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WHS Media Connector Hides Media Files -- How to Fix? RRS feed

  • Question

  • When I use the Media Connector on WHS it only reveals a limited subset of the media files to the remote devices. Video files of the type 'avi' and 'mp4' are exposed. Other filetypes -- 'divx' and 'mkv' are concealed. I hope this is a configurable feature and can be corrected.

    My current workaround is to mirror the videos onto a linux box and not use the media connector at all. This is obviously not a satisfactory solution.
    Monday, December 7, 2009 8:40 PM

Answers

  • Ken,

    It is not a question of deciding to cripple anything, but rather a question of suitability for purpose. I am reading these files across a wired gigabit network. I don't really need WHS to do anything but pass blocks to the port. Oh, someone may think that some kind of file-type specific processing is needed on the host, hence the limited filetype support, but from my perspective they are confused. I find streaming media to be a blight on the internet -- here in the boonies being forced to use streaming media means that essentially the content is simply not available. So as more news organizations and training sites move to streaming files it becomes harder and harder to get information. I read all the stuff that was available, but after 50 years in IT with a lot of low level OS experience I am not inclined to tailor what I do to the 'easier' issues. I have a library of a few hundred videos -- a combination of transcriptions, downloads and personal productions. They are in the containers and compression formats for good and specific reasons which will not easily be hammered into a different set of presentations.

    Yes, WHS is a V1 product. And as a backup server a very good one for user devices -- with some quirks. But this discussion confirms my impressions of the entire media effort -- it is irrelevant to what is going on outside of Redmond. A pity, because I generally like what they have done. But in this case, while the marketing types may trumpet WHS as a media server it is clearly not and after this exchange I will abandon any attempts to use it as such and stick with a Linux NAS device for this purpose.

    I have had good luck in the past communicating with MS about issues with their products. Clearly this is one area where they do not intend to win.
    • Marked as answer by GLatiak Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:51 AM
    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:51 AM

All replies

  • Windows Home Server supports a limited number of file types, so it's possible that the file types you're looking for are unsupported. You can learn more about media sharing on your server by reading this technical brief, along with the Windows Home Server release documentation.

    It's also possible that the device you're using isn't capable of using the file type you're looking for, and is not showing it because of that.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 7, 2009 9:02 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    Just saying 'because' is not really an answer. That someone decided to limit the filetypes that are exposed is curious -- essentially means that WHS cannot really be used to share media except in a very limited way.

    On my Windows 7 workstation most video types are nicely processed by the windows media player. But if I use the media centre it barfs on filetypes that the media player will play by itself. So the limitations of the 'media connector' seem to match the limitations of the 'media center player'. And my Popcorn Hour media player seems to be able to display just about anything on the TV.

    But obviously the result is that I continue to use neither the media center nor the WHS media connector. And even more obviously, if I need to implement a media sharing server for a client I would use something other than the deliberately crippled windows products. So to some extent you have answered my question -- Microsoft deliberately chose to cripple Media Center and Connector so neither is a truly viable project for sharing media.
    Monday, December 7, 2009 9:26 PM
  • Windows Home Server uses Windows Media Connect 2.0 for streaming. That supports a limited range of file types, and there's not much that the end user can do to add more support after the fact. And the device that you use to consume streamed media will further limit viewable file types, because there's usually not 100% alignment between the two. I really think you'll find that the answer to the question "Why don't I see .divx and .mkv files?" is "Because Windows Home Server doesn't support them." Whether you, as an end user, like that answer or not is a separate question. To be honest, I give an awful lot of answers (like this one) that I can reasonably predict that the questioner won't really like.

    It's not a case of Microsoft deliberately choosing to "cripple" anything, either; that's an accusation that people seem to make (for dramatic effect, I hope, rather than because they believe what they're saying) mostly when Microsoft implements a decision that they disagree with. In this case, I tend to believe Microsoft simply re-used something (Windows Media Connect) that they had on the shelf already that would provide some media streaming capabilities. It would save them the trouble of trying to create a feature-rich media streaming tool, and let them concentrate limited resources (remember, WHS is a v1 product) in other areas.

    I provided you with links which will allow you to educate yourself on the capabilities that Windows Home Server does have in this area. I did so because you're leaning toward questions that are difficult to answer in a small number of paragraphs, and many of those questions are likely to be answered in the documentation I linked.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 7, 2009 10:22 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    It is not a question of deciding to cripple anything, but rather a question of suitability for purpose. I am reading these files across a wired gigabit network. I don't really need WHS to do anything but pass blocks to the port. Oh, someone may think that some kind of file-type specific processing is needed on the host, hence the limited filetype support, but from my perspective they are confused. I find streaming media to be a blight on the internet -- here in the boonies being forced to use streaming media means that essentially the content is simply not available. So as more news organizations and training sites move to streaming files it becomes harder and harder to get information. I read all the stuff that was available, but after 50 years in IT with a lot of low level OS experience I am not inclined to tailor what I do to the 'easier' issues. I have a library of a few hundred videos -- a combination of transcriptions, downloads and personal productions. They are in the containers and compression formats for good and specific reasons which will not easily be hammered into a different set of presentations.

    Yes, WHS is a V1 product. And as a backup server a very good one for user devices -- with some quirks. But this discussion confirms my impressions of the entire media effort -- it is irrelevant to what is going on outside of Redmond. A pity, because I generally like what they have done. But in this case, while the marketing types may trumpet WHS as a media server it is clearly not and after this exchange I will abandon any attempts to use it as such and stick with a Linux NAS device for this purpose.

    I have had good luck in the past communicating with MS about issues with their products. Clearly this is one area where they do not intend to win.
    • Marked as answer by GLatiak Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:51 AM
    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:51 AM