Tip Of The Day: Extenders

A few of the major software packages support client based HTPCs, but why would you want an HTPC in every-room in the house. Extenders are a great option and can be purchased at 50% to 75% less then it would cost to build a slimline client HTPC.

Vista Media Center

There are a few extenders available for Vista Media Center. Below you will find a list but let me talk a bit about the pros and cons of the Vista Media Center extenders.


  1. Emulates the Vista UI perfectly
  2. Plays back HD recorded content including CableCard
  3. The non-Xbox 360 extenders are silent
  4. Centralized EPG and storage capabilities


  1. File format support is iffy (Check out this link to Chris L’s blog )
  2. Xbox 360 is loud
  3. No Blu-ray support
  4. DVD streaming is not supported without changing file formats
  5. Netflix Watch Now not yet supported

There is no doubt more pros and cons but this highlights what you can expect. If you use your extenders for mainly TV you should be golden.

Xbox 360




SageTV had a couple of years to learn what a proper extender should be and they learned from other’s mistake. The HD-100 is is a great peice of hardware that basically eliminates all of the cons you see above. In all reality, the only con I can think of is that the native UI does not feel as polished as VMC. However, they have come along ways AND SageMC can help fill the void.

Something I also have to talk about is support for CableCard and DirectTV tuners. This content is available for VMC users only. Hauppauge’s upcoming HD-PVR should help eliminate some of this content envy. 


  1. Emulates the SageTV/SageMC UI perfectly
  2. Plays back HD recorded content
  3. Silent
  4. Centralized EPG and storage capabilities
  5. Great file format support
  6. DVD streaming works


  1. No Blu-ray support
  2. Netflix Watch Now not yet supported

Other things to consider:

If you are still using SD only, the Hauppage MVP has support for all the major software packages either through a native plugin or a user contributed plugin

The Playstation 3 has media extender capabilities if all you want to do is playback media you have stored on your computer.

Most of the cons you see above are hackable or fixable with a little bit of effort.

Do you have something to add about extenders? Feel free to sound off in the forum.