Author Topic: A Windows Vista Ultimate User Considering Switching, need advice as well  (Read 788 times)

HellraiserGN

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Hi everyone,
I've been using Windows Media Centers for a few years now and have been enjoying MCE 2005 and Vista Ultimate. Well, my main Vista Ultimate Media Center died a few days ago and I've been thinking of rebuilding and have been intrigued by some of LinuxMCE. Right now my house has 3 Vista machines in various rooms. Anyways, I was thinking of trying out LinuxMCE but I have some requirements which I need met and if so I'll give it a try. Oh yeah, I'm an all Microsoft guy and have tried Ubuntu a few times but I'm a developer in the Microsoft area, a user of all their products so I won't know much in terms of Linux specific terminology yet :)

1) Streaming to phone - I have a Windows Mobile 6.1 PDA as does my wife. With WebGuide on the Vista machine, I can control the machine, setup recordings remotely, and stream pictures, video, and audio to my phone. For those times I have to go out but want to watch some of the Browns games on TV, I need to have the ability to stream the video to my phone. Is this possible with LinuxMCE straight out of the box and if so is it easy to setup? Right now I have a Sprint Mogul but will be picking up an HTC Touch Pro in a month or so.

2) Stream Media - I see that you can stream DVDs to other LinuxMCE machines in the household. My question is has anyone tried Blu-Ray? I would like to purchase just one Blu-Ray drive and be able to stream that throughout the house. It sucks that I can't enjoy HD content of movies since my PS3 is downstairs and I have a widescreen HDTV upstairs as well and I don't want to move the PS3 upstairs just to watch a movie.. or in my bedroom.. My house is networked with a 1GB switch. So, is there a capability to stream Blu-Ray movies currently?

3) Upgrading path - When a new version is out, if you upgrade does it do anything to all the shows you have set to record? Is it a seemless upgrade path where all your settings are retained?

4) Video card - I have both a GeForce 8800GTX and a Radeon HD4870 that I can use in the machine. Does LinuxMCE take advantage of the hardware decoding capabilities of the cards?

5) Remote Control via Windows Mobile 6.1 - Along the lines of my streaming question, will I be able to use my Windows Mobile 6.1 phone to remotely control the setup? Right now I use the phone to login to a web page on my Vista Ultimate WebGuide setup and the page is setup for mobile browsing and I can view the guide and also setup recordings..

If someone can help me out I'd really appreciate it. If the experience goes well, I'll write an article on this comparing it to MCE as I've written a few articles on various HTPC hardware and software for online sites. Thanks and I look forward to having what you guys have to say.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 03:36:59 pm by HellraiserGN »

tschak909

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Re: A Windows Vista Ultimate User Considering Switching, need advice as well
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2008, 06:25:49 pm »
I should qualify the following answers: LinuxMCE is a lot more than a media center. It is a Smart Home platform, one of the first of its kind. While some of the media aspects that you want are not yet available, we do a lot of things that currently nobody else has under one roof.

1. We do not have a transcoding gateway to cell phones, yet. We do have a complete mobile orbiter system that can be used inside the house to control anything inside the house. We use bluetooth dongles on each media director to sense when they've gone from one room to another, so that Follow Me functionality can be done. The mobile orbiter also has offline operation, so that when outside the house, any scenarios defined as mobile orbiter scenarios can be executed (lights on/off, climate changes, etc.), as well as setting security mode for a house, viewing security camera pictures, and triggering "speak to person inside the house."

2. Blu-Ray functionality is still nacent. We have to rip the disk to the core, and it can be played throughout the house. No menus yet, just movie currently.

3. We release incremental updates via the update mechanism, they are downloaded when available, and you are asked if you wish to apply them. Distribution upgrades currently must be done by downloading  a new DVD. At which point, you are asked if you want to keep /home, settings, or both.

4. Currently the 8800 is not supported by the copy of NVIDIA's driver that we bundle. But you can download the driver and upgrade it. instructions are in the wiki. As far as hardware decoding, NVIDIA has told the Linux community repeatedly that they WILL NOT release a driver with functionality like PureVideo HD, this has happened despite repeated attempts at trying to convince them to change their position.

5. right now, we do not have a mobile page for doing guide work. We do expose mythweb for normal browsers though.

To conclude,

We are trying to solve a much larger problem domain than Windows MCE. As such, we are fleshing out many subsystems at once, much more than just media. The system will eventually come to encompass what you are looking for, and much more, but we have to write it.

HellraiserGN

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Re: A Windows Vista Ultimate User Considering Switching, need advice as well
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2008, 02:48:48 pm »
Thanks tschak909 for your reply. That's pretty informative and helps me with my decision. I don't have any of the home automation items yet. I'll keep an eye out on this project as it continues to evolve. Thanks again!