Set up of networked media center

NoviceMike

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Feb 6, 2008
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I need help with my planned set up. I'm moving and already have my new house wired with ethernet cables between a base and two other locations. At my "base" location I have: Comcast cable with a modem, a router, a NAS Server, a PC, and a TV. From the router I have Ethernet to two other locations where I have a small PC and a TV at each.

My goals are:
1. ability to watch cable on all three TV's,
2. record to the NAS Server from any TV and then watch from any other TV.
3. watch Netflix (we have an account) from any of the TV's.
4. if possible, and this isn't that important, have the ability to pause a recorded show on one tv and then pick the show back up on another tv.
5. have this easy enough so my wife can use it!

Here are my questions:

1. Unless there is some solution I'm not aware of, it sounds like the best solution is still Windows Media Center, running on Windows 7 Premium. True?
2. What kind of cable card tuner do I need? Something like the Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB? If this is the best option, where do I find one? Also, how is this wired? I assume at the base station, but what are my inputs and outputs?
3. Am I on the right track here? Will this all work?

Thank,
Mike
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
All of your goals (except #4) are possible with a Ceton InfiniTV card/USB device. Unfortunately, with Microsoft killing Windows Media Center, how long this remains a viable system is up in the air and you're paying a premium for Windows 7 these days. While likely more difficult to set up, another possible option would be a Linux distribution running Kodi.

Depending on the number of tuners you need (with the hub and two extensions, you'll need at least three), there are a number of options. There is the Ceton line up (InfiniTV4 PCI-E/USB and InfiniTV6 PCI-E/Eth - 4 to 6 tuners), the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (three tuners), and the Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 (two tuners). Each of these solutions requires a cablecard, leased from Comcast.

Tuners can be networked to other PCs, so while not physically installed in the extension PCs, they can be virtually assigned and act as if a tuner card was installed. You could watch/record live TV from any device where a tuner was networked and it's easy enough to set up the save location to the NAS.

Connections are going to depend on which type of device you get. Each device will accept a regular cable connection (though Ceton PCI-E will use an included adapter). Everything else will be run over Ethernet.

Netflix no longer runs under Windows 7 Media Center, but can be run either as an app installed on a smart TV or directly from the Internet on the PC.

Ease of use depends on how you control the device. Once it's set up, an MCE Remote Control makes it very easy to use. I've been using this type of set up for a few years now and it's been very easy.

-Wolf sends
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
All of your goals (except #4) are possible with a Ceton InfiniTV card/USB device. Unfortunately, with Microsoft killing Windows Media Center, how long this remains a viable system is up in the air and you're paying a premium for Windows 7 these days. While likely more difficult to set up, another possible option would be a Linux distribution running Kodi.

Depending on the number of tuners you need (with the hub and two extensions, you'll need at least three), there are a number of options. There is the Ceton line up (InfiniTV4 PCI-E/USB and InfiniTV6 PCI-E/Eth - 4 to 6 tuners), the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (three tuners), and the Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 (two tuners). Each of these solutions requires a cablecard, leased from Comcast.

Tuners can be networked to other PCs, so while not physically installed in the extension PCs, they can be virtually assigned and act as if a tuner card was installed. You could watch/record live TV from any device where a tuner was networked and it's easy enough to set up the save location to the NAS.

Connections are going to depend on which type of device you get. Each device will accept a regular cable connection (though Ceton PCI-E will use an included adapter). Everything else will be run over Ethernet.

Netflix no longer runs under Windows 7 Media Center, but can be run either as an app installed on a smart TV or directly from the Internet on the PC.

Ease of use depends on how you control the device. Once it's set up, an MCE Remote Control makes it very easy to use. I've been using this type of set up for a few years now and it's been very easy.

-Wolf sends
 

NoviceMike

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Feb 6, 2008
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Thanks Wolf! It sounds like I can accomplish what I want. That's awesome. I'll order the Ceton 4 USB (if I can find one). I have a few more questions then...

1. Windows 7 is not a fast boot, so I'm wondering, do you leave the PC(s) on all the time? I'm going to be using an I5 NUC which doesn't use much power, but I've never had a PC I've left on all the time and it seems strange to me.

2. Regarding the remote... we always have our phones on us. Is there an android app solution you can recommend for the remote control or do you like the real hardware version better?

Thanks Again,
Mike
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
1) I've always left my systems running 24/7. Kind of hard to record something at 2:00am if the system is off. They only get rebooted when I run Windows Update.

2) There are apps for this, but I've never tried one. Having the physical remote just felt more natural to me and I've had the thing going on nine years.

-Wolf sends
 
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