WMC Convert? Share your experience

I've been a Windows Media Center user for many years. Still running a Win7 server on a dedicated HTPC. I have had several WMC clients setup but am now down to just viewing OTA on the HTPC and a single Xbox 360 used as a remote WMC client. Both work great with nice dedicated remotes. Tuning comes from a pair of dual tuner HDHomeruns.

Of course, Microsoft shut down the channel guide service, so I started using one of the alternate providers to continue to get guide data. But as this machine is Win7, and MS has long abandoned WMC, I decided it is a good idea to start looking elsewhere. Channels DVR came up on my radar. The $8/month isn't horrible, and I don't mind paying for a continued supported platform.

Any other WMC converts? Any experiences to share? What clients do you use to watch?

I converted fully about a year and a half ago and love it. I primarily use the TVE functionality but do still have locals via cable as our OTA out here is notoriously unreliable. I love it and use Fire Cubes/Fire Sticks to watch.

Is there a native Windows client to view? I use the HTPC to watch on a big screen, and it worked great with WMC. It looks like Channels DVR is more aligned to be headless with dedicated clients that are non PC based.

Correct. You need to use a device such as AppleTV, Fire TV, Android TV as your client. There is no PC client.

Gotcha. The funny thing is we're already pretty invested in things that Channels DVR doesn't support. I'd need an extra client for my existing HTPC (which would become headless) and most of our streaming clients are all Rokus (4 in use, several older models being retired). I'm not saying thats a non-starter, but creates a much larger curve to adoption. Lots more hardware to purchase. :slight_smile:

True. There is a management web interface where you can access the streams and recordings, but it is far from optimal, especially for a HTPC/10-foot scenario.

There is a barebones beta-quality Roku client, but it is old and not maintained.

There is also a useable Kodi PVR add-on that mostly works, too.

But, continued and regular support is for Apple and Android clients only.

I’m a WMC convert as well, and Channels is great. As others have mentioned, the client is a big part of the experience, so for best results you’ll want to invest in a good one. My main TV is on an Apple TV 4K and it runs great.

I don't know that I'm a convert, but I do use channels alongside wmc now. I record ota with wmc and watch on the 360. I record tv everywhere streams with channels and bought a tivo stream 4k to watch on. I really only use channels because of its tveverywhere recording capabilities as my ota tuners aren't compatible with channels. If I didn't need tveverywhere recording without limit i don't think I'd be using channels. Why would I pay 80 bucks a year if wmc still works fine with cable and ota? If you're used to using wmc on your PC screen (as opposed to an extender) Be prepared for a rude awakening in channels. The desktop experience is extremely bare bones compared to wmc and often doesn't work to watch live TV. Channels works well on Android TV though.

What OTA tuners are you using?

Two avermedia duets for 4 ota tuners.

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WMC convert here as well. I used WMC since the Windows XP days up until about 2 years ago. I still think it was the best DVR/Media Player on the market.

The UI was perfect and allowed you to not only watch live tv and record, but import your local content as well. I wish someone would clone the UI, it was very user friendly.

The guide was very clean and included colored categories for sports, news, movies, etc.

I wish Microsoft continued supporting it.

Agreed 100%. I was a ReplayTV user, went thru several of their units during the dialup guide era and loved every bit of their UI. I disliked TiVo. WMC is very much like ReplayTV.

Can Channels playback WMC recorded shows?

Didn't MS buy out ReplayTV in the 90s or early 00s? That could account for the similarities :wink:

(Guess not. According to the almighty Wikipedia, ReplayTV's assets were sold to DirecTV in 2007.)

DirecTV's DVRs after the acquisition were definitely styled like ReplayTV. I used my ReplayTVs up until 2010 or 2011 when they turned the guide data off.

I have been doing this sort of stuff for a hot minute. I have used BeyondTV with an ATI All-in-Wonder card, then moved on to WMC. I started using HDHR boxes many moons ago, and still use a Prime and a couple of Duals (and waiting for my Quatro 4K to make its way across the Pacific). I have tried Plex, Emby, NextPVR, PlayOn and Kodi in any number of configurations. I had DirecTV from the time they went nationwide, until they started giving away the kitchen sink to all customers that had not been loyally with them from the start. I have been between which ever cable and streaming services gave me the best deal for the last several years. I have a wife and 2 sons that really hate that I switch everything around every few months...and I got tired of it. Then I found Channels DVR. I don't own the first Apple product, but still found this to be the best solution for my family. Why? I can change between whatever streaming service I want and I no longer have to change my/their interface. If I drop cable, I still have OTA and which service I switch to...and the interface doesn't change. It is the only product I have found that I can do that with...thanks to it's functionality with TVE. My cable company will give me a year long deal that is better than any streamer...then they will not extend it. So, I drop them and wait two months and they send me the same deal (yep, crazy, but is my cheapest route). In between, I find a cheap streamer that will give me part of that time on a trial...then back to cable. All while not changing anyone's interface or equipment (ere'body has a FireTV Stick 4K...on sale via prime). Works for us, but YMMV.

You can watch live tv on a windows pc, has a guide to. Just has more settings than a client.

The client part is real good on an Apple TV (only 4th & 5th-4k gen).

The biggest difference is no guide overlay. When you enter the guide, the tv video and audio stop, wish they would add the overlay, I personally hate that....I was a WMC user for years, with extenders.

Also, there is a library now. You can add your own movie/video collection.

Thank you guys for replying. I think its important to know what other WMC users say, as they have a level of expectation after using one of the best DVR products ever made. TiVo people are (were) a dedicated bunch, but I can't relate to them as I have no experience with it.

Thinking back, WMC was an amazing product that Microsoft provided as a near-zero-cost add on. I purchased a Windows 7 license and got WMC included. Guide data completely free. I've used it for 8-10 years, so I consider myself ahead of the game cost wise. Sure, I had to buy the hardware but that's reusable and would have existed for any of the DVR platforms.

Any suggestions on CPU hardware for the server? My HTPC is an AMD APU based setup, and it sounds like those aren't supported (or won't be very performant). I have several 4th generation I3 and I5 based machines sitting around I could use. I'll be using a pair of HDHomeRun dual tuners.

Any of the i3 or i5 machines will work just fine as a server.

I am testing Channels DVR to replace WMC. The one thing I REALLY miss is the fast play mode in WMC that plays 1.5x speed and gets the audio right. Anyone know if there are plans to add this? Thanks.

I've been using wmc to record since 2013. I switched over to Channels last year with 3 apple tv's, and I could not be happier. I have not had problem with a single recording, or the guide updating. WMC for me required constant baby sitting with the guide. Not to mention the work arounds that are required for making 6 tuners work.

The only problem I had originally with channels was DMR channels, but with the addition of TV everywhere I was able to add the dmr channels that I was missing and everything has been perfect.

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