: SageTV or Windows 7 Media Center


blueroomelectro
2009-11-25, 08:19 AM
I was chatting with a fellow the other day who was telling me how wonderful Windows7 Media Center is. It appears to support multiple tuners and best of all for me anyway Canadian TV guide data.

I'm running SaveTV and I love it but always looking for the latest greatest I guess. ;)

Anyone else love Win7 MCE?

jean luc picard
2009-11-25, 08:57 AM
its the prettiest ui on the market, but lack of true support for the hd pvr make it unfeasible for canadians who need HD.

no live tv streaming from other pcs (softsled) is another critical missing feature.

bottom line: if you need hd, then sage all the way

pnear
2009-11-25, 10:53 AM
I agree. While many would consider me a Media Center fanboy, I have to admit that if you're already happy running Sage I can't recommend switching.

MC7 has much nicer UI and is more "non-geek" friendly for my family. But they've really been dragging behind on the feature/function side and are particularly lacking in features for Canada. I keep looking at Sage myself, but even with the UI addons like SageMC the UI isn't good enough to switch my family over.

Here are the reasons you might consider MC7:
- You are unhappy with the Sage UI
- You already have one or more XBox 360s and want to use them as Media Center clients

Here are the reasons you might want to stay with Sage:
- You use multiple PCs as Sage clients
- You have invested in the Sage extenders already
- You don't want to have to hack Windows to support high definition
- You want to have access to the latest and greatest features

Cheers,
Pete

Wayne
2009-11-25, 12:32 PM
I agree with Pete regarding staying with Sage. I was using XP MCE (I stayed with XP since you were able to buy V1 hardware extenders really cheap on eBay and there weren't compelling reasons to go to Vista MC for Canadians) but switched over to Sage about 16 months ago. I still have my HTPC sitting under my Home Theatre but it isn't used that much. The ability to PVR all HD channels, including cable, was too compelling and was only available on Sage. Sage also has better hardware extenders.

I just upgraded to Win7 and it sure looks fancy but I can't see myself switching to MC, especially since I have bought 4 Sage extenders. There are some new UIs being developed for Sage that are supposed to see light of day soon.

Other pros for Sage:
- Easier to set up a centralized media server with TV tuners (mine is running WHS)
- Ability to Placeshift (I don't think you can Placeshift on Win7 can you)
- Can have clients on multiple OS's Mac, Linux and Windows.

blueroomelectro
2009-11-25, 12:35 PM
Wayne, which extenders did you buy? Are they available locally in Canada?

I did find a site on getting ATSC working with Win7 MC in Canada
http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/blogs/richard/archive/2009/04/07/atsc-in-canada-for-windows-7-works-with-all-atsc-tuners.aspx

Wayne
2009-11-27, 11:23 AM
I am using the SageTV extenders. They are only sold through SageTV's web site but they are very good - they support pretty much every file type, including MKV, and BluRay rips to your hard drive. They work as both satand-alone media extenders as well as SageTV extenders - the latter use requires that you are running SageTV somewhere on your LAN. They cost US$180 + shipping.

asd
2009-11-28, 02:21 PM
I've been using Sage for 10 months, after trying MC and TiVo, and I'm very happy with Sage's flexibility and simplicity. I got an HDPVR up and running very quickly and it is very reliable at controlling a Motorola 6200. I was using Sage client on Asus Box 206, which was very reliable for SD TV playback from Sage Server, but I just got the Sage HD200 and it is worth the $180US plus charges. I have successfully configured it to run wirelessly on my WPA2 draft N network with the new USB adapter sold by Sage. It plays HD TV live from my Sage server, without a hiccup. It is very well made and very compact -- about the size of a paper back novel. I wish I'd bought several to start with as Wayne did but I waited for the wireless solution as my house is too difficult to wire for ethernet.

BTW, I think the GUI choice is a matter of personal taste, very subjective. I tried the SageMC add on interface and found it too confusing. I like the simplicity of the basic interface and how the guide and menus overlay on top of what's playing. As Wayne says, the interfaces on Scientific Atlanta and Motorola boxes are reminiscent of Iron curtain.

stampeder
2009-11-28, 02:36 PM
many would consider me a Media Center fanboyA fanboy just spouts the same biased, unhelpful drivel over and over again, refusing to acknowledge or countenance dissent, or to lift a finger to solve problems (which they usually duck away from). You, Pete, are so many light years away from that, as all can see from the efforts you've made over the past few years, so only a fanboy of the worst magnitude would call you a fanboy! :)I have to admit that if you're already happy running Sage I can't recommend switching.This is an accurate statement about the general state of HTPC software on Windows, as well as on other OSes. Choice is good, and the options have never been better.

cheers :)

TorontoColin
2009-11-28, 04:24 PM
I agree. While many would consider me a Media Center fanboy, I have to admit that if you're already happy running Sage I can't recommend switching.

As Stampeder said we're all fans of one of these programs and we're all more likely to recommend what we know and what works for us. A fanboy would be someone who refuses to admit when their product has weaknesses and when it isn't the ideal solution. You've been the first to criticise Microsoft when they make poor decisions with Media Center, and the program is only viable for Canadians because of you.

dezzpayne
2009-11-28, 06:44 PM
I just picked up 2 more Sage extenders and as long as you're satisfied with the UI as is, it's the easiest thing in the world.

Just picked up an el cheapo TV for the bedroom (btw great deal. Dynex 42" LCD 1080P for $649) and because I only needed to run the audio through the TV setting up the Sage extender was easier than setting up a DVD player.

I did have to upgrade to a Gigabit switch. My home network is soon going to need a full time lan admin. In a moment of providence the same night I said I needed to upgrade to the switch Dell had a killer 24 hour deal on the Trendnet Greennet switches.

pnear
2009-11-28, 08:50 PM
For the record, that article you found regarding ATSC in Canada is a link to my research on the topic. That particular hack is outdated, I posted the latest hack (which is much more elegant) upon the RTM release of Windows 7. You can find the newest information about Media Center and Canada here:
http://thegreenbutton.com/blogs/pnear/archive/2009/08/10/windows-7-media-center-in-canada.aspx

And thanks for the kind words. I'm up for MVP nomination again, I'll pass along your quotes to the individuals at Microsoft who are responsible for the award. ;-)

Cheers,
Pete

Wayne
2009-11-28, 10:36 PM
Peter on that post I think you should clarify that it is for RTM as many folks might not know what that means. The RTM designation doesn't matter too much know that the final product has been released and, presumably, few folks would still be using the RC or Beta versions, even though they can do so for free for a few more months.

stampeder
2009-11-29, 02:21 PM
And thanks for the kind words. I'm up for MVP nomination againDo you get a free Technet and MSDN subscription? :D Keep up the great work, Pete!

Is there any substantial difference between your RC and RTM fixes? I agree that the naming is confusing.

byebye_cable
2009-11-30, 10:03 PM
For the record, that article you found regarding ATSC in Canada is a link to my research on the topic. That particular hack is outdated, I posted the latest hack (which is much more elegant) upon the RTM release of Windows 7. You can find the newest information about Media Center and Canada here:
http://thegreenbutton.com/blogs/pnear/archive/2009/08/10/windows-7-media-center-in-canada.aspx


"HDTV Recording Priority" - does this mean I can have multiple HD tuners in Windows 7 (say three of them), each attached to an antenna pointed in a different direction, and I will be able to configure Windows to know what tuner to utilize when I record (or flip)?

Right now I have one digital tuner & two analog - MCE 2005 picks the "first available" analog tuner for analog channels - I can't set a preference (to my knowledge) for it to use one analog tuner over the other. I'm still happy :) - just always looking to make things better.

pnear
2009-11-30, 11:18 PM
Not quite what I was getting at for priority (but stick with me because the short answer is yes).

For each recording, you can set which channel you want it recorded on. That can be any channel, channel x, channel y, HD preferred, HD only, SD preferred, or SD only. I generally use "HD Preferred" in which case Media Center will always attempt to record the HD signal unless it's not available and then swap down to the SD signal.

What you're referring to is called "sources" in MC7. For each channel, you can define the prioritized sources for each channel. Say for example you set up WGRZ in Buffalo, you can set the primary source for that to be the HD tuner you have pointed towards Buffalo. You configure sources in the guide setup.

Pete

byebye_cable
2009-12-01, 02:01 PM
Cool, thanks (again). Just to be clear, in sources can I prevent WGRZ from EVER trying to record on "tuner B or C" - just wondering about recording conflicts.

If there is a detailed writeup on MCE7 features somewhere by all means point me to that. Each question you answer seems to lead to another & I'm sure you have a job already :)

pnear
2009-12-01, 03:05 PM
Yes, you can prevent WGRZ from ever recording on tuner b or c.

I'm not aware of any writeup I can send you to, but I googled a few and these are a start:
http://hd.engadget.com/2009/07/27/windows-7-media-center-review/
http://blog.retrosight.com/WindowsMediaCenterInThePDCBuildOfWindows7.aspx

Sources were introduced in the TV Pack, try this overview:
http://hd.engadget.com/2008/08/06/hands-on-with-the-vista-media-center-tv-pack/

Pete

TorontoColin
2009-12-01, 03:44 PM
Under the edit channel option (the same place you'd go to change the name or number of a channel) select edit sources and un-check any you don't want using. You can also rank them here, which I believe sets priority if the tuner is free