List of Known HD Content for MCE in Vista - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 

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Old 2006-11-24, 04:26 AM   #1
TedS
 
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Default List of Known HD Content for MCE in Vista

Being a big MCE 2005 user, I thought I'd just piece together what I know about the various HD content sources for MCE Vista and their known states. Please feel free to add info:

1. HD via OTA (ATSC)
- Little or no change from MCE 2005
- Appear to be hacks to get it to work in Canada (thanks, Peter for the effort, haven't tried them yet)
- My rating: C-

2. HD via Cable (CableCard)
- This is limited to a US release and don't see Canadian cable companies picking up on this
- Saw the CableCard on an external device attached to a Vista machine at the Digital Life Expo (October in New York, NY). Wasn't working.
- Apparently working at the Niveus booth at EHX (November in Long Beach, CA) - but didn't see it.
- Don't see MythTV getting this anytime soon due to Cable Lab restrictions
- My rating: F

3. HD via Satellite (e.g., DirecTV)
- Planned by MS and DirecTV but apparently not in the initial Vista release
- No plan outside of US as far as public knowledge is concerned
- My rating: F

4. HD via IPTV
- Limited news on even IPTV roll-outs. About the most tangible info is I can select Telus as my provider within the EPG set-up area. Who knows what HD content will be available (probably a few on this board)
- Even if we get HD over IPTV, still need a method of tuning it. Microsoft has apparently combined the eHome group (MCE) with the TV group (IPTV) which is a positive sign, but so far MS has their own STB/technology, no sign of a Microsoft IPTV, let alone a non-MS IPTV, MCE tuner any time soon
- My rating: F

5. HD via "movie" download
- So far US has seen downloadable movies on Xbox 360 - not shareable with MCE, me thinks
- Hopefully, there will be more announcements with MCE Online Spotlight (a la Mac Mini Kaleidoscope project) with formal release of Vista (cross your fingers). If so, it would be nice to have it streamable to extenders (managed media)
- My rating: D

6. HD via "video" download
- Basically the same as 5, but not necessarily full productions/movies.
- Played back some nice WMV-HD samples from Microsoft's WMV-HD site. Would love to hear on transcoding successes/horror stories for other formats.
- No idea how HD using DivX or other format would be handled.
- I can't see good content being generated, particularly if everyones busy generating/watching YouTube/Google "copyright sensitive" flash trash.
- My rating: C (possibilities exist, but no mechanisms yet)

7. HD via physical media (e.g., Blu-Ray, HD-DVD)
- Good progress on this front. Niveus is selling with HD-DVD and claiming 1080p playback. Others are selling with Blu-Ray. XBox 360 has a good deal.
- We should even be able to rip (legally) and stream (locally) HD-DVD/Blu-Ray movies - quoting Brian Binnerup of MyMovies: "With HD-DVD and Blue-Ray we will have managed copy, and "My Movies" should be able to use this legally just as well as Kaleidescape and a lot of other companies that for sure will be doing the same thing."
- My rating: B (need to see it happen, before giving it a thumbs up)

But generally speaking, MCE Vista needs to give Canadians more reason to purchase it - cause the outlook for getting HD content on Vista MCE is pretty bleak, unless things change. Conversely, it would be great to see a Canadian content provider (e.g., cable, satellite, etc.) step up to the plate and support MCE Vista. I'm not holding my breath.

Again, any additions, corrections, etc. are welcome. Would also like to hear the comparison vs. MythTV, BeyondTV, etc. - I think they're in the same boat or worse.

Ted
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Old 2006-11-24, 07:48 PM   #2
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Looks like a reasonable list, although I'm not sure I agree with the C- rating for ATSC. For interest's sake, what would your rating be if it were supported in Canada (no hacks) and it did ATSC scanning?

The other hack you missed was firewire... you can have MCE record off of firewire in parallel to the analog recording coming off of your STB. Once the recording is done, it swaps the files. Cool hack, but reliant on the choice of the cable providers if they enable firewire output or not.

It's shaping up bleakly in Canada for any HTPC to do high-def through cable or satellite, and yes I'm comfortable blaming that on the CRTC (versus the FCC's actions to open up the market through things like cablecard).
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Old 2006-11-25, 12:51 AM   #3
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Peter,

I gave OTA/ATSC a C because of the limit choice of OTA in Canada. Southern Ontario is lucky but here in Vancouver, I only get one channel without an outdoor antenna.

I also didn't include the firewire hack - because it's just that, a hack. It's not a feature that I can seem MCE supporting or anything I see becoming mainstream anytime soon.

After watching the Sabres/Leafs game on HD, you realize how important HD content is. But the EPG/DVR for the cable STB is so arcane, let alone managing other media and online content. We just need them to come together.

Ted
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Old 2006-11-25, 03:40 AM   #4
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I am not aware of a "MCE Vista" edition - is it a beta? Do you mean the Vista Premium version that is coming out in January? I just bought the OEM version of MCE 2005 that has a coupon for free Vista Premium that has MCE built in.

It looks like that the only way to get MCE functionality in Vista is to get Premium or Ultimate editions.

I like your analysis of what our options are - I live in the lower mainland too. I think until the cable companies up here support cable card, HD on PC is going to be a PITA. It could happen eventually I suppose. I am seriously considering taking some classes at BCIT so I can come up with my own software/hardware that can handle this for me. LOL. That might take longer than CC support from Shaw. Maybe not.
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Old 2006-11-25, 02:45 PM   #5
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By MCE Vista, I meant all the SKUs of Vista that support MCE funcitonality. I think there will be two: Premium and Ultimate.

Ted
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Old 2006-12-02, 06:35 PM   #6
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I've got Vista Ultimate (beta testers got their copy a few days ago). I tried Windows Media Centre with the WinTV-HVR 950. No luck getting it going so far. I thought I saw some postings regarding this tuner, but my searches are coming up empty. Any pointers?
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Old 2006-12-03, 01:31 PM   #7
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Yes, I was also quite disappointed in the state of affairs with respect to Vista.

I will remain on MCE 2005 for the forseeable future or unless there is a pile of after the fact updates to fix things that MS didn't seem to realize was so important to the masses.

My only complaint on the whole thing is that firewire should have been supported since the get go. I believe that there is no excuse but greed that stops us from having firewire supported and available on ALL STBs, HD or otherwise. Some may say that a card in an HTPC is a better route, but I favour the STB as the "card" as it allows for a greater degree of flexibility in the future. Not unless the cable companies started rending PCI cards...
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Old 2007-08-20, 03:21 PM   #8
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It looks like Shaw sent out another firmware to my STB and now I only get partial (random) recordings via firewire and there is NOTHING I can do about it.

It looks like we are completely scr3w3d for HD content in Vista in Canada now.

This sucks!
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Old 2007-08-20, 09:09 PM   #9
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Which STB and what is the new version of firmware?

Here in NB, we are still doing well with the DCT6208 as a firewire option. The DCT6200 is buggy with channel changes and we are still without a dual tuner and it looks as if we will be skipping over the DCT64xx series alltogether.
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Old 2007-08-21, 12:49 PM   #10
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I have a 6412 III - I'm not sure what level of firmware but it was working almost perfectly until a few weeks ago...

I'm at a loss - I think I'm going to have to wait for Direct TV to save the day or go full-on xbox 360 video marketplace...

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Old 2007-08-21, 02:55 PM   #11
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You should go into the setup screen and see what version.

Either way, one aspect that I should have commented on was that I have stuck with MCE 2005 as I could not quickly and easily get Vista to behave.

Are you willing to downgrade to MCE 2005?
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Old 2007-08-22, 12:55 PM   #12
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I can do that...

What does the version of Windoze have to do with anything?

What kind of issues did you have?

Not really, I like the new interface and I'm not sure why you would think that would make a difference with this issue...
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Old 2007-08-22, 06:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
What does the version of Windoze have to do with anything?
I found that although Vista was tested for FireSTB, MCE 2005 is much more stable with the FireSTB package. Makes sense too as Timm worked the MCE 2005 version for a lot longer than under Vista and on top of that, he never did any followup with the actual released version of Vista.

Quote:
What kind of issues did you have?
Under Vista, I was never able to get it to record the firewire. I was able to do channel changes but that was it.

Under MCE 2005, I have never had an issue.

The only long running "issue" I ever had was with using a DCT6200. It would randomly not want to change the channel via firewire. I know for sure that it was an issue with the DCT6200 as when I moved that STB to another MCE setup I have (That was flawless and uses a DCT6208), it was doing the exact same thing. I have since rented a second 6208 and returned the 6200 and all has been perfect.

Quote:
Not really, I like the new interface
I can understand that. I like the MCE 2005 interface better so I can sympathize with the idea of not having what one likes.

Quote:
and I'm not sure why you would think that would make a difference with this issue...
Unfortunately, it is not an issue with the version of MCE software but possibly an issue with how Vista itself deals with firewire devices compared with XP (Which is exactly what MCE 2005 is). It could also be so specific that it is an issue created by the firmware version and that issue may not occurr under XP. Anecdotally, folks in Ontario on Scientific Atlanta hardware have tinkered with firewire on every platform and the most interesting thing discovered was that on Mac OS X, it is flawless. Windows of any version was sketchy at best and Linux was "OK".
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Old 2007-08-22, 06:19 PM   #14
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Forgot to mention if you hadn't figured it out that I am the same que3jxp as on The Green Button.
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Old 2007-08-23, 01:09 PM   #15
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So are you suggesting that I go crawling back to XPeee and it may still work?

I'm just about that desperate!

The only issues I have had (other than the recent BIG one) is the channel change would fail but I would always get that AGGREGATOR SERVICE error or something like that.

After reading Timm's destructions to the letter, it worked perfectly for me otherwise with Vista RTFM.

There are a lot of guys around here that are just getting into recording HD from cable (because it is the only game in town) so maybe I will see how their experiences are - there is still a slim chance that there is something wrong with my setup (eg: Windoze Updates, anti-v, cabling, signal strenght, boat-anchor shaw stb).

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