Setting Up Remote Potato – Windows Media Center HTPC Build – Part 11

Going to talk about a nice addon software for WMC called RemotePotato. It let you record, manage recordings, use guide, and most importantly STREAM your shows in browser or on your phone.

1. Download Remote Potato Server software here (be sure to get the correct addon for windows 8 or windows 8.1)

2. Run installer

3. Open up Remote Potato. You can run through setup wizard for do it manually.

4. Under General tab you can select what media you want to share. I only use this app for WMC and Recorded TV. I chose to start remote potato server with Windows. You can create a name and add themes. (Note I chose to show expert settings)

5. Under TV Guide tab you can choose from many options. I chose to show favorite channels only (went and favorited HD channels so I don’t see SD channels). If you have setup my channel logos (see my previous post) it will integrate nicely with remote potato. You can also set default recording options here.

6. Under Channels tab you can select favorites. Be sure to hit Save Changes.

7. Under Mobile tab you can select which mobile browsers become compatible. I left default as I use iPhone.

8. Under Advanced tab you can select default streaming quality (you can manually select later). I left everything default.

9. Advanced (WMC) tab lets you choose channel rows per page and how much time to left of guide. You can choose what you want here and play with the settings to your liking.

10. Now that your done with settings you need to find out how to connect to server with phone apps or online browser. At first page you can select option to find out how to connect.

Be sure to take note of ports and addresses for both local and remote!

11. Now onto the iOS app. I got the newest Remote Potato 2014 as its required to upgrade. (I am not a fan of this practice of updating and app, calling it something new, and charging more money for exact same thing). They have a monopoly on the market so if you want streaming, you don’t have any choice. 

12. Click the + and add your servers with the information in step 10. I created two of them, one for local and one for remote.

13. Successful connection

14. Main menu screen

15. Click Browse EPG Grid. This is one of my two big gripes with this software. Processing Grid information is ridiculous. They need to fix this. It takes forever. If you use the Ceton Media Center app you will see the right way to do this. Thats why I only use this app for streaming.

16. EPG Grid.

17. Clicking on a show. To stream a show you must first select to record show. Then go to recordings and stream it from there.

18. Started recording

19. Recorded TV in Videos Tab

20. EPG Settings. I chose to show favorite channels only along with Faster EPG because its already too slow. I would also recommend Pre-fetch EPG data in advance to speed it up.

21. Browse Chaannels

22. Movies

23. Children’s

24. Sports

25. News

26. Documentaries (didnt work for me)

27. Scheduled Recordings

28. Clicking on show you should see option to Stream now in recorded TV

 29. Options when you select to stream. This will depend on internet speeds. I can do Near-HD quality at home with wifi on iPhone (I have cox 50MB/s speeds with 5.0GHz Wireless N).

My second grip with software is remote streaming. Not sure who’s at fault but it just doesnt work very well. I am on 4G LTE Verizon in Phoenix with full bars and I can barely get consistent stream with low settings.

Sample screenshot with local streaming at near-HD quality

Setting Up Ceton Media Center software for Ceton Cablecard Tuner – Windows Media Center HTPC Build – Part 10

             

If you use ceton tuner they have an excellent app for iOS to manage recordings and search shows. This guide will show you how to set up software for windows and iOS.

This app does not let you watch live streaming. However, I much prefer searching and managing recordings with this over remotepotato so I use ceton media center to schedule recordings and remotepotato to stream the shows.

UPDATE: Not sure why but this app still works when I went back to HDhomerun Prime. I am not sure if you must first setup Ceton then switch to HDhomerun or if this will work with HDhomerun out of the box.

1. Download software here

2. Run through installer

3. Open My Media Center (Ceton Companion)

4. Under Library tab you can add your movie library

5. Television tab says coming soon

6. Under advanced tab you can select if you want metadata for xbmc and WMC and also options to rename titles.

7. Under artwork subtab you can donwload artwork

8. Under DVD you can create metadata for DVD’s inserted

 9. Under network you can enter credentials for remote libraries as well as network discovery. This is where you need to port forward the ports you select on your router. It also lists your internal and external ip to input into iOS app.

10. Under other there is option to enter your threads per processor as well as cache for TV

11. The diagnostic tab in about section is helpful to make sure everything is working on server end before going to iOS app.

12. Now onto iOS app. First download the app

13. You will be prompted to scan library. It should pull up automatically unless you have firewall.

14. Click on blue arrow next to your computer. Name your PC. Input internal IP with port (I would recommend setting up fixed IP in router settings. Also include your external IP if you want to remotely connect. Scroll down and input your MAC address for computer. You can test wake on lan here (if you have it set up properly to do so). Later there is option to auto wake computer when starting app at home (won’t work remotely). 

15. Now click on settings in top right corner. You are able to choose from many options. I recommend selecting default channel. I chose to start in the HD section so I didnt have to scroll each time I started. I also selected HD only as those are the only channels I watch.

Scroll down for more settings. Notice under Misc Settings is where I selected WoL When Connecting to auto wake up computer when starting app. (I really wish Plex would integrate this feature).

Some examples of Upcoming Recordings and Recent Recorded

Television Tab

TV Gallery

Guide

Channels

Premieres – Very handy for finding new tv shows

Recorded Television

Scheduled Recordings

Series Management

Settings when selecting series under Series Management

Movies

Movies on Tonight – Really nice if you have HBO

New + Upcoming

Best Sellers

Search

Remote – Works but definitely wouldnt use this as physical remote works much better

Setting Up My Channel Logos XL- Windows Media Center HTPC Build – Part 9

I have been using my channel logos for a long time now. Its an awesome addon that is self explanatory. They have switched versions over time and I have to pay to update each time, but worth it. Plus you have lots of cool options to edit your guide with this tool which Ill show you below.

1. Download here. I choose to pay $5 with paypal

2. Run through installer

3. Open up the application. Under logos tab click on auto-populate logos on bottom right hand side. Once done you will see list and can click through each one to see logo it found. At bottom there is list of channels where it didnt find logo. You can manually add logos which is nice.

4. Under guide tab you can choose options on left hand side. The neat feature is “# of rows in the guide…”. You can play around with this, but I chose the max of 12 (In WMC this give you a giant guide listing, which I prefer. I dont care for miniguide so I left that alone. I really wish I could turn off miniguide so if you know how leave a comment please as it interferes with my channel skip commands.  When done be sure to apply changes.

5. Under settings there are more options. Here you can check for logo updates and program updates. 
6. All done! Go check out WMC!

Setting Up HDHomerun Prime Software – Windows Media Center HTPC Build – Part 8

I finally got fed up with the ceton Infinitv ETH tuner (again) and decided to go back to HDhomerun. This is a very short guide as the homerun software is very minimalistic (which I like).

NOTE: Setting up this software is very easy. However, if you have ever messed with cablecards it becomes difficult sometimes. You just gotta keep trying to find right combo of card plus correct tech who knows how to pair and activate card correctly. The tuning adapter can also be challenge so verify you have all your channels.

1. Download software here

2. Run installer for HDhomerun

  • Make sure you have already powered on device, have cablecard installed, ethernet plugged in, and tuning adapter plugged in if needed
3. Open up config and type in zip code

4. Go to application tab and choose options for applications

5. Go to tuners tab, here you should see your 3 tuners and source type of cablecard if you have installed cablecard correctly along with their status

6. Under CableCARD tab you are able to scan all your channels for each tuner and enable/disable them (you can also use WMC to do this)

7. Under Advanced their are a few options. I left everything as is

8. Now open up Config GUI and you can select each tuner, tune to a channel and verify the signal

9. This is what it looks like when selecting a channel and getting a signal

10. Now go through WMC tv setup by following guide here or I also included it below. Note this guide was made with ceton so you will see 3 hdhomerun tuners instead of the 6 with ceton

1. Basic Setup from first time you open windows media center. 

2. Display setup. 


3. I chose Flat Panel

4. Connection Type – HDMI
5. Widescreen
6. Confirm Resolution. Should say 1080p. Select Yes.


7. Finish this Wizard.


8. Setup Sound. Here is where you select your setup. I chose 5.1 surround speakers.


9. If you havent already set up Digital Cable Advisor (required for cablecard to work) go to Extras. Follow steps to Digital Cable Advisor.

10. Now TV Setup. Select your region

11. Enter your Zip Code

12. Select I agree

13. Select Yes to download data now

14. Your cable card tuners should now automatically pop up if you set up ceton software correctly. Mine shows my 6 tuners from Ceton Network 6 Tuner

15. Select Yes to activate cablecard

16. Activate cablecard

17. Now call your cable company and provide cablecard ID and Host ID so they can pair your card. This can be the hard part because most people are terrible about working with cablecards. Try to get specialist. This also might take a couple of different cablecards in order for this to work.

18. Once it is paired successfully select your TV signal Provider. I chose Phoenix Cox Communication (Digital)

19. Next to configure with  your tuners

20. Download when connected to get guide update if you havent already

21. If you are like me and use SSD to boot and a separate HDD for storage of recorded TV. WMC sets up recorded tv folder on SSD by default so you need to change this. Go to settings->TV->Recorder->Recorder Storage. Change record on drive to your HDD. In my case it was D: drive. You can set maximum TV limit if you choose. Click Save.

22. Under Settings -> Visual and Sound Effects I unchecked transition animations. This makes WMC much more reactive to remote control. Some people also say to uncheck playing sounds when navigating to prevent handshake issues. I prefer the sounds to get feedback. You can also select your Color scheme. I have tried all and right now Im back to WMC standard. Click save and go back. 

Setting Up PLEX Media Center – Windows Media Center HTPC Build – Part 7

Today going to talk about setting up Plex Media Center. See my previous post for setting up the Plex Media Server as you need that finished in order to connect the Media Center.

1. Download and install Plex Media Center here

2. Follow install instructions

3. Open up Plex Media Center

4. From main menu click left arrow to bring up settings

5. Select Preferences

6. Select region and language

7. Under screensaver set your desired settings

8. Under theme music you can choose to play tv theme music. This option will play the theme music whenever browsing tv shows and you click on tv show (neat feature)

9. Under Advanced you can select skin

10. Now go to the left where you see 4 icons and go to Playback

11. You can make changes to subtitles

12. I left music and photos alone because I am not using them

13. Under advanced video, select off for adjust refresh rate to match video, video render method as software and MAKE SURE allow hardware acceleration (DXVA2) is unchecked – this is to get HD Audio working

14. Now go back to far left and select System

15. Under myPlex, sign in to your account you created on server (this will make sure when you load media center your files automatically show up), make sure remote libraries is checked if using plex away from home

16. I enabled remote control sends keyboard presses under input devices

17. Under audio output, select Audio output as HDMI, check box next to which codecs your receiver/computer is capable of playing (in my case I selected them all). You can find out what your receiver supports by going to control panel and selecting Sound. Then select device and hit properties. Click supported formats and at bottom you will see the list.

18. Under power saving, I chose to put display to sleep at 10 min and timer to 15 minutes (timer suspends computer)

19. Software update lets you search for new updates to plex

20. Under Services you can enable HTTP, control plex from clients, UPnP, and Airplay

21. Under advanced, I chose display mode as Fullscreen #1 and use fullscreen rather than true fullscreen CHECKED (notice below it shows windowed because I was taking screen shots). You can also calibrate video to make sure it fits your tv screen properly. Scroll down and change audio output channels to what you have (I have 5.1). Under audio output device select WASAPI: HDMI.….. and also the same for passthrough (notice mine is incorrect in screenshot below, must make sure its WASAPI for both. This will give you full HD playback with HD Audio (DTS, DTS Master….etc as long as your receiver supports it). If you find that video playback is really slow and stutters check sound settings. I would recommend following my entire guide when troubleshooting to fix as you must have same settings selected as I do.

22. Go back to far left and select Network

23. Under quality I set local video to direct play as well as remote video quality to direct play. You can change this option from each client you are using depending on network speeds. I have online video quality as 720p

24. Under media server you can manually set up ip address and port of server but this is unnecessary if you use plex’s login functionality

25. DONE

26. Now go back to main menu and as along as Plex Media Server and your server is turned on it should automatically load your Movies/TV Shows that you set up under Plex Media Server in Part 6 (notice there will be slight delay for media center to find server when starting up)

Setting Up PLEX Media Server – Windows Media Center HTPC Build – Part 6

Today going to talk about setting up Plex Media Server and later will follow with setting up the Plex Home Theater to play all your media.

Two Options on how to run this setup:

  1. Option 1 – Have both the media server and media center on same computer
  2. Option 2 – Run Media Server off Server and run Plex Home Theater on HTPC
No big difference, just depends on your setup. I personally run WHS 2011 Server and HTPC separately so I will discuss that. The one problem is that server must be on if you have media center and server on separate machines. I prefer to sleep server when not in use to save on electricity so I created my own way to wake the server automatically when starting Plex to bypass this (click here to see that how-to) (for those using XBMC there is advanced WOL utility to do same thing).
1.  Go to plex website and download the media server here
2.  Follow install instructions
3. Open up Plex Media Server
4. Create login (this is used to find server from anywhere without having to know ip address, very nice feature)
5. Now its time to add your media. Start by click Plus symbol on top left and choosing type of media to add. I only set up Movies and TV (I did split Movies into 3D and 2D folders to manage easier).

6. Click Movies

7. Find the folder where you have all your movies stored (again I created two of these, one with 2D and one with 3D movies).

8. Repeat this with TV Shows

9. Click on Settings (Top Right, looks like a couple of tools)
10. Should be Under Web (highlighted yellow) category
            * Option to Show Advanced

11. Only thing I changed was streaming quality. Obviously this will depend on your setup and speed of computer. I stream remotely from parents home with terrible internet speeds onto ROKU 3 running plex. I keep remote quality at 1.5Mbps but I usually manually change it to 3Mbps on the roku and it runs fine. Locally I choose the best you can get since I have wired gigabit speeds.

12. Now under server settings for main menu (highlighted yellow on right), one can make many changes.

13. Go to General, title Server

14. Connect, select port (I forwarded these ports on my router)

15. Agents can be messed with as these scrape media for artwork, information, pictures and lots of metadata. My database has 90% metadata already so I use personal media as much as possible.

16. Under Library, make sure update library automatically is checked, update library periodically ( I chose every 15 minutes)

17. Can leave channels as is, as well as Network

18. I left transcoder default and set to automatic. If using apple tv be sure to check the box for Enable Dolby Digital for Apple TV.

19. I usually try and disable all subtitles but I recently watched movie in French so decided to try it out. There is website with good guidelines on how to play your own subtitles and the settings needed. Under Languages you can make some changes if using subtitles.

20. I enabled DLNA and left it as is

21. Done. Now move on to Plex Media Center