Ceton for the whole house?

J-Will

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I am seriously considering getting a Ceton CC quad tuner, however I have some questions about Win 7 Media and extenders specific questions so that I can lay out the logistics for implementing the solution. I have FiOS, and know that I would need to rent a cable card from them at a minimum. Anything else I need that is not laid out in the detail below, please bring to my attention.

The plan is to convert the HTPC I have listed in my sig as the hub for live TV using a Ceton tuner. I also have a server 2008 R2 box listed in my sig as the server for housing all my media. Whole house wired Cat5e gigabit. I would like to be able to off load storing of my DVR shows to that box if a Ceton card is used. Will this work smoothly? Will media center recognize this as a location to save DVR'ed shows to? How many tuners is Media Center limited to? Right now 4 is more than enough, but I'm thinking expandability, could I have 2x quad tuners for 8 tuners? Double check my HTPC to make sure it is powerful enough to act as this central hub (I think it is, but I want other opinions).

The next step is to make use of extenders, specifically, have an extender at every TV in the house. I would like to be able to watch live TV from the extender. My goal is to use a low power (probably an Atom based) computer running Win 7 Media Center (only Media Center with maybe Media Browser. But no games web browsing) to achieve this. Needs to be met by such a computer: Full 1080p, HDMI, watch live TV from the Ceton, be able to record/ pause and all that jazz, as well as still have access to my media on my 2008 server. More questions on hardware specifics will come later, but right now keep it at a high level... will this work running win 7 media center. I have only used the 360 as an extender and never another full blown machine.

Can media center be an extender to another media center PC; ie- Centon CC tuner HTPC act as the hub, while these low power Atom machines feed off it for live TV purposes? Is it possible to have advanced DVR functions using this setup such as: multi room DVR capibilities (pause from one extender, and play in another without loosing anything), program Media Center/ tuner, to record from anywhere on the internet?

I realize this is lengthy, so thank you for taking the time to read and form a response. $400 is a lot to drop of a card that I am unsure of its full potential and use in my requirements.
 

ambientZ

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Unfortunately a PC cannot be a media center extender. You would think this would be basic functionality in windows media center, but it isn't.

The only current media center extenders i'm aware of are xbox360's, which work well with the added remote. You can configure them to boot directly into media center somehow.

Im not sure media center will willingly record to a non-local hard drive.

I dont know if there are plugins to control windows media center over the internet, it doesn't support it by default.
 

Valaire

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I've been thinking of going the same route but unfortunately I cannot get the Xbox 360 Media Extender to not have 3-10 seconds of input lag which defeats the whole process.
 

-Sn1PeR-

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I would say 3-10seconds is a bit of an exaggeration, it's not fast, but it does work and it is your only option. I use a hdhomerun with a Xbox as an extender to watch tv and have actually been pretty happy with it. It needs a wired connection, and the interface is laggy for the first 30seconds of use, but other than that it works great-it's also your only option for an extender at the moment.

I should point out that it doesn't work well for streaming HD movies (at least I couldn't get it working), so it's really only a tv box. Scheduling recordings and all of the basic wmc features seem to work great.
 

Adidas4275

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the ceton card can be shared over a network to other PCs... not the same as softsled but getting closer.

I have my ceton card with 3 being used locally and 1 shared over the network to another PC and it work great.

the HDhomerun prime tuners should be out this year....
 

Valaire

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I would say 3-10seconds is a bit of an exaggeration, it's not fast, but it does work and it is your only option. I use a hdhomerun with a Xbox as an extender to watch tv and have actually been pretty happy with it. It needs a wired connection, and the interface is laggy for the first 30seconds of use, but other than that it works great-it's also your only option for an extender at the moment.

I should point out that it doesn't work well for streaming HD movies (at least I couldn't get it working), so it's really only a tv box. Scheduling recordings and all of the basic wmc features seem to work great.

I'm not suggesting that my experiences are typical; quite the contrary, I'm assuming for any several respecting home theatre person that uses this setup that this is NOT the scenario. However, that's specifically what I'm getting and have tried various troubleshooting techniques and came up with squat.

I'd love to move to a Ceton media server centralized setup with 3 extenders but, for me, I can't get the Xbox to work to an acceptable degree of service (at least as fast as a cable set top box).
 

J-Will

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Unfortunately a PC cannot be a media center extender. You would think this would be basic functionality in windows media center, but it isn't.

You're right, I would think that. I figured that another Media Center machine would be the first extender.

The only current media center extenders i'm aware of are xbox360's, which work well with the added remote. You can configure them to boot directly into media center somehow.

That is a bummer, I dont think a 360 is a good alternative.
 

J-Will

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the ceton card can be shared over a network to other PCs... not the same as softsled but getting closer.

I have my ceton card with 3 being used locally and 1 shared over the network to another PC and it work great.

Can you provide more detail?

I was hoping to setup my current HTPC in a remote location in the basement with a Ceton card. Then my TVs would have low powered computers in order to watch live TV from the Ceton.
 

oplin

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Even WHS Vail doesn't allow other pc's to be extenders? I googled quickly and all i got were drive extender articles.
 

J-Will

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I realize I dont know the entire motive for the Media Center team to not implement this, but to me it seems like a flaw to not have another Media Center act as an extender
 

Activate: AMD

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I realize I dont know the entire motive for the Media Center team to not implement this, but to me it seems like a flaw to not have another Media Center act as an extender
Probably DRM/Licensing nonsense. It usually is. They probably had to cut some deal with Cable Labs in order to allow for cablecard certification and this limitation is something artificial so that paying customers have to take it up the ass because content execs don't understand why piracy is happening (hint: its the same BS they saddle us with to combat it in the first place). Either that or they foresaw some market for extender hardware that would allow them to milk consumers wallets and it just never materialized. Lots of factors go into stupid decisions like that and at this point they don't consider the market big enough to go back and change it, even if the factors that resulted in the decision are no longer relevant.
 

J-Will

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Probably DRM/Licensing nonsense. It usually is. They probably had to cut some deal with Cable Labs in order to allow for cablecard certification and this limitation is something artificial so that paying customers have to take it up the ass because content execs don't understand why piracy is happening (hint: its the same BS they saddle us with to combat it in the first place). Either that or they foresaw some market for extender hardware that would allow them to milk consumers wallets and it just never materialized. Lots of factors go into stupid decisions like that and at this point they don't consider the market big enough to go back and change it, even if the factors that resulted in the decision are no longer relevant.

sadly I can see every one one of those playing out as the reason, let alone any combination.
 

OldSchool

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WMC has a bunch of stupid limitations (likely due to some DRM nonsense) which is why I don't use it. SageTV allows you to use a PC client to view live TV as well as recordings, it also has hardware extenders.
 

Valaire

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WMC has a bunch of stupid limitations (likely due to some DRM nonsense) which is why I don't use it. SageTV allows you to use a PC client to view live TV as well as recordings, it also has hardware extenders.

I think WMC is the only option for CableCard support for encrypted cable channels though, which makes SageTV a non-option for many people.
 

OldSchool

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There's a hack of sorts that allows you to use WMC to cap from the Ceton card and use it with Sage.
 

Valaire

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the words "hack" and "user friendly" don't normally go together, so I'm guessing yes

Well, I don't know. A "hack" can involve a lot of effort to produce something, but once produced, it could be transparent to the user.

I've never used SageTV and I didn't know what he was referring to.

While I think it is, at best, ambiguous, you're more than likely right if only because I've never seen the 'perfect' solution for HTPC's yet and that method would be a lot more popular if it worked in the way we all wanted it to (for our friends and family in addition to us).
 

CrimandEvil

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Well, I don't know. A "hack" can involve a lot of effort to produce something, but once produced, it could be transparent to the user.

I've never used SageTV and I didn't know what he was referring to.

While I think it is, at best, ambiguous, you're more than likely right if only because I've never seen the 'perfect' solution for HTPC's yet and that method would be a lot more popular if it worked in the way we all wanted it to (for our friends and family in addition to us).

If I remember correctly, it launches (minimized) WMC in order to record CC broadcasts and then moves them over to the SageTV recordings folder. You can't watch Live TV through it. Everything has to be recorded before viewing them.

Honestly, I don't see the problem with using WMC. Especially when used with Media Browser.
 

J-Will

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Honestly, I don't see the problem with using WMC. Especially when used with Media Browser.

Thats what I was trying to accomplish, but I want to add in the ability to watch live TV. Use WMC as an all in one type platform, but it will prove to be too costly if I need a tuner and a cable card at every machine for every TV. If I could buy one Ceton and use WMC as an extender on the machines without the Ceton, that would be ideal. But from the sounds of it, that is not possilbe yet.
 

Valaire

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Yeah, the problem with WMC/Media Browser is that you have to rely on Xbox 360 extenders which are hit or miss (re: google) and are a 'miss' for me (MediaBrowser takes 3-10 seconds to move the cursor on my Xbox 360, hardwired, with updated network drivers and various network tweaks tried, with a movie library only including 30 or so movies, various MB themes tried, updated MB versions, updated MB to sql-lite, using all locally-stored metadata).

If the limitation was removed by Microsoft/CableLabs/Telecom Industry that forces you to have an extender (instead of another HTPC running W7) to share liveTV and recordedTV from a centralized location, you'd probably have very close to the "ideal" we are all looking for, and the demand for cable set boxes and DVRs would begin to collapse. Which is I'm guessing, a part of the reason this isn't the reality of today.

Slowly we will get there.
 

ambientZ

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Ive had decent luck with my 360 as an extender, i use it pretty heavily. I don't do any addons or videos on it though.

I use it exclusively for timeshifting or live OTA tv watching.

Channel surfing is hit or miss with it, if you change channels too fast, it starts complaining about network congestion and the video goes wonky. Even on gigabit.

Theres a guide (for at least OTA) though, so i usually just use that to navigate, or just watch previously recorded shows.
 

Activate: AMD

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Thats what I was trying to accomplish, but I want to add in the ability to watch live TV. Use WMC as an all in one type platform, but it will prove to be too costly if I need a tuner and a cable card at every machine for every TV. If I could buy one Ceton and use WMC as an extender on the machines without the Ceton, that would be ideal. But from the sounds of it, that is not possilbe yet.
There is that ceton beta firmware, and supposedly its going to be coming for wide release. Hopefully sometime in 1H '11. Until then you're stuck using the xbox 360, which kind of sucks
 

nitrobass24

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How about storing the recordings on a server?
WHS has a feature that will move your recordings but what if you dont want to use WHS and have a Server2008R2 box instead?
 

CrimandEvil

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If the limitation was removed by Microsoft/CableLabs/Telecom Industry that forces you to have an extender (instead of another HTPC running W7) to share liveTV and recordedTV from a centralized location, you'd probably have very close to the "ideal" we are all looking for, and the demand for cable set boxes and DVRs would begin to collapse. Which is I'm guessing, a part of the reason this isn't the reality of today.
It's not a limitation. MS just doesn't see the point in Softsled (which is the project that would have allowed us to use a Win7 PC like an Extender) when they have their Extender technology to sell... which didn't exactly work out all that well unless you happen to make 360s.

They've killed Softsled because it doesn't work with what they want to do with the tech.
 

CrimandEvil

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Thats what I was trying to accomplish, but I want to add in the ability to watch live TV. Use WMC as an all in one type platform, but it will prove to be too costly if I need a tuner and a cable card at every machine for every TV. If I could buy one Ceton and use WMC as an extender on the machines without the Ceton, that would be ideal. But from the sounds of it, that is not possilbe yet.

You can make one main HTPC one or two Ceton tuners in it and set them up as networked tuners allowing other HTPCs around the house the ablility to access them. Pair up a tuner with an HTPC. Sure, it's not elegant but it will accomplish what you seem to want.
 

J-Will

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You can make one main HTPC one or two Ceton tuners in it and set them up as networked tuners allowing other HTPCs around the house the ablility to access them. Pair up a tuner with an HTPC. Sure, it's not elegant but it will accomplish what you seem to want.

And that might not be a bad way, to go about doing it until a better solution comes around. But networked tuners would only be good if they stored the recordings in the same location, making a repository. And having a way for one tuner to pick up where another left off for a multi room exp ie pause a show in one room, pick it up in another.
 

Valaire

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It's not a limitation. MS just doesn't see the point in Softsled (which is the project that would have allowed us to use a Win7 PC like an Extender) when they have their Extender technology to sell... which didn't exactly work out all that well unless you happen to make 360s.

They've killed Softsled because it doesn't work with what they want to do with the tech.

It's a limitation from the POV of the end-user (i.e. I can't do what I want because of X, Y< Z). That's what I was talking about. I know it's not a technical limitation; far from it, it's motivated by profit and cooperation between entrenched industries/companies, which is fine. We do live in a society built on such notions; it's still frustrating, however, to the hobbyists among us whom want that full media experience NOW, when the technology is ripe, but the market isn't.

On the subject of networked tuners, I don't think that is a perfect substitute, as it currently makes you tie up a tuner to a TV and has no intelligent way of giving up that tuner when requested by another computer on the network. Seems to lose much of its benefit over just going with set top boxes besides avoiding set top box fees themselves. No central recording dump, no flexibility of having a high "tuner pool" that can be assigned dynamically at will, and no multi PVR experience? Correct me if I'm wrong--I'd love to be wrong.
 
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J-Will

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On the subject of networked tuners, I don't think that's not a perfect substitute, as it currently makes you tie up a tuner to a TV and has no intelligent way of giving up that tuner when requested by another computer on the network. Seems to lose much of its benefit over just going with set top boxes besides avoiding set top box fees themselves. No central recording dump, no flexibility of having a high "tuner pool" that can be assigned dynamically at will, and no multi PVR experience? Correct me if I'm wrong--I'd love to be wrong.

Those are my thoughts about the 'networked tuners' option as well. And this dones not create that central TV/ media hub zone I was attempting to create. But again, I'd love to be wrong and misinformed.
 

Activate: AMD

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Those are my thoughts about the 'networked tuners' option as well. And this dones not create that central TV/ media hub zone I was attempting to create. But again, I'd love to be wrong and misinformed.
Unfortunately you aren't. Dynamic allocation of networked tuners is kind of the holy grail for multi-room HTPC users, but its just not feasible with the current software/hardware structure. My idea of the best system right now would be something like having 2 tuners allocated per HTPC so that you can watch a show on any HTPC while recording one at the same time. You could then use something like remote potato to control all their recording schedules remotely and combine that with a service that moves all recordings to a central server. unfortunately its not a dynamic setup and it'd rely on having multiple expensive ceton tuners for more than 2 HTPC's.

The other wrinkle in all this is "copy-once" protections. Most cable channel recordings are marked as such, so you're limited to watching them on the PC's you created the recordings on. this drastically reduces the utility of a central TV storage server unless you can remove the DRM... which I'm not entirely sure you can do
 

Valaire

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The other wrinkle in all this is "copy-once" protections. Most cable channel recordings are marked as such, so you're limited to watching them on the PC's you created the recordings on. this drastically reduces the utility of a central TV storage server unless you can remove the DRM... which I'm not entirely sure you can do

Yeah that's where my frustrations with extenders come from. Since you CAN watch copy-once flagged material from a central media server through extenders, you get close to the centralized media hub scenario, but you're not quite there because the extender hardware/software happens to be far from mainstream-capable, or can be downright unusable to some people.
 

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Yeah that's where my frustrations with extenders come from. Since you CAN watch copy-once flagged material from a central media server through extenders, you get close to the centralized media hub scenario, but you're not quite there because the extender hardware/software happens to be far from mainstream-capable, or can be downright unusable to some people.
again, its the paranoid delusions of the content providers. they assume that if people can watch TV on their PC's, then they'll just upload everything they record on P2P. I understand that because of this they can't just make it completely open, but its ridiculous that they manage to alienate their customers to such a degree. Unfortunately they're the only game in town, which makes it hard to go elsewhere.

In my mind a good compromise would be something like a limit on the number of PC's (4-6 or so) you can share with. Perhaps only PC's on a LAN, within a homegroup (thus giving you a reason to even bother to set one up) or with a limited number of registered MAC addresses could use recordings. Of course some guy out there with 50 HTPC's will get pissed, but its better for 99% of people out there.
 

kemist1117

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Its expensive but you can use the HD-PVR or (should be able to) the upcoming pci-e based version from hauppauge to kind of accomplish this. There is a network pack from DVB Link that allows using multiple pcs with the hd-pvr and there is no copy protection. It can be kinda kludgy though but you might want to look into it.
 

Azhar

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I'm not suggesting that my experiences are typical; quite the contrary, I'm assuming for any several respecting home theatre person that uses this setup that this is NOT the scenario. However, that's specifically what I'm getting and have tried various troubleshooting techniques and came up with squat.

I'd love to move to a Ceton media server centralized setup with 3 extenders but, for me, I can't get the Xbox to work to an acceptable degree of service (at least as fast as a cable set top box).

Try changing your workgroup switch. My D-link DGS-2205 gigabit switch would only write to my NAS at 12MBps, but when I swapped it out with a NetGear ProSafe GS108, it shot up to 60MBps.

Yes, I know I'm not talking about extenders, but it's an idea and something to try.
 

Valaire

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I'm using the gigabit switch in the E3000; I have the D-Link 655 I guess I could try, but this problem has been around through 3 switches so I don't think that is the culprit. Unless we're saying that the switches bulit into professional grade routers are not up to snuff -- which I don't know about, never had a reason to fault my switch before.
 

Trepidati0n

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BTW, Hauppauge is releasing an "internal version" of the HD-PVR. Therefore an a non-encrypted dual tuner + external HD box = 100% channel coverage and 95% recording coverage for the average person. Not idea, but most sat/cable providers at least give you one HD box included with the pricing.
 

shinygecko

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Good thing i stumbled upon this post. I was actually just about to do the exact same thing. I was going the route of a main win 7 mc with a ceton 4 channel tuner and then i was going to purchase 3 i3 based systems to stream tv off the network but i guess that is not currently available in that format according to this post.

Just saved me a bunch of money lol.;)
 

ivioksha

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Would it work if I want to hook it up to 2 laptops and 1 HTPC? I mean can they all be active at the same time?
 
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