Need something to watch cable tv for an old person?

munkle

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My mom currently watches cable tv through xbox 360s using media center extender and a hdhomerun prime. The reason I set this up was that she could have 3 tvs with xboxs without having to pay for extra cable boxes. Media center on the xbox 360 was pretty easy for her to use with the remote and guide data.

Current problems: Microsoft doesn't send guide data anymore so my mom has a hard time finding channels. There appear to be some 3rd party providers that you can use for guide data, but they do have a cost. Might be worth it, but the other problem is that this whole set up is very old. I have to use windows 8.1 for media center, and xbox 360s aren't known to be very reliable so how much longer they stay working who knows.

So I'm looking for other options that work with a hdhomerun prime cable tuner. I tried the hdhomerun view app and its pretty garbage, I had a hard time using it and my mom wouldn't be able to figure it out at all. Anyone have other recommendations?
 

whateverer

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I think your best hardware option is HD Homerun Prime you're already using. Everything else has either abandoned Cablecard , or is a dying platform (Tivo),

If you can't work your way around these issues using this thing, I think you're going to have to go with the provider's cable DVR. I didn't find it to be all that painful, before cut the cord 6 years back.
 
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munkle

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The plan is to keep using the he home run prime, I'm looking for options that can interface with it. Most that I could find just don't work as well as the 360 like hdhomeruns own app to view live tv, but I don't know all the options out there. Another issue I forgot about is Comcast is slowly switching the encoding on their channels and the 360 cant play those channels, I expect it to get worse in the future and eventually all channels won't work.
 
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whateverer

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Sorry dude, I gave up on doing my own Cablecard DVR after I figured out that guide data would cost me exactly the same as renting their DVR. You're going where few have gone before (since they encrypted cable channels)

I have an over-the-air tv tuner HTPC for NFL, and that's all I care about.
 

munkle

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Sorry dude, I gave up on doing my own Cablecard DVR after I figured out that guide data would cost me exactly the same as renting their DVR. You're going where few have gone before.

I have an over-the-air tv tuner, and that's all I care about.
Looks like plex has vastly improved their live tv interface since the last time I used it, and premium comes with free guide data and is a one time fee. I'm going to check that out.
 

Ready4Dis

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Yeah, check into Plex and Emby would be my first go toos. Plex includes tv guide data in their "plex pass" ($5 per month, not sure if they still have the one time payment deal). Emby you have to buy a separate tv guide supplier, I think it's $26 PER YEAR (So around $2 per month). Both work alright and have support for multiple platforms (amazon fire sticks, android devices, smart TV's, x box, ps's, roku). They both have a free version you can check out (not sure how long or what features are missing) so might want to check those out.

edit:
I am running plex with the plex pass on my linux server under docker. I have quad tv tuner and I can watch live tv on my tv's, phones, tablets, PC's, etc). It isn't perfect, but it works ok most of the time. Not sure I would wish it upon someone that isn't technical though.
 

munkle

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Tried Plex out and it's ok, but not great. Biggest failings are you can't search for a channel by number or name, you have to scroll through the channel list to find it. Slow to load the first channel but after that switching is faster. It's better than it was a couple years ago but still not as good as the 360 with media center extender.

Kind of surprising that still no one has made one as good as Microsoft and they gave up on it probably 8 years ago. Best part is you can have the Xbox launch right into media center and the remote had a button dedicated to live TV. Microsoft was truly ahead of their time in media center.

I'm going to give a go on emby and see if it's any better. I gave hdhomerun view a try again and it was still garbage.
 

Ready4Dis

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Tried Plex out and it's ok, but not great. Biggest failings are you can't search for a channel by number or name, you have to scroll through the channel list to find it. Slow to load the first channel but after that switching is faster. It's better than it was a couple years ago but still not as good as the 360 with media center extender.

Kind of surprising that still no one has made one as good as Microsoft and they gave up on it probably 8 years ago. Best part is you can have the Xbox launch right into media center and the remote had a button dedicated to live TV. Microsoft was truly ahead of their time in media center.

I'm going to give a go on emby and see if it's any better. I gave hdhomerun view a try again and it was still garbage.
Yeah, I use Plex, not because it's great, just because everything else is even worse. Tons of hugs and simple things that seem obvious are hard for no reason. The UI is different on every device so if you're used to an Amazon TV stick and switch to a Samsung TV... Just know it's very different between them. Let me know for emby, I liked the interface better, but last I checked you have to pay for the guide and Linux support for TV is still MIA. Was a planned feature in like 2017 or sooner, lol. Still waiting. I'm almost annoyed enough to just write my own, if only I had a bit more time.
 

Kardonxt

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Kind of surprising that still no one has made one as good as Microsoft and they gave up on it probably 8 years ago.
That's because it's dead tech. No one is really working on it anymore, it's only going to get worse.

It might be worth considering something like Hulu with their live TV plan and ditching cable TV all together.
 

munkle

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That's because it's dead tech. No one is really working on it anymore, it's only going to get worse.

It might be worth considering something like Hulu with their live TV plan and ditching cable TV all together.
If that were the case then plex never would have gotten live tv support, along with emby, along with hdhomerun making their own app. I don't think cable is going anywhere soon. You may have had a case a year ago, but all the live tv streaming plans made their prices this year just as expensive as cable or more so but with less content.
 

whateverer

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If that were the case then plex never would have gotten live tv support, along with emby, along with hdhomerun making their own app. I don't think cable is going anywhere soon. You may have had a case a year ago, but all the live tv streaming plans made their prices this year just as expensive as cable or more so but with less content.

It's not "dead," but cable encryption has killed the inclination to do it yourself for all but the hardcore. Most either give-up pay the Tivo Tax, or they hack things together like Plex TV.

Everyone else comes to terms with the cable company's DVR, or cuts the cord entirely. That's how Cable DVR has been for the last 15 years...it's the reason I didn't build my own DVR when I first started using them in 2007.
 
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Kardonxt

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If that were the case then plex never would have gotten live tv support, along with emby, along with hdhomerun making their own app. I don't think cable is going anywhere soon. You may have had a case a year ago, but all the live tv streaming plans made their prices this year just as expensive as cable or more so but with less content.
I didn't mean cable is dead, but DIY cable is dead \ dying and has been since they started encrypting over a decade ago. MS dropped media center around the same time you had to start renting decoder boxes from cable companies to use your tuner cards. Sure some companies might throw a few resources at it here and there to try to snag a couple more users like yourself. Ultimately no one is investing large amounts of money into it and I doubt we'll ever see another polished software for it.
 

Verge

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If that were the case then plex never would have gotten live tv support, along with emby, along with hdhomerun making their own app. I don't think cable is going anywhere soon. You may have had a case a year ago, but all the live tv streaming plans made their prices this year just as expensive as cable or more so but with less content.
He didn't say cable was dead, he said HTPC's with live guide data are.
 

munkle

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He didn't say cable was dead, he said HTPC's with live guide data are.
Yeah, I'm not saying he said cable is dead, I'm saying it isn't going anywhere and the tech to record it isn't either. If that were the case Plex wouldn't have improved from when they started live TV a couple years ago. The fact that they have been improving this whole time and others going in the game and improving it as well doesn't support that. Last time I tried live TV with Plex out was garbage and it had every reason to be dead then as it does now but they are putting resources into it. I'd say with the recent price hikes of online live TV that it has even more reason to live.
 

Kardonxt

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Yet for some reason all of the available solutions suck compared to Windows Media Center which was dropped 5 years ago and stopped having any real resources poured into it well before that. It's almost like no one is making a significant effort to keep home DVR's alive, how weird is that? If only there was some sort of explanation, I guess we will just never know......
 

munkle

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Yet for some reason all of the available solutions suck compared to Windows Media Center which was dropped 5 years ago and stopped having any real resources poured into it well before that. It's almost like no one is making a significant effort to keep home DVR's alive, how weird is that? If only there was some sort of explanation, I guess we will just never know......
Except that Plex has put a lot of effort into it. The first release a few years ago was garbage, I tried it. It didn't work well at all and wasnt nearly as polished as it is now. You can say all you want that no one is putting effort in but that is simply not true. Plex over the last few years has come a long way from what they were. It's still not as good as media center was but that doesn't mean they aren't trying or investing resources. Again if you were right Plex wouldn't have released a live TV product 4 years after MS basically stopped doing anything with it, again if you were right they would have seen that nobody took their initial offering and they would have stopped improving it. But I guess your right, they are working on something that nobody uses and is dead because why not. Let's also throw in that a competitor is also doing the same because why not for them as well. It's almost like there is a viable market there but yeah probably just two companies investing resources for no reason, improving products for no reason.
 
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