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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-11, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Split from DSM-750 Thread (V1 Media Extender Discussion)

I have the DSM-320, and find it buggy during playback of certain files.

The DSM-520 however can play all my files smoothly on the same home network, including HD files no problems. I thought about getting the DSM-720 as well eventually, but since the DSM-520 plays everything fine, I'm not sure I need to upgrade my entire network to wireless-N.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 10:46 AM
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Note that this is a V2 Windows Media Center extender - it connects to and requires a PC running Vista Media Center. The older device mentioned was more of your regular media extender that uses proprietary server software or uPnP or something like that. Linksys just started selling two of these V2 MCE extenders - one model with a DVD player for $349 and one without a DVD player for $299. I wonder if the price for this D-Link unit has now been dropped to $299?

Certainly the wireless N will account for some of the increased cost, they may also have to license software from Microsoft although I am not sure who would be paying who for these devices.

The advantage to these vs. the other type of extenders (which I have experince with as I bought the Gateway Connected DVD player several years ago) is that they give the user the full Media Center interface - it is exactly the same as using Media Center on a PC as far as the user is concerned.

One model for the future is to have a server PC running Media Center with several TV tuners, lots of hard drive space, etc hidden away somewhere in your house with several of these extender devices (thin clients) wherever you have a TV. This would allow you full access to all of your media content and it could reduce the number of TV tuners that you need.

There are older V1 extenders available cheaply on eBay (approx $80) made by Linksys that work only with XP MCE - the only downside to those is that they do not work with HDTV - but that isn't that much of a downside (yet) as the only HDTV that you can get into Media Center in Canada is via an OTA tuner card - and that is thanks to a hack developed by Peter!

Peter - what formats does this device support? Can you stream Divx, Xvid, and other MPEG-4 variants without requiring a transcoder?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
There are older V1 extenders available cheaply on eBay (approx $80) made by Linksys that work only with XP MCE - the only downside to those is that they do not work with HDTV - but that isn't that much of a downside (yet) as the only HDTV that you can get into Media Center in Canada is via an OTA tuner card - and that is thanks to a hack developed by Peter!
No. The 520 worked with HDTV. The 320 and 520 both also worked with regular XP. The worked with d-llink software or with with UPNP. Most people used UPNP because you didn't have as many DRM issues.



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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 11:10 AM
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But I don't think the 320 and 520 were "Windows Media Center Extenders" which means that they have essentially all of the functionality of MCE, including streaming Live TV, plug-ins for MCE (i.e. MyMovies, MyWeather, etc.), the same User Interface as MCE, etc. They could stream HD in the form of pre-recorded HD files in formats such as MPEG, TS, Divx and DVR-MS(MCE's video format) but not LiveTV from MCE and probably not shows that are in the process of being recorded.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 11:11 AM
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Sure they were.



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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 11:30 AM
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I don't think they were Hugh. Here is D-Link's web page for the 520. Nowhere do I see it mention the words "Media Center Extender".
Here is a picture of the UI:

This is definitely not MCE 2005 which looks like this (taken from a review of a Linksys WMCE54AG):


I believe the only extenders were made by Linksys and HP, in addition to the XBOX and XBOX360. I am sure Peter will confirm this when he rejoins the thread.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 11:56 AM
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That's because they were marketed as "Windows Media Connect" devices. The term Media Center Extender is a new marketing term.

Regardless Wayne, you are way off topic. In post #2 you said that the Older devices did not work with HDTV's and ONLY worked with MCE. That was NOT true and that was my only point in post #3



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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by hugh View Post
That's because they were marketed as "Windows Media Connect" devices. The term Media Center Extender is a new marketing term.

Regardless Wayne, you are way off topic. In post #2 you said that the Older devices did not work with HDTV's and ONLY worked with MCE. That was NOT true and that was my only point in post #3
Hugh I really think we are talking about two different types of devices - Media Center Extenders and Media Players or bridges. The 720 is the first D-Link product that is an extender that talks to Windows Media Center.

Media Center Extender is not a new marketing term - the first extenders came out in 2004. Here is a story on Engadget dated October 6, 2004 - unless you consider 3+ years to be new.

The older devices that I said did not work with HDTV were V1 extenders - not the D-Link devices. But they do work with HDTVs - they have componenet outputs. And I don't consider that the D-Link devices to work with TV. The D-Link devices do work with HD video files - that is different. But they do not work with TV at all - what I mean is that they cannot take an HD TV signal in 1080i or 720p format from one PC and carry it through to the device. The V2 extenders can do that and the V1 extenders could do that with a TV signal from an analog capture card.

The 520 did work with something called "Active TV Online" but that appears to be static video files created from TV shows. But you couldn't watch a live football game with this device - you can with the 720.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 03:10 PM
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To elaborate a little bit on the difference between "Media Center Extenders" and Media Players or Bridges.

The former requires a specific operating system in order to operate and is usually made to be an accessory to an HTPC. The specific OS's are XP MCE and Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate. This is not too much of an issue now as pretty much everyone who is getting Vista (I think) is getting at least Home Premium - therefore they can use the extender. But this was an issue in the past - how many people bought a PC two years ago with XP MCE rather than XP Home or Pro?

The extenders also use Terminal Services - essentially they are acting as a "dumbed-down" remote desktop client from the MCE which is acting as a remote desktop server.

The media players or bridges did not require a specific OS - in fact they theoretically could be used in conjunction with Apple or Linux PCs, not just Windows PCs. These devices were seen as a "bridge" between the media content on your LAN (photos, music and video files) and your Home Theatre without any prerequisites. The forerunner of these devices was a music-only device called the Turtle Beach AudioTron that come out somewhere around 2000-2001 and allowed you to play music files from your LAN such as MP3s or WAVs. It did not require a TV - it had an LED screen for you to see what song you were selecting.

A few years later around 2003 companies like Go Video (D2730), Gateway (ADS 220), D-Link (320), HP (Digital Media Receiver ew5000), Linksys (WMB54G) etc. introduced products that were able to play music files (MP3, WAV, WMA, etc.), video files (MPG, AVI, .TS,etc.) and photos on your home theatre. The media was served up by software running on your PC or uPnP. You generally did not require a special HTPC OS.

One huge difference is that if you don't have the right OS it isn't easy to switch to using a Media Center Extender. If you were running XP Home or Pro you would have to buy MCE and reinstall your OS. With Vista if you are running Home Basic you have to buy an upgrade which is a bit easier as you can do Windows Anytime upgrade but still more expensive and not seemless.

Another huge difference is that extenders were made to seemlessly share live and recorded TV. They not only allow you to timeshift, they allow you to placeshift as long as that place is within an ethernet cable or your WiFi network. That was not the case with the media players and it is a huge benefit. If you only have one digital cable box and it is in your media room you could still watch live digital cable in your bedroom via an extender - as long as someone in the media room didn't want to watch a different show (unless you had two tuners in your MCE box). You would also have full PVR functionality - pause liveTV, start watching a 30 minute show 15 minutes in, etc. And you could schedule recordings from the extender.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-15, 03:25 PM
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I'll repeat

Quote:
In post #2 you said that the Older devices did not work with HDTV's and ONLY worked with MCE. That was NOT true and that was my only point in post #3


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-17, 05:14 PM
 
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Terminology confusion.

- v1 Windows Media Center Extenders (only 3 such devices exist globally) couldn't play back HDTV
- Connected Media Players (like the DSM-520) could output to a TV using their own interface, but lack the MCE interface for guide, PVR, etc
- The new DSM-750 can operate in both modes, as a Connected Media Player or as a Windows Media Center Extender. Both modes play back high definition content.

All better?

Sorry I haven't replied to the other thread yet, I got gun shy about my NDA. Lawyers and whatnot. ;-)

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-17, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by pnear View Post
- v1 Windows Media Center Extenders (only 3 such devices exist globally) couldn't play back HDTV
I never tried this Peter but do you know if V1 extenders could play back HD (720p, 1080i or p) content from media files in WMV format and or other other formats (Divx, Xvid, etc.) with or without Trascode 360?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-17, 05:32 PM
 
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Not sure, but I doubt it. I didn't have an HDTV in the days when I was using a v1 extender (and I've since sold mine). I think the HP and Linksys flavours had component outputs, but never hooked them up. If it did play back WMV-HD, I think I would have heard about it. I believe the limitation for HD playback was the silicon they used, ie a hardware issue not software.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-01-17, 05:51 PM
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The Linksys extender (I have 5 of them) does have a component output. I will try to play back some of the WMV-HD files from MS's web site.
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