My ideal cablecard setup

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  • This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 12 years ago by Aaron Ledger.
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      HTPCs have become an integral part of my lifestyle.  Problem is, there is currently no perfect solution for recording and watching TV and watching various types of video formats, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs in a whole house setup.  WMC comes close with extenders, but the extenders lack serious support for many different video formats.  Separate PCs offer more flexibility, but there’s no shared recording list that can be accessed from any PC, as with extenders, and recorded programs can’t be shared if your provider flags the content as copy once.

      I currently have one Ceton InfiniTV 4, two Hauppauge 2250’s, and a SiliconDust HDHR Prime cablecard tuner (the HDHR just replaced a 2nd InfiniTV 4 that was installed in my primary HTPC).  I got the HDHR to add flexibility to my tuner pool.  I only have one other PC that would use it at the moment, but I’d rather have the tuners available at either location rather than have them tied to a specific PC,as with the InfiniTV 4 tuner sharing option.  Having all tuners in one box and assigning them to individual PCs can be problematic if the main PC they’re installed in goes down for the count.  This leaves everyone in the lurch.  Tuners located in each PC or networked, as with the HDHR, keeps everyone else online and watching TV.  This is the main reason why I got away from using extenders.  I was having issues with my HTPC during the period where I was trying to get my family used to the idea of using extenders.  When the HTPC crashed, the endless grief I endured simply wasn’t worth the effort so I succombed to using individual cable boxes or Tivos at each TV.

      I regularly use all four tuners in the InfiniTV 4 in my HTPC and I wanted the extras for use in one or more secondary PCs.  The HDHR Prime gives me added flexibility and allows me to use the occasional extra tuners for recording on my HTPC.  Having multiple HTPCs in the house with access to cablecard tuners is a great feature.  Since I’m on FIOS I have the added luxury of being able to share recodings on one PC with all other PCs and have them listed in a single Recorded TV list.  The upcoming Ceton Q DVR and Echo extender may make this discussion moot, but here’s what I would like to see developed.  The one huge caveat is that I can’t see what’s scheduled to record on the other PCs.  You can do this with extenders but individual PCs are isolated.

      I realize this probably falls under the category of the mythical “softsled” concept that has been proposed many times, but there it is.  For me, having access to the Scheduled Recordings list on all other PCs would be the final missing piece to the puzzle.  I think it would be as simple as being able to create an add-on for WMC that would allow you to specify the recordings list on other HTPCs just like you can do with folders for movies, video, photos, etc.  An added bonus would be the ability to assign recordings to any PC in the house.  This would be desirable for anyone with a provider using the copy once flag, such as Comcast.

      An added bonus would be the ability to have the Recorded TV list broken down so it identifies which PCs contain specific recordings.  Again, this would be desirable to anyone with flagged recordings as they could only be viewed on the PC on which they were recorded.


        I have WHS and move all recordings to there.  This allows all of my Recorded TV to be available on all of my HTPCs.  Might this provide you with some of the functionality on your wishlist?

        Granted, this doesn’t get around the copy protection flag issues.  I’ve been fortunate in that my cable provider hasn’t incorporated those flags thus far.

        However, I would like the feature that you mentioned whereby I could see/manage the scheduled recordings from other PCs.  Put differently, the recording schedule should be centralized.





          I can already access all of my recordings located on the primary HTPC from any other PC on my network.  Moving them to a server wouldn’t change a thing.  My provider (Verizon FIOS) doesn’t flag any channels so I can share them freely without having to resort to using extenders.


            I agree with captain_video, the ability for multiple instances of WMC to “share” a recording schedule is a must.  Especially with the dismal state of extenders.  The fact is WMC7 is falling behind in features and usability, and since they’re the only game in town for CableCard, that leaves us in a bad spot.

            I’m certainly not a programmer, but it would be nice if the next version of WMC would “see” other instances of WMC on your network, and ask if you want to create a master scheduler.


            Aaron Ledger

              Sheepy, you are correct when talking about copy-protected CableCARD content; however, it should be noted that there is software besides WMC (such as MythTV, SageTV via SageDCT, XBMC via plugins) that can make use of CableCARD tuners so long as the content is not copy-protected.

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