Beginner's Guide to HTPC Software

Mar 07 2011

Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to HTPC Software. This will be an in-depth look at the software options available to you to build your HTPC. If you haven't already, make sure you read our Beginner's Guide to HTPCs for other topics.

We're going to cover only full home theater PC applications which can handle the following tasks:

  1. Music
  2. Videos
  3. Movies
  4. TV (optional)
  5. Photos

First let's take a look at the operating system options you have and a brief overview:

  • Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7
  • Apple Mac OSX
  • Linux

Each one of these has their pros and cons. If you are using Mac OSX, you don't have many choices beyond Front Row, XBMC and Plex (below). If you're using Linux, honestly you're probably not reading this guide due to limited options as well--MythTV (below as well). So that leaves Windows users . This is at least 90% of you out there, and most likely what everyone reading this is interested in.

Let's take a look at some HTPC software programs and cover some of their pros and cons. By no means is this full in-depth, but should be a good starting point.

  • Windows Media Center
    Windows 7 Media Center
    Also known as 7MC, WMC or MCE it has been around since 2002 and has been included for "free" in various versions of Microsoft Windows. It's fairly attractive and refined (very stable since Windows 7) but don't expect to do a ton of customizations without reverting to hacking. This does also have the largest user base of any HTPC software program so there are lots of people to help out. 
    • Pros: Exclusive Native CableCARD support, lots of movie plugins to choose from, low cost for new systems or those with Home Premium or better.
    • Cons: Minimal customizability
    • Price: Free with specific versions of
      Windows.
  • SageTV
    SageTV
    Basically as old as Windows Media Center (both were started in 2002), they are a small company whose sole purpose in life is to make the best HTPC experience possible, specifically with regard to recording and watching TV.  Let's face it, there's a reason the product is called SageTV.  They have always focused on the enthusiast and as such have an enormous community of developers that have helped make it into one of the top options available.
    • Pros: Extremely customizable in every visual aspect, passionate user base with lots of unofficial plugins and tweaks available, excellent support, Extender support to extend UI to other rooms with HD support in HD300, excellent TV support* including Intelligent Recording
    • Cons: *No native CableCARD support, music player is pretty basic
    • Price: $80. A free trial is available for download for you to test before you buy.
  • XBMC
    XBMC
    XBMC--originally called XBox Media Center-- is an open source community project which began in 2003 as a modification to the original Xbox gaming console to give it a home theater interface and HTPC features, but has since evolved into a full featured media center solution for any PC.
    • Pros: Gorgeous frontends developed by the community, lots of plugins, works on a variety of hardware from Linux, to PC to even the AppleTV2
    • Cons: No official support, setup is more technical than SageTV/7MC, no TV or CableCARD support
    • Price: Free
  • MediaPortal
    MediaPortal
    MediaPortal is another application which has really come a long way since its introduction in 2003. If that timing is interesting it's because it was originally created using source code from XBMC (before they had a PC version). By now they've clearly gone their separate way but the similarities are still there, for the positive. While I find XBMC to have more attractive skins and UIs, it's hard to compete with MediaPortal on a feature-by-feature comparison as unlike XBMC, there is full DVR/PVR-functionality in addition to music, movies, etc.
    • Pros: Supports TV, lots of plugins, strong community support
    • Cons: Only runs on Windows
    • Price: Free
  • Boxee
    Boxee
    Boxee is yet another creation leveraging the source code from XBMC above, and was created in 2008. So why mention yet another fork? Well, Boxee has done three years what none of the others have accomplished--create mainstream buzz! But it's not just fluff, as the Boxee team has done wonderful things to the foundation that was XBMC and have built an interface that truly leverages online content and social media features available today. Along with that, the focus on creating a dead-simple ability to add plugins from other sources has proven a success.
    • Pros: Available on all platforms (PC, Linux and Mac), can run (albeit slowly) on an original AppleTV, tons of online streaming video sources, pre-built low power hardware boxes available
    • Cons: No live TV support at all
    • Price: Free

Best of the Rest:

Here's a list of other comparable Media Center applications available for Microsoft Windows that may be worth a look depending on your needs:

  • JRiver Media Center - While they support a variety of multimedia files, JRiver (since 1998) made its name by perfecting audio file management and playback.
  • GB-PVR - EDITED per user Miller's comment:
    • Pros: It's free. It has a very helpful forum for any issues that come up. It has a very easy to use client/server model for sharing your recordings among many computers. It has support for various SD and HD extenders. It also has a wide variety of plugins to add/enhance various features.
    • Cons: It does not come with EPG data (since it's free). You either have to buy a subscription to SchedulesDirect (same provider for MythTV) or scrape from the internet. No native CableCard support. Only runs on Windows.
  • MeediOS - Risen from the ashes of Meedio, MeediOS is open source and has some awesome potential, but still extremely young.
  • Snapstream - R.I.P. - Was SageTV's #1 competitor before they quit to focus on the enterprise TV indexing market. Even had their own fancy Firefly remote control.
  • MyHTPC / Meedio - R.I.P. - Arguably the first true HTPC front-end. After years of developing it evolved into Meedio, was bought out by Yahoo, and like many things Yahoo, got swallowed and disappeared.

Why would you ever pay for software that is available free?

The HTPC software such as XBMC and Media Portal which are available at no cost are all perfectly usable and good options for your HTPC. That being said, as with many open source projects, technical support is limited to forums and website help. With a company like SageTV that have built a reputation on amazing customer service you know exactly who is helping you and how to get a hold of them. Also with commercial packages like SageTV, there is less risk of the software being abandoned and leaving you with an outdated product. XBMC and Media Portal are created by enthusiasts in their spare time, so things can get busy and updates can take a while.

How do I pick the right software for my situation?

This is a much more difficult question. The best answer would be of course to play with every option and pick your favorite; all the software titles mentioned above are either free or include a free trial.

That being said, if you're reading this guide you most likely won't want to do that Smile so here is our no-strings-attached advice. If you are just starting out, don't want to tinker (too much) or mainly want TV/music/photos, it's hard to go wrong with Windows 7 Media Center. And unlike earlier generations, it's included with almost every consumer flavor of Windows 7 so it's readily available.

For those with more demanding requirements for extensibility, movies and multiple format support in every location either via a client PC or extender, SageTV is a better option.

And then there's the frugal user--those willing to spend a little more time and effort with their software to get it just right, rather than spending their hard earned cash. For these folks you'll want to try out all three above--MediaPortal, XBMC and Boxee. Get a feel for what each does and all the skins and plugins available. Heck, you can have all three installed on the same system without doing any harm, so go for it!

For some, look and feel is one of the most important features of an HTPC--part of the fun is seeing your friends "wow" face when you first show them. So take a look at the options, and pick the one which supports the features you need that looks the coolest to you, and voila.

Remember, it's not a life choice, so you can always change your choice whenever you can have time to do so.

What other software is out there that you haven't mentioned?

For that, we have compiled a comprehensive list of every HTPC software application we could think of. Feel free to let us know if you know of one that we forgot to mention.

Windows Software with DVR/PVR TV Support

  • Windows XP Media Center Edition link
  • Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate link
  • Meedio 1.41 and Meedio Ultimate (free) link
  • MeediOS - an updated version of Meedio link
  • SageTV (Windows, Mac, and Linux) link
  • ShowShifter link
  • SnapStream Beyond TV (I use this) link
  • GB-PVR (free) link
  • MediaPortal (free) link
  • AverMedia Center (for use with AverMedia card) link
  • Yahoo! Go TV (free) - disountinued
  • Nero LiquidTV™ | TiVo® PC link
  • PowerCinema 6 link
  • Windows 7MC - link
  • JRiver Media Center - link

Windows Software (without DVR)

  • Nero 9 link
  • Xlobby link
  • Got all Media (free) link
  • Beyond Media link - DISCONTINUED
  • WinDVD Media Center link
  • iMEDIAN HD(also known as iMon) link
  • Elisa - compatible with windows, mac and linux (Now Moovida)
  • Moovida - link
  • XBMC link - compatible with windows, mac and linux (I use this for front-end)
  • Tvedia link
  • DivX Connected link
  • AMD Live! link

Linux

Mac

Video/DVD Players

  • MPlayer Link - New
  • Zoom Player link
  • VLC (I use this for streaming media) link
  • Windows Media Player link
  • DivX Video Player link
  • RealPlayer link
  • Power DVD link
  • InterVideo WinDVD link
  • TheaterTek link
  • AVS DVD Player link
  • Media Player Classic link (discontinued/deprecated)
  • Media Player Classic Home Cinema (aka MPC-HC) link
  • The KM Player link
  • Gom Media Player link

Blu-Ray and HD DVD Playback

  • Powerdvd link (older version will play HD-DVD)
  • ArcSoft TotalMedia™ Theatre link
  • WinDVD 9 Plus Blu-ray link

Comments

You might want to mention which media center packages include support for cablecard tuners.  Right now, Win 7 Media Center is the only one that has native support for the Ceton InfiniTV 4 but SageTV can also work with the installation of SageDCT.

While this may go slightly beyond a beginner's guide, I think it's worth mentioning two additional items.

1.  Windows Media Center has full DRM support and has been proven in the past to follow the "do not copy" and "do not record" flags sent by content providers, resulting in missed recordings or an inability to watch recordings when/where you want.  SageTV does not have any DRM and I imagine that the open source software also does not.

2.  Keep an eye on your hardware choices and ensure that the software you intend to use actually supports it.  This is extremely important if you plan to try out several different pieces of software.  It would be horrible to buy a tuner that works in WMC (such as the Ceton) and then decide you like XBMC or SageTV better, only to have them not support the card.

This site never really gives GBPVR it's due. It's been around since at least 2005. It is a very robust piece of DVR software that also have a wide assortment of plugins available. It has currently has two versions out, GBPVR which is the old, stable pvr application. And NPVR which is a rework of GBPVR from the ground up. It has almost all the features of GBPVR, plus quite a few enhancements.

Pros: It's free. It has a very helpful forum for any issues that come up. It has a very easy to use client/server model for sharing your recordings among many computers. It has support for various SD and HD extenders. It also has a wide variety of plugins to add/enhance various features.

Cons: It does not come with EPG data (since it's free). You either have to buy a subscription to SchedulesDirect (same provider for MythTV) or scrape from the internet. No native CableCard support. Only runs on Windows.

Miller wrote:

This site never really gives GBPVR it's due. It's been around since at least 2005. It is a very robust piece of DVR software that also have a wide assortment of plugins available. It has currently has two versions out, GBPVR which is the old, stable pvr application. And NPVR which is a rework of GBPVR from the ground up. It has almost all the features of GBPVR, plus quite a few enhancements.

Sorry about that Miller, i got the 2009 date from their website copyright. I edited the GB-PVR section with what you mentioned. BTW, you seem to be a GB-PVR user, if you'd like to publish a guest review we'd be happy to post it. Let me know, thx

As far as I can tell...

Not even one bit of information on HDCP capabilities here?

What use is any of this information without discussing whether the software supports HDCP media and delivered content?

Everything I've read says that without HDCP support capability, any software is automatically forced by HDCP protected data to provide at MOST only DVD quality video and 2-channel STEREO "CD-quality" audio, regardless if the material originally supplies 720i/p, 1080i/p and/or 5.1 thru 8.1 HD theatre sound and even if your hardware supports HDCP.

So for example, if you have an HDCP Blu-ray movie, your HDCP compliant hardware system won't be allowed to play the movie at full HD quality in video or audio unless the player software supports HDCP. All you'll get is DVD quality video and 2.1 stereo sound (although your audio subsystem may be able to "synthesize" surround-sound-like audio...it will NOT be DolbyTrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, etc probably supplied on the disc or datastream). I also can't find a definitive statement that HDCP protected Blu-ray discs ALL provide an alternate "standard" 5.1 channel codec (like AC-3) and whether HDCP allows that to be used as an alternate sound source IF they do.

And, from what I've been able to determine...in order to output HDCP content at full HD capabilities, the software must pay a license fee and it is thus highly unlikely to be provided with low-cost or freeware players.

If this is not true, I'd like someone to please provide credible technical references on how each of the players above handles and outputs HDCP protected content.

Yes, if you are playing back protected content from Blu-ray disc and outputting the content via HDMI, you must have hardware that supports HDCP. This is commonplace for the past couple of years and all licensed Blu-ray Disc playback software such as Arcsoft TMT and Cyberlink PDVD support HDCP.

In other words, if you're putting together a system today, HDCP should be a non-issue because it is simply supported by today's hardware and software that deals with protected content.

TechSophus wrote:

So for example, if you have an HDCP Blu-ray movie, your HDCP compliant hardware system won't be allowed to play the movie at full HD quality in video or audio unless the player software supports HDCP. All you'll get is DVD quality video and 2.1 stereo sound (although your audio subsystem may be able to "synthesize" surround-sound-like audio...it will NOT be DolbyTrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, etc probably supplied on the disc or datastream). I also can't find a definitive statement that HDCP protected Blu-ray discs ALL provide an alternate "standard" 5.1 channel codec (like AC-3) and whether HDCP allows that to be used as an alternate sound source IF they do.

First off, HDCP is a transport encryption scheme, Blu-ray and non-CopyFreely CableCARD content use different mechanisms to encrypt the bits while they are at rest. Those content types will not function in any player that doesn't support the relevant encryption schemes (BD+, AACS, PlayReady, etc.) so HDCP isn't really something to be concerned about until you've already figured the first part out (i.e. MPC-HC, SageTV, et.al. can't play BD until the DRM has been stripped off). 

Secondly, I think you've confused HDCP (which is all or nothing) and the down-rezing that can happen when using analog output.  If you're using HDMI it will either work, or not work if you don't have the right components (SW BD player & HDCP compliant hardware).  Mixing analog audio with digital video can cause a minor loss in fidelity if the player or audio chipset can't do PAP.  Using all analog (something HTPCs have never been great at) does introduce the potential for a sub-standard experience, but that is not unique to the HTPC.

Aaron, I don't think you actually answered his question, even though you're correct on most of your points.  Wink

TechSophus, first, welcome to the site!  Second, we're a pretty friendly bunch here, so ease up on the tone.

Now, to answer your question, most people use Slysoft's AnyDVD to get around all the DRM on their purchased movies because a number of HTPC software programs (including most of the ones above) do not natively play back protected content.  For example, SageTV supports Blu-ray folder structure (BDMV) playback, as well as playback of MKVs and other container formats.  However, it does not play back Blu-ray discs themselves.  That said, you could have SageTV launch an external program, like those Aaron mentioned, for your physical discs.

George,

Apologies if the tone didn't seem light enough. It was not intended to be "heavy" and even then I think only my third sentence could even be remotely construed as such when I asked "What use is any...". I suppose I could have phrased it more along the lines of, "This "beginner's" article doesn't mention one very critical requirement for handling copy and playback protected HD media and content: HDCP, or High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection."

The rest of my comment was just basic observation and information.

But, I did intend to emphasize that not discussing HDCP support in an article on the software in developing one's own HTPC seems like an incredibly huge omission, especially for an article for beginners that claims, "This will be an IN-DEPTH look at the software options available to you to build your HTPC.".

HDCP software (and hardware) is a "must consider" factor for anyone designing their own HTPC system. Any single component that doesn't support HDCP can drastically reduce the HTPC experience and vastly increase the frustration of new users.

With respect to Aaron's reply you're right. He didn't talk to the primary issue I raised which was addressing HDCP capabilities of the software listed in the "in-depth" article. And, I did already stipulate in my earlier comment that HDCP licensed software would of course handle HDCP content...but again, that wasn't mentioned in the article even for the licensed software in the list.

There's no way to tell which of the programs in the article are or are not licensed to support HDCP as the issue simply isn't discussed.

I definitely disagree with Aaron. I strongly believe HDCP is not a "non-issue" especially for new-comers to HTPC. It's a hidden "gotcha" that definitely should be addressed in the HTPC planning stages.

While I understand workarounds are available (such as the US$112/80Euro AnyDVD+HD software you mentioned) such programs typically have limited use and add cost/complexity about which beginners need to know. In addition, some folks would prefer to have something that natively handles HDCP content without treading on what some consider questionable territory.

Since it was brought up the issues surrounding recording HDCP content for later viewing should also be clearly defined in the article...such as the whole point of HDCP is to prevent recording of HDCP material at the full resolutions...even in licensed software. In such cases something like AnyDVD+HD might become a factor for those that want to take that route, and prospective users should know the costs and the implementation and potential legal issues involved.

I think I'm being very reasonable that this article at a minimum should have indicated whether each software player in the list supports HDCP, in addition to having at least a small section telling readers what HDCP is and the impact on HTPC of any component not supporting HDCP.

As far as I know, only PDVD and TMT have licensed Blu-ray playback capability, so, best as I can tell, no "full" HTPC software has what you're asking about.  If that's the case, it's debatable whether or not it's worth mentioning in this article.  Also, I believe the "in-depth" reference was concerning the breadth of coverage, not that the article was intended to be the HTPC Bible.  :-)  That definitely would not constitute a "beginner's" guide.  A key point for any "beginner's" guide is to keep the topic very focused and simple.  This guide was meant to introduce people to a bunch of the options out there.  HDCP and DRM, themselves, might make a nice guide on their own, however, so that may very well get added to our list of upcoming guides.  I definitely do not think that a fairly complex and wide-ranging topic such as that would have been a good idea for this article.

I think we have a VERY different perspective on what constitutes a beginner's level of understanding, capabilities, and needs.

For example, you seem to be saying that "beginners" should already understand all about HDCP and knowing such a program (like AnyDVD+HD) is even needed, then finding a suitable program, and then how to use said program that breaks-down copy protected media so it can be copied/played on non-HDCP compliant platforms...when it isn't even mentioned in the "in-depth" article.

...like it's an obvious thing. To beginners it isn't at all obvious from what I've seen on other fora.

And with the following comment are you apparently saying that an "in-depth" article for beginners needn't be "in-depth" at all?

"Also, I believe the "in-depth" reference was concerning the breadth of coverage, not that the article was intended to be the HTPC Bible.  :-)  That definitely would not constitute a "beginner's" guide.  A key point for any "beginner's" guide is to keep the topic very focused and simple.  This guide was meant to introduce people to a bunch of the options out there."

If "breadth of coverage" is the metric, then Mike shouldn't have claimed "in-depth"....it should have claimed this was an "Introduction" or "Overview" and left it at that. To claim this article provides "in-depth" information about HTPC software planning is simply misleading. It mostly provides a simple list of players and some broad-brush comments on a few of them.

I don't know of anyone that thinks quantity (e.g. breadth or broadness) substitutes for content detail when it comes to claiming something is "in-depth" and suitable for planning purposes. It's like claiming a simple list of computer model numbers provides an "in-depth" look at how to decide which computer to buy for your needs.

I also disagree with your conclusion regarding discussing HDCP. Just because only a couple of the players listed natively support HDCP is no justification to not talk about it. I suggest it is in fact the opposite...it's more important than ever to explain what HDCP is and how not having it affects your HTPC setup planning...because you will be left with a deficient setup unless you address HDCP. One either helps beginners understand the limitations of the information or one is simply leaving beginners without "in-depth" information intrinsic to HD-capable HTPC and saying that's OK.

By the way, I have read Mike's other "beginner's" articles on HTPC planning and as far as I recall HDCP isn't even mentioned. That seems to leave the hardware and software articles missing a vital piece of information that it is apparently assumed beginners already know all about.

They're nice articles, and I'm glad he took the time and effort to write them, but leaving out all discussion of HDCP is a serious gap, especially when the target audience is beginners.

While I understand workarounds are available (such as the US$112/80Euro AnyDVD+HD software you mentioned) such programs typically have limited use and add cost/complexity

What exactly do you mean by this?  I don't see how it has limited use.  It's practically required for anyone with Blu-rays.  I also don't see how it adds any complexity.  AnyDVD probably one of the easiest programs to use.

 

"It's practically required..."

and yet, it's not mentioned in the in-depth HTPC software article for beginners.

 

As for my comment "...such programs typically have limited use and add cost/complexity"

AnyDVD+HD (US$112/80Euro) is designed for specifically packaged content. It's difficult if not impossible to use otherwise. As you indicated, it's primary use is for HDCP protected Blu-ray content. Thus, limited use and added cost.

You also have to know about and setup the extra steps needed to break-down the copy-protected disc content and then re-direct AnyDVD's output to the software player. While AnyDVD and some of the players apparently makes that easi-er, it isn't a one-step process to integrate AnyDVD (or similar) into one's HTPC. Thus, added complexity. Beginners should also be informed about possible legal issues involved in using a program like AnyDVD. It varies from country to country.

I didn't intend for my observation on the lack of HDCP in the article being so drawn-out, but it's not a trivial non-issue.

TechSophus wrote:

I think we have a VERY different perspective on what constitutes a beginner's level of understanding, capabilities, and needs.

At least we agree on this part.  Smile

TechSophus wrote:

For example, you seem to be saying that "beginners" should already understand all about HDCP and knowing such a program (like AnyDVD+HD) is even needed, then finding a suitable program, and then how to use said program that breaks-down copy protected media so it can be copied/played on non-HDCP compliant platforms...when it isn't even mentioned in the "in-depth" article.

Also, from your other response...

TechSophus wrote:

You also have to know about and setup the extra steps needed to break-down the copy-protected disc content and then re-direct AnyDVD's output to the software player. While AnyDVD and some of the players apparently makes that easi-er, it isn't a one-step process to integrate AnyDVD (or similar) into one's HTPC. Thus, added complexity. Beginners should also be informed about possible legal issues involved in using a program like AnyDVD. It varies from country to country.

Look at everything you said across these two responses.  How can you say all of that should have been included in a beginner's guide?  I stand by what I said, in that HDCP/DRM is a more advanced topic and should not have been included in an article about front-end software.  Also, Mike never even mentioned Blu-ray or DVDs until the very end, where he mentioned what programs could play those back.

TechSophus wrote:

...like it's an obvious thing. To beginners it isn't at all obvious from what I've seen on other fora.

You're absolutely correct, which is why it deserves more than a little paragraph inside an article about front-end software.  I guarantee you that we would have lost a TON of people (meaning they quit reading the article) if the article went off on a tangent about HDCP and DRM.  The idea of the articles are to get people interested and know what's out there, not to confuse them.

I've written many job aids and technical specifications in my career and you lose people's interest very quickly, no matter what you do, but especially when the document veers off in too many directions.

TechSophus wrote:

{numerous "in-depth" references}

I'll go ahead and say that "in-depth" may not have been the best choice of words to use, but, hey... we can't all use the perfect words every time.  It's just like we can't expect people to offer constructive criticism in a friendly manner every time.  But, we accept that not everyone thinks the same and move on.

TechSophus wrote:

By the way, I have read Mike's other "beginner's" articles on HTPC planning and as far as I recall HDCP isn't even mentioned. That seems to leave the hardware and software articles missing a vital piece of information that it is apparently assumed beginners already know all about.

You clearly have a very strong opinion on the subject.  How long did it take you to understand all the nuances of HDCP and DRM?  Was it easy to understand?  I would venture to say that it was not and that's why it does not deserve to be casually mentioned.  As I already said, it's a great topic to cover in its own article.

Maybe it's my fault for not categorizing the title better, but you probably noticed that the focus of this was on the HTPC Frontend type software, where HDCP is irrelevant. The reason I haven't mentioned it in my guides is because I do think it's an advanced topic. Look, you might understand all the issues involved with playing copy protection and wanting it to span across whole home video and multiple monitors, but if I tried to explain that in a beginner's guide, I fear I would lose a reader as soon as they read yet another acronym. New users to the topic have enough to swallow as it is, and we don't have any end in sight for these guides to continue coming, evolving, and for more users like yourself, be more advanced.

We threw the other software titles at the bottom more as a comprehensive list than as an explanation and in-depth look at each--or else the guide would have been neverending.

We'll have more advanced guides focusing on things such as Blu-ray and CableCARD playback which can get a bit more hairy.

One last bit I always offer to all our readers. If you have the expertise and desire to do so, we are always welcome to having Guest Blogs/Guides to contribute for all the readers. We are always open to everyone's opinions, and I think in the end it, as well as discussions like this, benefit everyone.

For what Mike intended the article to be I think he covered all the basics a beginner should know.  HDCP doesn't really enter into it until you expand the capabilities to play Blu-Ray or other protected content.  While knowledge of HDCP is definitely warranted, it's almost a non-factor with today's hardware and software.  Virtually every graphics card with an HDMI output is HDCP compliant to the best of my knowledge.  Many older cards with DVI outputs are also HDCP compliant.  In other words, most any graphics card that would be considered for HTPC use are already HDCP compliant, making it somewhat moot.

If you feel the guide is lacking you've already been invited to write your own.  We're all more than willing to hear someone else's point of view.

Could you elaborate more on the streaming aspect of VLC? There isn't much info on the internets about it.

Do you want to use it to stream or receive a stream?  It can do both, but figuring out how to do the streaming isn't that intuitive.

Both. What i'm trying to figure out how to do is..

 

1. Can I pick up a movie in the bedroom after I started watching it in the living room?

2 . Can I watch a movie at the same time in the living room and bedroom?

gonzo90017 wrote:

Both. What i'm trying to figure out how to do is..

 

1. Can I pick up a movie in the bedroom after I started watching it in the living room?

2 . Can I watch a movie at the same time in the living room and bedroom?

Yep. What you want to do is set it up for a multicast. The stream will then be able to reach multiple clients.

 

BTW, here's a VLC guide on streaming. And in case you are not aware, multicast addresses are in the range of 224.x.x.x - 239.x.x.x. You can probably just choose something like 225.0.0.1 with some random port like 49254 and you'll be good on that front.

Thanks for the writeup.  Interesting.  I'm looking to setup up the best front end to setup a MyMovies client for now.  But not via MM for SageTV.  I have not had a good experience with Sage support.  Contrary to your comments regarding their support, my experence with them is no different than any other open source product for support.  I was surprised to read your experience based on my own.  I think one is left to their forum which appeared to be unmonitored peer support (was for my issues anyway).  Trouble tickets to them directly resulted in one return Email per day, a day later, late at night (11PM+ EST), by one person.  Not like you can call them and get help on the phone etc.  Not to dog them just to point out I doubt their forum support is any better than anyone elses peer forum support and I experienced very littel in the way of direct support.  But I will say I haven't been on the other's forum, maybe they are so bad Sage's looks good Smile

 

If you want to see what MyMovies looks like using Windows Media Center, check out VINYLFREAK4's excellent video (also featuring TMT5 BD player).

That is odd, I've had really good results with their support.  This isn't the best place to sort out it out, but if you want to start a thread somewhere we should be able to figure it out whatever the problem is.

GetGray wrote:

Thanks for the writeup.  Interesting.  I'm looking to setup up the best front end to setup a MyMovies client for now.  But not via MM for SageTV.  I have not had a good experience with Sage support.  Contrary to your comments regarding their support, my experence with them is no different than any other open source product for support.  I was surprised to read your experience based on my own.  I think one is left to their forum which appeared to be unmonitored peer support (was for my issues anyway).  Trouble tickets to them directly resulted in one return Email per day, a day later, late at night (11PM+ EST), by one person.  Not like you can call them and get help on the phone etc.  Not to dog them just to point out I doubt their forum support is any better than anyone elses peer forum support and I experienced very littel in the way of direct support.  But I will say I haven't been on the other's forum, maybe they are so bad Sage's looks good Smile

So 100% honest, I've never actually had to use their support. However, in the many years I've been listening and reading things about it, everyone has always raved about their wonderful support. I'm sure they'd want to hear if your experience was sub-par as I know they take it seriously given that it's a huge differentiator between them and the free open source options out there. But definitely thanks for sharing your actual experience. Hopefully it was a fluke :-/

Which ones allow to call-up Hulu Desktop?  WMC7 has a plugin that will call Hulu Desktop, and that's why it is best for me.  Anything else?

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