HTPC Resurrection: Personal History and Latest Developments: Questions (1 Viewer)

BonzaiDuck

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I started experimenting with tuner cards and HTPC before Jack Valenti and his DRM-media Nazis ruined things with their HDCP and DRM restrictions. So? I built a Windows Media Center system, with a dedicated PC (with a functional desktop monitor for the Windows Desktop) feeding a second HDMI to my HT receiver and HDTV. Everything was wonderful, until Windows dropped support, and it SEEMED as though Charter/Spectrum let me down with their cableCard support, but that latter situation is another story and water under the bridge.

Last year, I bought ROKU devices for the two TVs in the house. Fine -- but I can't DVR content to my home system. We're in a different world now, such that TV providers like Spectrum also have streaming apps that are recognized by ROKU. OK, then. ROKU is fine.

However! The LG LED/LCD HDTV 42" which has been running almost continuously for 12 years without fail (and I mean 24/7/365 but for occasional short down-times for configuration and maintenance) -- the LG started acting flaky. As a 20th century person, you'd imagine the display would crap out, but this was a matter of the TV choosing to adjust the audio. I'd set it at 20, fall asleep, and wake up with the TV blaring at 100. The TV's own remote -- with the TV -- was acting flaky, and I was getting popup dialogs from the TV that weren't supposed to happen. I disconnected the ROKU and verified the problem was the old LG.

So I ordered a Sony X85K. It has Android OS, Google TV, and apps for most of my streaming subscriptions -- EXCEPT for Spectrum -- an omission that seems insane. Even so -- no problem. I'll reconnect the ROKU, and consider replacing Spectrum with You-Tube TV.

BAck to the HTPC. It contains a lot of DVR material. I know from experience that I can access any of my streaming subscriptions from any Windows PC or Android tablet. Many of them have apps at the Play Store. But I only need a web-browser for a PC to view a streaming subscription.

I don't WANT to use a web-browser on the HTPC. How does Media Portal allow me to view my streaming subscriptions? Does it not? How does it? Or -- if NOT, then WHY?

I have just now downloaded the Media Portal version 2.x. I don't want to begin installation unless I know what to expect.

All insights are welcome. I can wait -- just not TOO long!
 

joecrow

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    Hi and Welcome
    Media Portal uses a plugin called "Online Videos" for viewing streamed content it is a separate optional plugin on MP 1 but is fully integrated and included in the the MP2 install. For more but not necessarily current information take a look here. I believe currently Online Videos supports subscription logins from Netflix and Amazon but I only use it for non paid content e.g. the BBC and German PBs so hopefully others can give more specific info. Sadly it seems to be a constant battle to keep Online Videos working as the content suppliers seem to regularly change things round making it difficult to avoid loss of service also many sites have fallen by the wayside due to DRM restrictions etc.
    Hope that helps and don't hesitate to ask if you have other questions, we are quite friendly here though not always so quick.;)
     

    BonzaiDuck

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    Hi and Welcome
    Media Portal uses a plugin called "Online Videos" for viewing streamed content it is a separate optional plugin on MP 1 but is fully integrated and included in the the MP2 install. For more but not necessarily current information take a look here. I believe currently Online Videos supports subscription logins from Netflix and Amazon but I only use it for non paid content e.g. the BBC and German PBs so hopefully others can give more specific info. Sadly it seems to be a constant battle to keep Online Videos working as the content suppliers seem to regularly change things round making it difficult to avoid loss of service also many sites have fallen by the wayside due to DRM restrictions etc.
    Hope that helps and don't hesitate to ask if you have other questions, we are quite friendly here though not always so quick.;)
    Thank you for your response. I have the version 2 MP download, but have not yet installed. I SHOULD (?) be able to install more than one media-center software, unless I need to create a server for access by front-ends or web-front-ends with other devices.

    I don't remember any collisions between multiple media-center HTPC software. The new TV arrives on Friday, and I must have a way of installing it so that it accesses my ROKU initially, and allows me either of two ways to connect the HTPC. I can simply reconnect the 25' HDMI cable to the new TV, for instance, circumventing the ROKU. Or I can "cast" HTPC content to the ROKU, now verified by installing an app on the ROKU for a different media center software that cost me $70.

    I've had Cyberlink Media Suite in old versions for years. So I tested the PowerDVD Essentials free/trial version, and quickly decided it was worth buying. It seems to substitute adequately for WMC: I can play any of 300 DVR recordings -- movies and TV shows collected over the last ten years. There is no long a tuner card in the HTPC, and I discarded my SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime tuners because I could no longer get Premiums from my Spectrum subscription and Spectrum cableCARDs. Even so, DVR content recorded from the SD HDHRs plays perfectly well from the HTPC even with the SD hardware taken out of the configuration. 300 WTV files is a lotta movies. I have a huge Classical/Rock/Jazz/Folk/"Other" music collection of MP3 files. I have a photo collection. I won't get into the specifics about the PB centerfolds 1957 to 2002. But I have that and a photo collection.

    So PowerDVD gives me all the media center functions and DVD play etc. that I had with WMC. I may want to add another recording device that gives me OTA recordings. I already have a networked Tablo feeding the ROKU part of the system. But to record like we did before or during WMC popularity, I'll need an ATSC-NTSC tuner card. Tablo records, playable on the ROKU. It would be nice if I could record to my PC from streaming subscriptions, but I cannot see how to do it at the moment. But there's enough content to warrant having the HTPC without DVR, not to forget it's ability to play DVD and Blu-Ray.

    At this point, I need to confirm whether I can cast to ROKU and still play through another HDMI port with the PC's 5.,1 speaker system (alternately, of course). Casting through the ROKU only plays through the TV's speakers -- or I can later connect the appropriate HDMI port to feed my Onkyo Receiver. I could also pass the HTPC through the Onkyo and then to the new TV with HDMI. I'm just not that eager to do all of these things, with some vague worries about it.

    So "here's the clincher" about it all. I have done the research and found the software utility that should let me change the mapping of my WMC green button remote. But until I have more confidence about it, I'd rather choose at first which software will prevail with this WMC remote remapping.

    I will be sure to give Media Portal 2 a look-see. May G** D*** Jack Valenti and his nitpicking freedom-robbing Media Nazis. And to hell with his DRM and HDCP also.

    [I'm slowly learning to dislike the 21st century. But aging seniors need their TV, since half their friends are suddenly dying or going vegetable with strokes and dementia. So yeah. DRM and HDCP suck, and being Old sucks, too. But in your sunset years, you ought to get your movie, TV and MP3 audio in full 5.1 surround. That should be the last step, and it also predetermines certain choices. Right now, I only get the 5.1 with playback through the HTPC. Casting to the ROKU means I'd have to ditch the PC speaker system and configure the ONKYO receiver, giving me 5.1 for streaming subscrips, HTPC casting, or Tablo OTA.
     

    ge2301

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    BonzaiDuck

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    You can install several HTPC softwares in parallel, there shouldn’t be conflicts. Just MP1 and MP2 will not work, if you use TV, because of a common TV-service.
    I recommend our new installer:
    https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/attachments/mp2_2-4-1-mp2-672_custominstaller-zip.211174/
    It contains the MP2.4.1 release with some fixes and the selection option between 3 TV engines.
    Now, uh, help me catch up. Do you mean "TV" in reference to a software? Or is it that wonderful appliance, which more and more people are getting in their homes to watch all sorts of wunderful thinkgs, like Sky King and Crusader Rabbit? You know -- the Wave of the Future!

    I'm still waking up this morning, but I may install MP 2.4.1 today. I'll want to compare it to PowerDVD: then choose. If this little plan to resurrect my green button goes forward, it will need to be programmed for the software I favor in all this.

    The new Sony 4K X85K TV arrives from Amazon tooo-MOR-row!!
     

    ge2301

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    Tv-service means traditional Live-TV via cable, satellite or IP-TV. I guess you have several further questions, best is to check the wiki first, it describes the installation and all features.
     

    BonzaiDuck

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    Amazon said "Friday". But . . . "the peanut-buttah box is heah -- the peanut buttah box is heah . . "

    In other words, I got my Sony TV delivered today. I have a lot of work to do . . .
     

    joecrow

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    I'm still waking up this morning, but I may install MP 2.4.1 today. I'll want to compare it to PowerDVD: then choose. If this little plan to resurrect my green button goes forward, it will need to be programmed for the software I favor in all this.
    At the risk of adding further confusion I think it is important that you know that MP 1 has the option of using an external player for example PowerDVD automatically either for some or most media types. I use the option to play Bluray disks as PowerDVD is fully compatible with BD menus etc. So you could maybe get the best of both worlds. Sadly MP 2 has never implemented an external player option!
    Regarding your remote, MP 2 has a super utility which will map almost anything to the function you want, Mp 1 might support it but in my experience using a remote with PowerDVD (older versions at least) is a horror story.
     

    BonzaiDuck

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    I think I discovered something . . . . explain if I am wrong . . .

    I had moved my WMC DVR captures from my HTPC to my Win 2012 R2 home server. I can play these files with Cyberlink PowerDVD, but MP won't see and cannot find them. Apparently -- again correct me -- is it true that a simple installation of MP without creating a server accessible by multiple clients -- that such a simple installation requires the files to be local to the HTPC?
     

    BonzaiDuck

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    If I make a simple installation of MP to my HTPC -- without "server and multiple clients" -- am I correct to assume that it won't recognize DVR captures stored on my Win 2012 R2 home server? I had moved those files to the server, deleting them from the HTPC. MP doesn't want to find them, or somehow cannot access them, while PowerDVD will do that.

    I can always copy the DVR captures back to my HTPC. It would give me a chance to organize them better.

    Right now, I await an Amazon delivery of a Sony HT/AV Receiver to replace my misbehaving 12-year-old ONKYO. It was $348 + $32 tax + $20 two-year-support. I had Amazon "rewards" -- never paid attentiion to them before. So I got the receiver for $148. Sweet!

    I should be able to flip between the AVR Receiver with JBL speakers and the 5.1 Logitech system on the HTPC. Used to be able to do it from within WMC.

    Thanks for the info about MP being amenable to various remote configurations. Once I get the rest of this sorted out, that will be the "icing on the cake", so to speak . . . .
     

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