1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Media Center Extenders - UK

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by lisag, May 22, 2005.

  1. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    Anyone who reads this forum 'in the know' about these. I have read elsewhere that they are due to hit the UK market this summer, but the US versions seems to have been plagued with problems. I wonder if/when/what the UK versions will be like?

    lisa

    I have just priced up some components on Ebuyer, and could build a bargain basement PC for £200 put XP on it and play all the media files wirelessly across the network.... this may be a better option? The only thing is connecting it to the CRT TV in the bedroom, I would need one of those vga to scart leads, but I understand I could buy one from Keene.

    Anyone any thoughts on this?
     
  2. JonMace

    JonMace
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    2,536
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +207
    The lead is about £80 so bumps the price up a bit
     
  3. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Why not get a motherbaord with s-video out - or a CAC video card with s-Video out?
     
  4. hornydragon

    hornydragon
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    28,293
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Somewhere near the M4 most of the time......
    Ratings:
    +1,215
    a MOBO with onboard graphic and TV out (s-video) would be the cheapest option (buy parts second hand and save even more) one of the big issues with using wireless networks for Hoem entertainement is trying to get away without having a PC in every room, currently the solution is to put a PC in every foom just try and make it not look like a PC............the media extenders etc are all just small RISC computers mostly running a Linux OS anyway
     
  5. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    Hi, thanks for the comments.

    Yes, building and maintaining a PC just to watch media files in the bedroom is a little overkill, but if I can do it cheaply, and it works properly it may be worthwhile as I anticipate wireless media center extenders to be problematic, particularly with supporting different file types, at least with windows I know I can get it to play everything.

    What about bandwidth for streaming video, would wireless 54mbps be good enough, or should I go for a quicker one?

    S-video looks rubbish, I wanted a better solution than that, but didn't realise that Keene charged £80 for the cable, that's a bit steep. I thought it was about £35, but that might have been an old forum post that I read. I haven't got the skills to make my own... anyone on here make them for cash?

    I have an FX5200 spare, and an old CD Rom Drive, not much, but a start!

    lisa
     
  6. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    How about an X-box based solution? Doesn't the extender for this cost about fifty notes? Get hold of a cheap s/h x-box and you wouldn't need much else would you?

    I don't know much about the x-box tbh but at least it's designed to connect to a tele.

    Dave
     
  7. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    Ah, good idea, I am sure there are a few on fleabay, I will research that this week, thanks for the tip-off. I wonder what sort of file support they have....?

    Actually they are only about £100 new.... might be on to something here :smashin:
     
  8. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
  9. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    X-Boxes are a bit noisy IMHO; If it were me building something like this then I'd be looking at a mini-ITX based solution....hmmm now there's a thought....
     
  10. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0

    I have a 1.7Ghz Celeron based PC as my extender at the moment connected over a 54Mbps wireless link. It plays my "Recorded TV" just as well as the main MCPC.

    Dave
     
  11. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    Option 1 of media center extender (xbox or other) is a problem because there is nothing officially available in the UK, and it looks like there is problems with them playing all file types (live tv, recorded tv, divx, xvid, vobs etc..) And the Xbox has to be modded or something?

    Option 2 of a third windows based pc (to add to my existing main pc and MCE PC network) would definitely play everything, but connecting it to a CRT tv is going to be problematic...Are these Keene VGA to scart cables a good solution?

    Getting confused now :confused:
     
  12. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    Update.... Keene have responded to my e-mail, they say the cable will cost £37 (inc audio jack) but will only work with Radeon cards as they are capable of giving out an RGB signal. Does this mean my Nvidia 6600GT and FX5200 will not give out a RGB signal?

    I can see this getting complicated and expensive, maybe I should wait and see what develops later on in the year, have just been reading that an MCE2005 update is due this year, and of the course the UK intro of MCE extenders.

    Patience..... :(

    lisa
     
  13. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Lisa, would you be good enough to pm me the details you gave Keene to get that quote? I wont need audio though, so I may get it a bit cheaper!

    Thanks

    Dave
     
  14. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    No probs.... you have pm
     
  15. jon stallard

    jon stallard
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hmmm... interesting Dave. So do you simply drag the recorded TV file onto your other PC and start up in something like media player or do you have a program that runs it on the remote PC whilst keeping the original file on the HTPC.. or.....

    Could you just explain how you do it please :) I'm being very lazy as I intend to fix up something like that one day but you know how it is.... I've been meaning to do so many things etc etc .......I meant to do better at school and it's been downhill ever since.

    Cheers,
    Jon.

    PS I read that Philips are bringing out some large LCD screens soon that include a wireless network connection. There's a link on the LCD forum which gets posted regularly whenever 'what LCD TV should I buy' crops up. If I knew how to include the link I would.

    However, what this wireless link actually means is another matter. Of course TV's that talk to each other and a single PC would be ideal...... I'll draw the line at a super slim LCD TV being chatted up by a grubby old toaster though!
     
  16. byron_hinson

    byron_hinson
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,604
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +208
    You could import the Hewlett Packard Media Center extender, as that works well over here. Other than that its a case of waiting until the Xbox 360 is out over here.
     
  17. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    Hi Bryon,

    Thanks for that you sound like a man 'in the know?'

    I am actually looking at buying a chipped xbox and importing the Microsoft Media Center Extender kit for it. I understand that this way I can use the unofficial xbox media center app for playback of most file types (divx, xvid etc) and the Microsoft app for live and recorded tv from my MCE2005 box. I am also intending on buying the relevant adapters to set it up wirelessly, MCE box in the lounge, Xbox in the bedroom.

    Have you any experience of this, can you see any pitfalls? Will a 54mbps wireless bandwidth be ok for live and recorded tv as these are quite high bit rate I understand.

    thanks
    lisa
    :)
     
  18. byron_hinson

    byron_hinson
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,604
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +208
    As long as youve got a chipped Xbox (not that i recommend one of course ;o)) then it'll work fine, yes the wireless speed you'll have is fine for recorded and live tv, its what the Xbox 360 will allow you too. The only thing I'd say is that it's only a few months before the Xbox 360 so it might be worth just holding off, as its a slightly newer version of the Media Center Extender.
     
  19. lisag

    lisag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,693
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Essex
    Ratings:
    +336
    Good point, patience was never my strong point....!
    Any idea on the pricing though, a chipped xbox with the imported MCE app will be around £200, I thought the 360 was going to be twice that?
     
  20. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    There are various options open to you, but if you want to use MC then there is probably only one!

    You have to hack the registry to convince XPMCE that you actually have a physical TV card in the PC (assuming you haven't!). You then install some software that re-directs the Recorded Programs folder to a shared folder on the main MCPC. The main PC also has to have it's file sharing set up to support remote updates. It's a lot easier than it sounds!

    All this is information I have stolen from TGB. Well worth a visit if you are serious about making the most of Media Centre.

    Dave
     
  21. markxtc123

    markxtc123
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    265
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +16
    I think DaveP might be misunderstanding Jon's question. As I understand it Jon want's to watch a programme that has already been recorded on the MediaPC (server) remotely. This is very easy to do, espeicially if the remote PC (client) that you want to watch the recorded programme on is running XP and has Windows Media Player 10.

    If this is the case then simply navigate from the client via the network to the recorded programme on the server. By default programmes are recorded in the Recorded Television folder in Shared Documents. Once you locate the programme you want to watch remotely simply double click on it. Windows Media Player will open on the client machine and play the programme. It will stream from the server and be displayed on the clients screen. I do this regularly through an 802.11G WiFi network without any problems.

    My wife can be watching live TV or listening to recorded music on the Media PC whilst I am watching a programme that has been recorded on the Media PC via the network on the PC in our bedroom.

    I hope this helps.
     
  22. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I've re-read it and you are quite correct! :oops:

    Dave
     
  23. jon stallard

    jon stallard
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks to both Dave and Mark for the reply's. It was the latter reply I was really after but I never turn my nose up at any information regarding this thing called MCE2005!

    So the difference between a media extender and using networked PC's is I guess simply that you don't need a pc with a media extender? whatever a media extender is of course.

    Don't suppose you can use a mini mac to view recorded TV from a MCE2005 PC? I think you can network them together OK but can you open a media file?

    If the answer is yes you can, then I will have finally got an excuse to buy one of the cutest bits of gadgetry I've ever seen. It's almost perfect :thumbsup:

    Cheers
    Jon.

    PS Markxtc123 - does that mean you are on the xtc forum?
     
  24. markxtc123

    markxtc123
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    265
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +16
    As I understand it, the big different between a media extender and a networked PC is that the media extender will allow you to watch live TV or streaming DVDs from the Media PC on a remote television. You get the normal MCE front end showing on the remote TV and have all of the functionality of the Media PC bit on another television.

    Regarding watching recorded television on a mini mac, television is recored in DVR-MS format files, basically an MPEG2 file with a protection flag added, if you can find a mac application that will play DVR-MS files then you are laughing. (I know nothing about Macs though so don't ask me!)

    I used to be on forums and msn with the nick xtc123 (xtc from the group that penned the famous "I'm only making plans for Nigel") So many people assumed I was a dealer in Ecstasy that I added the Mark so that idiots knew who was telling them to sod off!
     
  25. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I have been reading on another thread/forum that the mini macs don't have hardware decoders, so that could be an issue.

    Dave
     
  26. HSC

    HSC
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,901
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Coventry
    Ratings:
    +139
    one point to bear in mind if you intend to import a US extender

    i have read reports that the main issue is that support for widescreen tv is rubbish.
    i.e. you'll have to watch widescreen in a 4:3 window....should equal about half your screen size.....

    Microsoft have to oversome several legal and technical issues before releasing extenders here.....but if they plan to release xbox360 here in November, i am assuming that they have either overcome these issues....or PAL xbox360's wont include this feature....????
     
  27. markxtc123

    markxtc123
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    265
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +16
    Mini mac are perfectly capable of decoding regular mpeg files and displaying them, so that is not an issue. The only issue would be the Microsoft propretory DVR-MS file format and whether there is any mac viewer capable of understanding them. A quick search on google doesn't look encouraging.
     
  28. DaveP

    DaveP
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I stand corrected! :lesson:

    Dave
     
  29. Werner

    Werner
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    using
    http://www.thegreenbutton.com/community/shwmessage.aspx?ForumID=26&MessageID=98810
    you can very easily transcode the dvr-ms files into bog standard mpeg files as a background task.
    I am hoping the mini-mac can playback mpegs:)

    I have used the supplied utility a number of times to automatically
    1) transcode the recorded tv to mpg
    2) delete the original dvr-ms file from recorded tv
    3) create the mpegs in a folder within "my videos"

    When I get home I just go to "my videos" and find all of todays recorded tv dumped in there, which will happily play on any pc in the house (xine, XBMC etc) and is easily editable.
    Additionally, you can transcode in realtime, so I can record a program in mce, and then fire up XBMC on my xbox and actually watch the program in realtime in another room if needed.

    Hope this helps somebody...
     
  30. markxtc123

    markxtc123
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    265
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +16
    The only concern I have seen regarding Mac Mini's and Mpeg2 is when playing back HD content. Regular definition recorded TV poses no problem appart from the fact that you need to pay an extra 20 dollars for the mpeg2 decoder part of quicktime.

    Please note that I do not have a Mac Mini and this information has been obtained from trawling the net so should not be taken as an absolute statement of fact!
     

Share This Page

Loading...