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6 Months In

It's been a little more than 6 months since I switched to Sage TV.  And while it hasn't always been easy (to be fair, mostly problems with my HD PVR) when I look 7MC I don't see much that would bring me back.  Don't get me wrong, there are some really cool new features (Turbo Scroll) in 7MC, and the UI changes are very nice; but for me functionality is the most important thing.  When I look at Sage, I see a product that embraces the way that I want to consume content when I'm home, and when I'm not (DRM).  I see flexibility to use the product as I see fit, with options instead of restrictions.

When I look at 7MC, there are some great additions (some of them should have been there from the start <cough>video bookmarking</cough>), but there still isn't parity (only going to get worse as 7MC ages).  Media Center is still a product where the features and direction are set by policy and politics that I don't (and shouldn't have to) understand.  The most glaring is if I want more than one point of consumption I need to chose between extenders that don't extend everything, or PCs that don't deliver a connected experience.


Published Feb 10 2009, 05:51 PM by babgvant
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brent said:

As a fellow SageTV user, I'm very glad to have you in the community.  The contributions you've made thus far have been great.  I'm playing with Media Center during the W7 beta, but as you have stated, it's still missing some very key components.

February 10, 2009 8:49 PM

umdivx said:

the biggest peev I have is when users say they have limitations with MCE in the form of DRM.

I can't honestly think of one single time that I have seen a restriction that has held me back from moving a recorded TV show onto my laptop, or my Zune, or my WM phone or now even my BB Storm.

Everyone always say they hate Media Center extenders because of the lack of codec support. But honestly the way I look at it, if the content isn't in a format an extender supports 9 times out of 10 it probably was a pirated tv show or movie (cough MKV), now that is honestly a generalization on my part but how many ppl do you honestly know that rip a blu ray or dvd and convert it to MKV? or any other format that isn't extender friendly?

I will give you PC as extenders, that is a pretty much my only complaint, however 7MC sure does make it much much easier to use a PC as an extender for just playing back recorded TV and having it show up in the correct folder like it should. IE home groups.

The major problem that both 7MC and SageTV or hell any PVR application out there, is that it'll never become main stream. 7MC is by far though the easiest one to implement as there are hell of a lot of xbox's out there, and same goes for PC's running vista and soon 7MC.

but alas in the end, I am a sucker for a good looking UI and SageTV to me is just too damn fugly for my tastes.

- josh

February 10, 2009 9:46 PM

babgvant said:

If you're fine with SD, then for the most part MC's DRM isn't a problem (unless you're Canadian, like <shudder>American Gladiators</shudder>, or HBO).  The story is very different with non-ATSC HD content, where your only current option is Cable Card, which locks down everything (not just the HD or premium content).  Dish has a tuner coming for 7MC which is rumored to be just as locked down.  

Many people, myself included, use MKV to store legitimate content.  I don't download shows or movies, and 50% of my non-video_ts movie library is MKV (thanks Handbrake!).  I also use MKV to placeshift content to my phone because of chapter support.  MKV may be popular with the 'pirates', but it has plenty of legit uses as well.  

I don't know that MKV isn't supported because it has illicit uses.  If it is, that is just another example of the "politics that I shouldn't have to understand".  MS shouldn't be "Big Content" enforcer, they should be selling me something that enables me to consume content, agnostic to the source; and let my sourcing, illicit or not, be between me and the content provider.

Also my comments on "extenders that don't extend" was primarily a reference to video_ts support.

I don't mean to say that MC isn't a valid choice for some.  If it meets your needs, that's great; it just doesn't meet mine.

February 11, 2009 7:02 AM

umdivx said:

I guess you've been out of the MCE game for a while then, cable card systems got an update to lessen the DRM restrictions.

like I said before my biggest gripe is when ppl complain about MCE's "DRM laden recordings" but look at it this way, do you think we would even have Cable Card tuners or Sat tuners for PC to get the premium content if it wasn't there?

Some people may be content on dealing with devices like the HD PVR and IR blasters and all that crap and still have to pay monthly fee's for hardware rental. The reason I jumped on the HTPC/MCE bandwagon was to get rid of the high monthly fee's I was paying for HD DVR cable box rentals ($15/month per box in my case) so the HD PVR just doesn't seem like the end all be all solution either.

and BTW 7MC now has pseudo HD PVR support as well ;) and is just a matter of time before is has full native support.

- Josh

February 11, 2009 11:34 AM

babgvant said:

Has anyone confirmed that the change in spec was implemented on MC?  My understanding was this required some firmware from ATI that never materialized, but as you note I haven't been following MC developments that closely.

I don't know if we would get OCUR et. al. w/o DRM, but personally I think it's a non-issue.  I wouldn't put a device like that in my PC because it destroys much of the value created from using a PC to record your TV in the first place (i.e. the freedom to do what you want, when you want).  If you are OK with DRM, get a device that isn't quirky like a PC.

MC's defaults for DRM side with the content provider, and not with me (who is the customer?).  

Where I live I get 1 STB included in my TV bundle, each additional one is $5 a month (I think the CC are $1.50, but I'm not sure) so the cost savings (I only have one STB) are negligible/non-existent (if they wouldn't refund the diff if I had a CC).  And if a CC was used, I'd lose On Demand (use it a lot for kids shows).  I use FW to change channels, so IR blasters aren't an issue.  My STB and HD PVR are in an AV cabinet so I don't see it.  

"Pseudo support" is a good way to characterize it :)  Funny thing is that all Hauppauge has to do is release a PBDA driver (something I expect to happen soon) and all the work put into that will be wasted.

All that said even if you take away the DRM and add in HD PVR support, I'm still left with a crap solution if I want to use an extender, and a platform that isn't designed with my use case in mind.

February 11, 2009 12:04 PM

umdivx said:

Where I live, Minnesota, on comcast, it's cheaper to get HD DVR's than it is to get just HD cable boxes. If I wanted two HD cable boxes it would be $36/month on comcast.

[quote]If you are OK with DRM, get a device that isn't quirky like a PC.[/quote]

but then you have to deal with a fugly UI, don't get unified DVRing at all your displays, and again limited HDD storage. But I'm sure you know all that already.

But again the whole point to all my ranting on here is your comment about DRM, which to me and many others is a none issue. There has yet to be a situation where something in MCE has limited me and my ability to watch the content, when and where I want it.

- Josh

February 11, 2009 12:57 PM

babgvant said:

Are you talking about Tivo?

The DRM parenthetical was in reference to what I would have to use to get what I have now (HD cable content).  I haven't been able to find (w/ limited searching) any confirmations that the CableCard content restrictions were removed for non-premium content (although even if true, still can't placeshift premium content) so I'm going to stand by it.

February 11, 2009 1:35 PM


OKay umdivx I am going to have to back babgvant on this one.

First I had a cable card pc setup for a year and everything is still locked down drm. The link you posted is simply about a "rumored" firmware upgrade that is still non-existent. DRM is in media center and affects way more users than you are impling. Wether it be a simple glitch and microsoft's comment "oh that wasn't suppose to do that" (cough NBC cough)

If you watch HDTV other than non ATSC then it is real and you must deal with it in media center.

You say windows 7 makes it easier to share tv yes true again as long as your not using DRM content. The lack of ability to even share DRM content between pc's in the same house is disgusting and there is no excuse.

Okay that was my rant. I am a new sagetv convert/in process like babgvant. It does what microsoft "should" and will never do.

Is either option perfect heck no but you have to choice what is best for you.

p.s.-I thought I was okay with the drm until my computer crashed and suddenly all my recorded tv became unplayable because of the drm. That was my breaking point.

February 13, 2009 1:20 PM

MitchSchaft said:

umdivx must be new to media center. There's no way he'd make these comments if he knew where we were coming from. MCE is the most limited and stagnant media center software out there.

February 14, 2009 11:32 PM
@2008 andy vt
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