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Windows 7 as a media center extender?

    General discussion

  • I have a Vista Ultimate box that I use as my media center. I have a notebook with Windows 7 installed on it that I would like to use as a media center extender. Is this possible?

     

    For the life of me I can't seem to figure it out. My Vista machine hasn't given me the notice of a new media center PC on the network like it does when a new Vista media center shows up...

     

    Appreciate any guidance.... 

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009 3:10 AM

All replies

  • So just to further clarify what I am trying to do here.

    I have Vista ultimate on a desktop in the living room. This basically runs media center all day, being my tv / dvr (son also uses it for WOW, youtube and general surfing). I use my Xbox 360 as an extender down stairs when I want to watch TV down there.

    I have Win7 ultimate on a notebook. I'd like to use it as an extender so I could watch TV in the kitchen while I make dinner, or in the garage, anywhere my network can reach (bandwidth allowing of course).  It beats having the cable company drill a gazilion holes in my walls :-)

    My Vista desktop see's every other Vista machine in the house. It see's my sons Vista ultimate media center, and my daughters XP media center. I get a little message saying a new media PC has shown up... something like that :-)

    I have not gotten that message with this windows 7 machine. They are all in the same workgroup. Windows 7 can see the Vista box. I can stream music from it, in windows player. I can see my recorded TV shows in Windows player but I can't play them. (I suspect thats a DRM issue perhaps???).

    Win 7 Media center also wont allow me to join my wireless network using the wizzard in meda center. I'm on the network, it passes the internet connection test, but when I try to join the network I am unsuccessfull. It see's my network, asks for the password, I put it in, I accept the UCA prompt and it then tells me the password is incorrect. (It's the correct password).

    I really like Windows 7. I am getting better performance out of this hardware than when it runs Vista. Hopefully I can get this to work.

    Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:00 AM
  • I totally agree with you. Why will Microsoft not allow the Media Center on other computers on the network to act as extenders?

    I hate having to crarry my External FireDTV Card to my bed/garden along with my NoteBook just to view LiveTV on it....especially in the Garden or garage...its just baffles me why they would not allow it.

    Pppl don't want Media Center servers and cards in every room. We want one Media Center server and everything else to act as an extender (without carrying stupid external cards).

    Microsoft would only notice the importance of this function after they released it, as it would really kick on in a big way....this would help them in gaining the edge over rivals.

    Thursday, January 29, 2009 10:49 PM
  • Hi - this is one of the most requested features for Media Center (since it came out 7 yrs ago) - also referred to 'Softsled' (extender software that runs on another pc rather than an official 'media center extender' device) - and the Media Center team (I think) are more than aware of the demand for that feature. (but have never prioritized it high enough to implement).

    Just as long as you don't want live tv streaming - you can do pretty much everything else you'd expect on an extender via MC running locally (ie. share all your media including previously/current recorded shows ) accross media center installs (the homegroups make this even easier).

    The best workaround for live tv (if you know what you want to watch) is to record the show on the other pc - and then watch the recorded file on your laptop via pointing at the shared drive where it's being recorded (and I think you should be able to get away with watching it before it's finished/closed on the other machine).

    Niall

    ps - there are some tuner cards on the market (not available for all markets/tuner types) which can stream accross the network too  (via their drivers) - so this might be worth looking at.

     


    Niall Ginsbourg - MVP Windows Media Center - Australia
    Friday, January 30, 2009 6:09 AM
    Answerer
  • mobilewares said:

    Hi - this is one of the most requested features for Media Center (since it came out 7 yrs ago) - also referred to 'Softsled' (extender software that runs on another pc rather than an official 'media center extender' device) - and the Media Center team (I think) are more than aware of the demand for that feature. (but have never prioritized it high enough to implement).

    Just as long as you don't want live tv streaming - you can do pretty much everything else you'd expect on an extender via MC running locally (ie. share all your media including previously/current recorded shows ) accross media center installs (the homegroups make this even easier).

    The best workaround for live tv (if you know what you want to watch) is to record the show on the other pc - and then watch the recorded file on your laptop via pointing at the shared drive where it's being recorded (and I think you should be able to get away with watching it before it's finished/closed on the other machine).

    Niall

    ps - there are some tuner cards on the market (not available for all markets/tuner types) which can stream accross the network too  (via their drivers) - so this might be worth looking at.

     


    Niall Ginsbourg - MVP Windows Media Center - Australia



     The work around for LiveTV is pretty good, but still not the extender experience I am after. Hopefully someone from the Softsled project will be able to make this a reality for us if Microsoft don't, as you have done with the EPG :)

    Great work....keep it up :)

    Saturday, January 31, 2009 12:14 AM
  • Software based media extenders has been the the biggest problem surrounding Media Center,  for me anyway. Seven years is a long time to ask for a basic function which many other 3rd party Media Centers have provided (Sage TV to name one).  The concept of one computer and several televisions in a dwelling is obsolete. I have one television and six computers.


     

    Saturday, January 31, 2009 7:53 PM
  • Wooohhh...ppl have been waiting seven years for this functionality.....come on Microsoft...what are you playing at? You know you're gonna do it somewhere down the line...so why not now?

    I hope I'm not going to have to wait a further seven years :)

    Monday, February 02, 2009 9:39 PM
  • i use webguide4 to stream video from my media center to other pcs.  its not the greatest, but it works, and i love having the web interface for scheduling shows.  
    Wednesday, February 04, 2009 3:46 AM
  • WebGuide definately isn't the same, but a decent alternative for my mobile phone.

    However, WebGuide also doesn't seem to be supported anymore after TVPACK 2008, so thats no longer seems to be a viable alternative.

    Wednesday, February 04, 2009 1:22 PM
  • I've got to admit, just prior to the beta release of Win 7 I was in the process of evaluating a switch to other software for my media center, there are too many things that are available and work on other media systems now to keep putting up with the inadequacies of media center. So I tried the beta and now have my system running media center with 2 tv reciever cards running on 2 different schedules (this is the feature that made me smile for beta) and I started to think woohoo, lets check the other things I want to do.

    Watching tv on my deck using my notebook is a must have, its a primary use, and as I said in a rant last july Streaming TV, I can do it with a cable splitter and 50' of cable just like I could back in the 1980's but I can't use my nice streaming media center to do so. Whats up with that?

    I also think Microsoft should offer us, the beta worker bees, access to a cheap upgrade path and please please do not stop the beta from working before the retail is available to us.

    There are many work arounds to get media center to do some of this stuff, but it should be done nativly by the APP.

    stream live TV to any locally attached network device. (without drm notices popping up everywhere)
    stream my music and other videos including recorded tv to any locally attached network device.(without drm notices popping up everywhere)

    These functions must work, every time, without fail so we can depend on them when we invite people over for a parking lot movie evening or music for the hot tub.

    Another thing media center must do is offer us options for recording file type, standard def tv shows do not need the kind of space that they are taking up!

    Ranting on
    JJ


    Monday, February 09, 2009 6:40 PM
  • Hi there, I asked the following question over at the Windows 7 beta QnA and got silence, and from what I am reading here, I thought perhaps you could answer. This may be an odd place to post new questions (in mid-discussion) but it seems on topic, and I didn't want to waste readers' time by posting a new topic.

    Will Windows 7 stream to another PC or "Play To" recorded TV files that were recorded using WMC?

    Will other Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP PCs be able to play recorded TV streams from a Windows 7 machine over a home network?

    If so, will those PCs be able to get all the show info such as title, time and date, episode summary, etc in order to navigate and choose the correct recorded TV episode?

    Another, similar question is will Windows 7 be able to act as a software-based media center extender for another machine (Windows 7, Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, or XP MCE) running Windows Media Center?

    One more question is...is any of this possible in Windows Vista? I have one PC with Vista that I use as my media center/DVR and my other systems in the house are running Xp or Mac O/S. I can share and then access the recorded TV folder via my network and play the files on the other systems in the house (yes, even the Mac) but I don't get any of the fantastic WMC front-end UI, which turns out to be more than just a pretty wrapper slapped on it, because it also gives specific episode names, recording dates, and episode summaries, and groups the episodes per series(if desired). When combing the files via a network share, the naming convention is all convoluted and the experience is not very intuitive. I could use an extender such as the xbox 360 to watch this stuff on tv, but it is more convenient to watching on my computers.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 12:41 AM
  • Hi there,

    I realy need that!!!

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 5:22 PM
  • This thread is a bit old but since someone expressed interest in using their PC in this manner I can say that Windows Media player, IF it is setup to in control panel/homegroup to share media you can also set it to stream media over the network in the same place.

    Other PC's on the network will receive this stream (if they are a part of the homegroup), all that is required of the other PC's is opening Media Player and in the panel that shows the media libraries look for "Other Libraries" at the bottom of the list. Clicking this will bring up everything that is listed in the Streaming PC's media player, you are now ready to enjoy you media on other machines in your network.


    Please remember to flag a post that helps you as "answer" so that it may help others with same problems.
    Friday, May 20, 2011 11:21 AM
  • Quick note for people searching for windows 7 media extender capability in the future.  If you have a ceton infinitv card you can share tuners across the network, which accomplishes the same thing.
    Friday, December 16, 2011 9:49 PM
  • The problem with this is that you have to dedicate the tuner to the remote machine.  For example, if you have the cable card based quad tuner, you have to dedicate one of the four tuners to your remote machine.  My primary media center sometimes uses all four tuners simultaneously and I can't dedicate one of them to a separate machine.  For someone that didn't need all four tuners, this might not be a bad thing.
    Saturday, May 19, 2012 11:42 PM
  • wow... all this time and still no decent solution here for a very basic feature - I ditched my SageTV when they got bought by Google a while back - gotta say, I miss them terribly - Microsoft clearly is not interested in this market space much - looks to me like Media Center is on the "life support" development mode and not much else.  *sigh*
    Thursday, December 06, 2012 8:18 PM
  • Yep, and now MS what to sell MC as a separate add on! Hahahahah!
    • Edited by Mat Walker Tuesday, April 23, 2013 2:20 AM
    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 2:20 AM
  • The best MS solution up to now has been to buy an Xbox for every TV in the house and use the multiple tuner cards to stream media or live TV to the xboxes.  However they have been silent on if XBox One will work with media center.
    Saturday, June 22, 2013 8:10 PM