I've done quite well with my ganged OTA antennas (in Waterdown, ON), and using Windows Media Centre (Win7) as my front end PVR and TV Guide, as well as using a separate Media Server for Music and Media Storage (HP Media Smart, and various upgrades until Windows Home Server mangled everything)...
... but I am getting tired of having to trick WMC that we are in the US, JUST to get Netflix to show up in WMC. The downside has always been that in order to get everything we want into WMC (OTA and Netflix), we have to trick it into thinking we're in the States (no prob), but then I have to manually re-program the Channel Guide Additions for the Cable channels!!!!
WMC has been (and still is) excellent when it's working - an "integrated" 10ft Media Center solution is the only thing that my family will accept, and despite not being adapted for Canadians, WMC has been the perfect vehicle up until now.
Or maybe I should abandon the HTPC / OTA altogether (my family is pushing to just go with HD Cable and it's PVR, and use the Netflix integration in our TV set, or buy a new DVD player with integrated facilities, or some other "box" to complement our Cable system (Maybe Apple TV?? but then what about OTA PVR).
We currently tie this all together with a Logitech Harmony One (which has it's own set of pros and cons....).
We are a mixed PC and Mac family, and I am looking for software recommendations for both our Media Centre HTPC and our Media Server (also serves as a local back-up). I am open to anything so long as it's solid, easy to set and forget, and won't give the non-techy members of our family grief. And we have access to just about any platform hardware...I've gone through it all.
But as I get older, I am finding I don't have quite the time I used to to engage and research everything... AND I am tired of having to manually reprogram the TV Channel Set-up each time I make a change - so I am hoping that someone in a similar situation has gone down this path and can make a recommendation. Our HTPC collects a lot of dust so I have to constantly dismantle it to clean and blow out dust in order to keep it from overheating..... so part of me wants to reconsider the hardware aspect too, but only if it can handle good quality streaming movies.
I am looking at trying MediaPortal, but again, I need a solid Netflix plugin (don't really mind if it can't access US netflix, but we employ Un-block Us for a few elements like VUDU rentals as well).
Of importance are:
- OTA Tuner integration (currently using a combination of 3 tuners),
- Canadian Cable and OTA Programming Guide
- PVR capability (and in particular simultaneous multiple tuner recording)
- Photo / Music integration (must access remote networked server by DNLA, or iTunes or something... we prefer Lossless WMA, but I can be convinced to convert to iTunes lossless, I suppose).
- Ideally be able to integrate our funky screensaver (paid, name escapes me) with music for parties
- Netflix Canada or US integration
- Bluray DVD integration (currently using Arcsoft Total Media which has an integration with WMC)
So A BIG thank you to anyone contributing to this thread (and my family's peace of mind), or linking me to another discussion on the same subject that will help me to make some conclusions on our NEXT STEP in HTPC land....
Maybe, since I am "fairly" happy with WMC Win 7 - is a way to "preserve" my Cable Channel additions, so that if the system goes down or I have to re-do the signals for some reason, I can avoid the pain of having to manually program all the Cable channels each time.
P.S. I am cognizant that if this is my biggest concern in life, then we must live in a pretty good society and time in history!