.



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Post by cwinfield » Tue May 28, 2019 6:08 am

Right click on the channel in the guide→edit channel→edit sources→uncheck the tuners that you don't want to use for that channel. If you don't want to use a specific channel just disable it. There is no sure way to make one precedent over another that I know of.


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Post by DSperber » Tue May 28, 2019 10:38 am

This isn't addressing the issue. The channel number for the four ATSC tuners are 4.1. So only those four tuners show up when I "edit sources" for 4.1. And for 1203, only the six Ceton tuners show up. So only those six tuners show up when I "edit sources" for 1203.

The point is that 4.1 and 1203 are conceptually identical channels but as seen through two different tuner methods. WMC returns both 4.1 and 1203 when I do a "search" in the Guide for some program name, and in fact at the current moment now seems to be operating properly again with recording from 4.1 (from the four ATSC tuners) given "preference" over 1203 (from the six Ceton tuners) when both of these two choices are available. So "record series" will now in fact be set to record from 4.1, not 1203... and this is definitely what I want.

But I'm sure at one time in the long distant past I had to do something that caused this to be the case, because at one time it wasn't. It may have been way early in "TV Signal" setup when WMC scans for tuners. I think I read on some thread somewhere that the tuner priority is set here, in the order in which they are discovered and added. So if you want ATSC tuners to always have priority over Ceton tuners (even though they are different channel numbers and probably even different "channel names"), but are recognized as the same program because of the matching Guide data) if you scan for the ATSC tuners first (i.e. un-checking the Ceton tuners after they've been discovered), and then scan again for ALL the tuners (with the ATSC tuners having already been previously discovered), that the ten tuners will be arranged in tuner-priority order for selection (when duplicate program situation occurs on two different channels/tuners) such that the four ATSC tuners will be grabbed first followed by the six Ceton tuners. But I sure don't recall any way to rearrange the ten tuners listed into some priority order with an up/down arrow (as there is with "edit sources").

In other words I don't think it's setting a tuner priority for any given channel that accomplishes this, since only ATSC tuners are shown (and can be rearranged) when you "edit sources" for an ATSC channel number. And only Ceton tuners are shown (and can be rearranged) when you "edit sources" for a Cable channel number. The only situation where all ten tuners appear is that point way early in TV Signal setup where WMC is scanning for available tuners. So either this is when you can rearrange things, or maybe you can't and what you see is what you get.

So however it happened for me now at this moment, it appears I'm thankfully back where I wanted to be... with the four ATSC tuners being "preferred" (e.g. 4.1) instead of the Ceton tuners (e.g. 1203), whenever a choice is possible for the same Guide program. Perhaps this got corrected automatically when I was forced to manually add all six Ceton tuners for each and every cable channel I'd checked as active in "edit channels" and also selected in my EPG123 channel lineup. They were for some reason NOT pre-checked by default, and I then had to manually check them myself. That appears to have resulted in placing the six "broadcast network" channels (also available ATSC via the four tuners of the Hauppauge card) in front of the six Ceton tuners (since they were now being activated AFTER the Hauppage tuners were already checked and active), which is what I was still trying to figure out how to do through some kind of WMC settings I could swear I once knew about.

So perhaps that's how you can rearrange the choice of ATSC vs. Ceton tuners if you have to, by manually UN-Checking the six Ceton tuners for the duplicate broadcast network channels, and then re-checking them as active... thus getting them added at the bottom of the list of tuners available for selection when the duplicate Guide program data situation occurs and a choice must be made, i.e. have them end up with lower tuner priority than the four Hauppauge ATSC tuners. Maybe.

Well, as long as this story has a happy ending (which is now does) I won't lose any more sleep about it.


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Post by glorp » Tue May 28, 2019 2:19 pm

You can't do it globally by combining tuners. It has to be done on a channel basis. You combine channels in the listings by editing them and assigning a listing to one you want to merge. When you select the other channel with the same listing, WMC will offer to merge them. Once merged, all the tuners that have the merged channel will be grouped as sources for it and you can then use edit sources to order them so that the ATSC tuners are first and will be used first for recordings or live TV. See here near the bottom of the article for some instructions. https://thedigitallifestyle.com/w/index ... l-merging/

If those aren't detailed enough Google "merge channels".


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Post by DSperber » Tue May 28, 2019 3:12 pm

Aha! Getting closer.

But I don't understand what is being said to do in the instruction: "Then 'edit listings' and choose the listing for channel 1 BBC ONE". What do I do to accomplish that? It's obvious what 'edit listings' means. But the output which occurs next is not intuitive as to how I am then supposed to "choose the listing for channel 1 BBC ONE". This is crucial to accomplishing the "merge", so I need some clarification here.


"For example BBC ONE on dvb-t is channel 1 and on dvb-s it is 101.

Select channel 101 BBC ONE and ‘edit channel’.

Then ‘edit listings’ and choose the listing for channel 1 BBC ONE.

Media Center will then see they are the same channel and offer to merge them into
channel 1, deleting the guide entry for channel 101. Do this.

Now select channel 1 and ‘edit channel’ and go to ‘edit sources’ and you
will see both your dvb-t and dvb-s tuners are available.

Now you can set the tuner priority by moving your prefered tuner up or down the


Just for clarity, here is what I have for "edit channel" for Ceton tuner channel 1203 (which is the NBC-4 LA network, carried by Spectrum cable):


I then push the "edit listings" button, and get the following:


I don't know what to do next, in order to connect this to the OTA channel 4.1 listing, which looks as follows:


What does he mean (for my 1203/4.1 example) when he says "then 'edit listings' and choose the listing for channel 1 BBC ONE"? That would be 4.1 in my story, but I don't know what I'm supposed to type or click or whatever, in order to implement his instruction? Am I supposed to manually type in "NBC4-LA" where it currently shows "Show no listings for this channel" on the 1203 "edit listings" screen? "NBC4-LA" is the channel listing for 4.1, but he said "choose the listing" (as if it were being displayed and I could select it), not "type in the value of the channel listing for the channel you want to merge into"?


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Post by Space » Tue May 28, 2019 10:18 pm

Do you see the part on the "Edit Listings" screen that says "1 of 10118 ˄˅"? That means you can scroll up and down (using up/down arrow keys on the keyboard or remote) and select an entry. In your case you would select the listing that is associated with channel 4.1 in order to merge it with channel 1203.

You can use the "Sort by Number" option on the left (use arrow keys to highlight it and then OK/enter to select) to have the large list sorted by channel number instead of alphabetically by listing name. It looks like you may have a lot of channels without a listing, so they are listed first (null is sorted first alphabetically) so sorting by channel number may be easier to allow you to find channel 4.1.


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Post by DSperber » Wed May 29, 2019 2:04 am

You beat me to the punch. I didn't see your post until just a minute ago.

However I have been working with this for the past few hours after accidentally noticing the "sort by number" button which had been left out of the article's instructions. Once "sort by number" is pushed and actual channel numbers with names appear (instead of 3, 4, 5, etc. with blank channel names for unused channels as per my configuration that only wants actual channels appearing in the Guide that I may actually look at) it suddenly dawned on me how to "choose" the target channel for the merge. I had originally not understood what the blank 3, 4, 5, etc. actually were, or how I was supposed to "select" something as opposed to manually typing in the target channel name.

Ok. As is true with everything in life, it's not perfect. And by that I mean there's apparently a defect in WMC regarding this channel-merging functionality.

It actually DOES work perfectly, for "real target channels" that were truly discovered by channel scan or were otherwise populated normally in the total list of available channels. In the case of OTA channels here in LA, that includes all of the ATSC channels which were originally and still are utilizing the old UHF physical channel numbers (i.e. 14-69). So this describes channels 2.1, 4.1, 5.1, 50.1 and 58.1, which are still mapped to old UHF frequencies.

However over the past few years the newly re-available low-VHF frequencies (i.e. 2-13) have been re-purposed for ATSC channel assignments. And this is further revised just back on April 10 when the latest FCC-mandated channel-mapping revision finally went into effect here in LA. Many ATSC channels were reassigned, re-grouped to new digital tuners, etc. So ATSC channels 7.1, 9.1, 11.1 and 56.1 are now mapped to physical channels 7, 9, 11 and 12... i.e low-VHF. And WMC doesn't know how to scan for OTA channels in low-VHF, but only UHF. So these four channels 7.1, 9.1, 11.1 and 56.1 must be manually added as "new DTV channels" using WMC's "add missing channels" dialog. And this works perfectly. So far, no problems.

The problem comes when doing the "edit listings" channel-merge function. The goal again is to get my cable-provided local network channels (available through the six Ceton tuners) merged with the OTA/ATSC version (availble through the four Hauppauge tuners), so that all 10 tuners will be available for the broadcast networks under one single namej. Furthermore, the 10 tuners are to be arranged in priority order with the four Hauppauge tuners first followed by the six Ceton tuners, so that OTA/ATSC tuners will always be preferred over Ceton cable tuners when possible. This is exactly what the "edit listings" channel-merge tuner prioritizing function is all about, and it MOSTLY WORKS.

So, for all of the "real" OTA/ATSC channels discovered by WMC scanning, the channel-merge process works perfectly. Exactly as described and expected, the cable channel (e.g. 1203) version of NBC and the six corresponding Ceton tuners are merged in with OTA 4.1, with the 6 Ceton tuners added to follow the 4 Hauppauge tuners. Total of 10 tuners for channel 4.1, first four ATSC and next six cablecard, and channel 1203 deleted from the Guide. I was thus able to successfully merge 1209 into 2.1 (deleting 1209), 1203 into 4.1 (deleting 1203), 1212 into 5.1 (deleting 1212), 1221 into 501. (deleting 1221), and 1222 into 58.1 (deleting 1222).

But where "edit listings" DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY is apparently from a bug in WMC, and shows up when you're trying to merge into one of the "add missing channels" targets, in my case 7.1 (1200), 9.1 (1230), 11.1 (1206) and 56.1 (1231). For each of these OTA target channel numbers the "edit listings" didn't delete the cable channel... IT INSTEAD DELETED THE MANUALLY ADDED OTA CHANNEL! Yes, the 10 tuners were there, and arranged "correctly" with the four Hauppauge tuners first and the six Ceton tuners next. But it was for the cable channel number, and not the OTA channel number.

In other words, attempting to merge 1200 into 7.1 (where 1200 was supposed to be deleted) ended up retaining 1200 and incorrectly deleting 7.1!!! All 10 tuners were correctly ordered in the 1200 "edit sources", with the four ATSC tuners first and the six cablecard tuners second. But 1200 was retained and 7.1 was deleted, the exact opposite of what should have occurred from the channel-merge. Again this was only for the manually added "missing DTV channels" (i.e. residing on low-VHF frequencies). For the true DTV channels discovered during WMC's normal UHF channel scan channel merging correctly resulted in the cable channel's deletion and all 10 tuners showing up on the OTA channel.

I've given up trying to get "edit listings" to work.

Turns out this isn't really necessary to do, in order to guarantee that the OTA/ATSC tuners take precedence over cable tuners when given a choice. The fact that the digital ATSC tuners were "discovered" first during TV Signal setup automatically assigns them priority when a choice exists with the same program available on a cable tuner channel. I can live with this, as the result is 100% exactly what I want. No need to do this "edit listings" merging if it doesn't work properly for all OTA/ATSC channels.

WMC doesn't properly automatically handle low-VHF OTA/ATSC channels (which didn't exist back in 2009), which is primarily why "add missing channels" was invented and is to be used. And that works fine. It's just there is this newly discovered bug in "edit listings" which produces incorrect results.

Very worthwhile learning experience. Thankfully Macrium Reflect takes about 6 minutes to back up my Win7 C-partition, and 90 seconds to restore it. So I've now finished this research project exactly where I started... with NO merged channels, but with ATSC tuners automatically always having priority over "duplicate" cable channels.

case closed.

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