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  • Win7 Media Center replacement

    Posted on Kenataskwoody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 7 Questions: Windows 7 Win7 Media Center replacement

    This topic contains 14 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by

     JohnW 3 weeks, 2 days ago.

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    • #344230 Reply

      Kenataskwoody
      AskWoody Plus

      Woody,

      As suggested, I signed up with Kenataskwoody.

      My question was I am running several old Win7 machines, specifically for the Media Center capability. I have started to look around for replacement software. Is there a replacement for Media Center? I have noticed the there is something in Linux, but I am too inexperienced to mess with that.

      Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

    • #344299 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      What do you do with Media Center? More information will help us suggest replacements.

      Have you looked at MediaMonkey? Their free version does most things you would need in media management.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #345186 Reply

        Kenataskwoody
        AskWoody Plus

        I have Not heard of media monkey, but will seek it out. As for what I use Win7 Media Center for, it used to be my go to DVR, but then Time-Warner/Spectrum stopped that unless you obtain a special unscrambler box for each TV set you want to use media center or any recording device on. True, I can use VLC for previously recorded programs, but there always seem to be conflicts with other family members on what to record, and when.

        • #345208 Reply

          Cybertooth
          AskWoody Lounger

          I have Not heard of media monkey, but will seek it out. As for what I use Win7 Media Center for, it used to be my go to DVR, but then Time-Warner/Spectrum stopped that unless you obtain a special unscrambler box for each TV set you want to use media center or any recording device on. True, I can use VLC for previously recorded programs, but there always seem to be conflicts with other family members on what to record, and when.

          There used to be at least two companies making tuners that would accept a CableCARD to provide the unscrambling that you now need, without having to get the cable company’s special  box. The companies were Ceton and SiliconDust; Ceton made a 4-tuner and then a 6-tuner PCIe card while SD made 3-tuner and then 6-tuner network devices. All of them had a slot into which you would slide the CableCARD and then pair it with your hardware.

          I think Ceton is now out of business (bought their 4-tuner card 7 years ago and it’s still running great, knock on wood), but SiliconDust is still making CableCARD-capable tuners. I’m not sure there’s anybody else left out there who is making anything like this currently.

          As an alternative to Windows Media Center that enables recording of new programs without involving cableco hardware (except for the CableCARD), you could also get a Tivo machine.

           

    • #344399 Reply

      Purg2
      AskWoody Lounger

      VLC is what I’ve been using for many years for all my audio video needs.  It’s a widely used program.

      Near the bottom of this page is the full listing of all the platforms it can be used on.
      https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

      Here is the portable version.
      https://portableapps.com/apps/music_video/vlc_portable

      P.S. Linux has it in the repository & is pre-installed in some versions.

      Win 8.1 Group B, Linux Dabbler

    • #344409 Reply

      Cybertooth
      AskWoody Lounger

      @kenataskwoody, as @pault said, it depends a lot on what you’re using WMC for.

      The biggest factor, and it could be a deal-breaker, is whether you use it to record programs from cable/satellite TV. If you don’t use it for that, then there’s a good variety of software available. But if you want to record cable TV, then you can only use software that’s designed to work with a CableCARD (the device that goes into your TV tuner to decrypt the cable TV signal).

      Last I heard, the TV tuner manufacturer SiliconDust was working on a WMC replacement that would record encrypted programming. But I don’t have any SD hardware (we use Ceton tuners), so I don’t know what the current status of that project might be.

      Regarding a WMC replacement in Linux, I’d be delighted but surprised if there were one that can handle scrambled cable TV. The process for getting CableCARD certification is slow and expensive.

       

      • #344414 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Regarding a WMC replacement in Linux, I’d be delighted but surprised if there were one that can handle scrambled cable TV. The process for getting CableCARD certification is slow and expensive.

        Well… there is Tvheadend+OSCam but that still looks sort of more like a ham kit radio than an off-the-shelf finished receiver. (Sheesh, board diagrams and parts listings for making a card reader that’ll surely work with it…)

        I mean, I might get around to trying that if I was bored, but then again I already have the ham license to go with the sysadmin experience…

    • #344417 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      not knowing specifically what you use your media centre for perhaps Kodi may be of interest?

      more detailed info: https://kodi.tv/about

      | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x86 | XP Pro O/L
    • #344423 Reply

      zero2dash
      AskWoody Lounger

      If you use it for watching or listening to media, I highly recommend Plex.
      https://www.plex.tv/
      Plex Server is free and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

      There are Plex Apps that are pay but the STB apps (Roku, AppleTV, Fire) are all free and you can use a web browser on any PC to use your media. Basically only the tablet and mobile versions of the apps are for-pay.

      There is something called a Plex Pass that has additional features, but it’s not necessary.

      I run a Plex server at home and access it via Rokus.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #344424 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      I use a Win7 Pro mini-tower PC next to my home entertainment center as my “Media Center”.

      Although I don’t use the Windows Media Center software that it has available, I plan to “Semper Fi” my Win7 in this instance, until the wheels fall off. 🙂

      The main reason is that it just works. I record and playback major network HDTV shows recorded with an “off-air” antenna and HDTV  tuner card, using a 3rd party PVR package (Windows only) that I prefer to WMC. It integrates nicely with the Kodi user interface as well. A media center remote control and wireless keyboard/mouse combo rounds out the “10 foot” user interface.

      I don’t surf the net from this machine, other than occasionally streaming from broadcast network websites, and I don’t keep any personal info on it either. So I consider this PC as minimal risk, IMHO, and not worth the effort to upgrade and test everything again. It’s really an appliance, in my eyes. I just don’t see the point in upgrading it to Windows 10 … so “meh”. I am running a free AV real-time in the background. Plus I take a full system disk image weekly, so I can always roll it back if it gets corrupted, or compromised.

    • #345223 Reply

      anonymous

      Been there and done that, and finally bought a PVR.

      I loved Media Centre as my TV, video recorder and playback, but it killed too many computers due to always waking up, constantly accessing the HD and power use.

      I tried Kodi and it was too unreliable and unstable. Recording programs was a nightmare.

      A consumer PVR, with a laptop sitting on top is the solution, with the PVR for watching and recording free to air. The laptop allows geo relocation, streaming of anything, VLC to play downloaded media and a cheap PC remote for control.

    • #345379 Reply

      agoldhammer
      AskWoody Plus

      If you need a cable card tuner to get premium channels (and non-premium on some providers networks) your choices are limited.  I have a Hauppage dual channel tuner and they are still selling these and tri-channel tuners AFAIK.  I use Microsoft Media Center as my DVR setup under Windows 7.  I also run EPG123 to get the channel information as it is far better than Rovi/Microsoft.  I plan on using this setup indefinitely.  I have a dedicated PC hooked up to the television and the only browsing done is Amazon Prime, Netflix and ESPN+ for sports.  If any of those sites gets infected there are far bigger problems for the Internet and worrying about a virus on my PC.

      I don’t know of any current software development for cable card tuners other than Silicon Dust.

      1 user thanked author for this post.

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