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Combine WHS and Media Center RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • My question in short: Why does a Media Center has to be a different machine ?

    In theory, I could build a PC using some mediacenter-type hardware components (ie. http://www.silverstonetek.com has some nice hifi-style cases) and install WHS on it. Allow it to play the internal music/video files, record TV broadcasts which are stored in the shared folders, etc... I see many possibilities in this model.

    The problem is mediacenter software. I have to install thirdparty Mediacenter software because the Windows Media Center program is not included in WHS, and it isn't sold seperately.

    Having the ability to install Windows MediaCenter on it would make perfect sense.

    Mathew
    Monday, October 6, 2008 9:54 AM

All replies

  • Mathieu, while I don't really disagree with you that it seems like a single Media Center/WHS machine would make sense, there are trade-offs required in both cases that are relatively exclusive for full functionality. Microsoft is aware that people would like to see tighter WMC/WHS integration however, so perhaps we'll see something like that in a future release. What you will probably not see, however, is WMS split off into it's own product. (Unless the courts force Microsoft to unbundle WHC, that is.)

    For now, though, the recommended solution (vis à vis media) is a "two box" design, where WMC uses WHS as additional storage. If you have specific suggestions in this area, you might want to post them on Connect.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, October 6, 2008 11:45 AM
    Moderator
  • Mathieu - you can do this now if you use SageTV as your MC software rather than VMC.  There is even a WHS specific version of Sage available.  

    But I would recommend placing this server someone hidden away and use an extender at your TV as a WHS box will likely have lots of hard drives and potentially several TV tuners.  That means more heat + more noise which isn't good in a home theater setup.  An extender has no fan and no hard drives and gives you pretty much the same functionality as an HTPC, especially in the case of a Sage extender rather than a MS Media Center extender as MS extenders don't play back some popular video files natively (i.e. Divx, etc.).
    Monday, October 6, 2008 9:25 PM
  • wayner9 said:

    Mathieu - you can do this now if you use SageTV as your MC software rather than VMC.  There is even a WHS specific version of Sage available.  

    True, I could try installing thirdparty software instead of using the Windows MediaCenter (which I use quite often on Vista). I was just pointing out that I don't see the reason why Microsoft does not offer this feature in WHS.

    wayner9 said:

    But I would recommend placing this server someone hidden away and use an extender at your TV as a WHS box will likely have lots of hard drives and potentially several TV tuners.  That means more heat + more noise which isn't good in a home theater setup.  An extender has no fan and no hard drives and gives you pretty much the same functionality as an HTPC, especially in the case of a Sage extender rather than a MS Media Center extender as MS extenders don't play back some popular video files natively (i.e. Divx, etc.).

    As far as my theory about building this machine goes, I've already thought of following "possible" issues I might encounter:
    - Finding drivers for the mediacenter hardware (My Asus Pundit for example, is not supported)
    - Heat/Noise: I'm not expecting big problems, since I won't be using several HDD's, nor I will use a tuner card. The media center will only be used to play DVD's, shared music/photos/videos and make backups from 2-3 home pc's




    Mathew
    Tuesday, October 7, 2008 8:12 AM
  • Mathew,

    Actually, this is exactly what I planned for 5 years ago when I started planning my "Home Media Center" - to have one single box that holds 5 or 6 HDDs and all of my DVDs (so I can put them in storage).

    Then Bluray came, and storage space required went up dramatically.  I also procured another 300 or 400 DVDs in the last 5 years as well.  So over the last month, when I finally started buying my Home Media Center components, I came to a startling revelation:

    I need to keep the machine on, so I can access it remotely, other PCs can access it remotely, the 360 can access it, and finally - I need a place to store my development files, all accessible remotely. 

    This requirement led me down the road of needing the "Machine" to be online, 24/7/365.  A Silverstone case I had planned on, sitting in the extremely quiet living room, running 24/7/365 was unacceptable to me.  Even a fanless PSU, whisper-quiet CPU and case FAN is not enough - all of the HDDs would make too much noise! 

    It is best to keep them separate.  I have a nice power-efficient system setup (will most it when I get the kinks worked out), that sits idle in my home office where my gaming machine makes more noise then the WHS does.  Right now, I do not have a Vista/MCE setup (as I don't have a TV at all!), but it will come when I get the TV.  So for now, the 360, laptops, and desktop is what I use to watch all of my media. 
    Not to mention days like today, I forgot to check-in my work!  So I was able to log into my WHS (where I store all of my work in real-time) and download the code here to work.  That, in itself, almost paid for the server!


    I know why MS did not put them together: The DEMigrator.exe service alone eats up all CPU (of a single core, I have a dual-core so it's not a problem except for the excessive HDD noise).  So it is best to keep the machines separate.


    Eric A. Duncan http://eduncan911.com
    Tuesday, October 7, 2008 6:02 PM