Moving to Channels DVR

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Justa_nother_poster

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Moving to Channels DVR

#1

Post by Justa_nother_poster » Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:45 pm

After 12+ years of WMC, it's time to move on. With the operating system, WMC program itself, extenders and even the Harmony remotes falling out of support, the writing is on the wall. It's been a good run and seeing how good WMC remains TODAY, it makes you wonder what Microsoft could have done with it if they had the vision to do so. Instead, they just saw WMC as another feature to sell PC's. Instead of Roku, Apple TV and Firesticks, they could have owned a goodly proportion of the market. I wonder how much that would have been worth.

I really really wanted to move to Plex and have tried to multiple times, but it is really bad at doing the key thing I want to do - start watching a program "in progress" with the ability to skip forward when I hit commercials. Instead I settled on Channels DVR. It has some shortcomings (doesn't work on Roku, requires a yearly subscription) but the interface is top notch, it's supported, and the interface to skip forward/back scrub forward/back is arguably as good or better than WMC. It runs quite well on my existing NAS and it "just works". Spousal unit could use it immediately and switching between recorded TV and streaming services is now seamless.

One amazing feature is Channels DVR can connect to "TV Everywhere" sources. I have a subscription to Philo that I got when we cut the cord. Now you can watch/record almost all of those "classic" Cable TV stations in the same place you watch broadcast TV. I've managed to recreate what I had with WMC and cable at a much lower cost. I'm not happy about the yearly cost of Channels, but will no longer need to pay for Schedules Direct and I'm saving a bunch compared to when I used WMC with cable. Also won't be running a Windows 7 PC all the time!

Thanks to everyone who made this work for as long as it did. All those pieces of software like EPG123, Comskip, Show Analyzer etc. made this a geeky joy.

dkm

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#2

Post by dkm » Wed Sep 01, 2021 6:47 pm

I wish you luck with Channels DVR. I've run both, and found the Channels implementation of TV Everywhere to be sporadic and requiring more ongoing maintenance than WMC. It seemed like I needed to do *something* to my Channels setup every 7-10 days, and MCE would run for months without issue.

Ed 

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#3

Post by Ed  » Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:15 pm

The lack of a lifetime kept me from ever even considering channels. I fully understand that's better for the ongoing development of the software, which is in even the users' interests, but at the end of the day I gotta look out for my own wallet I can't help I like things I can pay once and be done with forever better. The less subscriptions/ongoing monthly costs the better.

bsieloff

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#4

Post by bsieloff » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:34 pm

I had a time when I started looking for an alternative too but I can't give up the MCE just yet. Actually looking for a couple more extenders, for a while they were super cheap on ebay but now people are looking for premium prices for used equipment. Hope all works out with you new setup!

th3luk3st3r

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#5

Post by th3luk3st3r » Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:42 am

bsieloff wrote:I had a time when I started looking for an alternative too but I can't give up the MCE just yet. Actually looking for a couple more extenders, for a while they were super cheap on ebay but now people are looking for premium prices for used equipment. Hope all works out with you new setup!
Perhaps off topic, but on that extender note, I recently picked up a 360 E console (E version uses less power than the original and S models I believe) for $40 AUD including controller (minus HDD but you don't need that to use Extender functionality). The 360 still offers the best experience in my book as it is capable of improved UI rendering, and they're fairly accessible and getting cheaper all the time Image

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Justa_nother_poster

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#6

Post by Justa_nother_poster » Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:34 pm

I have 3 Ceton Echo's available if you're interested. Originally, I didn't like the Echo because I couldn't stream ripped DVD's to it, but once I moved all my movies to Plex, I found the Echo worked great for a basic WMC client. I mounted to the back of the TV and used an IR extender glued to the bottom of the TV to receive the commands. Takes less power and makes a lot less noise than an XBox 360 (which remains the functionally best extender). Using the Echo I could put my Media Center PC in a secure back area (away from prying fingers) and just have the Echos with the televisions.

Now as for paying the annual fee for Channels, I agree that is something I'd prefer to avoid. That said, with Channels running on my NAS, I no longer have to have a PC running (and consuming electricity) 24x7. I also avoid having a PC running an unsupported operating system on my network (although the PC was locked down to do nothing except run WMC and update the Schedules each day). I also avoid having to pay for Schedules Direct at $25 per year. Not sure the cost is a wash, but it's closer than it would appear on the surface.

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