For Sale : Windows Home Server 2011Te Koop : Windows Home Server 2011

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Today I received the latest We Got Served news letter and again it was mentioning the discount you get when you buy Windows Home Server 2011 at the moment. Last week I received a comment with a question if I would be able to help creating a Digital TV Server with the help of Windows Home Server 2011. This was when I discovered that Windows Home Server 2011 is also on sale in the Netherlands at several webshops!

I know the people who are running Windows Home Server v1 are still don’t want to switch because of the lack of the famous Drive Extender, but hey you want to be ready for the future won’t you? Don’t you want to be prepared to let your WHS run with more then 4 GB of RAM, or let it join your existing Home Group? This is the time to get Windows Home Server 2011 very cheap!

I’m curious in which countries Windows Home Server 2011 is for sale…so leave your country and WHS 2011 price (with a url to the webshop) and I’ll create a nice little list so it’s available for everybody:

Webshop / Price Compare website Price (without shipping) Country
Hardware.info € 49,- the Netherlands
Newegg (Promocode : EMCKCHB47) $ 59,99 United States
Amazon.co.uk £ 37.13 United Kingdom
Amazon.de € 54,19 Germany
Amazon.fr € 50,50 France

 

As you can see, it’s even cheaper to buy Windows Home Server 2011 then Windows 7 Home Premium! 

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Vandaag ontving ik de laatste versie van de We Got Served nieuwsbrief en wederom werd er melding gemaakt van het feit dat Windows Home Server 2011 nog steeds met grote korting aangeboden wordt. Vorige week ontving ik via  de comments de vraag of ik advies zou kunnen geven bij het bouwen van een Digitale TV Server met behulp van Windows Home Server 2011. Toen ik hier afgelopen weekend mee bezig was viel het mij op dat Windows Home Server 2011 ook bij diverse Nederlandse webshops voor een zeer schappelijke prijs wordt aangeboden.

Ik weet dat er er een groot aantal mensen zijn die nog steeds draaien op Windows Home Server v1 en niet over willen stappen in verband met het ontbreken van de beroemde Drive Extender, maar ik neem aan dat ook deze mensen graag met de tijd mee willen gaan, of niet dan? Als je voorbereid wilt zijn om WHS te kunnen draaien met gebruik van meer dan 4GB RAM, of wil je je Home Server ook aansluiten op je Home Group? Dan is het nu tijd om erg goedkoop aan Windows Server 2011 te komen!

Ik ben eigenlijk wel benieuwd in welke landen Windows Home Server 2011 allemaal in de aanbieding is…laat dus je land en WHS 2011 aanschafprijs (met een url naar de webshop) achter in de comments en ik maak hier een mooi overzicht van, welke dan weer voor iedereen beschikbaar is.

Webshop / Prijsvergelijkingswebsite Prijs (zonder verzendkosten) Land
Hardware.info € 49,- Nederland
Newegg (Promocode : EMCKCHB47) $ 59,99 Verenigde Staten
Amazon.co.uk £ 37.13 Verenigd Koninkrijk
Amazon.de € 54,19 Duitsland
Amazon.fr € 50,50 Frankrijk

Zoals je kunt zien is het goedkoper om Windows Home Server 2011 aan te schaffen dan Windows 7 Home Premium!

How-to : Digital TV always and everywhere available 1/2How-to : Digitale TV altijd en overal beschikbaar 1/2

In my previous blog post I already mentioned that I’m looking for a ‘modern’ way of watching TV. To achieve this I went looking for a solution to watch (live) TV via my HTPC, but also via our tablet and smartphone. There are undoubtedly more ways to accomplish this, but I choose for DVBLogic’s solution. Why? Their solution is the best fit for my needs.

In this blog post I will present which hard- and softrware you need and which steps you need to take take the proper preparations before you can use my ‘how-to’. It is not a problem to use your own ‘foreign’ hardware, as long the DVB-C TV card is supported by the DVBLogic software and you’ll be sure that the smartcard reader is ‘phoenix-compatible’.

What do you need?

It completely depends on your own setup. I’m using Windows Home Server 2011 for the TV Server, but you can use any version of Windows (the supported ones). My client is a Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit PC.

Hardware

Software

Preparations
During this how-to it is assumed that Windows has been successfully installed on both the machines. You also should install the latest Windows Updates.

Also be sure that all necessary software is already downloaded before you start. You should also have the other hardware (TV card, cardreader and Ziggo Smartcard) available, but you already knew that already.

You can setup the whole configuration without the smartcard and cardreader, but it will only be possible to watch the so called Free to Air channels. You can use any supported TV card and with the DVBLogic solution you can also use IP TV and Satellite channels (if you have a satellite dish).

You should also search for the correct transponder list for your region. On the Dutch website GratisProgrammas.nl you can generate the transponderlist (if you live in a Ziggo region). Too bad I had toe shuffle the list before the DVBLogic software would receive all the TV channels. To make things easy, you can download the transponder list for the ‘Zwolle‘ region right here.

In my third and final blog post I will explain how you can get your setup working and watch live digital TV on your iPad, smartphone or, of course, your HTPC.


In mijn vorige blogpost gaf ik aan dat ik op zoek ben naar een ‘moderne’ manier van TV kijken. Hiervoor ben ik op zoek gegaan naar een oplossing om zowel via mijn HTPC als ook de onze tablet en smartphone (live) TV te kunnen kijken. Ongetwijfeld zijn er meer wegen die naar Rome lijden, maar ik heb gekozen voor de oplossing die de firma DVBLogic aanbiedt. Waarom? Omdat die het meest aansluit bij de wensen die ik heb.

In deze blog post zal ik uiteen zetten welke hard- en software ik heb gebruikt en wat je allemaal moet voorbereiden voordat je aan mijn ‘how-to’ kunt beginnen. Het is op zich geen probleem als je zelf gebruik maakt van ‘afwijkende’ hardware, zolang de DVB-C kaart maar door DVBLogic ondersteund wordt en je ervoor zorgt dat de smartcardreader wel ‘phoenix-compatible’ is.

Wat heb je allemaal nodig?
Nu is het natuurlijk compleet afhankelijk van je eigen setup. Zo gebruik ik Windows Home Server 2011 als TV Server, maar je kunt hier natuurlijk elk willekeurige Windows versie (die wordt ondersteund) voor gebruiken. Als client maak ik gebruik van Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

Hardware

Software


Voorbereidingen
Tijdens deze how-to wordt er vanuit gegaan dat de installatie van Windows op beide machines al succesvol is afgerond. Zorg er ook voor dat je de laatste updates hebt geinstalleerd. Ik heb op beide machines (Windows Home Server 2011 en Windows 7) de laatst beschikbare servicepacks en updates geinstalleerd.

Zorg er ook voor dat je alle benodigde software en drivers al gedownload hebt. Ook is het verstandig om de overige hardware (tv kaart, cardreader en Ziggo Smartcard) al in huis te hebben, maar dit spreekt natuurlijk voor zich. Overigens is de hele configuratie ook zonder de smartcard en cardreader uit te voeren, maar dan zal het alleen mogelijk zijn om de zogeheten Free to Air kanalen te ontvangen. Je kunt natuurlijk iedere ondersteunde TV-kaart gebruiken en met behulp van de DVBLogic oplossing kun je zelfs gebruik maken van IPTV en Satelliet kanalen.

Ook is het ‘handig’ om alvast de transponderlijst voor je regio op te sporen. Op GratisProgrammas.nl kun je transponderlijsten laten genereren. Helaas moest ik de lijst wel een beetje verbouwen voordat de DVBLogic Software er iets mee kon. Om het makkelijk te maken kun je hier de transponderlijst downloaden voor het gebruik in de regio ‘Zwolle’.

In mijn derde en laatsts blogpost zal ik uitleggen hoe je e.e.a. installeert en via bv. je iPad, smartphone of natuurlijk je HTPC naar digitale TV kijkt.

My Connected LifeMy Connected Life

Nowadays, everyone is always and everywhere ‘ connected ‘. Most people I know have a smarphone, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You have different gradations of  ‘connected’, but I can safely say that I belong to a group that is “connected in the extreme” . I prefer the ability  to be connected 24 × 7 to follow the latest news, always be in touch with family and friends. Nowadays this is, with all techniques, not a problem anymore. In the next few blog posts I would you like to share with you how my connected life looks ….

Smartphones, always handy
With VOIP it is nowadays no problem on your smartphone (or laptop or tablet) to be reachable under ‘ your fixed ‘ number. Yes, now I know that fewer and fewer people have a ‘ fixed ‘ number, but calling fixed-to-fixed is still quite a lot cheaper than calling fixed-to-mobile or mobile-to-fixed. In my eyes this is a gigantic cash cow, but apparently no one bothers, because the prices didn’t decrease much the last few years.

Of course it’s fine to also be reachable on your ‘ fixed ‘ number on the road, but I would like to  expand the possibilities. My blog post has nothing to do with telephony, except that it is one of the devices which I (almost) always take with me. Already a number of years I kind of wish to watch TV on my smartphone, next to be mobile connected. And if I say watch TV, I mean the watch TV the way I watch it at home : so watch all the live TVchannels the cable company delivers to my home (in my case Ziggo) and even watch the Recorded TV shows.

Windows Home Server
Last autumn I swapped the HP MediaSmart Server ‘ for a ‘faster ‘ model: The Datavault x510. The advantage of this server compared to the Mediasmart Server is the  little faster processor and the default amount ofmemory, which is 2 GB. It seems to be very easy to expand the memory even to 4GB, a colleague told me. Since a couple months I  also replaced the ‘old’ Windows Home Server version for the ‘new’ one (read: Windows Home Server 2011) for which the additional resources are quite pleasant. In addition my WHS is also getting bussier, with all the extra tasks that I have given him.

The idea
The past few weeks I decided, after thorough research, that it would be useful to watch TV via the network rather than through the ‘ old fashioned ‘ COAX signal. Now there are various possibilities described on the internet in order to achieve this and I have examined several of them. The solution I was looking for should at least meet the following requirements:

  • The TV channels (both free to air channels as the encrypted channels) can be viewed from HTPC, Laptop, tablet and smartphone;
  • It must be possible for both local and remote (via internet) to view the TV channels (via laptop, smartphone and tablet);
  • Ability to record both SD and HD channels and watch the recorded material (both local and remote);
  • If something is recorded on  ‘Device A’ it can be watched on ‘Device B’ , without to much effort;
  • Make use of the possibilities that the ‘ standard ‘ Microsoft software can offer me, if possible.

In the next few blog posts I will explain how you can configure all of this, but for today I leave it here for a moment …

 Tegenwoordig is iedereen altijd en overal ‘connected’. De meeste mensen die ik ken beschikken over een smarphone, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Nu heb je daar natuurlijk gradaties in, maar ik kan gerust zeggen dat ik wel tot een groep behoor die ‘extreem’ connected zijn. Het liefst heb ik de mogelijkheid om 24×7 het laatste nieuws te volgen, altijd in contact te staan met familie en vrienden. Tegenwoordig is dit, met alle technieken, geen enkel probleem meer. In de komende blogposts wil ik je graag met je delen hoe mijn connected life eruit ziet….

Smartphones, altijd handig
Door middel van VOIP is het tegenwoordig ook geen enkel probleem om op je smartphone (of laptop of tablet) bereikbaar te zijn onder ‘je vaste’ nummer. Ja, nu weet ik wel dat steeds minder mensen beschikken over een ‘vast’ nummer, maar toch blijft het bellen van vast-naar-vast nog een behoorlijk stuk goedkoper dan van vast-naar-mobiel of van mobiel-naar-vast. In mijn ogen is dit een gigantische melkkoe, maar blijkbaar heeft zowat niemand er moeite mee, want veel goedkoper is het niet geworden de laatste jaren.

Natuurlijk is het fijn om onderweg ook bereikbaar te zijn op je ‘vaste’ nummer, maar ik zou dit graag wat verder door willen trekken. Op zich heeft mijn blogpost eigenlijk weinig met telefonie te maken, behalve dat een van de devices is die ik eigenlijk altijd bij me heb. Al een aantal jaren heb ik een soort van wens om naast mobiel bereikbaar te zijn (en te kunnen bellen) via mijn smartphone ook gebruik te kunnen maken van TV. En als ik gebruik wil maken van TV, dan bedoel ik ook TV zoals ik dat thuis ook heb : Dus live TV kunnen kijken naar de zenders die door de kabelmaatschappij (in mijn geval Ziggo) worden aangeleverd en eventueel ook nog naar de opgenomen TV programma’s.

Windows Home Server
Nu heb ik de HP MediaSmart Server afgelopen najaar ‘omgewisseld’ voor een ‘sneller’ model : De Datavault x510. Het voordeel van deze server ten opzichte van de MediaSmart Server is de wat zwaardere processor en ook het geheugen wat standaard 2 GB is. Van een collega heb ik al begrepen dat het geheugen van de Datavault eenvoudig is uit te breiden naar 4GB. Aangezien ik sinds een paar maanden de ‘oude’ Windows Home Server versie heb vervangen voor de ‘nieuwe’ (lees: Windows Home Server 2011) zijn die extra resources toch wel erg prettig. Daarnaast krijgt m’n WHS het ook steeds ‘drukker’ met alle extra taken die ik hem heb toebedeeld, daarover verderop meer.

Het idee
De afgelopen weken heb ik, na grondig onderzoek, besloten dat het wel handig zou zijn om ook de TV via het netwerk beschikbaar te hebben in plaats van via het ‘ouderwetse’ COAX signaal. Nu zijn er op het internet verschillende mogelijkheden beschreven om dit te realiseren en ik heb er ook diverse onderzocht. De oplossing moest voor mij in ieder geval aan onderstaande eisen voldoen :

  • De TV zenders (zowel free to air kanalen als de versleutelde kanalen) moet op zowel HTPC, Laptop als tablet en smartphone te bekijken zijn;
  • Het moet mogelijk zijn om zowel lokaal als remote (via internet) de TV zenders te bekijken (ook weer via laptop, smartphone en tablet);
  • Mogelijkheid om zowel SD als HD kanalen op te nemen en terug te kijken (zowel lokaal als remote);
  • Indien er iets via ‘Device A’ is opgenomen moet het zonder al teveel moeite op ‘Device B’ terug te kijken zijn;
  • Zoveel mogelijk gebruik maken van de mogelijkheden die de ‘standaard’ Microsoft software me kan bieden.

In de komende blogposts zal ik uitleggen hoe je dit allemaal kunt configureren, maar voor vandaag laat ik het hier even bij…

XBOX+MCE+WHS=Nerd Network!XBOX+MCE+WHS=Nerd Network!

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Nerd Stuff
Like a real Microsoft-fan/nerd I own an XBOX 360, a (Windows 7) Media Center and a Windows Home Server to satisfy my Multimedia and gaming needs. In this blog post I will tell you about my setup and why I choose the products I mentioned.

There is also space for some criticism, because hey..it’s Microsoft stuff! Just kidding…I love the products, but I am missing some features. Some of the missing features have something to do with the country I live in. I love pictures, don’t you? That’s why I first show you a picture of my network, so you can’t imagine how everything is connected. If you have a question, don’t hesitate just drop me a line. How? Check my About page for my contact info.

The Network

On the network drawing above you can see the network as it exists at my home. Next to the Windows 7 Media Center, there are several other PC’s and laptops in the network, but because of the lack of space I just have drawn one of them. It’s also possible to remote connect to the MediaSmart Server through my personal Homeserver.com website. Through the web interface it’s also possible to connect all other Windows clients in the network!

Windows 7 Media Center
If your pc has a TV card and you’re using Windows 7 (or even Vista) you really should check it out….or not? In this blog post try to explain some of the issues I’m having while using my Windows Media Center and the solutions I found…if they’re available (as far as I know).

Media Center Extender (= XBOX 360)
When I bought a XBOX 360 (back in 2005) I bought it to play games (of course), but that was only for 30% of the time…..for the other 70% I wanted to use it pure as a Media Center Extender. This is still the case (after almost more then 4 years of XBOX 360), but during the last 4 years I had some serious doubts about my choice to use Windows Media Center as my personal PVR. The Media Center Extender does work, but (at least in the early years) you’re not able (without 3rd party software at least) to play DVD’s or MKV files via the Extender interface. I will get back to the doubts later in this post!

HP MediaSmart Server (= Windows Home Server )
Earlier this year I bought a HP MediaSmart ex475. This is one of the first generation Windows Home Servers. With this Home Server your home network administration becomes a piece of cake! You can have a central storage for your documents, pictures, video’s, music and recorded tv. Talking about Centralized TV Storage! Since Power Pack 3 became available in beta earlier this year, it became even better! With the new PP3 features (I blogged about them earlier this year) it became very easy to ‘backup’ your tv recordings to the Windows Home Server to have them available to all the Media Centers! The Windows Media Center (with the dual head TV card) records all the shows and they can be viewed from any Windows 7 Media Center in the house!

My Issues
Of course the setup described above sounds great I think! Too bad not everything works as you may expect! In the following few paragraphs I will describe the issues I ran into the last few months.

Media Center: TV Guide

When you want to record tv shows a good working TV Guide is one of the major things! I’m not sure how it’s in your country, but in the Netherlands the TV guide sucks from time to time. So it happens that when I want to search for a TV show which will air on Friday (Oct 30th), it’s not available in the TV Guide (see the image below, channel 3 and 23…no data). I just took the screenshot today (Oct 28th), and this happens all the time. I heard some friends talking about the bad EPG’s in their PVR (or hard disk recorder), but if getting a TV Guide right is an issue (it seems to be an issue here in the Netherlands)…solutions like Media Center will never become interesting for the general public, because it’s really difficult to schedule a recording if the show isn’t in the guide! This is the first (major) issue I’m having right now with Media Center.

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Media Center : Digital TV (DVB-C)
One of the other major issues I (and a lot of peers) are having is official supported availability of DVB-C support in Windows Media Center. Oke..with some workarounds it will work, but not officially supported by Microsoft and the Cable providers! When do the (Dutch) Cable companies enter the 21st Century and support other recording devices then their own PVR’s (the ones without the possibility to centralize your tv recordings)!

The strange thing is : Ziggo (my own cable provider) has a page on their website where they suggest that Media Center is a perfect solution for all your media. Just click here to watch the video (it’s in Dutch!). They don’t tell you that it’s not possible to (easily) record DVB-C with your Windows Media Center.

Earlier this evening @MartijnBrant mentioned that there is indeed an easy DVB-C Solution to record digital tv on your Windows Media Center : USB Clark Anysee. I’m not sure how (and if) it will work, but hey…it’s not officially supported, so when for example Ziggo is blocking the use of not-CI+ devices…you will have a problem recording your tv shows.

If you ask why they’re not supporting the DVB-C in combination with a Windows Media Center, they’re not very clear. The answers I heard of include they don’t like the ease with which you can record your tv shows and maybe manipulate the scrambled signal? Technically it is possible, but what percentage of their clients will try that? It’s the same as with people who buy original dvd/blu-ray disc’s. They have to watch all the anti-piracy shit, and everybody who is leeching their movies from usenet/torrents (for who the anti-piracy video’s are there) won’t see them….

Media Center : Internet TV and Add-On’s

The third and last issue I’m having with my Windows Media Center is the lack of Internet related TV/Video. When you’re in the USA (or UK), with Windows 7, you can use Internet TV which is part of the Media Center (see image), but when you live in the Netherlands (and probably other parts of Europe (or the World) the Internet TV option isn’t available!
02 - TV - Free Streaming Internet TV
Let’s hope that the European Cable companies work together and make Internet TV available in our Media Center. In other words : Let’s hope they will support IPTV in the near future. Ow..it also seems possible to watch IPTV through the XBOX 360 Dashboard, at least…a few years back I’ve seen a video demonstrating IPTV right from the Dashboard!

XBOX 360 : Media Center Extender and Media Connect
Since the last update the new XBOX 360 Dashboard has some nice new features like Facebook and Twitter integration, but the features of the Media Center Extender haven’t been extended over time. One of the things I (and a lot of peers) can use is support for MKV files. A few weeks ago I heard that it is possible to play MKV files via the Media Center Extender, but out-of-the-box it isn’t supported. It would even be better it was possible to play MKV files directly from the Video Library, so you won’t have to run a tool like Transcoder 360 (or some of the other available tools).

Conclusion
If you like to have a central recored tv storage with the possibility to watch your tv show from everywhere in your house the combination of an XBOX 360, Windows 7 Media Center, Windows Home Server and some laptops (with Windows 7 Media Center on it) will give you a great solution!

If you (at least) live in the Netherlands and the only recording device you have is your Media Center you’re not sure if your tv show will be recorded…the TV guide isn’t (entirely) complete most of the time. I heard that this is also an issue with some (or all?) Hard Disk Recorders. Most of the time all the episodes of a serie will be recorded, but if you want to schedule the serie (before the first episode starts) and the guide isn’t entirely up-to-date it can be frustrating that you sometimes can schedule the serie on the first episode..

Overall the setup works great and if Microsoft (and the European media content and cable companies) would ‘fix’ all the issues mentioned above they would make me very happy!

Maybe this will all be fixed in the new version of Windows Home Server which, if my sources are correct, will be released somewhere in 2010 and will contain some of the features that are now available in Media Center….if they don’t forget to add some support for DVB-C (and TV cards with CI+ support)!image

Nerd Stuff
Als een echte Microsoft-fan/nerd heb ik een XBOX 360, een (Windows 7) Media Center en een Windows Home Server mij te bevredigen in mijn multimedia en gaming behoefte. In deze blogpost zal ik je vertellen over mijn opstelling en de waarom ik juiste deze ‘producten’  heb gekozen.

Er is zelfs plaats voor wat kritiek, omdat hey…het is Microsoft spul!! Grapje…Ik vind de producten geweldig, maar ik moet zeggen dat ik toch wel wat mis. Sommige van de ontbrekende features hebben te maken met het land waar je woont. Ik ben echt een fan van plaatjes, jij ook? Daarom zie je eerst op onderstaande afbeelding hoe ik alles heb binnen mijn netwerk heb aangesloten. Als je een vraag hebt, aarzel niet en stel hem gewoon. Hoe? Op mijn About pagina vind je mijn contact informatie.

Op dit moment is de rest van deze post nog in het Engels, maar ik ben bezig met een vertaling….

Het Netwerk

On the network drawing above you can see the network as it exists at my home. Next to the Windows 7 Media Center, there are several other PC’s and laptops in the network, but because of the lack of space I just have drawn one of them. It’s also possible to remote connect to the MediaSmart Server through my personal Homeserver.com website. Through the web interface it’s also possible to connect all other Windows clients in the network!

Windows 7 Media Center
If your pc has a TV card and you’re using Windows 7 (or even Vista) you really should check it out….or not? In this blog post try to explain some of the issues I’m having while using my Windows Media Center and the solutions I found…if they’re available (as far as I know).

Media Center Extender (= XBOX 360)
When I bought a XBOX 360 (back in 2005) I bought it to play games (of course), but that was only for 30% of the time…..for the other 70% I wanted to use it pure as a Media Center Extender. This is still the case (after almost more then 4 years of XBOX 360), but during the last 4 years I had some serious doubts about my choice to use Windows Media Center as my personal PVR. The Media Center Extender does work, but (at least in the early years) you’re not able (without 3rd party software at least) to play DVD’s or MKV files via the Extender interface. I will get back to the doubts later in this post!

HP MediaSmart Server (= Windows Home Server )
Earlier this year I bought a HP MediaSmart ex475. This is one of the first generation Windows Home Servers. With this Home Server your home network administration becomes a piece of cake! You can have a central storage for your documents, pictures, video’s, music and recorded tv. Talking about Centralized TV Storage! Since Power Pack 3 became available in beta earlier this year, it became even better! With the new PP3 features (I blogged about them earlier this year) it became very easy to ‘backup’ your tv recordings to the Windows Home Server to have them available to all the Media Centers! The Windows Media Center (with the dual head TV card) records all the shows and they can be viewed from any Windows 7 Media Center in the house!

My Issues
Of course the setup described above sounds great I think! Too bad not everything works as you may expect! In the following few paragraphs I will describe the issues I ran into the last few months.

Media Center: TV Guide

When you want to record tv shows a good working TV Guide is one of the major things! I’m not sure how it’s in your country, but in the Netherlands the TV guide sucks from time to time. So it happens that when I want to search for a TV show which will air on Friday (Oct 30th), it’s not available in the TV Guide (see the image below, channel 3 and 23…no data). I just took the screenshot today (Oct 28th), and this happens all the time. I heard some friends talking about the bad EPG’s in their PVR (or hard disk recorder), but if getting a TV Guide right is an issue (it seems to be an issue here in the Netherlands)…solutions like Media Center will never become interesting for the general public, because it’s really difficult to schedule a recording if the show isn’t in the guide! This is the first (major) issue I’m having right now with Media Center.

image

Media Center : Digital TV (DVB-C)
One of the other major issues I (and a lot of peers) are having is official supported availability of DVB-C support in Windows Media Center. Oke..with some workarounds it will work, butnot officially supported by Microsoft and the Cable providers! When do the (Dutch) Cable companies enter the 21st Century and support other recording devices then their own PVR’s (the ones without the possibility to centralize your tv recordings)!

The strange thing is : Ziggo (my own cable provider) has a page on their website where they suggest that Media Center is a perfect solution for all your media. Just click here to watch the video (it’s in Dutch!). They don’t tell you that it’s not possible to (easily) record DVB-C with your Windows Media Center.

Earlier this evening @MartijnBrant mentioned that there is indeed an easy DVB-C Solution to record digital tv on your Windows Media Center : USB Clark Anysee. I’m not sure how (and if) it will work, but hey…it’s not officially supported, so when for example Ziggo is blocking the use of not-CI+ devices…you will have a problem recording your tv shows.

If you ask why they’re not supporting the DVB-C in combination with a Windows Media Center, they’re not very clear. The answers I heard of include they don’t like the ease with which you can record your tv shows and maybe manipulate the scrambled signal? Technically it is possible, but what percentage of their clients will try that? It’s the same as with people who buy original dvd/blu-ray disc’s. They have to watch all the anti-piracy shit, and everybody who is leeching their movies from usenet/torrents (for who the anti-piracy video’s are there) won’t see them….

Media Center : Internet TV and Add-On’s

The third and last issue I’m having with my Windows Media Center is the lack of Internet related TV/Video. When you’re in the USA (or UK), with Windows 7, you can use Internet TVwhich is part of the Media Center (see image), but when you live in the Netherlands (and probably other parts of Europe (or the World) the Internet TV option isn’t available!
02 - TV - Free Streaming Internet TV
Let’s hope that the European Cable companies work together and make Internet TV available in our Media Center. In other words : Let’s hope they will support IPTV in the near future. Ow..it also seems possible to watch IPTV through the XBOX 360 Dashboard, at least…a few years back I’ve seen a video demonstrating IPTV right from the Dashboard!

XBOX 360 : Media Center Extender and Media Connect
Since the last update the new XBOX 360 Dashboard has some nice new features like Facebook and Twitter integration, but the features of the Media Center Extender haven’t been extended over time. One of the things I (and a lot of peers) can use is support for MKV files. A few weeks ago I heard that it is possible to play MKV files via the Media Center Extender, but out-of-the-box it isn’t supported. It would even be better it was possible to play MKV files directly from the Video Library, so you won’t have to run a tool like Transcoder 360 (or some of the other available tools).

Conclusion
If you like to have a central recored tv storage with the possibility to watch your tv show from everywhere in your house the combination of an XBOX 360, Windows 7 Media Center, Windows Home Server and some laptops (with Windows 7 Media Center on it) will give you a great solution!

If you (at least) live in the Netherlands and the only recording device you have is your Media Center you’re not sure if your tv show will be recorded…the TV guide isn’t (entirely) complete most of the time. I heard that this is also an issue with some (or all?) Hard Disk Recorders. Most of the time all the episodes of a serie will be recorded, but if you want to schedule the serie (before the first episode starts) and the guide isn’t entirely up-to-date it can be frustrating that you sometimes can schedule the serie on the first episode..

Overall the setup works great and if Microsoft (and the European media content and cable companies) would ‘fix’ all the issues mentioned above they would make me very happy!

Maybe this will all be fixed in the new version of Windows Home Server which, if my sources are correct, will be released somewhere in 2010 and will contain some of the features that are now available in Media Center….if they don’t forget to add some support for DVB-C (and TV cards with CI+ support)!


Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 Beta

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A few weeks ago I blogged about the recover process of my MediaSmart Server, too bad the Windows Home Server died several days later. I have to say that I’m very pleased with HP support (for now :-)).

It took me a lot of phone calls, but HP Netherlands has agreed to repair my American MediaSmart Server! This is one of the main reasons I can’t test the new (beta) release of Power Pack 3. But what I read about it is making me very happy! With Power Pack 3 Windows Home Server will have full support for Windows 7 Clients!

I must say that I’m impressed with all the new features which Power Pack 3 will add to (the already super product) Windows Home Server. The only thing that is missing at the moment are the non-English versions, so all the people who do not speak English very well (like my parents…and many others) can also use this (in my opinion) product! 🙂

Continue reading “Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 Beta”

Windows Home Server Available on TechNET!

A few days ago I read that Windows Home Server was available for download at the MSDN website. Today I talked to Robert Bakker and he told me since a little bit more then a week it’s also available on for everybody with a TechNet Plus Direct Subscribtion.

So if you want to install a Windows Home Server, just logon to your TechNet (or MSDN) Subscription and start downloading right away!

When I installed it I’m going to test how Windows Home Server cooperates with my Windows 7 Client (with Media Center and Internet Access to Home Media).

Windows Home Server Update

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On the Windows Home Server Blog I read the following today :

Hi all. Next week on Tuesday, Nov 27 we will release a new update for Windows Home Server software.  This is a scheduled update – part of the ongoing process of continually enhancing the customer experience with Windows Home Server.  The new functionality will be downloaded via Windows Update and made available to existing Windows Home Server customers.

Details are available here, but the main benefit of the update is that it will improve the remote access experience for Windows Home Server users by providing them with a “trusted SSL certificate” for their home servers. That means customers will be able to access their home server from outside the home more seamlessly, without any security warnings.  The Windows Home Server team worked closely with Windows Live Domains and GoDaddy, a leading provider of Web domain addresses, to provide the certificate for the homeserver.com web pages customers use for remote access.

In addition, this month’s update provides a new “Delete All” button to let users delete all home computer backups that are stored on the home server, as well as a few improvements to the Shared Folders and Server Storage components of Windows Home Server.

Enjoy,

J

More Info about the update

Windows Home Server First Look Webcasts

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Join HP and Microsoft for one of these FREE live webcasts as they unveil and demo the long-awaited MediaSmart Server, based on the wildly popular Windows Home Server software from Microsoft. I know it’s not a product for the professional market, but still…it’s a nice product! Just register, watch and tell me what you think of it.

Date Time   Guest Expert
Thursday, November 8th 4:00-500PM (PT) (What time in my location?) Rick Doherty – Envisioneering
Friday, November 9th 1:00-2:00PM (PT) (What time in my location?) Rob Enderle – The Enderle Group
Tuesday, November 27th 10:00-11:00AM (PT) (What time in my location?) Paul Thurrott – Supersite for Windows
Thursday, November 29th 8:00-9:00AM (PT) (What time in my location?) Ed bott – ZDNet

More Windows Home Server Videos

Last night I was playing around with Windows Home Server and I found out that it’s the perfect solution at my parents home. At their home there are five (!!) pc’s even they’re only with the three of them. My father and my brother both have a pc and a laptop (my mother thinks one pc is enough) and share their documents over the netwerk, but the major problem they right now have is that if they wanna access documents on the pc from their laptop the pc’s should stay on. So a central server is a solution, but Windows Server 2003 (or even Windows SBS 2003) isn’t to complicated for them.

A few months ago I looked at the Beta versions of Windows Home Server and already got excited, but when I created a testlab on my pc even my father immediately asked ‘Where can I buy Windows Home Server?‘ (too bad it’s not available in Dutch, his English isn’t that good 🙂 ). I showed him how easy it is to connect your pc to the Home Server. Next I showed how easy it is to create a backup and restore the backup again.

To make you guys enthousiastic and happy I recorded the video’s and let’s go crazy….HERE they are (just click the play button(s) below).

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Connecting the Vista PC to Windows Home Server

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Create a backup of the Vista PC (from Windows Home Server)

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Restore Windows Vista with the RestorePC CD