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Media Center Functionality RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Before I heard about this project I had been contemplating building a media center pc that doubled as a home storage server.  Hopefully in future versions you could include this or allow it as an addon??

    Media Center is a GREAT piece of software, and reducing 2 pcs to 1 would be, ya know, good for the environment and my electric bill.  Although some people might not like the noise from a server (you can get quiet hard drives), a media center pc really would be a focal point for a LOT of the media on a given home network, and it would be logical to have them as a singular device.

    Just a thought.
    Monday, February 12, 2007 10:30 PM

All replies

  • I'd love to see something like Media Center Extender support available in WHS.  I already have a Media Center PC but I'm stuck on Windows 2005 MCE for now because I still have a v1 extender.  I'd love to have my cake and eat it too - be able to move to Vista on the HP Digital Entertainment Center and keep the Linksys MCX by streaming off of the WHS box.  

    I'm planning on hosting Slimserver on the WHS box as well to handle my Roku SoundBridge but I think that'll be a cinch to set up.  I know media sharing (windows Media Connect) is included already but I've had many instances where Windows Media Player tagging grenaded my library so I won't be jumping into that with both feet any time soon. 

    Monday, February 12, 2007 11:23 PM
  • I agree completely. And while we're on this notion, how about letting any Vista client (Home Premium and above?) function as a software-based Media Center Extender too?

    --Paul

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 12:01 AM
  • Rumor is, internally, they had the idea and even the software for it. No idea for why it never happened. Business reasons maybe? Or lack of demand?...
    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 12:48 AM
  • In the mean time you could try virtualization. It might not yield the best performance, or reliability - but it will enable you to save space and electricity. Virtual PC is free now, isn't it?
    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 12:49 AM
  • Oh, I didn't mean a media center extender.  I want this thing to have a tuner....unless I don't have a full understanding of what a media center extender is.
    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 12:51 AM
  • I second this suggestion totally, a WHS with a couple of tuner-cards and then simple extenders, whether hardware of software, around the house would be a great solution for distributing media.

    Matt

     

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 10:37 AM
  •  Brothernod wrote:
    Media Center is a GREAT piece of software, and reducing 2 pcs to 1 would be, ya know, good for the environment and my electric bill.  Although some people might not like the noise from a server (you can get quiet hard drives), a media center pc really would be a focal point for a LOT of the media on a given home network, and it would be logical to have them as a singular device.

    Just a thought.

    I agree completely with this idea!!! In future, I would like Windows Home Server includ the same Media Center as Vista because reducing 2 pcs to 1 it's essential (cost of purchase and electric consumption on the long time)

     Paul Thurrott wrote:

    I agree completely. And while we're on this notion, how about letting any Vista client (Home Premium and above?) function as a software-based Media Center Extender too?

    --Paul

    I want that too! share tuners TV in the Home Server and all the PC of the house can uses them like the eXtenders!

     Justin M. Harrison wrote:
    In the mean time you could try virtualization. It might not yield the best performance, or reliability - but it will enable you to save space and electricity. Virtual PC is free now, isn't it?

    Into the EULA (end-user licensing agreement) for Windows Vista Home (Basic or Home Premium), the licensing agreements don't allow them to be run inside virtual machines no?

     

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 10:45 AM
  • While I certainly see the appeal in such an approach, I am not sure if that is a good call.

    First and foremost, I want that server to be always on and stable.

    Adding MC functionality would make the basic OS much larger and IMO, much less stable. My personal experience with several home built and OEM MC PC's is they have issues with tuner cards, BIOS's, I/O subsystems, and a general lack of "just works". Not the on-time I want from my Server.

    Also, you would want a more powerful machine than the current minimum specs.

    I am more concerned about the I/O subsystem flexibility/growth (JBOD, RAID 1, RAID 5, no RAID?), streaming I/O bandwidth (hiccup free streaming video to N locations) and PC backup/restore functionality.

     

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 4:34 PM
  • You could try this dual tuner network device:

    http://www.silicondust.com/wiki/products/hdhomerun

    I hear it works fine with Media Center on Vista. It even does HD.

     

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 5:13 PM
  •  PBJ75 wrote:

    While I certainly see the appeal in such an approach, I am not sure if that is a good call.

    First and foremost, I want that server to be always on and stable.

    Adding MC functionality would make the basic OS much larger and IMO, much less stable. My personal experience with several home built and OEM MC PC's is they have issues with tuner cards, BIOS's, I/O subsystems, and a general lack of "just works". Not the on-time I want from my Server.

    Also, you would want a more powerful machine than the current minimum specs.

    I am more concerned about the I/O subsystem flexibility/growth (JBOD, RAID 1, RAID 5, no RAID?), streaming I/O bandwidth (hiccup free streaming video to N locations) and PC backup/restore functionality.

    While I agree with the need to have a stable platform, I don't see anyone building a VistaMC or Home Server using minimum specs - that is simply a waste of money when you can spend 20% more (edit:  uh I forgot the PIII was the minimum, so it'll be twice as much, but still well under $1K for the mainboard/core 2 duo/memory) and get a compliant system that works great.  And honestly, having a HS built with minimum specs does no one any good.  Having MC functionality built into the OS actually stabilizes the the system because the drivers that are written for the tuner cards don't have to "go around" the os to provide functionality.  They can extend the standard set of functions to provide the features that their card provides.  And the management software can extend the MC features in Vista instead of controlling it themselves.  While it is true that most manufacturers haven't gotten there with their hardware/software yet, they will and it is our responsibility as the consultant/MC engineer to guide/provide the customer with an appropriate solution.  If the HS can provide the media center functionality efficiently, then that is what we should ask for and provide.

    Greg Evans

     

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 6:00 PM
  • One huge advantage for putting Media Center on WHS is that it will likely simplify the digital tuner/cablecard certification requirements/costs for manufacturers.  I mean, how many varieties of WHS is each manufacturer going to have in their product lineup.  Probably just one, compared to the numerous Vista Home Premium systems they have.  If you introduce such capabilities it will be vital to enable Vista Home Premium users and above with a software-based extender.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 8:52 PM
  • I was pricing a dual core, 1 GB RAM, GigE and two 300GB HD's for less than $500 all with namebrand parts. Of course, I'd be surprised if HP hit that price point.

    From a technical standpoint, I stand by my initial statement.

    However, from a marketing standpoint, MC functionality definitely makes the box more appealing and could very well be a marketing tipping point.

    How much is Joe User really willing to pay for a box that just does the storage/backup job?

    IMO, anyone willing to spend $800 - $1000 for those features is probably hardcore enough that they already do most of those things. I just share a big drive from my always-on PC and everyone else runs SyncBackSE and backs up every night. No image backup, no space optimization, no fault tolerance on the backup side, not as elegant, but it gets the job done. Am I willing to spend an additional $1000 for those extra features? No.

    BUT, if that $1000 also bought an HD compatible tuner and DVR functionality in addition to the storage/backup capabilities, that changes the question.
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 1:19 AM
  • Well, let's say that it did bring a tuner...what then? Let's say it brings..two tuners...then what? You can watch one channel and record another one at the same time. Or watch two channels at once. And they'd be really lagged, since they'd have to go over the server, then over the network ,then to an extended MCE session. This is vaguely doable - but what about more clients? Where do you stop? A lot of cable providers require you buy extra connections or CableCards. In my household, I know the two tuner scenario would work for -watching- tv...we have two cable boxes and our cable provider doesn't do CableCard (or at least isn't talking about it..yet)...

     

    What I don't understand is - what isn't desirable about the dual tuner network device I linked above, plus a rich client MCE solution on each computer? If you want recorded tv functionality on the server so that the server can record and share out to the clients - that is a different kind of scenario than a thin client style extender and centralized recording scenario. I can't even imagine the DRM/licensing headaches of getting protected HD content from the server between 'secure' DRM clients. MS managed to do it with Xbox - but with every MCE PC? I guess you'd need more certificate voodoo magic from WHS across all the Connectors to make the DRM gods happy.

     

    Justin

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 1:47 AM
  • The DRM gods always demand their sacrifice.

    You could put 5 dual tuner cards in the server, or use that $170 external box that you linked. Either way, the key is that all those media files are stored on the WHS box (with its redundant storage approach) and is available to any thin client (Xbox360, HP MCE, etc.) on the network. That way, when I buy that new HDTV, all I need is an MCE and now that TV has access to all my recorded content and can use the HD tuners already in the server.

    Maybe the HDTV itself includes MCE software and directly connects to the WHS.

    If I want to record/watch more channels, I add another tuner card to the server, to an existing MC PC, or an external tuner box, which records shows to the WHS box. These tuners would be a shared resource. Add a next gen 1080P tuner on the network and voila, everyone would have access.

    Run out of room for stored shows? Add a disk. Done.

    Hard drive crashed? No data lost. Buy a new one. Done.

    It just amazes me how many people are blissfully unaware that they have literally $1000's of dollars of irreplaceable digital files (purchased music, home videos, photos, recorded TV shows, MP3 collections, work files, school work, writings) with no backup.

    I am concerned that the blissfully unaware users are NOT going to truly appreciate the features WHS brings. But if you sweeten the pot with MC functionality, well... That positions MS to be be the digital hub of your home. Eventually, the fibre would connect directly to the server and MS software would be the interface. Sounds like a good business model to me.



    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:00 AM
  • The main reason I'd like to see Media Center functionality in the server is that I want a single spot that all media is shared out from.  In my house, I have all of my music on a home office machine, but all of my TV shows on a living room media center.  I mapped a drive in my living room to my home office, allowing me to get to all of my music from the living room.  But when i fire up my XBOX360, and start up Media Center extender, it doesn't see any of the music (due to the fact, I think, that it runs under the MCX1 profile and not the logged on user).  There are workarounds for this, but it can be extremely complicated.  It would be MUCH easier for "Grandma" to setup a single server where every possible thing you could possibly want is stored, including TV, Music, etc., than to have to try to configure multiple pointers to multiple machines.

    -Janssen
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:46 AM
  • Adding Media Center is a great idea, and would be a "must have" selling point for me & my family.

    I don't want my media collection stored on my main machine, but I do want to be able to access my media from our other PC or the laptop and xbox360.

    Having the Media Center and WHS on one combined box would be perfect.

     

    Phil

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 2:51 PM
  • You can still store your recordings and share them out from Windows Home Server via network file shares without any magic Windows Media Center Home Server integration....

     

    Justin

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:28 PM
  • I know that but to have it acting as the media center as well would be the icing on the cake.

    Cheers,

    Phil 

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:48 PM
  • See - I can understand that, but I am just trying to understand this, rather than jump on the "OMG MY WHS IS A FAX SERVER MCE SERVER HOME SECURITY SYSTEM AND IT BIRTHS MY CHILDREN FOR ME" bandwagon :)

    What Media Center functionality exactly is it that people desire in WHS?

    Do people want it to act as a "Media Center Server" that hosts extenders to access the network (from computers in the home, from Xbox 360, etc) and therefore does all of the recording, etc? Is the extender experience good enough to replace the rich experience of a local Media Center instance? (Sure, in Vista Media Center Extender can remote visual effects - but is that good enough? Maybe it is...)

    Do people just want to use it to centralize television tuners? (Media Center gets the TV from the server, rather than tuners in every computer)

    There are a few different ways to include Media Center functionality in a server. What is everyone thinking?

    Justin

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:00 PM
  • For me the priority is to have the possibility of using WHS like source of connection for a extender. To replace my PC Media Center dedicated by WHS and then placed several extender in the house.
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:11 PM
  • that is an interesting idea. so you would be willing to get rid of media center on each of your computers if it meant you had extender software and extender hardware, and then just pulled all the sessions off of your windows home server?
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:24 PM
  •  asty1 wrote:

    See - I can understand that, but I am just trying to understand this, rather than jump on the "OMG MY WHS IS A FAX SERVER MCE SERVER HOME SECURITY SYSTEM AND IT BIRTHS MY CHILDREN FOR ME" bandwagon :)

    What Media Center functionality exactly is it that people desire in WHS?

    Do people want it to act as a "Media Center Server" that hosts extenders to access the network (from computers in the home, from Xbox 360, etc) and therefore does all of the recording, etc? Is the extender experience good enough to replace the rich experience of a local Media Center instance? (Sure, in Vista Media Center Extender can remote visual effects - but is that good enough? Maybe it is...)

    Do people just want to use it to centralize television tuners? (Media Center gets the TV from the server, rather than tuners in every computer)

    There are a few different ways to include Media Center functionality in a server. What is everyone thinking?

    Justin

    You are right that the "kitchen sink" mentality runs rampant, especially now that we have Vista and all of its built in features.  However, here is the rub.  How often is the HS used in a high use mode?  That is when would it be really taxed and could that heavy tax be late at night?  At the same time, who is typically using the Media Center functions really late at night (not many people, but granted there will be exceptions).  I would throw out there that there will be MAYBE 10% time that HS is in high utilization/work mode.  What do you do with the other 90%, why not MC functionality and have the system automatically manage the tasking loads so that they don't compete.  Here's the crux of the whole issue: We Americans tend to not optimize the use of resources.   We tend to have multiple machines to do separate tasks, but we rarely use any of those machines 100% of the time.  That's why the SETI shared computing software worked - it used the systems when they were idle.  Combining an MC functionality with the HS server functionality would actually optimize those resources far better.  So in the end you are presented with the following benefits of combining the two:

    1. One upper end computer that actually uses less electrical power because of lower powered CPUs (core 2, amd) than having two medium cost computers
    2. Reduction of heat because of #1
    3. Reduction of space used and clutter created because of #1
    4. More efficient use of computer resources.
    5. Easier administration because you are only dealing with one computer versus 2
    6. Less likely to miss something going wrong - gadgets could be added to the MC that warns you of issues with the HS.  Otherwise, unless you check it, you may not know there is a real issue...

    There are a couple of negatives to this approach:

    1. Drives are used much more on the HS because of the MC recording activity
    2. More complicated to install because of adding Tuner cards
    3. Space requirements go way up on the HS because of the MC recording
    4. If you lose the HS, you lose the MC and all the recordings and everything that is backed up by HS (Single point of failure).  However, this is mitigated by added more storage drives - making the HS use separate physical drives to do the backups.

    But I think the benefits out weigh the cons.  We must all get more efficient at using energy!  And if we can keep our spouses happy by having less hardware laying around, that is much better!

     

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:39 PM
  • I don't know if my initial vision is where everyone else is at, so I think I should jump in and clarify just to give my 2 cents.

    A media center pc is generally hooked up to your tv in your living room and used to record tv shows you like, watch movies, have a tv guide, and play all the media available in your house.  It's for entertaining people, and as such it makes sense for it to have access to all of your media, and for me, now that I have one, I use it for 90% of my media experience in my house, from listening to music while I do stuff to watching video I've downloaded (and all the great tv stuff of course).

    Now I need a backup solution.  I've always needed one, but Microsoft has come along, and taken my hand and said "Here, we've got something simple for you".  So now I need another machine.  I already have a media center with 600gb of storage.  Do I really need another half a terabyte of data in my house??

    The media center is the prime viewing location for content, as such I prefer my video to be local to the machine.  I HATE network hiccups and such.  Now perhaps my machine is underpowered, it was a frankenmachine (nice term) but it runs everything great when it's local.



    So the point is this.  I have a media center pc with 600gb of disk space.  I have a desktop with 300gb of disk space.  Now I'm going to add another machine with 600gb of disk space when functionaly I see no reason it can't share the same physical home as the media center pc?

    I highly doubt any level of network streaming of content from the media center/home server hybrid would interfere with it's backup functionality.  In my opinion we should have the option to share one box.  I mean it's bad enough that you have to pay an extra $150 just to not have a keyboard and mouse for your media center pc with Vista now (yeah I'm not alone in being upset that I can't remote desktop into my media center pc).

    Anyone, that's my reasoning.  I don't feel that I need to have 2 boxes to divide up that level of workload.  Of course it really removes the lowly requirements set forth.  Maybe they could make the media center software a purchasable addon?  Not a different sku, just an addon.  Of course I recall how hard it was to integrate it into the home versions of Vista (I don't really understand this) and since WHS is Win2k3, I really don't see this happening.  But that's what suggestion threads are for I suppose.
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:45 PM
  •  asty1 wrote:

    See - I can understand that, but I am just trying to understand this, rather than jump on the "OMG MY WHS IS A FAX SERVER MCE SERVER HOME SECURITY SYSTEM AND IT BIRTHS MY CHILDREN FOR ME" bandwagon :)

    What Media Center functionality exactly is it that people desire in WHS?

    Do people want it to act as a "Media Center Server" that hosts extenders to access the network (from computers in the home, from Xbox 360, etc) and therefore does all of the recording, etc? Is the extender experience good enough to replace the rich experience of a local Media Center instance? (Sure, in Vista Media Center Extender can remote visual effects - but is that good enough? Maybe it is...)

    Do people just want to use it to centralize television tuners? (Media Center gets the TV from the server, rather than tuners in every computer)

    There are a few different ways to include Media Center functionality in a server. What is everyone thinking?

    Justin

    My view or "vision" for the Windows home server is broken down by three distinct features:

    1. Automatic back-up for all PCs in the home - WHS does it, however, it would be nice to be able to back-up all PCs I own remotely - WHS maybe?

    2. Storage for all media files, pictures, video, music and personal documents. - WHS does it, however it would be nice to be able to add or view these files anywhere in the world - WHS maybe?

    3. Run my home security system - I posted in other thread - with WHS it maybe possible.

    So I am already sold on WHS.  What would be a great feature for WHS would be the ability to have one or two tuners built into the WHS which can record shows that I am unable to watch and store them in the Video's folder which I can then access using any PC or Xbox in the home.  It would also be nice to be able to select the shows I want WHS to record through the internet.  Personally, I don't need WHS to stream live TV.  Also, I would never watch any videos, listen to music or look at pictures directly off the WHS.  So the WHS, to me, is just and huge storage machine, so my personal PCs would have smallish, fast hard drive as no data would be stored on a personal computer, all data would be stored on the WHS and accessible by any PC in the home or anywhere in the world when I need access to the data.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 8:16 PM
  •  Vista Master wrote:

    If you lose the HS, you lose the MC and all the recordings and everything that is backed up by HS (Single point of failure).  However, this is mitigated by added more storage drives - making the HS use separate physical drives to do the backups.

    With RAID 1 there are no real risks to lose data! :)
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 9:28 PM
  •  Eric78 wrote:

     Vista Master wrote:

    If you lose the HS, you lose the MC and all the recordings and everything that is backed up by HS (Single point of failure).  However, this is mitigated by added more storage drives - making the HS use separate physical drives to do the backups.

    With RAID 1 there are no real risks to lose data! :)

    Oh yes there are, its happened to people I know... Ever had a direct lightning strike?  Off-site backups are the ONLY way to ensure you don't lose your data!  You should never, ever put your eggs all in one basket, someone might trip over it...

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 9:45 PM
  •  Eric78 wrote:

     Vista Master wrote:

    If you lose the HS, you lose the MC and all the recordings and everything that is backed up by HS (Single point of failure).  However, this is mitigated by added more storage drives - making the HS use separate physical drives to do the backups.

    With RAID 1 there are no real risks to lose data! :)

    I've had a RAID 1 array card go out and destroy the 2 attached hard drives.  Backup tapes saved the day.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 9:46 PM
    Moderator
  • Perhaps I am mistaken, but it is my understanding that WHS is NOT for the for the MSDEV, RAID, backup tape, VM, Ghost crowd. It is for the average user who doesn't currently do a backup or if he does, it is fairly limited.

    These people have no to limited backups now, and is it reasonable to think those very same people are now willing to spend several hundred dollars to do backups?

    I think WHS is going to have to offer more than backups/shared storage to increase its mass appeal.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 11:10 PM
  •  

    For me the priority is to have the possibility of using WHS like source of connection for a extender. To replace my PC Media Center dedicated by WHS and then placed several extender in the house.

    I am in the same situation.  Looking to use WHS to serve music/movies/tv to extenders.  I am looking for the ability to use 3rd party PVR software as a service on WHS.

    Thursday, February 15, 2007 3:11 AM
  • My vision re-stated is not that the Media Center have tuner cards necessarily, but that it would be allowed to serve out media to extenders.  I want to be able to store terabytes of stuff in a single spot, and have a SINGLE interface for the extenders to see all of the music, movies, tv, etc..  I'd like to be able to record from the media center, and have it sent directly to the server.  This could be done currently through a mapped drive and a regedit.  The problem is, once you do that, you don't see all of that TV on the XBOX 360 or other extenders (I'm also using a Roku Soundbridge for music) without more work, because Media Center/Media Player only seems to share out local media to extenders.  Personally, I wired my home with Cat5, so I have gigabit connections between everything, so I don't think bandwidth is an issue.  It's simply figuring out how to get it all setup.

    -Janssen
    Thursday, February 15, 2007 1:23 PM
  • Yeah,  I think there's two different pieces of functionality being discussed here - live recording, and streaming.   I'm primarily interested in the latter.

    I have a very similar setup to Janssen - Cat5 throughout the house with a gigabit switch, a Roku Soundbridge, a v1 extender, and an old d5 device (GoVideo 2730).  Currently I'm using my desktop system for streaming but I'd like to offload that so I don't kill the kid's cartoons when I reboot.

    I use tvrss a lot instead of trying to remember to record shows myself so the tuners in my MCE box are primarily used for buffering live content.  As has been said previously in this thread I don't think that moving the tuners to the WHS box would make for a good buffering experience since you're adding a bunch of latency by adding another box and another hard drive into the stream path. 

     

    Thursday, February 15, 2007 6:02 PM
  • I am adding my post from another thread as it is more relevant here.

    Whilst many of the features of WHS so far have been very useful (backup, shadow volumes etc), for me the main focus of the house is delivering content (TV, Video, Movies, Pictures, Music, etc) to the living room. So WHS is great in that it will provide a central repository to pull it all from........ BUT :) We already have a setup where one PC (Vista & Media Centre) stores the content and delivers it.

    The purpose of the thread is to ask a few questions I have and perhaps the basis of a general thread on this scenario is this... what benefits (apart from backup etc) will WHS really have for such a situation? I am guessing MS is envisaging a similar end to end solution but a few things don't add up.

    • Right now I have the aforementied PC serving both the Media Centre and the Server roles. Why should I add an extra PC (thus using twice the electricity) for simple storage when Vista does it just fine?
    • Network traffic is going to be a problem? For instance I want to stream an HD video to the Xbox360... thats a lot of bandwidth even in the current setup of simple Vista > Xbox360. Now if that video is on a WHS server, I am doubling the bandwidth as it heads from WHS > Vista > Xbox360. If it is a digital TV broadcast that I intend to record, timeshift or anything similar it could get even worse! Now imagine someone wants to watch that video late at night when a couple of backups are also running? This is all assuming there is noone else doing anything remotely intensive on the network such as a large file copy, a restore of a PC or numerous other things.
    • An almost related issue is also then to consider is if that video be in DivX or xVid format. MS's refusal to support such formats (which are no longer the domain of the pirates as even the largest media companies are using them) for streaming to the Xbox 360 is frankly ridiculous. Thus us users are forced to use transcoding solutions which re-encode the formats in real-time to a supported format. This is going to be very difficult when it has to be sent across a network after the introduction of WHS.

    So you can see three immediate reasons why I as a consumer and I as a recommender of technologies to home users would find it difficult to recommend WHS as a solution to their storage problems as things stand. Much easier to put everything on one Vista box (where I can enable all kinds of backup and shadowing solutions anyway) and save a whole load of issues.

    Monday, February 19, 2007 10:12 PM
  • I, for one, don't want to see tuners in the final WHS. I love the MC interface but I don't like the effort I've had to put into getting it working the way I want it to work and the idea of jumping through all those hoops on a box that is supposed to be headless isn't appealing to me. With that said, streaming media from WHS is a big part of what I want it do do. Right now I'm using a 360 as an extender (technically the 360 is dead and being shipped for repairs...again) for my MC which is headless and far far away from my living room. What I would LOVE to see is the 360 add content from the WHS to the MC interface transparently. I think I can do that now by setting up the folders the extender monitors for content (I can't test without the 360 though). Ideally, I'd love for the 360 to "just know" that the WHS is on the network and add the content to the MC interface without me having to do anything but I would be surprised to see that.

    The reason I don't want the WHS to be an MC is because I do a lot of processor-intensive things on my MC...audio & video conversion, transcoding, ripping, etc. Honestly, I'd rather have a dedicated device for those things but it doesn't make sense right now. To me, MC should be a stand-alone consumer device that isn't a PC. Why would I pay for high-end computer components on a device that is, at heart, a single-purpose machine? Give me a small form-factor WHS, an MC that looks like a piece of audio/video equipment without all the stuff I don't need, and then a computer to do my computing tasks. In my experience, the more a device tries to do, the less it does any one thing very well.
    Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:21 PM
  • Why would anyone want to prevent MCE server type functionality from being in WHS?  If you don't want it you don't need to build a box or buy a box that has those features.  For a good majority of other MCE lovers it really seems to be high on the wish list.  I know that is the VERY first thing that poped in my head when I first heard about WHS.

    It just seems to 'make sense' to make this product a real hub in your home for everything.  Right now it is appealing with its current features, but being a true media server in every way would be a killer app for the home.  I think it could even help sell more Xbox 360's as people like me would have a reason to get one.  Since I have to have a separate MCE box I don't have much of a reason to buy a 360 as an extender.

     

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:58 AM
  • Same thing on my side.
    I have a MCE running on vista and a raid for my backups on vista. What will bring WHS if it comes out without and MCE capability ?

    We will have to run one box with media center and one box with WHS which is ... not what I would expect.

    WHS should be able to reccord any TV show...
    Wednesday, February 21, 2007 10:02 AM
  • I guess I just think of this as more of a traditional server. I have five machines at home (not including my test WHS) and I'm looking at this as a way to manage data for those boxes. Is this better (more cost-effective) than a NAS device with RAID or even purchasing disk space from an ISP and creating my own "server"? I dunno. That's the real question I'm trying to answer for myself.

    If you only have a media center box then there isn't a point in having a home server.
    Wednesday, February 21, 2007 3:07 PM
  • I totally agree with not having MC functionality within WHS. In my house I would much prefer a small form factor dedicated MC device like shuttle xpc 100 or 200 in my family room, getting photos, music and video stored on whs device.

    Thus, one dedicated device in living room, one in basement (each with dedicated remote connected to TV),  and wireless N laptops througout rest of house.

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007 3:25 PM
  • I would like the MC functionality in the HS, but I think that I can add one thing that I've not seen posted before. Ironically, Windows Media Center won't be the first media center on WHS.

    SageTV's Media Center will be available on WHS when it ships. (I really think that even the current version will work, but I don't have any hardware to test it on right now.) Sage already is client/server in its architecture. It has v1 "extenders" that are standard definition and are getting ready to ship v2 HD extenders. Both their v1 and v2 extenders will still work against the server. There's also the PlaceShifter client. That's very much like the "softsled" client that's been talked about for years now.

    The only real issue is CableCard tuners. That's one thing that not happening anytime soon. But at the price that ATI wants for them, I'm going with OTA HD for a while anyway.

    Friday, February 23, 2007 2:46 AM
  • Well, I'm new here and I currently run SageTV on a "server" with 3 tuners.  It's an XP box and Sage runs as a service.  This box also has ALL of my other media and will soon have an automation package, once I decide.  It serves one client HTPC in my theater and soon a second in the bedroom.  My Office PC has the client installed as well.  Eventually, It will control my multizone audio system.  It has an 8 output soundcard serving as separate stereo outputs.

     The only reason I haven't switched to MCE is because it won't do those things.  I wouldn't be able to have multiple PCs act as true clients.  Currently, I can schedule, watch or delete recordings from any of the 3 clients or the server.  But the MCE interface and feature set is sooo much better.  And to be able to add drives without need to think about how, would be the icing.

     So I, for one, would love to see an MCE backend of some kind.  But I think that the DRM issue will prevent that from happening.

    Friday, February 23, 2007 4:13 AM
  • WHS is the perfect place for Media Center for the following reasons:

    • Media Center already runs on that platform, and cannot be installed by end users, so if WHS does not come preinstalled with it there is no way to add it later (I know there would be a possibility to add BeyondTV, but that cannot be remote controlled with XBox 360 thru the Media Center extender)
    • Media Center has to be always on to be useful as PVR
      • I only have laptops that obviously are not always on, if I want a device that is always on like the WHS, I don't want to have 2 PC always running [noise, power, temperature, price, cableing]
    • Media Center needs a big hard disk (WHS is the place where disk space will be in the home)
    • XBox 360 integration and usability with Media Center is much better then with Media Connect

    - Urs

    Friday, February 23, 2007 6:25 AM
  •  samgreco wrote:

     So I, for one, would love to see an MCE backend of some kind.  But I think that the DRM issue will prevent that from happening.

    I agree completely, but I don't see how the DRM issue would prevent it. I would think, instead, that WHS could with the DRM issue since having this hardware locked down more would be less of an issue than with general client PC's. You'd just treat everything as an extender and not store anything on PC's.

    Friday, February 23, 2007 10:31 AM
  •  Urs C Muff wrote:

    WHS is the perfect place for Media Center for the following reasons:

    • Media Center already runs on that platform, and cannot be installed by end users, so if WHS does not come preinstalled with it there is no way to add it later (I know there would be a possibility to add BeyondTV, but that cannot be remote controlled with XBox 360 thru the Media Center extender)

    - Urs



    Of course Media Center can be installed by an end user. I built my MC box and then rebuilt it and then rebuilt again and on and on. Obviously you can't install the MC software on top of another OS since it's an embedded part of the OS but I think someone more clever than I could probably slipstream MC into WHS if they were really determined. I guess it depends on how alike the operating systems are under the hood.

    The only real issue that I see here is capturing TV. Video and music will stream from the WHS. I would like to see Media Connect merge its interface into the MCE interface but that's another topic. So if all we're missing is the TV capture then why not visit tvrss.net and use a torrent client and schedule an rss feed to download your favorite TV shows when they come out? That eliminates the need for strange and wondrous hardware in the WHS, which is my reason for not wanting Media Center and WHS Reese Cup-ed together.

    If we're going to complain about something, let's complain about not being able to view Divx on an extender without transcoding it.


    Friday, February 23, 2007 2:33 PM
  • I definitely would like to see Media Center functionality rolled into WHS. My main interest in WHS is for storing recorded media anyway. I have kids and betweek the regular TV recording and the stuff from Nick Jr. I quickly run out of spave on my MCE box. Adding drives to MCE is one option, but that makes it louder and I am limited by form factor (I already have 2x500GB on it and that isn't enough.)

    I don't see any need for WHS to provide the support for local viewing though. If it could just include support for the tuners and a recording interface that would be good enough. My regular MCE box and my 2 Xbox 360 extenders can stream the media from WHS.

    Saturday, February 24, 2007 5:20 AM
  • Semms that Home Server will be one more product with things MS wants to have in it, instead of things people outside MS want to have in the box...

    Just my 2 cents

    Saturday, February 24, 2007 9:43 AM
  • How would you know? If the only want to put things in WHS they want, why would the launch a public beta and this forum?

     

    Anyway ontopic:

    Mediacenter on WHS would be a selling point to me, it would be great to store all my gigibytes of media on my home server and extend it to my Xbox 360 mediacenter extender that is connected to the TV, cause I dont have a pc directly connected to the TV, and I think most MCE owners dont have there pc directly connected on the tv... 

    Also using a Windows Vista pc as extender would be a great idea! It would be a first step of a truely connected home envoirment!

    Saturday, February 24, 2007 10:03 AM
  • How about this;

    You build out you WHS with this raid card;
    (the 1231ML)

    Attached to this storage device;

    Filled with these;


    All hooked up to your network with GB links of course :-)

    Scenario 1:
     Now from all your MCE2005 and Vista PC's you have you shows recorded directly to the WHS server. You can also store all your music, video, pictures and whatever else yo want (space will obviously be a non issue :-) ). Now all your tuners. will be client side so no need to put all that "media" hardware on your server.

    Scenario 2:
    You build out your super server above but you include all the tuners you need for your home, put it in a closet lock the door and throw away the key (just make sure you have a spare key). Now you just need a bunch of extenders to view/access/schedule the recording of your media throughout your CRIB (if you can afford all this stuff you better be living in a crib and not a regular house..lol). You could buy a few xbox360's (at $300 a pop and getting cheaper its not a bad price for a media extender), or build out some cheap HTPC's.

    Now we're cooking :-)!!

    Saturday, February 24, 2007 4:49 PM
  •  odesey wrote:
    Scenario 2:
    You build out your super server above but you include all the tuners you need for your home, put it in a closet lock the door and throw away the key (just make sure you have a spare key). Now you just need a bunch of extenders to view/access/schedule the recording of your media throughout your CRIB (if you can afford all this stuff you better be living in a crib and not a regular house..lol). You could buy a few xbox360's (at $300 a pop and getting cheaper its not a bad price for a media extender), or build out some cheap HTPC's.

    Now we're cooking :-)!!

    Exactly!  I want the same database, the same info, the same capabilities at ALL of my viewing locations.  The interface should be the same where ever I am.  In my house, there will be 4 viewing locations.  I shouldn't have to have recordings scattered through 2, 3 or 4 PCs and then have to sift through a file browser to get to them.  If I have recorded something, somewhere, it should be on the list of recorded shows, where ever I tune in.  If I want to setup a recording, I shouldn't have to think about where I've set it up.

    Hope that makes sense.

    As to whether or not MS should be doing this AND if it should be in WHS, that's the real question.  I think they should lay the framework though.

    I won't even begin talking about multizone audio :)

    Saturday, February 24, 2007 5:29 PM
  •  odesey wrote:
    How about this;

    You build out you WHS with this raid card;
    (the 1231ML)

    Attached to this storage device;

    Filled with these;

    All hooked up to your network with GB links of course :-)

    odesey, I am doing essentially this now. I have an Areca 1130 in a server case with 2 of the SuperMicro 5in1 hot pluggable bays. Right now it is running 8x500GB drives in RAID 6 (2.7TB formatted - why RAID 6? I don't want to lose my precious family photos and videos or miss a recorded show ) The beauty of the WHS solution is that you don't have to spend all the money on fancy RAID cards - you just plug in drives and let WHS manage it. You can use the cheaper non-RAID adapters.

    With the hacks for Vista Media Center on www.thegreenbutton.com to enable more than 2 tuners and to allow access to media over the network in Recorded TV I have this sort of hacked together now. The problem is I have to do the recordings on the client machine and then setup a process to move the recordings to the file server. I want WHS to be my digital hub and enable me to record media directly on it. Then I could get just use Xbox 360's for viewing content everywhere (of course WHS needs to be a Media Center host for that to work.) I suppose a workable alternative would be for MS to officially support the multiple tuner hack and to automate moving Recorded TV around (to automatically put it on WHS.) That might be easier than putting VMC in WHS.

    Monday, February 26, 2007 5:27 AM
  • With 50 posts and nearly 2000 views, this has to be the most active thread on the forum.  I assume the WHS team has to see that this is what folks are looking for.  Why spend the last 5 years getting Windows Media Center Edition to critical mass, add it in to Vista by default, throw all of your weight behind selling Media extenders (XBOX 360), and then not support it in this new product?  Everytime Bill Gates has done CES the past few years, he's preaching the convergence of media, and it seems to me that if you want the one-stop shop for media streaming (like using the new HP television with a Media Center extender built in!), you have to have the ability for all of your extenders to get their full experience while connecting to WHS.  95% of my home files are multimedia, and the rest are Office-type documents.  The Office-type documents take up 20GB at best, but the multimedia takes up terabytes of space.  It's pointless for me to buy a home server for the 20GB, and a Vista Media Center box for the other couple terabytes.  Granted, partial media support is in WHS now, with sharing of pictures, music, and videos, but that's incomplete and very buggy (and yes, I've posted several of the bugs on Connect).  Come on folks, let's see the Media Center interface added to this box!
    Monday, February 26, 2007 11:54 AM
  • I think people are getting confused here.  A Media Extender is basically just a hardware device that allows you to play media that is on a PC running either Windows XP, or Media Center Edition or WHS.  (yes there is a Windows Media connect software to download for plain XP).
    Now what some people are asking for is TV Tuner option to use as a DVR.  As explained previously in this thread, it's probably not best to have the Tuner on the WHS.
    But, Media Extenders are supported in WHS, that is kinda the point isn't it?  Yes it uses Windows Media Connect protocol, which the XBOX 360 and others use.  I've ordered a Helios X5000 network DVD player that has Windows Media Connect built in, so I will let you know how it works, but we need to look at where WHS fits in.
    If you are not going to use a tuner card to run as a DVR, then you don't need a Media Center PC.

    Monday, February 26, 2007 12:26 PM
  • There's a significant difference between Media Connect and Media Center when using XBOX 360:

    1. With Media Center, I just hit the green button on the 360 remote, and off I go.  With Media Connect, I have to navigate the blades and go to computer shared media.
    2. With Media Center, I get a rich interface with the music including album art. With Media Connect, I just get a text list.
    3. With Media Center, I get access to television.  With Media Connect, no (I copied the dvrms files to my Video share, but couldn't get them to work on the 360).
    4. With Media Center, I get access to third party add-ons, like MyWeather, MyMovies, etc. With Media Connect, no.

    In this setup, I have to setup the XBOX360 to point to two different locations - my Vista box with the rich functionality, and the WHS box with the storage, but I can't do both at the same time.

    The only way to get both, that I know of (correct me if I'm wrong, and I'll happily change my setup) is to map multiple drives on the Vista box to point to the server, setup MCX1 startup profile with mapped drives pointing to WHS, and force everything to go from WHS to Vista to XBOX. This just isn't a good setup, but I don't know of how everything can be made to work otherwise.

    Monday, February 26, 2007 1:36 PM
  •  Janssen Jones wrote:
    Come on folks, let's see the Media Center interface added to this box!

    As much as I'd love to see this, I don't think that it's going to happen soon. Microsoft would have to make Media Center into a full client/server app by splitting the functions between two systems. That's not going to be a trivial change. That being said, I'm sure it's on their roadmap, otherwise why would the allude to a v2 and v3 of WHS? They must be figuring to add more functions.

    Monday, February 26, 2007 5:20 PM
  • I have not been asked to join the beta yet. However, I have an important question pertaining to this matter. Can I have my Media Center pull Movie, TV, Photo, and Music files off of WHS?

     

     

    Monday, February 26, 2007 5:45 PM
  •  Apopilot wrote:

    I have not been asked to join the beta yet. However, I have an important question pertaining to this matter. Can I have my Media Center pull Movie, TV, Photo, and Music files off of WHS?


    Yes, via the shares. You can stream to Extender devices, but not  (I think) to Media Center. The shares should always work, though.
    Monday, February 26, 2007 5:49 PM
    Moderator
  •  Apopilot wrote:

    I have not been asked to join the beta yet. However, I have an important question pertaining to this matter. Can I have my Media Center pull Movie, TV, Photo, and Music files off of WHS?



    I've been streaming WMA and WMV, but I cannot get the native Media Center DVRMS file to show on the XBOX through the Videos folder.  Though I've seen people posting saying that Recorded TV should stream, I haven't been able to get it to work.  In my test, in the videos folder, I have three files: Trading Spaces (a DVRMS copied from Media Center), The Daily Show (a DVRMS copied from Media Center), and a 15 second clip from a TV show that I opened in Movie Maker and exported to WMV.  When I go to the XBOX and go to the videos blade and open the server share, the ONLY file showing up is MOVIE.WMV.  I've disabled/enabled sharing to try to "jump start" it, in case it's supposed to work, but no luck.  Has anyone out there got a DVRMS file to play without any converting???
    Monday, February 26, 2007 6:10 PM
  • I will be hooking up my Xbox 360 to the setup this weekend, but my guess is that they either have to add DVRMS support to the Xbox, or add the streaming capabilities of Media Center to WHS.  Since it looks like Media Center was doing to processing of the file, not the Xbox. 

    I would hope Microsoft adds this functionality to WHS, but they may just make the interface better on the Xbox instead. 
    Monday, February 26, 2007 9:20 PM
  •  Janssen Jones wrote:
    The only way to get both, that I know of (correct me if I'm wrong, and I'll happily change my setup) is to map multiple drives on the Vista box to point to the server, setup MCX1 startup profile with mapped drives pointing to WHS, and force everything to go from WHS to Vista to XBOX.

    There are at least two ways of doing this without having to resort to mapped drives as you are doing.

    Solution one: Add the network folders to your library watched folders from the 360. You do this by pressing the info button while in your video, pictures or music section of 360 Media Centre Extender and selecting Library Setup. You should be able to add shares from other computers and the video/picture/music will show up in media centre.

    Solution two: On the media PC that your 360 is connected to place shortcuts to the network shares into the Public Videos/Photos/Music folders. These folders are always checked by the MCX1 user for media content and it will follow the shortcuts to the network shares. This is probably the nicest way to organise your media as you can call the shortcuts whatever you want and even arrange them in a deeper folder structure.

    NOTE: You may need to enable guest access on WHS for this to work.

    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 5:00 AM
  • I do not want MCE in the server.

    First: video quality for most extenders sucks. 360 extender does HD OK, but SD content doesn't look good on a progressive display. The deinterlacer provided on the 360 is weak. No seamless video support (IE: no divx, no XVID, no MKV, only WMV and some primitive AVI support.)

    Second: power and heat. To get a good MCE video experince, particularly for HD you need a decent GPU and CPU. I don't want that in my server. For decent video quality I have my MCE rig in the stereo rack with 1TB of local storage (WD SE16 drives) and I have a good GPU with the current swanky video processing feature set (which alas is abit flaky on Vista).

    Some folks have mentioned DRM. This is only an issue for certain content. I am running two analog and two ATSC tuner. There is no DRM. But for the DRM scenario the right integration between MCE machines and WHS could enable it.

    Inj the short term MCE simply needs the ability to record to a network share, or you could use iSCSI for storage and extenders for viewing, which I have done, but that merely remotes the disk to a server.

    Really, MCE needs a solid content aggregation story so that all MCE machines on a network join togehter and form a meta-machine that is the sum of it's parts. Someday.

    But ultimatly I don't want MCE in my sever. I want MCE to be tightly integrated with it over the network. That day will come, I'm sure. WHS is a V1 product and I'm pretty impressed with what I've seen so far.

    As to content access. My server holds all my music, pictures and non-DVR-MS video and I can access it just fine from MCE. Getting it to work from an extender is a bit more work but considering extender's poor support for anything other WMV I don't see this as worth the hassle. Music and pics work fine though.

    Everythying at MS is driven by user scenarios. If a certain user scenario makes sense and the investment is seen to serve a good chunk of the userbase then it will happen. I think what you are more likely to see in the future is a better integration between MCE and WHS but I very much doubt you will see one box that does both. There are a lot of components (underlying infrastucture) in MCE that are not part of the Server 2003 package. The dev and test cost to handle that integration would be very non trivial.

     

    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:04 AM
  • I agree with you. I believe the Server should serve the files and then have MEDIA CENTER PC's display the content.
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 3:09 PM
  • I, for one, am not suggesting that the WHS be used to VIEW media at all.  I am suggesting that it be a "backend" for media center.  Not just a file share.

    All of this copying files from one place to another to make them viewable from a third is ridiculous.

    I would like to see Media Center's recording functions, data and it's storage on the WHS.  No GUI at all.  Then let me use Media Center clients and/or extenders to access, with full functionality.

    Having said all that, if SageTV installs fine on WHS, and I have no doubt it will, I will just do that.  It's not as pretty an interface, but it does all of the other stuff quite well.  And I'll know more later today.

    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 3:50 PM
  • I totally agree with keeping WHS alone in terms of serving up content, and configuring Media Center PCs and other Media Center enabled devices (with tuners and other devices builtin using my remote) use the content. Especially, if I will not be handcuffed by what I could display by DRM or wmv only files.
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 4:02 PM
  • I think this decision should be up to the hardware vendor to decide.  But they can only decide that, if WHS supports it out of the box.  I don't want 2 computers running 24x7 just to have a DVR, and backing up my laptops [sharing files is not really that big of a deal for me].  MCE is a must for me, otherwise WHS is pointless and only gives me minimal feature for requiring it's own hardware.
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 4:08 PM
  • Agreed.

    As it stands, Media Connect is not that great in what it serves up, especially if it doesn't natively support DVRMS (that's still a bit in question I think).  I'd personally like to see it support VOB and/or ISO for DVD rips, which MCE can do now with the MyMovies add-in, but I'll live with DVRMS at the moment.  If WHS can act as an MCE Extender "back-end", in the same way it's currently acting as the Media Connect back-end, I think that would solve most all of the current issues - mine, at least.  The DRM issue is still in the air, but I'm becoming so jaded by this HORRIBLE excuse for a cable-card rollout that I'm going to just keep watching standard TV with Media Center natively, and get my 16X9 my content somewhere else (XBOX DL, iTunes, BitTorrent, etc. - there's a plethora of places to get this besides waiting on the OCUR cards).  OK, that's the end of my rant. 

    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:30 PM
  • It all comes back to DRM. The content providers of the world want to tie a piece of content to a particular piece of hardware. WHS wants to consolidate all your content to one piece of hardware. It's just not going to work. What do you think will happen if three different users purchase music content from three different stores and dumps their music in the music folder and then user1 tries to play user2's music? It's going to throw a license error. The entire model here is broken. I would love to hear an explanation of how MS intends to make its one true love DRM work in this scenario.
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:23 PM
  • I'd like to see MCE in Windows Home Center (So my xbox360 can grab my pics/music/movies from my server) but it needs to be more user friendly.

    More feedback/help screens will definitely be needed so that users can easily add content with a minimum of problems. For example, a screen explaining the valid movie formats (Or even more usefully some way to transcode a file automagically if the video format isn't something that's supported) when a movie is placed on the server for sharing would help those who don't understand the issues.

    Everyone in this thread is talking about features, which is always nice. But what is more important is a way to help users with issues that they're going to encounter trying to use the product.
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 11:47 PM
  •  lcbrink wrote:
    I'd like to see MCE in Windows Home Center (So my xbox360 can grab my pics/music/movies from my server) but it needs to be more user friendly.

    You can do that now. Before the move to Vista MC bricked my V1 extender I had it streaming music, pics and video from the server.

    I think that a lot of folks miss the point of WHS: it is meant to be a cost effective, easy to use expandable storage solution that with some added remote access features. Many of the folks up here are comfortable running full blown redundant storage/server solutions. Before I jumped onto the beta my server was a Win2K3 box which was slow to boot, was not idea for the home network.

    I think this V1 product is excellent. I think you will see in future version tighter integration between WHS and Media Center as both move to allow seamless content aggregation in the home.

    If one MCE rig could easily and seamlessly work with another then having WHS also handle DVR duties would be nice. But until I can get the video quality a properly built MCE rig delivers in an extender I see no reason to move my MCE box out of the living room and I sure don't want a CM Stacker tower with nine drives in the living room. I think what would be cool is to have WHS NOT have a complete Media Center solution but merely host the tuners and recorder/scheduler and allow multiple MC boxes to schedule recording as well as serve up content to extenders.

    I think the "take away" from this is:

    People really like Media Center.
    People really want a closer integration between WHS and Media Center where WHS provides for seamless recording storage or (better yet) actually handles all recordings and turns MC machines into thin(er) clients.

     

     

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 6:41 AM
  •  Richard Gregg wrote:

     Janssen Jones wrote:
    The only way to get both, that I know of (correct me if I'm wrong, and I'll happily change my setup) is to map multiple drives on the Vista box to point to the server, setup MCX1 startup profile with mapped drives pointing to WHS, and force everything to go from WHS to Vista to XBOX.

    There are at least two ways of doing this without having to resort to mapped drives as you are doing.

    Solution one: Add the network folders to your library watched folders from the 360. You do this by pressing the info button while in your video, pictures or music section of 360 Media Centre Extender and selecting Library Setup. You should be able to add shares from other computers and the video/picture/music will show up in media centre.

    Solution two: On the media PC that your 360 is connected to place shortcuts to the network shares into the Public Videos/Photos/Music folders. These folders are always checked by the MCX1 user for media content and it will follow the shortcuts to the network shares. This is probably the nicest way to organise your media as you can call the shortcuts whatever you want and even arrange them in a deeper folder structure.

    NOTE: You may need to enable guest access on WHS for this to work.

    Hi Richard

    Solution one will not work if you cannot see those shares in the first place... which is the problem.

    Solution two looks incredibly obvious and simple... can't believe I have missed that so will give it a try tonight Thanks :)

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 10:31 AM
  • Another way to look at this, with the goal being "Media Center License Management & Intelligent Tuner Sharing"

    Like many here, I would prefer my WHS to have my TV tuner cards within it and have a “Network Tuner” option in Media Center but we can’t have everything. Perhaps a happy medium would be the following.

    Instead of including MCE tuning functionality into WHS how about we look at what we actually want out of having this feature? Full access to our content (live, and otherwise) from every PC in hour home? Instead of including the actual Tuner into WHS let’s have WHS mange the tuners/recording schedules from Media Center to Media Center.

    To attain this in a fashion that might even get content protectors on this bandwagon is for WHS to mange the digital license files for all the DRMed content, (HBO shows and music files and all the like) to permit playback on any machine within the home network (given certain restrictions like HDCP output). The current issue with “Plays For Sure” Music or DRMed Recorded TV can only be played either via an extender (XBOX360), or on the actual machine it was downloaded/recorded on. If we include license management into WHS we can allow more flexibility with our digital content within the home or even extend this to outside the home with VPN solutions.

    In regards to Live TV, our WHS could potentially manage all our recordings and guide data from our Media Center boxes and allow media center boxes to share record queues/tuners properly. Let’s say you have Media Center A and Media Center B and a Xbox360. If your Media Center A has two shows recording on Channel 3 but you want to watch another channel or make another recording. WHS as the management device for Media Center could intelligently set a recording on Media Center B and merely make the intelligent switch to that network tuner. If your Xbox360 connects remotely to any of your Media Center machines it can have access to any tuner/any recording. This extends to your other Media Center boxes w/o a tuner card as they will refer to the WHS’s list of Media Center Machines on our network to attain a Live TV stream. And even after all of this, after your recordings are backed up to the WHS at night, since WHS manages your DRM data you can access your data from any PC within your network without silly restrictions.

    License management / Media Center management would give WHS a lot more value as “Home Server” and still allow Media Center PCs to keep there place and purpose as digital hubs for recording or viewing content; abet just better.

    Why would someone buy a Media Center PC with a Tuner Card if WHS did the same but more.  My view allows Media Center machines to exist even in their current hardware form but just better and improved if you include a WHS in the mix.

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:23 PM
  •  TheZig wrote:

    To attain this in a fashion that might even get content protectors on this bandwagon is for WHS to mange the digital license files for all the DRMed content, (HBO shows and music files and all the like) to permit playback on any machine within the home network (given certain restrictions like HDCP output). The current issue with “Plays For Sure” Music or DRMed Recorded TV can only be played either via an extender (XBOX360), or on the actual machine it was downloaded/recorded on. If we include license management into WHS we can allow more flexibility with our digital content within the home or even extend this to outside the home with VPN solutions.



    I think you're close to the heart of the issue here and I agree with most of your post (managing remote tuners is going to be too complex for the average Joe but perhaps we're closing in on a solution with the concept of the external CableCard devices coming out). The only issue I see is the word *flexibility*. DRM and flexibility go together like peanut butter and bathroom caulk. I think the idea that I could create a VPN and put all my friends together in one big network is exactly what will keep DRM from working on a network level.
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 6:42 PM
  • managing remote tuners is going to be too complex for the average Joe but perhaps we're closing in on a solution with the concept of the external CableCard devices coming out)

    Not if WHS does the whole searching/connectivity for the home user, thats my view.

    I think the idea that I could create a VPN and put all my friends together in one big network is exactly what will keep DRM from working on a network level.


    With a limit of only 10 machines for a WHS to work with is it really an issue? "Piracy" (sharing of a DRMed file) could extend to, at most, 9 (other) people.  I think that this allows a lot of balance for protection of content but gives the end users much of the flexibility you loose with DRM.  And to top this all of, it would be a supurb change to keep a digital license backup of your online purchases so you don't have to re-buy after a format and such.
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 8:20 PM
  •  Seerr wrote:

    Solution one will not work if you cannot see those shares in the first place... which is the problem.

    Have you enabled the guest user and left the password blank? Does it have access to the shares?

    I've just verified that while playing a video on the 360 (via the MCE interface) it is the guest user that it is using to access the shares. So you must enable the guest user and leave the password blank. I have also granted the guest user read/write access to the shares so that it can generate thumbnails.

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 8:59 PM
  •  TheZig wrote:

    With a limit of only 10 machines for a WHS to work with is it really an issue? "Piracy" (sharing of a DRMed file) could extend to, at most, 9 (other) people.  I think that this allows a lot of balance for protection of content but gives the end users much of the flexibility you loose with DRM.  And to top this all of, it would be a supurb change to keep a digital license backup of your online purchases so you don't have to re-buy after a format and such.


    I am all for a network license. Wait, I take that back. I am all for the DRM "experiment" to be declared a massive failure and for it to die to slow horrible death it deserves.

    Question, we've all heard the 10 machine limit number but I'm wondering how that's going to be enforced. I'm actually wondering if anyone has tried to connect more computers than that and failed. I wonder how hard it would be to work around that...
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:16 PM
  • Have tried, and it refuses the connection.   My view on the License usage could be a 3-5day phone home lease (phone home to server) if the files are on your laptop, the VPN solution is primarily for the on-the-go reactivation of license media.  I don't like DRM either but I am trying to offer ideas to make it a little less hard on us legitimate users.
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:29 PM
  • Second: power and heat. To get a good MCE video experince, particularly for HD you need a decent GPU and CPU

    On a client sure, but not for a server. I'm running Vista Premium on a Dell SC430 server that can't even display video overlay, but it streams my tv and my videos fine to my 360 which is connected to my TV.  With a DVB signal the mpeg stream can be sent straight through and use almost no cpu power as all the decoding is done on the xbox.

    For me MCE is a deal breaker, I already have one machine on 24/7 which has lots of storage and can do file sharing, I'm not willing to have two.
    Friday, March 9, 2007 12:27 AM
  •  

    [QUOTE= IanKen]

     lcbrink wrote:
    I'd like to see MCE in Windows Home Center (So my xbox360 can grab my pics/music/movies from my server) but it needs to be more user friendly.

    You can do that now. Before the move to Vista MC bricked my V1 extender I had it streaming music, pics and video from the server.

    So, I think what you're saying is that you were using a V1 extender connected to Windows MCE which was in turn pulling media content off your WHS server but upgrading your MCE box to Vista broke the V1 extender.  From all I've seen V1 extenders aren't capable of consuming Windows Media Connect UPnP services.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  I'd love to have my V1 extender directly consume services from WHS but it just isn't there.

     

    Friday, March 9, 2007 12:51 AM
  • I don't know...  I've read all these comments and I'm still not sure what everyone wants from this.  It's almost like some of you want WHS to be a monster MCE to serve content to your Xbox 360's with the pretty interface.  So use MCE then!

    I read another comment about the energy use of two PCs compared to one.  I have an HS and an MC in the same room; the HS stays on 24/7 and the MC is put in standby when it's not used for TV/DVD/music/pictures.  Not the most ideal solution energy-wise, but much better than it being left on.  If I were that bothered about sharing TV recordings, I'd have them record to the HS (and therefore use a much smaller disk in the MC) and then they could be accessed by any PC in the house.

    As for sharing TV: If anyone in my home wants to watch live TV, they do so in the lounge.  Why would they sit there, bolt upright in a chair, watching a tiny screen, when they can slouch on the sofa with a huge TV to stare at?  Make the lounge the place to watch TV and all these TV sharing issues will disappear.  Clash of programs?  Record one and watch it later.  Something the wife doesn't want to watch?  Record it and watch it later.  Doing something else when your favourite programme is on? erm... record it and watch it later.  Nothing on TV?  Watch something you recorded before, or read a book, go for a walk, do the laundry, talk to your kids...

    I'm personally not that bothered about sharing TV (like you couldn't guess ).  I want HS to do things other than spread a mental emetic around my house.

    One thing that does bug me is the ropy working in of WMC - whilst I can get my MP101's to talk to it, I'm not a big fan of how it serves up content.  I'd really, really like it to be more flexible in how it can be set up - even if it's just in the marginal direction of WMP11's implementation of WMC.  Actually, has anyone tried this on HS yet??

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 2:39 PM
  •  Lee Dodgson wrote:

    I don't know... I've read all these comments and I'm still not sure what everyone wants from this. It's almost like some of you want WHS to be a monster MCE to serve content to your Xbox 360's with the pretty interface. So use MCE then!

    I read another comment about the energy use of two PCs compared to one. I have an HS and an MC in the same room; the HS stays on 24/7 and the MC is put in standby when it's not used for TV/DVD/music/pictures. Not the most ideal solution energy-wise, but much better than it being left on. If I were that bothered about sharing TV recordings, I'd have them record to the HS (and therefore use a much smaller disk in the MC) and then they could be accessed by any PC in the house.

    As for sharing TV: If anyone in my home wants to watch live TV, they do so in the lounge. Why would they sit there, bolt upright in a chair, watching a tiny screen, when they can slouch on the sofa with a huge TV to stare at? Make the lounge the place to watch TV and all these TV sharing issues will disappear. Clash of programs? Record one and watch it later. Something the wife doesn't want to watch? Record it and watch it later. Doing something else when your favourite programme is on? erm... record it and watch it later. Nothing on TV? Watch something you recorded before, or read a book, go for a walk, do the laundry, talk to your kids...

    I'm personally not that bothered about sharing TV (like you couldn't guess ). I want HS to do things other than spread a mental emetic around my house.



    I can't turn off my MCE, since it is my DVR, and it won't record if it's not on, and I don't know the entire schedule of my DVR by heart.  I can't turn off my WHS, since that is supposed to be on 24/7.  I can't manage my DVR using media connect through WHS, so I can't schedule, search, delete content, so that is pretty much useless then.  I'm thinking about running WHS in a VM inside of my MCE, but that does not give me the hard disk management benefits.  I think it's just silly that an existing MS technology can't be used in the perfect environment.  The WHS is the perfect DVR environment, since it *is* on 24/7, it has network access, and it has access to a lot of HDD space.  There will be TV's that directly support MCE Extenders not just the XBox 360, so you can serve any TV in the home with DVR content.
    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 2:55 PM
  • You don't need to turn off your MC.  I have one and I put it in S3 standby when I'm done with it.  This lets me schedule recordings and it brings itself out of standby to record, then goes back afterwards.  I also use an app to force it to standby when it's idle (MCE Standby Tool -> http://www.xs4all.nl/~hveijk/mst/indexe.htm).  This has an added benefit in that HS will bring the MC out of standby to back it up, something I'm looking to do with the other boxes in my house.

    You can use the MCETool to send recordings to the HS, which would be then visible to any/all your PCs via the share.  The files are all named pretty fully so you can find them easily enough, and WMP11 will play dvr-ms files happily.

    As for streaming, I couldn't say.  I don't have an MCE Extender so I've never been able to test it.  I'd assume that such a device would pull the MC out of standby - would anyone know if this actually happens?

    Sunday, March 18, 2007 12:06 AM
  • MCE is a must in WHS. Its a pain to run and maintain 2 different PC's all the time.

    I believe, MCE should be shipped as a add on to WHS; so that only people who need it could turn it on.

     

     

    Monday, April 16, 2007 5:10 PM
  • I'll add my 2cents. This weekend I got WHS server setup so that my MCE shows are recorded to it and I view them off it. Pretty easy task. Rather than do the group policy edit, I changed who the services were running under, but so far it's working fine. Personally I'd like to leave the tuners out. I'd like to see the box just for storage and backups and playing files. Too much stuff just adds to the stablility and the issues, not if they did include them I probably would take advantage of them.

     

    What I do think is missing is some sort of way for the extenders to connect to WHS better. I'm guessing that the accounds and passwords are the issue with this. I think that if WHS allowed anonymous logins and no passwords that would help some. But I'm guessing in the future this integration will be better. For now I'm happy and I don't mind having two computers running 24x7. The cost is probably peanuts compared to my hot tub.

    Monday, April 16, 2007 10:48 PM
  • When I heard about WHS I immediately assumed there would be MCE features built-in and I was immediatly interested because of that.  I would prefer not to be tied to a cable outlet to get my tv.  Instead, I think the wave of the futute is IP based TV as a source, and a distribution method within your home.  I personally would love to see MCE features built into WHS so that I can use an extender to view/listen to content and enjoy the nice interface.  My thought is that I don't need to manage the media center remotely since when the extender accesses MCE, it creates a new profile.  The thought is that I can completely manage my MC preferences via my extender. 

     

    Also, I don't think it would be less stable and I don't think it will be too much of a load.  Regarding the software based extender.  It would be nice if MS offered a choice in future Media Center Releases to use a software extender or full blown MC. 

     

    Just my thoughts...

     

    Jason

    Thursday, April 19, 2007 10:46 PM
  • I'm onboard.  Actually I thought it had the capability built in already, so much to explore, just got it loaded on an unused PC.  This is one of my primary reason for wanting this software.
    Friday, April 20, 2007 6:13 AM
  • I"d like to see Media Center functionality as well ..

     

    I have a MCE machine dedicated to allowing myself and the g/f to watch movies/etc on my nice TV. That MCE machine hooks up to a samba server, which ideally i'd like to see replaced with WHS. It would make logical sense to allow for streaming to be done from WHS similar to MCE. Of course with the abilityto stream more then just wmv's would be a requirement as the mce addins I have probably wont work with WHS. Some DivX and Xvid support would be nice.

     

    Sigh ... I can dream right?

    Friday, April 20, 2007 5:18 PM
  • Like most of people here when I heard of WHS, I had an MCE light bulb pop up in my head.

    Now the chances that I will actually use WHS (at it's current built) is, not so much.

     

    I would welcome any solution to my house that:

    #1 Put all tuners in 1 server. (Power usage: 1 Server running with 4-5 tuners will draw less power then 5 MCE PCs trying to record something. Not to mention the Server would still be running.)

    #2 Let's me record/watch anything on the server from any dumbed down MCE box.

    (Some of you say that it will be hard to control that?.. please take a look at ReplayTV. It had this functionality for years. It identifies any other boxes on the network that aren't recording and tells it to record whatever. It's not that much harder to tell something to check one of X tuners on the Server.)

    #3 Get rid of software RAID1 junk. (while it will work for total n00bs, it wont work for any advanced users.)

           I have 3 RAID arrays on my Dell 600SC server:

          #a 2 36GB Raptor drives in RAID1 on an Adaptec 1210SA(for OS)

          #b external Promise UltraTrack SX8000 1.2T RAID5 array on Adaptec 39160.

          #c 2T RAID6 array on Adaptec 2820SA.

    Can you imagine the mess WHS would create on my server?

    Monday, April 23, 2007 2:33 PM
  • Add 1 more for media center functionality.  Add that piece and Microsoft will be on every PC in my house.
    Wednesday, April 25, 2007 2:01 AM
  • Here's my vote.  MCE functionality would be the icing on the cake for me.
    Thursday, May 3, 2007 12:55 PM

  • "It just amazes me how many people are blissfully unaware that they have literally $1000's of dollars of irreplaceable digital files (purchased music, home videos, photos, recorded TV shows, MP3 collections, work files, school work, writings) with no backup."

    Thank you,
    PBJ75, for hitting the nail on the head with that statement.

    If WHS is effective as a digital hub for my home, I will invest in more MS products. Simple as that.

    The way WHS appears is exciting to me (I'm in the process of ordering brand new HW because my spare computer died). Having a machine that is centrally accessible, easy to use, and that I can keep always on to manage everything is critical to me.

    I admit, I myself have that nasty habit of knowing the need for backups, but failing to actually do them, and I'm one of those people who overwrites the wrong file. I want Tivo-like recording, that I can view on my home computers. I want the ability to send and recieve faxes.

    Simply put, I invest a lot of time (and $) into my computers, and I'd like to make it easier to keep my thousands of digital photos safe, record my TV, send and receive faxes, and maybe even in a future version, up to ten email + calendar accounts. If WHS can add the TV recording, it seems well positioned to be the hub of my digital home, and if it's easy to use, MS could take a large foothold in the market. Even if it is $1,000 for all that (or more).
    Thursday, May 3, 2007 4:36 PM
  • After reading all of these posts; I have to add my own opinion. First, a Media Center inside the Server might be nice, but we have full ability to configure Streaming without that interface inside the Server. I agree with  the others who state it just is not what the Server is intended to do. Secondly, for all who are saying how this not existing is a deal breaker, and that a regular family would not purchase this without it to entice, I think they are wrong.

     

    There is other features which are very much enticing for most regular families who can afford more than one computer. That is the ability to access the Server and the client computers from anywhere in the world, via the Remote Access feature. This is the feature I think will really sell this unit. Most people don't have the ability to configure VPN, yet still need to access files and data when away from home. In addition, is the ability to easily share large files with friends and family who live far away. If my children take photos or video of my grandchildren, they can simply store it in a Share, and give me access via Remote Access to retrieve it. I have an instant video or phot of my quickly growing grandchildren and am able to fell more a part of those grandchildren's lives. This is only one aspect of how this will work.

     

    We are not choosing between a Backup or Media Streaming feature set. We have several features, and anyone with any real experiance with Server 2003, more features can be added, such as uTorrent, as many others have, and I plan on doing. Right now, I have the capability to Stream MultiMedia files throughout my home, I do not have a way to quicky receive video or a large amount of photos of grandchildren and other family members who live far away.

     

    Without full Media Center functionality, we are not just left with a Backup box using resourses willy nilly. We have many other super features and I personally think Microsoft has outdone themselves, and that this will sell very well indeed.

     

    Seree

    Friday, May 4, 2007 1:16 AM
  • I'd like to chime in here if i may. I am the average Joe Computer User with a household full of computers, My PC, the wifes PC, my laptop, and the 12 year old has a hand me down laptop, WHS has already saved my collective behind. (example) the other day the 12 year old comes and says his laptop isnt working (my guess hes downloaded a virus) which has made windows beyond my level of technical ability to repair. I put in the WHS restore CD, bang not even 10 mins and the computer is restored to as it was yesterday. Without WHS installing windows xp alone would have taken the better part of an hour not to mention all the ancillary applications hes installed and his music and videos, and other miscellaneous files. The way I see it, WHS saved me the better part of an afternoon, and that isnt counting the backups that i didnt have to put any time into doing for 4 machines. oops make that 5 pcs, i didnt count the old AMD Duron 1Gig processor with 512mb PC133 with the 200 gig HD i stole from the Wifes PC (shhhh she hasnt realized its missing yet). I've tried the streaming my MP3's and MP4's across the network from the server to my machine and the quality just isnt there as when i just played them from my PC, so the server is in REALITY just a backup as well as means for me to access my network and the family PC's when we arent in London but are in Texas visiting or perhaps on holiday somewhere else.

     

    My opinion and a Fiver will get ya a fancy cup of coffee some places. I just have a difficult time imagining the dream machine i've read about in the posts to this point, having the bandwidth to stream live or even recorded media across the network with enough quality. I would however like to see the firewall/router feature built into the server.

     

     

    Greg S.

    London UK/ Dallas, TX

    Monday, May 7, 2007 10:49 PM
  • I think WHS is going to be a great product.  It desperately needs Media Center functionality and I can only hope that a version after the WHS 1.0 (my terminology), which we're testing now, will include elements of Media Center functionality.

    From my point of view, I'd like
    *  Household storage of recorded TV and other media files
    *  TV recording functionality, including multiple tuners (>2 tuners)

    ...probably other things too but these are the most important to me.  At the moment, I don't think I'll be implementing WHS 1.0 in my house.  It's not sufficiently compelling.  Now... when WHS 1.x can take the role of a MCE/DVR machine as well and displace existing hardware - then it becomes compelling.  I'm not going to rack up my electricity bill with a 24*7 device that is logically capable of replacing other electrical hardware.

    In summary, WHS 1.0 is a good basis for the device which I hope to use in the future.

    cheers,
    Ben
    Wednesday, May 9, 2007 12:21 PM
  •  Janssen Jones wrote:
     Apopilot wrote:

    I have not been asked to join the beta yet. However, I have an important question pertaining to this matter. Can I have my Media Center pull Movie, TV, Photo, and Music files off of WHS?



    I've been streaming WMA and WMV, but I cannot get the native Media Center DVRMS file to show on the XBOX through the Videos folder.  Though I've seen people posting saying that Recorded TV should stream, I haven't been able to get it to work.  In my test, in the videos folder, I have three files: Trading Spaces (a DVRMS copied from Media Center), The Daily Show (a DVRMS copied from Media Center), and a 15 second clip from a TV show that I opened in Movie Maker and exported to WMV.  When I go to the XBOX and go to the videos blade and open the server share, the ONLY file showing up is MOVIE.WMV.  I've disabled/enabled sharing to try to "jump start" it, in case it's supposed to work, but no luck.  Has anyone out there got a DVRMS file to play without any converting???

     

    Storing recorded TV or even recording to WHS from MCE 2055 or Vista, also works for the Xbox360
    Link http://iandixon.co.uk/cs/forums/thread/2608.aspx

     

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007 4:37 PM
  • Currently I have the choice of installing MCE or WHS on a relatively old box that I have ... this box is purely for streaming media to my xbox360. That being said, that means since WHS doesnt have that feature yet, I wont be installing it....

    I'll keep watching for that feature, but right now I need that funcationlity.

     

    I have a nice terabyte freebsd system that handles my file sharing, and has tons of other things running Smile

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007 7:27 PM
  • Huh???

     

    I have two Xbox 360's in my household and the WHS can stream music to them both just fine. Heck, I can even get the Xbox 360's Media Center Extender to stream music and videos from the WHS. Am I missing something?

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007 7:46 PM
  • current setup

    - Vista MCE in the living room (3 TB, 6 disks, no raid because the motherboard wont support raid 5 over 6 disks)
    - New test WHS (yesterday) (0.5 TB - 2 disks, going to extend it to 2 TB)
    - 360 extender display in the bedroom
    - osx laptop
    - wife laptop



    What I want:
    - WHS (6TB) + mce + 3 tuners (impossible atm)
    - Vista mce pc extender  in the living room (impossible atm)
    - 360 extender display in the bedroom
    - osx laptop backup-ed on the WHS (doing it manually atm)
    - wife laptop (backupped)
    Thursday, May 10, 2007 12:26 PM
  •  TheOfficeMaven wrote:

    Huh???

     

    I have two Xbox 360's in my household and the WHS can stream music to them both just fine. Heck, I can even get the Xbox 360's Media Center Extender to stream music and videos from the WHS. Am I missing something?

     

    I guess they dont realize that WHS already does this and any media reciever can store or stream media from WHS you can even add additional shares using media connect to add new folders,....

     

    Rex

    Thursday, May 10, 2007 11:17 PM
  •  mr. red5 wrote:

    I totally agree with not having MC functionality within WHS. In my house I would much prefer a small form factor dedicated MC device like shuttle xpc 100 or 200 in my family room, getting photos, music and video stored on whs device.

    Thus, one dedicated device in living room, one in basement (each with dedicated remote connected to TV),  and wireless N laptops throughout rest of house.



    wow! thats pretty much my setup.... except I have a shuttle sd36G5M as my mce rig. Other pcs are my gaming/personal rig and the kids pc, all getting stuff of the WHS box(2.5TB). I'd love am x200, but a but out of my price range !

    I think MCE functionality on WHS would bloat it...introducing things like tuners just create further instabilities.

    some people should consider virtal servers as an alternative, running off their MCE box. WHS is shaping up to be a decent product .... that type of functionality would just ruin it...

    and then theres softsled to think about......but I wont open that can of worms Stick out tongue

    cheers
    Astro
    Friday, May 11, 2007 1:29 PM
  • there is a thread on tgb on mce 2005 functionality merged onto windows 2003 server..
    http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/19295.aspx

    since there is a vista version without mce functionality you might be able to extract the mce stuff and get it to work on 2003 server (it would take alot of time I think) you might actually be able to create an add-on in whs that does this Smile

    another way would be to extract the installation of the home server functionality and implement it on vista...   you would lose shadow copy I believe...



    although the general program manager of  whs was also in the original  mce team (there is a clannel9 video on it) I dont think it will ever ship with mce included, the amount of support they would have to offer would be immense... (tuner support in 2003 server etc etc... ) so our only hope is to do it ourself s, this being an official microsoft forum im not sure a grey area like this belongs here (unless someone from microsoft corrects me), you would have take the conversation to the green button.


    Saturday, May 12, 2007 11:44 AM
  • To me the key to any functionality would be simplicity. 

     

    -Tuner Support in WHS

    To me this would be key for those of us who want to have a central storage server for our media. (And I believe a key point of the OS? Yes/No?)  Sure you can keep it all in the MCE box but the point is a CENTRAL storage server.  I can probably put all my programs, documents, random files into 1 250GB drive(media..well working on 2 TBs now).  But the point that I see WHS is a central always on storage system.  Well whats the point of CENTRAL storage if I cant use it for that?  That is why I think tuners need to be supported, and the power savings and simplicity.  A simple small program to handle recording sceduales I would think is all that is needed.  Nothing fancy like the MCE interface.  Just a simple record this channel at this time for this long. (Not a Dev so forgive my simplistic view)

     

    Then we get to the HACKS of MCE to make it work with a network share.  Again..back to the point of WHS being a CENTRAL storage solution even for Mom and Pop would require MCE to be ABLE (whithout HACKS) to record/play/manage the files located on your CENTRAL STORAGE system.  The MCE machine in whatever flavor would still be needed for front end work and time shifting Live TV and whatnot.  Hell since DRM seems to be the way to go if you have more then 3 suits in a room, you can make it so MCE is the only platform to send sceduale updates to WHS or play DVR-MS from WHS. I mean if people WANT to run what I am discussing then 9 out of 10 times they already have MCE running, so uh..why not let it work?

     

    So...support for tuners, some program work in MCE to allow remote recording.  AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY...toss in the ability in MCE to allow me to designate where to record a show...this 1 recording location is all well and good..but come on...let me choose which folders/drives/shares to save a series AT THE VERY LEAST...and change the file names used.  ( As in Series A is recorded ro /drive A, series B is recorded to Drive B, Non Series is recorded /share and so on etc etc. Im tired of Heros_Craptastic_Network_date.dvr-ms.  Heros_Episode_date.dvr-ms is much easier to understand and less tossing things out the window dreams..Does anyone care if it was recorded on the CW or NBC or ABC or WTF TV?

     

    Ya I know...WHS thread not MCE and whatnot...just venting some frustration. 

     

    -Cutty

    Monday, May 14, 2007 11:21 PM
  • cuttyshark? from daoc?
    Tuesday, May 15, 2007 12:10 PM
  • Never played DAOC. Just a Nick i got at one point so use it time to time.
    Tuesday, May 15, 2007 12:43 PM
  • Just to play Devil's Advocate, having MCE functionality in WHS is so low on my priorities it's not even on the list. It's a server, not a video recorder.

     

    I have an MCE machine, and that's where I watch them. No one else in the house is interested in what I watch, and I'm not interested in their viewing habits either. I don't need to clog up the server with hours and hours of recordings. If you had a family of four recording different shows, maybe two each, that could need at least four twin-tuners. And a lot of data to write to disk simultaneously. The server needs to be able to back up data reliably - TV needs to be recorded reliably.

     

    Streaming different recordings to different machines around the house is going to be equally demanding of machine and infrastructure. And once we get real HD the amount of storage required will be exponential - we'll be having to add disks every other month.

     

    TV on the phone? Another must-have that's just not happening. Streaming movies over the web? I don't see we're anywhere near yet.

     

    I really don't believe this is going to be a big deal to J Doe, many of whom are only just getting to the PVR stage,  for years to come. What they do need is a reliable, inexpensive backup and storage device.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007 9:46 PM
  • I guess I should add a more practical bit of information....

     

    The reason people are wanting media center functionality specifically is the current ability of MCE to "transcode".

    The Xbox360 (although new abilities [codecs] were added recently) still lacks a diversified ability to play movies of all sorts of different codecs. I would love nothing more to be able to run WHS and have my Xbox be able to play the movies and shows I have on there, however due to them not being in WMV, MPEG4, or ... whats that other one. ...anyways, they are not able to be played on the xbox.

     

    I use MCE to transcode them into a format on the fly. Unfortunately that takes an extensive amount of system resources, which is quite annoying.

     

    Maybe Microsoft can skip over any MCE component in favor of upping the 360s codec capabilities.

     

     

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:06 PM
  • I would be interested in MCE in WHS because of one thing it does already have - remote management tools. WHS has been unwittingly created as the perfect OS for a living room HTPC.

    I don't want to have to squint at a Windows desktop on my TV screen to manage an HTPC, and I don't want a monitor in the living room to fix that problem. I don't know of anyone else who wants to fuse the Windows desktop and a TV either. Remote desktop could work to administer an HTPC, but it is not as easy or elegant as the WHS Console for basic administration.

    I have WHS CTP running with a Hauppage 150 card and GB-PVR. Everything works perfectly on the thing (mid-range Athlon, 1 GB RAM, mid-range NVidia card), and it'd be a killer setup if a more polished PVR program was running on it (GB is free, and fine for now), like SageTV or Vista's MCE.

    Maybe MS could package it together as a different SKU - Windows Home Server HTPC edition, or something, like how MCE was a different XP edition. I'm no marketer or platform strategist, so someone else can figure that out. If Microsoft wants in the living rooms of non-Xbox owners, easy remote management like what WHS has is the ticket.
    Thursday, May 17, 2007 1:19 AM
  • Great idea -  I'd love to be able to use Windows Media Centre on the server

    [it looks like a standalone app in Vista, so why not in WHS ? ]  - that way I

    wouldn't need a separate media center pc ( and it's extra electricity bill) 

    and could simply connect it direct to the main TV, while leaving the network

    free for backup traffic / watching in other rooms etc.

     

     

    Saturday, May 19, 2007 5:05 PM
  • MCE capability is a make or break feature for me.  I use a Viste Home Premium machine for my HTPC as it is, but I don't want to have to keep it on AND another computer in order for my extender (currently a XB360) to have access to video.  If Microsoft really intends to keep this push going for the digital home based on Windows and having extenders or HTPCs sitting next to TVs, then having only one computer handle the distribution of all video content, including live TV is crucial.  The lack of this feature is a big gap in the functionality of this server OS.
    Wednesday, May 30, 2007 9:12 PM
  • It seems to me like there are two classes of users here:

    1. Those who want their WHS machine to be able to watch/record TV, and serve up music and video files to the rest of the machines on the network.

    2. Those who want their WHS machine to be stable and used for server-type tasks such as backups, and thus don't want Media Center on the WHS machine but might use it elsewhere.

     

    In my opinion, WHS should manage machines on the network with Media Center functionality, but the server itself shouldn't be the Media Center. Users should, from any machine on the network, be able to log into a Media Center management console on the server that controls the Media Center machines on the network. It would be nice to be able to schedule recordings from any machine on the network, and have the available content streamed or shared over the network on demand. Having this kind of task centralized on to the server beats the hell out of having to physically access the Media Center machine to schedule recordings and so forth. Then while the server itself wouldn't be the Media Center, it would make media sharing a lot easier. Kind of like BeyondTV's remote administration website, except all the Media Center machines would be managed centrally on the server.

    Thursday, May 31, 2007 5:57 AM
  • I agree to the extent that there are two classes of users in this way: those planning on watching their TV recordings on one and only one machine, and those who want those recordings on more than one machine.

    For the single-machiners out there, WHS is the optimum choice not because of the server functionality, but because of the remote management tools. That is what I was referring to in my previous post. The server functionality is nice, but I was talking about strictly a living room-based HTPC that doesn't serve up files over a network. For this single-purpose usage, the server functionality isn't even necessary - it's the remote tools that shine.

    The number of people who are going to have network media streaming devices hooked up to multiple TVs in a house is small, will be small in the indefinite future, and unless TVs themselves become network-capable, probably always will be small. Households generally have only one cable company DVR or TiVo, they will only get one Xbox360 or AppleTV if they're interested in streaming over a network, or if they want an HTPC, they will get only one of those too. There's one main TV where this all goes on.

    Right now, HTPCs are rare because they're awkward and not as easy to use as a TiVo-style DVR box. They have more upside potential, but one of the main reasons that people don't use them is that there's no good way to administer them. The WHS remote tools would solve that problem.
    Thursday, May 31, 2007 8:10 PM
  •  Greg558775 wrote:

    It seems to me like there are two classes of users here:

    1. Those who want their WHS machine to be able to watch/record TV, and serve up music and video files to the rest of the machines on the network.

    2. Those who want their WHS machine to be stable and used for server-type tasks such as backups, and thus don't want Media Center on the WHS machine but might use it elsewhere.

     

    In my opinion, WHS should manage machines on the network with Media Center functionality, but the server itself shouldn't be the Media Center. Users should, from any machine on the network, be able to log into a Media Center management console on the server that controls the Media Center machines on the network. It would be nice to be able to schedule recordings from any machine on the network, and have the available content streamed or shared over the network on demand. Having this kind of task centralized on to the server beats the hell out of having to physically access the Media Center machine to schedule recordings and so forth. Then while the server itself wouldn't be the Media Center, it would make media sharing a lot easier. Kind of like BeyondTV's remote administration website, except all the Media Center machines would be managed centrally on the server.

     

    I completly agree. Good Post.

    Thursday, May 31, 2007 9:19 PM
  • Ian mentions a key point.

    It's about responsibility (cost and, or, guilt from a consumers perspective).  I don't want to power on more equipment than I have to. We are more aware of waste.  I don't see a good reason not to include TV tuner functionality in to a "home" server.

     

    I agree with Greg regarding reliability but this shouldn't be compromised. 

     

    I was wondering if it were to be included in the future what might Microsoft have to consider.  (Vista MCE is already having to address some of the regional issues) 

     

    What are the complications for adding Media Centre Tuner functionality?

    different regions. Manufacturers have to build make different hardware for regions with different tuners - Europe, US, Asia.  

    Setup at home is more complex - not suited to users wanting a plug and go solution.  Setup channels etc. especially complicated on a headless proprietary system.

    How can this be addressed?

    The software only version would suit consumers who expect to configure a system and give regional builders gain a good USP.  Create the functionality so that it can be used by those with the skills and desire to implement it. 

    It could be an addon that is created with regions in mind, allowing kits to be created to suit different regions and types of tuner. 

     

    It would also be brilliant if users were able to remotely set recordings.

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 12:48 PM
  •  

    What about a HDMI device with Wireless/Wired Ethernet and MCE embedded code?  It should be cheap, if not free from the Cable/DirecTV people and allow you to share the DVR/Tuner/Music/Photos/Home Videos/DL'ed Movie Rentals from your Home Server.  This device would have not much more than a CPU/RAM/HDMI output, which would cut down noise to a minimum. (You would want to boot off of embedded EPROM memory with the ability to upgrade via Ethernet in the future) With the new tiny form factors available it would fit nicely in the media rack.  Any opinions?

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 3:10 PM
  •  >>>>>

    It seems to me like there are two classes of users here:

    1. Those who want their WHS machine to be able to watch/record TV, and serve up music and video files to the rest of the machines on the network.

    2. Those who want their WHS machine to be stable and used for server-type tasks such as backups, and thus don't want Media Center on the WHS machine but might use it elsewhere

    <<<<<

     

    I guess it's fuelled by the fundamental dichotomy over just what WHS is -

    backup appliance or the digital equivalent of a 5000 CD/DVD autochanger in the house ?

     

     

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 3:39 PM
  •  Jon Foster wrote:

     

    What about a HDMI device with Wireless/Wired Ethernet and MCE embedded code?  It should be cheap, if not free from the Cable/DirecTV people and allow you to share the DVR/Tuner/Music/Photos/Home Videos/DL'ed Movie Rentals from your Home Server.  This device would have not much more than a CPU/RAM/HDMI output, which would cut down noise to a minimum. (You would want to boot off of embedded EPROM memory with the ability to upgrade via Ethernet in the future) With the new tiny form factors available it would fit nicely in the media rack.  Any opinions?

     

    ???

     

    Do you mean adding a "Media Centre" to WHS as a hardware plugin?

    You buy a hardware only device to add media centre functionality to a WHS.

     

    This solution is clever but still means that you can't watch live TV in a second location unless WHS is updated at which point the tuner could again be integral.

    Central tuners are the key to using Media Centre extenders.  You only need your media provider to provide one point of access to the media and then stream it around your home.  Otherwise they will continue to charge you for the right to watch TV in different rooms.

     

    A solution will be created freeing consumers from paying multiple subscriptions in one home.  It might as well be done with WHS.

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 6:48 PM
  •  

    Yes, your point is valid as with DirecTV getting $5 per tuner.  I would not mind paying the $5 per month, if the media extender device I spoke about is free.

     

    As for media streaming for no cost, that is available on the following link:

     

    http://www.orb.com/en/mycasting

     

    I am just looking for a low cost standard that enables you to put a low noise, low heat, low cost small device that can use the MCE type functionality.  The XBOX 360 is too much like a PC and the cost is too high for a media streaming device and not a game console.  The future is all media will be delivered to the house in a digital format and we should only need 1 device in the media rack connected to a LCD or projector to access this information.  As others have pointed out we have highly valuable data locked in all sorts of devices (TIVO, iPod, DVD, HDD's, CD's, MP3 players, etc) and this is MS opportunity to pull it all together and get a piece of the action.  MS has been great in bundling software and taking over a market (Any one remember WP, HG, and 123)  MS Office was bundled from one vendor at a great price and the rest is history.  They can own the media delivery device market, but it will not be a software only solution this time.  They will need a lot of control over the hardware, much like the 360, in order to make this happen.  That is why the iPod owns the MP3 market.  It is a easy to use device with a great interface.  Joe 6 pack and Grandma will not go for something they have to patch, update and re-boot.

     

    Jon

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 7:36 PM
  • I agree with pretty much everything you say.. 360 is too noisy for most people and at the moment it's not very cheap to run. 

     

    I still think the model of central tuner(s) and then the extenders more as you have described the tuner with low profile low power design is the best solution.  $5 a month per tuner soon racks up.

     

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 10:39 PM
  •  

    Because the $5 will add up, that is why I hope MS allows updates such as the ORB software or maybe puts the function in the system.  I guess the DirecTV's of the world are afraid too many people would share one tuner setup.  Does any one know if the cablecard setup will allow you to stream the video from multiple live TV feeds to different locations in the house?  Or will it be restricted like a DirecTV tuner.

    Sunday, June 3, 2007 8:44 PM
  • Ohh that's what I dream of. However, I have ATi AIW X1800 XL with this WHS. Sadly, it doesn't work as it should.

    my solution so far is one dedicated WHS and another one for MCE. They are just wasting money for electricity.
    Monday, June 25, 2007 6:54 AM
  •  

    Have you tried to install http://www.orb.com  ?  I understand others have and it has worked, but to what degree I am unsure.

     

    Jon

    Wednesday, June 27, 2007 1:04 AM
  •  Paul Thurrott wrote:

    I agree completely. And while we're on this notion, how about letting any Vista client (Home Premium and above?) function as a software-based Media Center Extender too?

    --Paul

     

    Dude, you so in the wrong forum for that request. :-)

     

    I'm someone that doesn't want MCE in my server. My server doesn't need decent graphics, and MCE does for decent video perf. I don't use extenders becuase the video quality (cheap BOB deinterlace, primitive scaler, extremely limited codec supprot) is weak. With the PC I can play HD VC1 and H.264 content at 1080p woihtout breaking a sweat, can't do that on the MCX device. But I can still see the appeal if you're just using it as a DVR. But that's not my cup of tea.

     

    I would LOVE to be able to easily record to the server. I tried using iSCSI but found it to be unreliable.

    Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:11 AM
  •  nLella wrote:

    MCE is a must in WHS. Its a pain to run and maintain 2 different PC's all the time.

    I believe, MCE should be shipped as a add on to WHS; so that only people who need it could turn it on.

     

     

    That is not trivial. Perhaps when WHS moves to a newer OS platform that has support for the things that MCE uses on the platfrom something like that might be possible. As it is now Server 2K3 lacks fundamental media platform technologies that are requiered by Media Center and you will not get anyone in a position of authority  to make the decision to back port those technololgies to the Server 2K3 code base.

    Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:15 AM
  • If you have a look at Mediaportal (http://www.team-mediaportal.com) they have a working TV server that installs just fine on WHS. I got it running with no problems last night - all my tv cards are now on my WHS box, with the ability to stream live tv out to any PC on my network.
    Mediaportal comes with its own front end / replacement for Media center. I haven't yet investigated whether it is possible to get the two talking, but this looks like the best option by a long way to deliver the functionality everyone is after.

    dQx


    Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:19 PM
  • I know I am late to the game here but I wanted to add my 2 cents just on the off chance MS marketing wants to listen. 

     

    I had a early version of media center running and then needed better "server" like functionality in my home so I setup a Win 2k3 server.  As time dragged on and my electricity bill milked me more with the rising power costs I decided to retire one.  At that time I looked at what I needed versus what I liked and retired the Media Center PC. 

     

    Now I use my cable box with a built in DVR etc etc but I would REALLY like to get my Media Center functionality and ESPECIALLY the interface back without the cost of a second piece of good hardware that is running almost all the time.  I like WHS and would likely consider buying it when GA but if it had Media Center support I would definitely buy it!

     

    I am a geek and spend allot of time and money on technology, if I am thinking about the cost and complexity involved in having multiple machines other people definitely will.  Electricity is not getting any cheaper and managing one machine instead of two would scare most of the people I know outside of the business.  One machine, it is like one ring, everybody wants it! So please, please, please make a WHS version with Media Center support available.....

    Sunday, July 8, 2007 5:04 PM
  • This might just be another "me too" post, but I totally agree with the ideas presented here.  If there was some way to add the Media Center interface into Home Server, that would just be an amazing addition.  Even if it were a pay-for extra in like a "Premium" edition and required slightly higher minimum hardware requirements, it would be well worth the expense. 

     

    DC

    Monday, July 9, 2007 12:34 AM
  • Frankly i also have to agree with the mentioned ideas. Possibly also integrating playforsure/zune subscription music sharing builtin

    Friday, July 13, 2007 2:32 AM
  • I have a Vista Media Center with 2 v2 Extenders. 1 is a Xbox360 the other is a linksys dma-2200. The 3 run perfect together. However When I add WHS works great with the Vista PC, but not the extenders. I've done the Reg edits and security profiles to get the Extenders to see the shares, Where I have 2TB of storage for all my media. If they just build in support for the mcx# user to see shares all would be fine and everyone would be happy. There is a plugin to transfer Recorded TV from Media Center to the Server. I don't want to put tuners in my WHS, However if Media Center supported the drive system like WHS then it would work.

     

    All I want is for my v2 Extenders to work withWHS without any work arounds. Just like if I share videos from another vista computer it works fine to the extender.

    Saturday, February 23, 2008 1:59 AM
  •  Badriram wrote:

    Frankly i also have to agree with the mentioned ideas. Possibly also integrating playforsure/zune subscription music sharing builtin



    thats something else id like to see....  zune pass content sorta works in media center but it needs work.   also would be nice to have media center read the podcast directory like the zune software does.

    but i would love to see media center included in home server.... im running vista ultimate as a server now (no monitor, housed in a closet) and my 360's connect to it at each tv.  would be nice not to have to run vista ultimate as my server and could get all the extras in home server. 

    Virtual PC is an interesting idea (saw that suggestion on the first page).... i might have to give that a try.  Anybody tried it and could lmk if it actually works?
    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 12:45 AM
  • Add me to the support list for Media Center Edition functionality in WHS. I currently use a dedicated box which runs XP:MCE connected to my main TV acting as a DVR and I have 2 xbox 360s which serve as extenders for other parts of the house. The XP:MCE box doubles as a backup and fileshare server for my households other 6 computers running XP or Vista, with significant amounts of storage on a raid configuration, meaning it does the Media Center stuff and the backups and server stuff already without overly taxing my network.

    While I absolutely love what WHS could do for me, simplifying many things I already do as well as providing other services, the idea of builing a second box to also run full time is simply unacceptable for several reasons. I have little interest in the cost of another computer, both the 1 time build cost, and the ongoing electrical cost, and the heat generated by yet another machine would be less than ideal.

    My preferred solution would be to spend a little refurbishing my XP:MCE computer (maybe doubling the RAM to 2GB and replacing the 3Ghz Celeron with a low-end dual core CPU) and purchasing and running a version of WHS with Media Center. I recognize that this machine would likely have to be headless, but I would prefer to purchase a 360 Arcade to act as an additional extender for my main TV; it would still be cheaper than a seperate PC for WHS and it would not need to run full-time, and I find that the experience is smoother on an extender rather than a PC anyways. Also, this would mean that it may not require a high-end video card, especially for HDTV, since it would not be rendering TV itself.

    I would also be interested in a software Media Center Extender ("softsled"), however I suspect that due to a combination of DRM rules and a desire to sell hardware extenders we will not see that any time soon.

    I certainly hope to see Media Center functionality in the future, given that this is Windows Home Server, and Media Center is a major aspect of my home network. For those who do not want it, it is not mandatory, but for me, it is integral to any decision to purchase this software.
    Monday, March 10, 2008 7:56 AM
  • Add one more vote on this topic....

    Increase the scope of WHS media streaming support so my Xbox 360 will show cover art etc off the music and video libraries I have on WHS storage, whith out having to resort to hacks and cobbling together work arounds....Smile
    Thursday, August 21, 2008 3:38 AM
  • here's what I want.  I want to be able to maintain one music library and be able to use it in MCE.  I can use media connect to stream to WMP, but you can't add that library to MCE.  you have to maintain a separate library (although located on the server) for each machine now and that's kinda silly.
    Thursday, August 21, 2008 9:17 PM
  • Microsoft does not seem to get it.  THey are more concerned about controlling the market and the product than they are about creating product that consumers really want and need.

     

    If you made the home server just like it is but able to add PC's and Media extenders and put music and video libraries and DVR with tuners and the ability to push that content all over the house, they would have people beating down the doors to buy it.  But as it is they would rather just use TIVO and DVD player and people surfice.  The contractors are out putting this technology together with stand alone properitary product that does not work with the PC's in the house.

     

    If Microsoft would just listen to this forum and create a product based on the needs of these techno users it would be awesome.  But, most likely it will be hobbled togther and just not exactly what we want becuase of the fear the media content will be stolen!

     

    Thursday, August 21, 2008 11:08 PM
  •  

    Try to install the add-in called " webguide"  on your WHS.

     

    It allows intergration of music, video, photo and tv. It can even stream the data.

     

    I have it running on my server.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 11:49 AM
  • Personally, I love the idea of centralizing my CableCards on WHS.  I have held off buying WHS for that very reason.  I currently have 2 HP MediaSmart TVs in the house with built-in extender functionality, so no need for an Xbos 360.  This is all-the-more reason to centralize MediaCenter capability.  I don't want to WATCH content on the Home Server, just be able to centralize the hardware and record all the digital media, which I thought was the whole purpose behind WHS!  If Microsoft announced the ability to support / install CableCards, I would buy a Home Server in a heartbeat. 
    Friday, September 12, 2008 9:06 PM