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Media Center Inclusion in WHSv2 (Vail) RTM? RRS feed

  • Question

  • MEDIA CENTER

    This is probably the most desired feature request for Vail/WHS v2.  Having Media Center included into Windows Home Server 2 would allow a Vail based computer to really become a true HTPC.  As it is now, with WHS v1, users have to use third-part applications to get TV on their Home Server, and one of the major features they looked forward to was being able to dispense with all the 3rd party junk when WHS v2 came out.  Many WHS enthusiasts were diheartened when the Vail public preview did not include Media Center.

    This is a MUST for about 50% of WHS v1 users out there to even make the upgrade leap from WHS v1 to WHS v2.

    Many people I know running WHS v1, say that there is no point in upgrading if Microsoft is not willing to make this an installable component.  We are not even asking that Microsoft have it setup by default, but at least put the checkbox there, in the "turn Windows features on or off" area of the Control Panel, so we can add it ourselves.  As it is right now, users cannot even add/install if if they want to.  Microsoft MUST removes this restriction, if not simply for the reason to get more sales; which should be enough.

    If you agree that Media Center should be an option within WHS v2, then post your vote/confirmation here.  Hopefully this thread will fill up, and get Microsoft's attention.

     

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:39 PM

Answers

  • There are multiple suggestions to the same effect on Connect , which is where Microsoft wants product suggestions made. Please go there, find one you like, and vote it up.

    That said, I don't see it happening. Microsoft has added strong DLNA support in Vail, so that appears to be the direction they see Windows Home Server moving in. If you want Media Center, you should build and run a Media Center PC; that has been the guidance for Windows Home Server since the product was released.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 5:32 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • There are multiple suggestions to the same effect on Connect , which is where Microsoft wants product suggestions made. Please go there, find one you like, and vote it up.

    That said, I don't see it happening. Microsoft has added strong DLNA support in Vail, so that appears to be the direction they see Windows Home Server moving in. If you want Media Center, you should build and run a Media Center PC; that has been the guidance for Windows Home Server since the product was released.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 5:32 PM
    Moderator
  • I will go to Connect and add my voice but just to reinforce what crobs808 is saying, DLNA is only the streaming half of the problem (and a perfectly adequate one).  My problem is the video capture portion of what media center does.  I want one 24 X 7 device in my house doing all the off hours monitoring (security, down loading, video capture, backup, web serving, etc. etc.)  I don't mind having a media center pc for interacting with my TV but I don't want several single function devices on 24 X 7 when it is not necessary.  Even a 50 W server is 36 KWHr per month which is about 6% of my electricity bill.

    Brian

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 11:29 PM
  • I agree with Brian and crobs808.  My goal is to build a single server that handles it all.
    Thursday, May 13, 2010 1:23 AM
  • I have been Saying the same thing, ever since WHSv1.  Please allow the functions of Media Center in Vail.  I do not want 3rd PC on 24/7.  I should be able to put in a ceton 4 channel CableCARD or use a HD HomeRun tuner to record directly to my WHS.  It does not need to be hooked up to a TV or monitor to be useful. 

    It just needs to act as a Media Center host. 

    I know Ken, you won't use this feature, but look at the sujestions if you add the two sugestion threads togeather it is the #1 feature that people want, with Security Essentials being #2.

    I know personally if this does not make it into WHS vail, I will be switching over to a Unix type of NAS/media server once the Ceaton and HD HomeRun CableCARD devices come out.

     


    Pugsly0014
    Thursday, May 13, 2010 2:37 PM
  • I would have to agree. Why should we have 2 pcs on 24/7? Aren't we going green? Vail should have a "basic" media center included. Perhaps available as an add on that you install afterwards.

    1. The machine is on anyway so why not use it?

    2. Why pay for another licence for a 2nd pc? - even charge a little extra for the add on. 

    Sunday, May 23, 2010 11:32 PM
  • Agree 100%..

     

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 1:14 AM
  • Agree 15%.

    It is a server... Microsoft, focus on making the server portion better. 

    Not sure I want my 5 hd spinning under my tv... guess I could
     move it and put a longer usb line on my whs remote and wireless keyboard/mouse.

    Plus, I don't want to install a bunch of stuff on my server... I don't want to play around with my server like I do mc... I keep
     an image of my htpc on whs so I can restore when I screw it up.\

    I want a server... even if mc were included on mc I'd not use it... it is a server... I can't get over that... maybe I'm a loser. rofl

    Want to go green?  Backup your stuff to a usb drive.  Tell your computer to go into sleep in 2 minutes 30 seconds.

    All jokes aside, my guess is if they could have inserted mc, they would have.

    I think there will be issues if mc is included, but if MS can get it right, I say include it as a feature for those who want it.

    Don't think the inclusion will decrease sales...might eat into win 7
     sales, if anything (enough to make an impact?  Don't think so).


    This forum is terrible... edit a post and it screws it up!!!

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 3:49 AM
  • Yes it is a server but that word is poison to the public. They just freak out when they hear that word. When will MS listen to people? They seemed to have with Win7 but they are way of the mark compared to apple who make stuff for the people. (I am not an apple fan, let me tell you!LOL)

    All they need is a simple client that plays media. Why have another pc in the house? Alternatively, they should consider a cut down box with win7CE to play media either by usb from the server or lan.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 11:20 PM
  • Yes it is a server but that word is poison to the public. They just freak out when they hear that word. When will MS listen to people? They seemed to have with Win7 but they are way of the mark compared to apple who make stuff for the people. (I am not an apple fan, let me tell you!LOL)

    All they need is a simple client that plays media. Why have another pc in the house? Alternatively, they should consider a cut down box with win7CE to play media either by usb from the server or lan.

     

    There are already products as you described... I've purchased and used them... and returned them.  I did keep my sony bd s370 (blu ray player), which does (or will, have not checked the download) have access to the network files.  I've not checked the networking part since I have an htpc.

    Why have an htpc?  I have an htpc because I like to have one place to do all of my media "stuff".  My main computer is my work computer.  My server stores all the files much too large.  And the server is great to pull files from.  In the bedroom and want to watch a video... on the server.   

    If you don't want one, there are other options for you.  BUT as I've tested the other options over (maybe three or four months this year), I found out in all cases there were trades.  ONLY the htpc gave me everything "I" wanted/needed.  Well, not everything... I did have to purchase a Blu ray/DVD player for times when I wanted to view a video quickly.  I know, htpc just as fast... but sometimes you don't want to fool with it (needs an update, turned off, etc).  Not to mention, the blu ray player on my htpc is cheap... it is loud... but works great when burning files to hd. 

    Server is a server... it is not Windows 7 Ultimate that they slapped the server name upon.  In this case thought, the product is not just a server, so maybe MS will eventually put wmc on it. 

    I had to remove the large hd I had in my htpc and put a 320 gb laptop 5400 hd inside (laptop hd is so freaking great!).  The 7200 monster was way too loud.  Even looking at my setup, I'm not sure I'd have room to relocate my media center to a better location.  I was looking at that last night, wondering if I could run my mc out of a virtual machine off the server; decided this was not a good idea.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 5:29 PM
  • Agreed there are many devices however my point was an actual win7 appliance because it is superior for a media center in my opinion because of flexibility. I still think the demand of the community should give us  some kind of Media center on Vail for those who want it. We are thinking from our very narrow IT perspective however people do not think like us. That is also my point and what apple have obliterated MS on. MS need to change their thinking.
    Thursday, June 24, 2010 9:53 PM
  • Agreed there are many devices however my point was an actual win7 appliance because it is superior for a media center in my opinion because of flexibility. I still think the demand of the community should give us  some kind of Media center on Vail for those who want it. We are thinking from our very narrow IT perspective however people do not think like us. That is also my point and what apple have obliterated MS on. MS need to change their thinking.


    Narrow IT perspective... I've been in and around IT for a much shorter time than you, 20 years or so (working with servers/desktop/software/telecom).  I feel your pain... 

    HS v2 will do well... it has streaming, etc... built on a great OS... Heck, I'm throwing out my v1 this weekend and going v2 for the live sync feature (new to hs v2 and live sync wave 4 released today).  And no, I don't have stuff on the ws that I "can't lose."  Might be a pain to replicate, but I could... don't want to backup that data, not that important.  Plus, I have replication in off-site backups.  I am going to live on the wire for 6 to 8 months.  lol  Plus get a feel of out hs v2 really performs.

    Microsoft does need to focus... seems they are but it is so many darn products... I counted at least 20 products released in the last month alone... it is crazy. 

    You do have a valid argument, is Microsoft a Jack of all trades, master of none?  Apple tends to focus on what is hot for them, and do a great job.  As I read on another forum, they have milked the heck out of the original ipod all the way to the ipad... with something called an iphone in between.  All while not changing their OS much (apple fan boz, relax, I use a mac at home and at another site part-time).  

    Obliterated?  Might depend on perspective... but apple is "hot" right now... google needs something big here soon...  All good, we all win if MS, google and apple compete....

    I like your thinking either way... have me thinking about windows Medica Center, without the win 7 OS, on a small device.   Not sure how well it would work, but it sounds good.  ;-) 

    Friday, June 25, 2010 5:09 AM
  • A HTPC is a different function than a NAS though, and I believe they should always be different for several reasons:

    The NAS is a large (logically speaking), hot machine which sits in some room somewhere away from people.

    The HTPC is a small little mini-itx thing sitting under your TV, two totally different functions I say :)

    Sunday, June 27, 2010 1:43 PM
  •  

    I agree 100%

    WHS V2 should be able to work as a media-center host system, as in handle guide data, the recordings, and serve Media Center extenders.
    If they would just "permit" an end-user to take their Windows 7 key and install the media center component we would be able to use our WHS boxes to at least serve media center to our xbox 360s.  This would appease many for now but it is not the right way to do things.  Do we seriously need our server to run 'ehshell.exe'?

     

    Currently Media Center's client-server architecture involves using media center extenders to bring content out of a media center pc to other rooms in the house; each extender session is still 'ran' on the media-center host but mearly displayed in another location. There is no proper 'sharing' of DRM-ed content or Guide data between computers and devices. We need to fix this first; our client boxes need to be more then 'extended displays'.  

    Media center needs to become a true client-server model:

    The backend should perform the actual recordings, guide data, and tuner conflicts and serve DRM-ed content to all authorized computers in the "Home Group"
    The 'clients' would request tuners for use and tell the server to perform desired recordings. "ehshell.exe/The Meda Center Interface" would actually run on the client box (instead of on the server) and be able to pull all services off a different network host.  Since client boxes would natively run "ehshell.exe" instead of the WHS, WHS would be less prone to crash.

    I believe this is the only true solution.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:31 PM
  • Good points! My simple argument is, why should I have to have two boxes sitting in my house? Simple question that the man on the street may ask...you know the type of person that buys a MAC because MS complicates not simplifies.
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 1:40 AM
  • Good points! My simple argument is, why should I have to have two boxes sitting in my house? Simple question that the man on the street may ask...you know the type of person that buys a MAC because MS complicates not simplifies.

    Indeed, that is everyone's primary argument.
    For now microsoft needs to:
    -Enable the installation of Media Center Components
    -Enable "Softsled" (MCE in a Enriched RDP Session)
    -Enable "Netflix" on "extenders/softsled" in media center mode
    -Document how DVB based subtitles are injected/stored in WTV Files (Give us a darn whitepaper)
    -Lift codec restrictions/limitations so we can stream raw 1080p/Dolby Digital HD to our client boxes.

    Thursday, July 1, 2010 5:44 PM
  • I will go to Connect and add my voice but just to reinforce what crobs808 is saying, DLNA is only the streaming half of the problem (and a perfectly adequate one).  My problem is the video capture portion of what media center does.  I want one 24 X 7 device in my house doing all the off hours monitoring (security, down loading, video capture, backup, web serving, etc. etc.)  I don't mind having a media center pc for interacting with my TV but I don't want several single function devices on 24 X 7 when it is not necessary.  Even a 50 W server is 36 KWHr per month which is about 6% of my electricity bill.

    Brian

    I didn't see you actually post the link to the Connect feedback so we can all "vote it up". Here it is: https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/details/560942/basic-media-center-functionality
    Friday, July 2, 2010 7:56 AM
  • I will go to Connect and add my voice but just to reinforce what crobs808 is saying, DLNA is only the streaming half of the problem (and a perfectly adequate one).  My problem is the video capture portion of what media center does.  I want one 24 X 7 device in my house doing all the off hours monitoring (security, down loading, video capture, backup, web serving, etc. etc.)  I don't mind having a media center pc for interacting with my TV but I don't want several single function devices on 24 X 7 when it is not necessary.  Even a 50 W server is 36 KWHr per month which is about 6% of my electricity bill.

    Brian

    You really nailed it, we want this for power savings.
    Saturday, July 3, 2010 2:29 PM
  • I have been wanting a homeserver for sometime but I also need an always on HTPC that can record television programmes from an internal TV card. I want to then have access to this HTPC from my Xbox 360 so I don't want to connect the HTPC to my tv.

    If it were possible to put a quad TV tuner into a Vail home server then this would become the real centre of a home network and for me a must buy. Without this combined functionality then a home server and a HTPC are just a pipe dream and I couldn't justify the cost. I would probably look at building a low power low cost PC that could act as an always on TV recorder and then wait to see what Windows Home Server 3 can do.

    Friday, July 16, 2010 10:21 PM
  • You don't want an "always on" computer for your HTPC, you want one that wakes from a power saving mode (standby or hibernation) and goes back into power saving mode reliably.

    In all seriousness, I don't believe Microsoft is likely to add Media Center functionality (beyond DLNA streaming, which is more widely useful than Media Center Extender support, to be honest) to Vail. It's been one of the most popular suggestions for V1 of Windows Home Server for three years now, and Vail doesn't have it. I think that should tell you just how dead this horse really is.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:28 AM
    Moderator
  • The horse should "get on up"
    Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:52 AM
  • the real problem is DRM.
     
    On Sat, 17 Jul 2010 00:52:39 +0000, ttremeth wrote:
     
    >The horse should "get on up"
     

    Barb Bowman

    http://www.digitalmediaphile.com

    Saturday, July 17, 2010 9:29 AM
  • the real problem is DRM.
     
    On Sat, 17 Jul 2010 00:52:39 +0000, ttremeth wrote:
     
    >The horse should "get on up"
     

    Barb Bowman

    http://www.digitalmediaphile.com

    They could tie DRM to HomeGroup or use Windows Home Server as a license manager for all client machines or even create a 'foundation' for other companies to leverage Home Server to manage 3rd Party DRM content.  Solutions are there, Microsoft just needs to get on the ball.
    Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:44 PM
  • won't do much for me. HD snob using cable cards to record in high def

    On Wed, 4 Aug 2010 12:20:32 +0000, joit.de wrote:

    MediaPortal's TV Server (open source) works great with WHS and Vail

    http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/

    http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/installation-configuration-support-53/how-install-mediaportal-windows-2008-r2-x64-only-81774/


    Barb Bowman

    http://www.digitalmediaphile.com

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 1:29 PM
  • I use a HD cable card to record HD content with MediaPortal.
    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 1:39 PM
  • You have an ATI Digital Cable Tuner (OCUR) working with Media Portal (or Ceton
    tuner)?

    On Wed, 4 Aug 2010 13:39:00 +0000, joit.de wrote:

    I use a HD cable card to record HD content with MediaPortal.


    Barb Bowman

    http://www.digitalmediaphile.com

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 1:58 PM
  • I have a Satelco DVB-C card which is the same as a KNC 1.
    There are many more compatible...

    http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/tv-cards-333/finally-cable-cards-your-htpc-59704/

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 2:17 PM
  • I don't understand how this helps me. I have Cable Cards from Comcast, who
    provides my HD (including premium channels) which I use with the ATI Digital
    Cable Tuner. The link in your thread seems to reinforce that this does not work
    with Media Portal.

    On Wed, 4 Aug 2010 14:17:42 +0000, joit.de wrote:

    I have a Satelco DVB-C card which is the same as a KNC 1.
    There are many more compatible...

    http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/tv-cards-333/finally-cable-cards-your-htpc-59704/


    Barb Bowman

    http://www.digitalmediaphile.com

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 4:26 PM
  • There seems to be a difference in digital cable from the US and Europe. I can only say that in Europe, Mediaportal works great with digital cable, SD and HD. Sure, DBV-S and S2 and DVB-T and even analog cable is also supported.
    You can set up the TV Server on the WHS and stream TV to (thin) clients to watch (or watch on the WHS directly).
    Saturday, August 7, 2010 11:53 AM
  • I think it's a variation on PAL vs. NTSC.

    I use an Avermedia HD capture card to record from my sattelite tuner, when HDCP lets me.  It doesn't work with Media Center.  I don't know about Media Portal yet, but I doubt it.

    Saturday, August 7, 2010 6:39 PM
  • Here's a list of cards that are supported officialiy:

    http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/TV-Server/tvcards

    but there are many more cards that work, just check the forum.

    Sunday, August 8, 2010 4:16 PM
  • I'm in the US, I have Digital Cable Tuners and cable cards. Media Portal isn't a
    solution here.
     
    On Sun, 8 Aug 2010 16:16:36 +0000, joit.de wrote:
     
    >
    >
    >Here's a list of cards that are supported officialiy:
    >
    >
    >but there are many more cards that work, just check the forum.
     

    Barb Bowman

    http://www.digitalmediaphile.com

    Monday, August 9, 2010 9:13 AM
  • IMHO, integrating WMC into WHS only makes sense if you intend to use Extenders everywhere.  Frankly, we gave up on the Extender experience due to many limitations (no integrated Netflix app, no Internet TV app, more limited media format support, reduced audio playback quality, Xbox 360 fan noise, etc.).  If some or all of those limitations were addressed, we'd be more interested in this scenario.

    But since it's now possible to build a fully HD-capable "client" HTPC for a few hundred dollars, we've gone this path and have been pretty happy. WHS makes this scenario possible by providing shared network storage of all media content and recorded TV.  As far as live TV goes, we are a Silicon Dust user and so all the HTPC "client" boxes get streaming TV over the network without need for a HTPC "server".

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010 6:14 PM
  • In theory, if the "RemoteFX" extensions to RDP make it into WHS v2 then we would be able to use real machines as extenders.
    Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:05 AM
  • I am surprised that there has been no mention of SageTV. I currently run my WHS (V1) HTPC using the LightsOut addin, SageTV server (version 7) with HD100/HD200 extenders and Win7 X64 client all capable of viewing TV recorded on the WHS. I currently have 8 tuners including satellite. It is an amazing system - does my PC backups, allows TV to be watched on PCs or the extenders (very quiet and small), hosts all my media and the system hibernates when not in use - so very green.

    The one thing that will prevent me migrating to Vail is if the above system cannot be made to work - depends on LightsOut being available for Vail + SageTV for Vail.

    Friday, August 13, 2010 10:41 AM
  • I am surprised that there has been no mention of SageTV. I currently run my WHS (V1) HTPC using the LightsOut addin, SageTV server (version 7) with HD100/HD200 extenders and Win7 X64 client all capable of viewing TV recorded on the WHS. I currently have 8 tuners including satellite. It is an amazing system - does my PC backups, allows TV to be watched on PCs or the extenders (very quiet and small), hosts all my media and the system hibernates when not in use - so very green.

    The one thing that will prevent me migrating to Vail is if the above system cannot be made to work - depends on LightsOut being available for Vail + SageTV for Vail.

    The problem with sage tv is it has no support for 'cablecard'  The only option is using STB's with bulky component capture boxes such as the HD-PVR then we must use another device to 'properly' send IR commands to the STB (Since the internal IR adapter is unstable on the HD-PVR).

    I personally explored using the HDPVR/SAGETV/VAIL combo but it just was not 'stable' enough.
    Friday, August 13, 2010 8:15 PM
  • The problem with sage tv is it has no support for 'cablecard'  The only option is using STB's with bulky component capture boxes such as the HD-PVR then we must use another device to 'properly' send IR commands to the STB (Since the internal IR adapter is unstable on the HD-PVR).


    I personally explored using the HDPVR/SAGETV/VAIL combo but it just was not 'stable' enough.

    That is only a problem if one uses cablecard - I don't so it isn't an issue for me  ;-)

    You might like to take a look at GeekTonic which today has some positive news on cablecard for SageTV :-)

    Monday, August 16, 2010 11:35 AM
  • Could not agree more with Poster.

    Tuner functionality would complete the WHS perfectly, all's they need is live streaming tv and a shared Guide. Recording would save strait to WHS, binus would be resume playback on any WMC PC. If this ever happens I would also like to be able to define the recordings drive and leave it out of the pool. Along with DLNA, this comes very close to realizing the potential of the platform and all these things have been done by DVR software vendors such as BTV and Sage for years.

    Just a couple of quick benefits.

    1. Only 1 Computer would need to be on 24/7.
    2. Only 1 copy of the Guide would need to be downloaded.
    3. Copying would be local, saving homenetwork bandwidth.

    If all you want is a server, get unraid it has all the basics WHS has and less security risks or run nearly any flavor of linux or for that matter 3/4 of the requests by users thinking "server" only are already built into MS Server products, you can softraid all day long or there is extender like packages out there for those who wish, there are also software packages out there to fill in the rest, unraid as a server and network magic on the clients is pretty much WHS. You guys keep wanting things that really lean "Home" server toward a buisiness server , as much as I hate to many versions of an O.S. I think MS should seriously consider creating 3.

    1. SBS - For Small business that have technical experience, resources to handle this.
    2. WHS - For home / media usage.
    3. SBS Light - For Small business / Soho that do not have the finances or technical ability to achieve their requirements with either 1 or 2.

    I guess some just have a vision of WHS as a bloated NAS box, some of us see the potential WHS could have in a home and it's hard not to argue these points. 

    Monday, October 4, 2010 7:32 PM
  • Brian Howden voices my view entirely.  Media Center not only does the recording; it also manages all the extenders in my house;

    I have been looking at installing a propirietary recorder in WHS and there is a promising candidatesBut I wll still need the MS media center to manage the extenders..

    If media center is not coming to WHS  I will probably presume that I don't need WHS at all. My house anchor machine will probably be a well equipped Windows 7 Ultimate and I will make other arrangements for back up recovery.

    I have been a disappointed V1 user for some time just waiting for WHS with a media center.  I really wonder about Microsoft's perception of user requirements.  Maybe they should take some advice from Mr Jobs

    Roger Stenson


    Home Developer
    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 9:54 PM
  • I think Microsoft will see the light in time for the first service pack.  Other companies like NetGear are already offering media solutions that are more attractive than anything in Vail.
    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 3:15 AM
  • The ability to add multiple Cable Cards to the WHS would be nice.
    Friday, November 26, 2010 2:04 AM