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Best alternative to Windows Media Center

Coordinator
Aug 9, 2015 at 10:43 PM
Given that WMC is now dead with Windows 10, am starting this thread to have a discussion on the pro's and con's of the best alternative(s) to WMC.
To consider recording format capabilities, metadata management, third party add on's and playback options.

Some options I'm aware of:
  • MediaPortal
  • nPVR
  • SageTV
  • ICETV
  • ArgusTV
Folks please comment on your experiences and thoughts
Aug 9, 2015 at 10:56 PM
I cancelled my Windows 10 upgrade reservation after learning unambiguously that W7MC was being essentially scrapped for good. Am I really going to have a comparable alternative? The last time I examined MediaPortal, perhaps a year ago, it was inadequate for my expectations. I used but was never impressed with ArgusTV years ago, and I tried and rejected earlier versions of nPVR and SageTV. My conclusion at the time was that media center software is insanely difficult to polish without a huge budget, not least of which would be to acquire the proper licensing to do certain things like play DVDs or use certain CODECs. Has anything really changed dramatically for the better in the last few years?

On 2015-08-09 3:43 PM, rboy1 wrote:

From: rboy1

Given that WMC is now dead with Windows 10, am starting this thread to have a discussion on the pro's and con's of the best alternative(s) to WMC.
To consider recording format capabilities, metadata management, third party add on's and playback options.

Some options I'm aware of:
  • MediaPortal
  • nPVR
  • SageTV
  • ICETV
  • ArgusTV
Folks please comment on your experiences and thoughts

Aug 10, 2015 at 2:52 PM
Edited Aug 10, 2015 at 2:58 PM
My Experiences ... If using only OVER the Air tuners and Copy Freely Cable Sagetv I have found to be the best. Sagetv is soon to go open source. Metadata can be provided from Sagetv properties files and xmls ... SageTV does not have native support of cablecard at the moment but does have SageDCT and PrimenetEncoder that interface with SageTV to record copy freely cable.

If you use KODI unfortunately SageTV has no plugin for it ..... If using KODI your best bet is either WMC with ServerWMC or nPVR .


If you have copy protected content then there is no alternative to WMC and you have to remain at windows 7 or 8.1 at least you have over 3 years left of support.

Soon to be released later this year HDHomerun DVR will be able to record protected content and play on other clients. Must use Silicondust Tuners.
Aug 10, 2015 at 6:08 PM
I just ran through these options myself. What I have found is that there is absolutely nothing on the market that is as simple to setup or as comprehensive as WMC, especially when it comes to CableCard tuners. MediaPortal supposedly supports copy-once content, but I can't get it to initialize the tuners properly so it's a no-go for me.
HDHomeRun DVR is looking promising for those with SiliconDust tuners. Everyone else is basically WMC or nothing for copy-once content. Those with copy-freely have nPVR with Kodi as their best options as far as I'm concerned, though a subscription to a decent guide provider is necessary.
Aug 16, 2015 at 2:55 PM
Edited Aug 16, 2015 at 2:55 PM
WMC is not quite dead since the move to ROVI at least you have guide data for a while since the XBOX one also uses Rovi. The guide data is getting better ... I am in the Portland Or area and the guide data is finally accurate.


Windows 7 * end of support January 14, 2020 so that is a over 4 years of support. Being that WMC is the only one that does DRM protected content lets not panic yet ... as I am sure that before the end of life of windows 7 another DVR will be available. Heck I was still using windows XP on my Sage Server not too long ago.
Sep 23, 2015 at 3:34 PM
Edited Sep 23, 2015 at 3:36 PM
I'm going to be using HDHR DVR on my Synology NAS.

I REALLY REALLY hope I can just point MCEBuddy to the recording folder on my NAS for monitoring, have it then cut commercials from files and encode to MP4, and then save it back to my NAS.

The only issue I see here is that my PC would need to turn on at certain points in the day to monitor the NAS folder. In the past, Windows Media Center took my PC out of hibernation to record a show, and then MCEBuddy started processing the file right after the recording, which worked great. Once processed, my PC would hibernate again.

If my NAS is doing the recording, MCEBuddy would need some way of regularly checking my NAS recording folder for new files, or perhaps once a day, or something along those lines.

But remember, my NAS also hibernates, so I anticipate some issues here were the NAS would need to be woken up when my PC turns on.
Sep 23, 2015 at 3:40 PM

MCEBuddy has a schedule function that can wake the computer, or you can setup a task in windows to do so. I have been watching the HDHR-DVR development and so far am not terribly impressed. They have promised a lot of things, and it hasn't really lived up to that. I am reserving judgement until later though, as it is still in beta. I am still vainly hoping for a spiritual successor to WMC for Windows 10.

Sent by Outlook for Android




On Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 8:34 AM -0700, "MCEmummel" <[email removed]> wrote:

From: MCEmummel

I'm going to be using HDHR DVR on my Synology NAS.

I REALLY REALLY hope I can just point MCEBuddy to the recording folder on my NAS for monitoring, have it then cut commercials from files and encode to MP4, and then save it back to my NAS.

The only issue I see here is that my PC would need to turn on at certain points in the day to monitor the NAS folder. In the past, Windows Media Center took my PC out of hibernation to record a show, and them MCEBuddy started processing the file right after the recording, which worked great.

If my NAS is doing the recording, MCEBuddy would need some way of regularly checking my NAS recording folder for new files, or perhaps once a day, or something along those lines.
Sep 23, 2015 at 4:21 PM
Are you familiar with Wake-On-LAN? Perhaps if HDHomeRun's DVR made use of the feature then it could wake up another system on the network only when a new show has finished recording. Event-driven, not polling.

On 2015-09-23 8:34 AM, MCEmummel wrote:

From: MCEmummel

I'm going to be using HDHR DVR on my Synology NAS.

I REALLY REALLY hope I can just point MCEBuddy to the recording folder on my NAS for monitoring, have it then cut commercials from files and encode to MP4, and then save it back to my NAS.

The only issue I see here is that my PC would need to turn on at certain points in the day to monitor the NAS folder. In the past, Windows Media Center took my PC out of hibernation to record a show, and them MCEBuddy started processing the file right after the recording, which worked great.

If my NAS is doing the recording, MCEBuddy would need some way of regularly checking my NAS recording folder for new files, or perhaps once a day, or something along those lines.

Sep 30, 2015 at 9:47 PM
Edited Sep 30, 2015 at 9:49 PM
I am a long time SageTV user, only went to WMC when SageTV closed up shop (and only because my extenders died) - SageTV is now open source and the community there is buzzing, I expect great things from this- IMHO nothing holds a candle to what SageTV does, and it been out of production for several years now.

So yes I went to WMC, Discovered MediaBuddy, Plex, and Emby. I have Silicon Dust Prime tuners and a Synology NAS. So the alternatives I am currently looking at are:

HD Homerun DVR - I'm not a fan of Kodi, and right now that is the only way to interact with the HD Homerun DVR, having said that, it does seem to be coming along nicely (if way more slowly then I'd like). When I moved to WMC I discovered "ceton my media" - Sage had a similiar remote app, but it seemed primitive in comparision and wasn't available on Windows phone. If HD Homerun DVR Actually does the Plex integration I should be able to manage it from my Windows Phone Plex app

Emby - they are working on there own DVR solution, Again it is rough, but shows promise - I like the user interface and it's availabilty on nearly all platforms (including Win 8 -10 modern app, and Windows Phone)

SageTV open source - Like I said above, I still feel nothing compares to the power sage gave me especially in respect to knowing what I wanted to record. SageTV like most things I can search the guide and add a show as a favorite, but I can also add a keyword and if SageTV finds it, it will record it Example:"Michigan". SageTV also keeps a TRUE record of what I have recorded and watched. So I can say I want to record "new and repeats" and it will only record each repeated episode ONCE.

so those are my three

I've looked at •MediaPortal and •nPVR - But that was a long time ago, at the time they were too primative for my desires.
Sep 30, 2015 at 11:47 PM
Thank you for sharing your experience with SageTV. I didn't know it had moved to open source, and it has features that are new to me (either because I forgot or never knew). I've stubbornly resisted this upgrade, but if W7MC later gets terminated anyway then I'll have to find an alternative just like the upgraders.

On 2015-09-30 2:47 PM, ThePaladinTech wrote:

From: ThePaladinTech

I am a long time SageTV user, only went to WMC when SageTV closed up shop (and only because my extenders died) - SageTV is now open source and the community there is buzzing, I expect great things from this- IMHO nothing holds a candle to what SageTV does, and it been out of production for several years now.

So yes I went to WMC, Discovered MediaBuddy, Plex, and Emby. I have Silicon Dust Prime tuners and a Synology NAS. So the alternatives I am currently looking at are:

HD Homerun DVR - I'm not a fan of Kodi, and right now that is the only way to interact with the HD Homerun DVR, having said that, it does seem to be coming along nicely (if way more slowly then I'd like). When I moved to WMC I discovered "ceton my media" - Sage had a similiar remote app, but it seemed primitive in comparision and wasn't available on Windows phone. If HD Homerun DVR Actually does the Plex integration I should be able to manage it from my Windows Phone Plex app

Emby - they are working on there own DVR solution, Again it is rough, but shows promise - I like the user interface and it's availabilty on nearly all platforms (including Win 8 -10 modern app, and Windows Phone)

SageTV open source - Like I said above, I still feel nothing compares to the power sage gave me especially in respect to knowing what I wanted to record. SageTV like most things I can search the guide and add a show as a favorite, but I can also add a keyword and if SageTV finds it, it will record it Example:"Michigan". SageTV also keeps a TRUE record of what I have recorded and watched. So I can say I want to record "new and repeats" and it will only record each repeated episode ONCE.

so those are my three

Oct 1, 2015 at 3:03 AM
I'd recommend Emby.

You can use ServerWMC/WMC (among 8 other Live TV providers) as a Live TV provider for Emby. If your lucky to have HD HomeRun tuner that supports DLNA, you can split the middleman.

There also is a plugin (but all the other apps are better). Before retiring my WMC and moving to Kodi as my front end client (Emby has a server and client role), I used the WMC plugin for Emby.

Emby is also OpenSource. Runs on Linux (including Synlogogy), Mac, and Windows.

Super active community @ http://emby.media/community/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=viewNewContent&search_app=forums
Oct 9, 2015 at 7:18 PM
Edited Oct 9, 2015 at 7:26 PM
There is no alternative to WMC really.

What we we do is simple: our Media Center PC sits in a closet running WMC and Plex. As such we have no need to upgrade it to Windows 10; Windows 8.1 works perfectly since it is basically a recording TV and whole-house media appliance. We'll probably use it like this as long as Microsoft continues to support the EPG.

We still have extenders to watch live TV, but all of our recorded TV is viewable through Plex, and there are awesome Plex apps for Windows 10, Xbox and mobile. That, along with our use of streaming services, means the actual Media Center experience is getting far less use these days (though we still rely on it for recorded TV).
Oct 10, 2015 at 1:20 AM
As far as I know, WMC on Windows 8.1 will be supported until 2023. I have used it -- you have to pay $10 for it on 8.1.
For DRM-ed content Silicon Dust's upcoming DVR seems to be the only option. I backed up their Kickstarter and the progress built DVR, which I run on QNAP NAS seems to work well. But no DRM support yet. I use Kodi's "native" client to watch copy-freely shows and MCEBuddy to extract .srt/.edl. Works good.
Oct 10, 2015 at 1:35 AM
"Supported" perhaps, but not without irritating changes. Have you noticed that the program listings no longer contain any rating information, and the reviews or synopses are no longer credited?

On 2015-10-09 6:20 PM, vlad31 wrote:

From: vlad31

As far as I know, WMC on Windows 8.1 will be supported until 2023. I have used it -- you have to pay $10 for it on 8.1.
For DRM-ed content Silicon Dust's upcoming DVR seems to be the only option. I backed up their Kickstarter and the progress built DVR, which I run on QNAP NAS seems to work well. But no DRM support yet. I use Kodi's "native" client to watch copy-freely shows and MCEBuddy to extract .srt/.edl. Works good.