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  1. Member drtalk's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2005
    Location: CANADA
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    OK, here's the poop. It's actually 2 questions. Since upgrading to Windows 7 when it was released, I have been absolutely ecstatic about WMC (Windows Media Center). Storing video and other media on my 6+TB of HD space and being able to watch it on my TV is most satisfying. I added a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 for capturing from other sources like VHS and for the higher digital channels off my Motorola HTC2500. As you know, when setting up WMC, it scans your cable input for available channels. It does NOT recognize the upper tier channels that are supposedly digital. Is there no way to have WMC recognize exactly what my Motorola box does?? To schedule a recording for a channel that is not recognized by WMC or WinTV, I must use the separate S-video ins and RCA left & right ins, use the WinTV scheduler to set a recording for the S-video input at the specific time and ensure that the cable box is either already tuned into the right channel or gets tuned in by it's own scheduler. Here's where problems occur. You may very well forget that you have a recording set and turn off your computer or cable box or some other variation thereof. Is it really that hard for a computer with a dual tuner to act as a cable box???

    Secondly, I am on the hunt for some sort of add on or app that will warn me when I try to shut down my computer when there is a recording scheduled. Sounds simple right? So far...no luck. HELP?!?
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  2. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drtalk View Post
    Is it really that hard for a computer with a dual tuner to act as a cable box???
    No, but it's still a computer and not a cable box that has only one responsibility. Just like most people don't shut off their DVRs you shouldn't be powering down your HTPC. I never shut off my PCs at home, they run 24/7, and only one of them is an HTPC (I run Media Center on a docked laptop but it doesn't get shut down, just put to sleep). You can use the sleep function on your Windows machine as WMC will wake up from sleep to record a show, but I don't think it shuts down after recording.

    If your cable provider supports M-Cards (CableCARD) then I'd highly recommend one of these:
    http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/
    I got one last fall and it is the best thing I've ever done with my HTPC setup, and I've been running HTPCs for 7 years. It will essentially act as a set-top box (STB) for your HTPC so that you don't need a separate tuner, IR blasters, and the STB. It even supports premium channels. You will need an M-Card from your cable provider, mine charges $2/month for the card "rental". It is a network tuner so you do need to make sure you have a good GbE wired network between the tuner and any HTPCs you have, but that also means it can be used by multiple media centers in your house. I use mine between two HTPCs, and occasionally three when I watch on my iPad (separate app needed for this). It has three tuners integrated using only a single cable input and can stream up to three channels simultaneously (technically the device isn't recording the content, your HTPC is).
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  3. Originally Posted by drtalk View Post
    Is there no way to have WMC recognize exactly what my Motorola box does??
    You can get a few of the digital cable channels with a clear QAM tuner. But most will be encrypted. To get those you'll need a device with a cablecard tuner. Any recordings you make will be encrypted and locked to that computer. In addition to the HDHomerun Prime there's the Hauppauge USB cablecard device:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hauppauge-WinTV-DCR-2650-Tuner-Cable/dp/B005FPT38A

    And the Ceton devices:

    http://cetoncorp.com/

    Be ready for big headaches getting the devices working. Cable companies don't like supporting them. They would much rather make you pay $20 a month for their DVR.
    Last edited by jagabo; 22nd Apr 2012 at 09:08.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    You probably do not have any clear QAM channels available. The rules governing cable in Canada allow all digital channels to be encrypted, and typically Canadian cable providers encrypt them all, including local stations

    Canadian law also does not require that cable operators provide something like a CableCARD for digital cable subscribers to use with TiVo, a CableCARD tuner, or a TV that can accept a CableCARD, as is required in the US.

    These differences mean that while computer can come close to replacing a cable box or DVR in the US, the same is not true in Canada.

    If a provider has any remaining analog channels, those are available.

    [Edit]You can use Media Center to record the output from your cable box. An IR receiver with an IR blaster is used to change channels. Set up is complicated, and once in a while the box didn't change channels correctly, but I tried it for a while, and it worked for the most part. The recording quality was not great because I have an SD cable box and used the SD analog capture on my TV tuner card. In the end, I decided to just use an indoor antenna with my TV tuner card since my reception is good for local channels, and I can receive more of them that way. The cable system doesn't carry them all.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 22nd Apr 2012 at 10:22.
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  5. Member
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    I couldn't find a program that warns of scheduled recordings, but here is a link to a website where you can download a shortcut that opens Windows Media Center and displays a list of scheduled recordings. http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/198215-windows-media-center-scheduled-recordings-...-shortcut.html

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  6. Member drtalk's Avatar
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    Thanks to all you guys for your input! It is greatly appreciated.

    Comments:
    - Unfortunately cable cards are not supported nor provided by my service provider.
    - For the life of me, I can NOT get WMC to accept the video/audio inputs.
    - The shortcut for scheduled recordings is a very good idea & am trying to remember to check it.

    Any further thought are most welcome.

    Life is like a game of poker. If you can't spot the sucker after a few minutes...then you ARE the sucker.
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Unfortunately Rogers, Bell, etc. control Canada. The citizens up there are too nice to object. They depend on cable to get other than CBC.

    The typical answer is IR blaster to control cable channel selection from WMC. No other option in Canada.
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by drtalk View Post
    Thanks to all you guys for your input! It is greatly appreciated.
    For the life of me, I can NOT get WMC to accept the video/audio inputs.
    You need an MCE compatible remote control kit that includes an RC6 IR Receiver with IR Blaster to get Media Center to work with your WinTV HVR 2250. The remote and IR blaster Hauppauge includes with the standard version of your card works with WinTV, but does not work with Media Center.

    I have this one.
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116071&Tpk=Hauppauge%20PCTV%20Remote%20Kit

    This should also work
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16880101007

    [Edit]I took another look at the description for the WinTV HVR 2250 Media Center Kit, which comes with the card, a remote, and IR Receiver IR blaster. It is different from some of the earlier Hauppauge products. The included remote receiver and blaster are supposed to be recognized by MCE. If you have the OEM/white Box version of the WinTV HVR 2250 then you need to purchase a MCE remote kit with IR blaster.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 6th May 2012 at 08:27.
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  9. Member drtalk's Avatar
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    The tuner card I have CAME with the remote and IR receiver & blaster, but damned if I can figure out how to get it to work with WMC. Just an observation here, it seems to me that video recorded with WinTV is better in quality than WMC video. Any thoughts?
    Life is like a game of poker. If you can't spot the sucker after a few minutes...then you ARE the sucker.
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  10. Member dragonkeeper's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drtalk View Post
    I have been absolutely ecstatic about WMC (Windows Media Center).
    Seems like you're the only one. If you look at up WMC in our tools section you will notice it has about 3/4 of millions views and not a single post nor has anyone place a single vote. That would concern me if i were using a piece of software.

    have you considered switching to one of the other HTPC apps hosted on this site. personally i really like Media Portal, you can find a plugin for virtually anything you would have a HTPC do.
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  11. Member drtalk's Avatar
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    OK, so I figured out how to get the S-video from my Motorola DCT2500 recognized by WMC. NEW PROBLEM: The darn thing keeps telling me the IR blaster hardware is installed. Thus, it won't change channels on the box EVEN THOUGH IT IS WORKING! AAAAAHHH!!!!!

    One other thing, I've been told that if I choose the S-video as a source, that will be WMC's only source. In other words, it's either use the dual tuners I have for the lower band channels and continue to use WinTV to capture the higher band channels off the box.

    Media Portal looked awesome to me, but I had a helluva time trying to figure it out & configure. Out of frustration, I just uninstalled it. Seems to me that I'm stuck with the above scheme. Am I wrong?
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  12. Member
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    Originally Posted by dragonkeeper View Post
    Originally Posted by drtalk View Post
    I have been absolutely ecstatic about WMC (Windows Media Center).
    Seems like you're the only one. If you look at up WMC in our tools section you will notice it has about 3/4 of millions views and not a single post nor has anyone place a single vote. That would concern me if i were using a piece of software.

    have you considered switching to one of the other HTPC apps hosted on this site. personally i really like Media Portal, you can find a plugin for virtually anything you would have a HTPC do.
    I recommend Windows Media Center, for ease of use, and it is what I use personally. I had no difficulty setting it up for analog capture using a Hauppauge Media Center remote kit with a USB IR Receiver/IR blaster purchased separately for my ATI TV card. I will admit that configuring the program guide to reflect my channel lineup took some time. It would take some time no matter what PVR software is used. Analog capture quality wasn't great, and I never got back to finding a way to tweak my settings to improve quality. (I decided that I didn't want my only PC to be in the living room, and would revisit recording cable TV with an HTPC when I build a new PC to replace my current machine.)

    Although I succeeded with them, and they are highly customizable, Media Portal and XBMC are a much bigger pain in the ass to set up successfully than Windows Windows Media Center. I would never recommend them to a newbie without being up front about that. Next PVR is easier to set up, and should work with a Hauppauge card for analog tuners. In fact it requires a component from Hauppauge's software to be installed to work for analog channels. I'm not sure if Next PVR can use an IR blaster or not. I only tried it for a digital tuner.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 10th May 2012 at 12:36.
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  13. Member
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    Originally Posted by drtalk View Post
    OK, so I figured out how to get the S-video from my Motorola DCT2500 recognized by WMC. NEW PROBLEM: The darn thing keeps telling me the IR blaster hardware is installed. Thus, it won't change channels on the box EVEN THOUGH IT IS WORKING! AAAAAHHH!!!!!

    One other thing, I've been told that if I choose the S-video as a source, that will be WMC's only source. In other words, it's either use the dual tuners I have for the lower band channels and continue to use WinTV to capture the higher band channels off the box.

    Media Portal looked awesome to me, but I had a helluva time trying to figure it out & configure. Out of frustration, I just uninstalled it. Seems to me that I'm stuck with the above scheme. Am I wrong?
    Analog capture and an analog tuner share resources, but in your case, I think it would be possible to use one analog capture port for the cable box, and one analog tuner for the lower band channels, since the card has dual analog tuners and dual analog capture ability. I.E. use analog capture port 1 with analog tuner 2 or analog capture port 2 with analog tuner 1.
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  14. Member drtalk's Avatar
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    I just noticed a typo in my last post. What I meant to say was "NEW PROBLEM: The darn thing keeps telling me the IR blaster hardware is NOT installed."The applications that come with WinTV to configure the IR blaster are a little complicated. I'll give you a simple example:
    When the learning app is open, it is supposed to send signals to the cable box until it successfully finds the right ones. You can see the little red LED light up during this process but so far it has not done diddly squat. I made sure the blaster is firmly in place over the IR sensor on the cable box. Here's the weird part. I know the blaster works because it has in the past...only once, but while using the WinTV app instead of WMC.

    Something worth noting here: Hauppaugge's tech support is excellent in the regard that they offer free telephone support and seem not to be concerned with how long ago you purchased their product. On the other side of the coin, the few times that I've called them, I got the feeling the tech was annoyed and just wanted to get this over with. Could be the same guy unless all their support staff have an attitude like a pack of hemorrhoids.

    I am most grateful for all you guys and your input. I am still scouring the net looking for anything that might help me with this situation but, alas....no luck. So again, I ask, any further ideas?
    Life is like a game of poker. If you can't spot the sucker after a few minutes...then you ARE the sucker.
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  15. As I understand it, Hauppauge IR blasters that come with their capture devices don't work with WMC.
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  16. Member drtalk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    As I understand it, Hauppauge IR blasters that come with their capture devices don't work with WMC.
    Actually, yes & no. I managed to select the s-video as the source for WMC and it accepted it. The problem is, I can't find a way to have WMC use the s-video and the dual tuner card I have.
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  17. Member
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    Originally Posted by drtalk View Post
    I just noticed a typo in my last post. What I meant to say was "NEW PROBLEM: The darn thing keeps telling me the IR blaster hardware is NOT installed."The applications that come with WinTV to configure the IR blaster are a little complicated. I'll give you a simple example:
    When the learning app is open, it is supposed to send signals to the cable box until it successfully finds the right ones. You can see the little red LED light up during this process but so far it has not done diddly squat. I made sure the blaster is firmly in place over the IR sensor on the cable box. Here's the weird part. I know the blaster works because it has in the past...only once, but while using the WinTV app instead of WMC.

    Something worth noting here: Hauppaugge's tech support is excellent in the regard that they offer free telephone support and seem not to be concerned with how long ago you purchased their product. On the other side of the coin, the few times that I've called them, I got the feeling the tech was annoyed and just wanted to get this over with. Could be the same guy unless all their support staff have an attitude like a pack of hemorrhoids.

    I am most grateful for all you guys and your input. I am still scouring the net looking for anything that might help me with this situation but, alas....no luck. So again, I ask, any further ideas?
    It has been a while, but if I recall correctly, WMC has "Fast", "Medium", and "Slow" as options for channel changing, and there was also a list of set top boxes to pick from. As it happened, my provider's cable box was on the list and worked best with the "Slow" setting. Set-up wasn't too bad, although I had to hold the remote and IR receiver pretty close for the learning function to work. Once in a while the IR blaster didn't work, but then the set-top box's own remote doesn't work 100% of the time either.

    I can't do much more to help you with a problem related to the IR receiver/IR blaster included with Hauppauge's WinTV HVR 2250 Media Center Kit. It is different hardware than the Hauppauge USB remote kit that I have. The IR blaster cable for my device plugs into the IR receiver, not the TV tuner card. Reading reviews for the WinTV HVR 2250 at newegg.com , the problem with the IR receiver/IR blaster you describe is common. Some reviewers indicated that a regular RC6 MCE USB receiver with IR blaster, as I have, is more reliable than what comes with the card.

    If you have been using WinTV, I think you may need to use Hauppauge's "HCW Clear" program to clean your system before re-installing drivers and setting up for WMC. "tunersalad" might help you set up for analog capture and analog tuning using WMC.

    [Edit]The drivers and software on the install disk are outdated. If you haven't already done so, download the latest drivers and software from Hauppauge's website. Run hcwclear.exe before installing.
    http://www.hauppauge.com/site/support/support_hvr2250.html
    http://www.hauppauge.com/site/support/support_hvr2250.html?tab=1
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 10th May 2012 at 18:30.
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