Monthly Archives: March 2011

DVR Software So Far

I am no where done tweaking with the software and trying to get everything working perfectly. This is just a post to document what I have done so far. Until I have a better internet connection, I will not be playing with streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Operating System – Windows 7 Ultimate

I’ve decided to go with Windows 7 Ultimate. This version comes with Windows Media Center by default, which I will get into later. I know this is surprising to everyone that knows me, since it’s not Linux. The reason that I’ve done this is because Linux doesn’t allow the DVR to meet it’s needs. I wouldn’t be able to stream netflix or many other websites through boxee. In addition, it does come with DVR software for free that provides listings for free.

DVR Software – Windows Media Center (MWC)

I’m using Windows Media Center for the DVR software. It does decent, but is free with Windows 7 and comes with free listings. It does a good job of setting up with the tuner card. It allows for some plug-ins also. I haven’t spent much time trying to tweak it, but I need to find a way to modify the main menu to remove a lot of junk I don’t want. The movie section also leaves a lot to desire, as it does not break things down by folder and just displays all files it finds regardless of which folder it is in.

I have it setup so that when the DVR starts up, that WMC will startup in full screen. With this setup, there is no need for a mouse or keyboard.

Air Video

Air Video can stream videos in almost any format to your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. You don’t need to copy your videos to the device just to watch them. The program runs in the background and starts automatically when the DVR starts up. With the recent Beta version of the server, it can stream the drm laden wtv format without having to convert them first.

My Channel Logos – MCE Plug-In

This is only a minor plug in, but it adds nice Broadcaster logo’s to the channel listings. It’s a minor touch, but a nice one.

Media Browser – MCE Plug-In

I use this for accessing, organizing, and viewing my shows on the remote server. If you loved how XMBC populated information about shows and movies, you will love this plug-in for watching all your backed up media. It will key off the title, download all the information about the media, and also pictures. Much better than the stock movie lister that came with WMC

Remote Potato – MCE Plug-In

I’ve used this for setting web access to the DVR. It allows for viewing the listings and setting up recordings using a web browser. It also allows you to stream already recorded shows to windows and os x web browsers that support silverlight. This doesn’t include the implementation on linux though.

A new feature that I haven’t had time to test out is streaming to iOS devices. I might try it out in the next couple weeks and update this post. Currently, it does not support native mode on the iPad.

Streaming Windows Media Center DVR Shows to the iPad

I had started this article out about how I use all these different applications, such as using MCEBuddy to convert videos to a non-drm stream on a nightly basis, save to a separate location, and then using Air Video Server to stream it to the iPad or iPhone.

So while I was getting the links together, I realized that Air Video Server now has a beta server out that does that all for you. Air Video now has the ability to stream the DRM WTV video format that WMC saves the shows in!

Software Used

Instructions

  1. Navigate to http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/index.html and there will a box announcement link in the top left of the page that there is a new Air Server beta. Click the box, which will take you to the forum to choose either Windows or Mac in the first post. Download the software and then install on your application.
  2. If the server hasn’t been started yet, start it now (either in task bar or going to applications). Under the “Shared Folders” tabl, click the “Add Disk Folder” button. For a default WMC installation, you should add the folder “C:UsersPublicRecorded TV”. At this point, if you have other video file locations (MKV, mp4, divx, avi), you can add those in there also. Now start the server by clicking the button at the top left. You are all done on the server side.
  3. Download “Air Video” from the App Store. Once you start up the app, click the “+” button and if you are on the same network as the DVR, the server should pop up. Just navigate to the shared videos and start. It’s that simple.

One of the additional benefits of Air Video is that you can also stream at a lower resolution from your DVR over the internet, but you will need to go to the Air Video Website for more detailed instructions on that.