themediacentermaniac.com header image 1

Missing “Movie Guide” Cover Art for majority of Movies from 2010 til present

March 13th, 2012 · No Comments

Anyone who uses the awesome Movie Guide capability in Media Center to view currently aired and upcoming movies has noticed for almost a year now that the cover art is missing for Movies from 2010 til the present.  Instead of Cover Art, one of the following is displayed: blank blue box, a blank DVD, or the title of the movie.

To reproduce issue:
1) Launch Windows Media Center
2) Under Movies, select movie guide
3) Select genres then All
4) Select By Year

Examples of movies made in 2011 and 2010 with no cover art:
Rango (2011) – Has Blank DVD
Thor (2011) – Has Blank DVD
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) – Has Blank DVD
Drive Angry (2011) – Has Blank DVD
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) – Has Blank DVD
Winter’s Bone (2010) – Has Blank Blue Box
Iron Man 2 (2010) – Has Blank DVD
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) – Has Blank Blue Box
True Grit (2010) – Has Blank DVD

There are two active Feedback entries on the Microsoft Connect Windows Media Center Feedback website, one of which has a whopping 94 votes!  The next highest active feedback entry has 16 votes, so hopefully Microsoft sees the Media Center community desperately uses this capability and continues to work to get it fixed.

The active experts.windows.com thread on this topic is here, where erkotz, a Ceton Quality Assurance Manager, has also contacted Microsoft.

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Media Center Software

WHS v1 Backups to External USB 3.0 Hard Drive

August 26th, 2011 · No Comments

With the hurricane on its way, finally installed my EVGA EU30 USB 3.0 PCI-E host card in the WHS v1 Server, along with performing two types of backups to my Seagate 3TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive.  Since the drivers from the EVGA website for the the EU30 were so old, downloaded and installed the latest NEC USB 3.0 Host Controller Drivers, version 2.1.19.0, and Firmware, version 3028, from Nwgat’s WordPress Blog, after reading this TechPowerUp forum post.

The two types of backups I performed:

  1. Backup of the WHS v1 Backup Database of all the WHS Client PCs (7MC PC, Office PC, laptops, etc.) using WHS Backup Database-Backup (BDBB) add-in
  2. Backup of the Photos, Home Videos, etc. WHS Shared Folders using these HowToGeek.com procedures

The BDBB Backup was easy.  Clicked Create button and chose my USB 3.0 external drive as the target.  The BDBB Backup was 80GB and took 21 min to complete.  Backing up the WHS Shared Folders was also easy using those procedures.

Also, for WHS Operating System fault tolerance, I’m using the NVIDIA RAID 1 (Mirroring) for the WHS Boot Drive.  If there was a non hard drive WHS server hardware failure (motherboard, etc.), I need to find the “tried and true” procedures on how to recover.  Thus far, I’ve been researching that at these links: 1, 2

Finally, considering implementing this to enable duplication of the WHS Backups folder.

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Windows Home Server

ESPN3D works in Media Center on Xbox 360 but…

April 20th, 2011 · No Comments

The picture quality is DVD quality at best and no where close to HD.  This is because ESPN3D uses the “standard” for 720p 3D, splitting the 720 horizontal lines (360 lines for the left eye and 360 lines for the right eye) to broadcast in the same space as their HD image.  It’s basically a 1280×360 progressive resolution.

I’m surprised there isn’t more negative feedback on the forums, blogs and such on the “not even close to HD” picture quality.  I did find this, but not much else.

On the positive side, with FIOS, using my 7MC with ATI CableCards, I was able to watch a 3D broadcast on my Xbox 360 Media Center Extender!

Two side notes:

  • The FIOS ESPN3D broadcast is TnB (Top And Bottom).  I had to manually change the 3D settings from “Auto” to this in my Panasonic P58VT25.
  • ESPN3D review in this EngadgetHD article, though there was no real feedback of the picture quality
  • 3D channel resolution / format specs on DirecTV, who currently carries three standard (non PPV, non On Demand) channels: ESPN3D, N3D, and 3DNET
Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Media Center Software

My Wired Home Network (thanks to the power of MoCA)

March 26th, 2011 · No Comments

For over a year now, I’ve had a Wired Home Network using the already run RG-6 coax, thanks to MoCA and Actiontec MI424WR routers configured as MoCA bridges.  HD Movies and TV shows stream from 7MC to the extenders throughout the house with ease.  Honestly, the only issue is when channel flipping from Media Center extenders not co-located in same room as Media Center PC (Home Theater Room), the video is choppy for the first 2 to 5 seconds. Click the image to see my wired home network diagram.

Actiontec MI424WR Rev C – F routers are 802.11G (up to 54 Mbps) with four 100MB ports, while the Rev G routers are 802.11N (up to 160 Mbps) with four 1GB ports.

MI424WR Firmware information resources:

  • Actiontec’s current firmware version spreadsheet
  • Verizon’s latest firmware downloads (NOTE: SFU Model MI424WR = Rev C/D; Gen2 = Rev E/F; Don’t believe there’s been an update for Rev G as of this post)
  • In order to upgrade the firmware on the MI424WR routers configured as MoCA bridges, I had to download the firmware onto the hard drive and manually upgrade the firmware by browsing to the file, etc.

Verizon FiOS speed tiers: # megabits (Mbps) per second downstream / # megabits (Mbps) per second upstream:

  • 150/35 – Rev G router is required
  • 50/20 Mbps
  • 35/35* – What I have
  • 25/25* – What I have
  • 15/5*

* Offered in double-, triple- and quadruple-play bundles

My Verizon FIOS Optical Network Terminal (ONT) is the Motorola ONT1000GT2, which has a Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) interface with 2.5 Gb/s downstream 1.2 Gb/s upstream.  Information on other Verizon FIOS provided ONTs.

Interesting Feb 2011 FIOS / MI424WR / ONT forum thread here.

All current MI424WRs are MoCA 1.1, which has a net data throughput of up to 175 Mbit/s and support for up to 16 devices.  MoCA 2.0 devices should begin popping up in 2012.  MoCA 2.0 offers two performance modes, Basic and Enhanced, with 400 Mbit/s and 800 Mbit/s net throughputs (MAC), using 700 Mbit/s and 1.4 Gbit/s PHY rates, respectively.

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

My Process for Recording and Saving Movies (using VideoReDo TV Suite 4.x)

March 21st, 2011 · No Comments

Using VideoReDo TV Suite 3.x, I had to use WTVConverter to convert the .wtv recordings to .dvr-ms prior to using VideoRedo to edit out the commercials.

Since last summer, I’ve been using VideoReDo TV Suite with H.264 4.x, which is able to open, edit (removing commercials), and save TV shows & movies as .dvr-ms files with the majority of the metadata in tact.

My 4-step process for recording and saving movies with 7MC/WHS is as follows:

  1. In Movies folder on WHS, create folder named “<Movie Title>(<Year>)”
  2. Browse to allmovie.com (where Windows Media Center retrieves Movies metadata), search for then go to movie title’s webpage, and save movie cover as folder.jpg in folder previous created
  3. InVideoReDo, open movie, mark section before movie starts and section after movie ends for removal, if movie has commercials mark them for removal using Ad-Detective, using F5/F6 keys jump to removal marks verifying only the commercials are to be removed, and save movie as .dvr-ms in folder previous created.
  4. Delete original movie recording from Recorded TV folder

NOTE: Latest version (as of Nov 2010) of Video TV Suite is 4.20.6.610

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Slick video of Blu Ray playback in Media Center in action

March 10th, 2011 · No Comments

Over at themissingremote.com, this video containing an awesome demo of a Blu Ray playback in 7MC was just posted.

The demo shows, in 7MC, the MyMovies 3 gorgeous interface displaying a Blu Ray collection stored on WHS, and playing a Blu Ray, which with the power of Total Media Theater 5 (TMT5), plays seamlessly (full screen, etc.).  The demo then goes on to show how settings like audio tracks can be changed on-the-fly while the movie is playing.  Really slick!

Since I only use Media Center via extenders, and the Xbox 360 / DMA 2200 is not capable of VC-1 encoded video playback, I won’t be able to do this.  But nevertheless, it’s really impressive.

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Third Party Plug-Ins

PlayOn Virtual Audio Driver fix after PlayOn software upgrades & NVRaid RAID 1 Repair

March 7th, 2011 · No Comments

As apart of my house-wide Media Center solution, PlayOn continues to provide the internet audio/video content like Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, etc.  Unfortunately though, when upgrading to a newer version of PlayOn, I always get an error on my Extenders when attempting to retrieve content: “The PlayOn Virtual Audio Device is configured as default”.  The fix: In Device Manager, de-install the PlayOn Virtual Audio driver (but do not select the Delete driver files checkbox), then reboot.  When Media Center PC comes back up, the Virtual Audio driver is automatically installed with PlayOn working perfectly on all my extenders.

Had a power outage recently and unfortunately had not configured the APC UPS PowerChute software to gracefully shutdown the WHS.  Upon powering up the WHS, noticed the NVRaid Mirror was corrupt.  Using the NVRaid Manager Utility, performed steps 2 – 11 in first post to fix array by deleting the existing corrupted one and rebuilding the array.

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Third Party Plug-Ins · Windows Home Server

Configuring RDP from 7 to XP & XP to 7 Print Server

March 4th, 2011 · No Comments

I know this technically isn’t Media Center or Windows Home Server related, but still thought I’d share these tech tips that helped me out big time…

Recently added a new Windows XP PC to my arsenal of existing Windows 7 PCs (7MC, Office PC, 2 Laptops) and WHS.  This new XP PC is exclusively used for scanning (scanner only works on XP) and printing coupons from websites like coupons.com that install the dreaded coupon printer software.  Had to perform the following two configurations to consistently RDP from Windows 7 to XP, and then from XP PC, print via Windows 7 Print Server:

1. Remote Desktop from Windows 7 to Windows XP by running the “Tuneup Utilities” in the Network Setup Wizard (from the Control Panel).

2. Print from XP to Windows 7 Print Server, which has USB connection to printer, by unchecking  Bidirectional on the Ports tab of the Printer properties window.

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

The Media Center Watching HD Movie Trailer Capability is Finally Here => HD-Trailers.NET Downloader!

December 5th, 2010 · No Comments

I have wanted, for a looooooong time, the capability to watch all the latest high definition trailers from my extenders.   HD-Trailers.NET Downloader provides this capability!  I’ve been using it since June with no problems.

Trailers for movies that are currently, or will be, in movie theaters is one thing I thoroughly enjoy doing watching from the couch with the remote, on the HDTV, and listening in surround sound.

After editing the excellent, highly configurable text file, daily (in the middle of the night), HD-Trailers.NET Downloader downloads all of the newest posted 720p HD movie trailers from the most up-to-date thorough souce of HD Movie Trailers on the Internet.

Via the same configuration file, I have it set to store 100 trailers, and when a new one is downloaded, the oldest is deleted.

Below are the plug-ins I looked at prior to finding this gem solution:

  • MCE Zone My Trailers 2.0 Plug-In – Pros: Native Plug-In, Works with extenders  Cons: Do not have all the latest trailers, Costs $5.99
  • Trailer Library Plug-In – Pros: Non Apple source for trailers so more stable source for trailers  Cons: Does not have all the latest trailers, Doesn’t work on extenders

HD-Trailers.NET Downloader

Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Performing my first WHS Restore of my 7MC PC (had to use NIC Driver install trick)

June 29th, 2010 · No Comments

In attempting to resolve a “Copying Prohibited” issue in Media Center, which I will post about next, for the first time I restored a backup of my 7MC via WHS.  Go figure that doing a simple restore wasn’t cut and dry.

When restoring a PC from WHS, the PC’s NIC drivers must be loaded in order for it to see the WHS over the network.  As outlined these procedures, I booted off the WHS restore disk, inserted the USB stick which had the NIC drivers, and clicked “Install Drivers” and Scan buttons to load up the NIC drivers.  Instead of loading up the drivers, the “Install Drivers” window just sat there.  After waiting 30 minutes, I went on to Plan B, which thankfully worked.

Here’s what I had to do (thanks to allaboutbalance.com for the info):

  1. Download the Realtek RTL 8168/8111 Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (NDIS 6.0) Vista 32/64 Auto Installation Program (SID:1412122) and store it on a USB Stick
  2. Boot off of WHS Restore CD
  3. At the “Install Drivers” window, clicked the help hyperlink (I forget the text, but it’s the only hyperlink in the window).  A help webpage appeared.  In that webpage, right click on it and select “View Source”.  This opens Notepad.  In Notepad, click File=>Open, browse to the NIC’s Setup.exe, right-click on it and select “Run as Administrator”.  Go through the NIC Install windows (i.e. Next, Next, Finish).
  4. Go through the rest of the restore process (e.g. entering WHS password, selecting backup, selecting drive to restore to, etc.)
  5. Success!
Print Friendly

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized