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Media Center 2005 on Windows Home Server

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195 replies to this topic

#1
GaMeR

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Drashna and me have great ideas about WHS. We've allready showed you some stuff you could do with your WHS (See the WIKI), but this one is the best idea till now I think:

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That's right! Media Center running on your Windows Home Server :) No more need for 2 systems, have your home server also act like a real media center!

Download here: Windows Home Server Media Center Install Script (Password: WeGotServed).


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#2
JC634 (WGS)

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Very cool!

I'll have to check this out and see how it works. This would be an answer to one of my pet peeves about MC.

Be back later to let you how it works out.

Whoops, as usual, I did not read the whole title. Will this work with VMC? Over to Wiki for more details...

#3
Guest_Drashna (WGS)_*

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No, this will only work with XP's version of Media Center. Maybe it will with v2 of WHS, but we have no idea... yet.

And we are working on two versions, a stand alone installer for those with WHS already installed, and a "Windows Home Server: We Got Served Edition" which will install Media Center during the installation. And a few other goodies too. :)

#4
RebelGTP

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The only thing I can say right now is "be careful"

I am not going to blow a whistle and cry foul, but make sure you own a license to Windows XP MCE 2005 if you install this on WHS. Not only that, but make sure you are not using the copy of MCE 2005 already. If you install MCE on WHS independent of XP, you might be running afoul of the MCE license as well.

All it takes is someone to do what they are not supposed to and Microsoft will build in support to prevent Media Center from running in WHS, unless they choose to include Media Center in the WHS License to button up some of the media shortcomings of WHS...

#5
GaMeR

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Why? I'm basicly my own OEM, and I have a licence for MCE. Well, it's on it's way actually, just bought it today. :P But that's not the point, we're justing having lots of fun with it and I think it could really be intersting for people who would like to have WHS and MCE in one box.

The majority of people won't use it, but some of us see lots of potential in it. I'm actually thinking of buying an xbox 360 if we get this working!

#6
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The only thing I can say right now is "be careful"

I am not going to blow a whistle and cry foul, but make sure you own a license to Windows XP MCE 2005 if you install this on WHS. Not only that, but make sure you are not using the copy of MCE 2005 already. If you install MCE on WHS independent of XP, you might be running afoul of the MCE license as well.

All it takes is someone to do what they are not supposed to and Microsoft will build in support to prevent Media Center from running in WHS, unless they choose to include Media Center in the WHS License to button up some of the media shortcomings of WHS...

Thanks for the warning, but this topic has been talked about to death. We understand the legal issues that may or may not arise. As for not being able to install MCE on WHS, well that has already happened and requires a reg hack to get around. We understand that not only is this completely unsupported by microsoft in any way, shape or form, but is probably highly discouraged.

I definitely do appreciate your concern. Thanks for that. But you can't keep a tinkerer from tinkering. :P

#7
RebelGTP

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I am not trying to discourage, I just said what needs to be said... Ultimately it is up to the end-user as to what they want to do.

You can provide a means for those people, by way of wikis, walk-throughs, and enablers... but if you were to start distributing an installer or a slipstreamed WHS install disc, you could get this community in some deep **** right quick. Not to mention also making a bandwidth shitstorm because not only would it be a WHS install disc, but another of those oh-so-tempting no-no distributions. That is because as soon as a "Windows Home Server: We Got Served Edition" hit the net, you know someone will work to fully crack it, and then start distributing it themselves... and who gets the blame after that? you got it... WGS.

Plain and simply again I am stating: "Be Careful..." We are listed as an official download and discussion area on the product page. No need to jeopardize that plus get Terry pulled into possible litigation and/or losing his MVP status.

#8
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Exactly. I agree with every point. I wouldn't dream of doing anything that would jeopardize WGS. Nor were we considering posting it on WGS. And actually, I was considering approaching Microsoft about this issue, just to avoid causing any problem for MS, WGS, or Terry.

And as for the name, we've come up with a different name that has nothing to do with WGS, but until it is done, and has absolutely no problems, we haven't even considered actually releasing it. Talked, yes. But like I said, we have no intention of causing any problem by doing this. It started off as one of those projects of "Can we actually do this", and evolved from there. For those familiar with Gamer and myself, you can tell we like integrating and slip streaming things, and this was no exception. And has been a fun and interesting project.

#9
scoob101

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If this really does work, AND supports extenders, then its a huge step. And hopefully it`ll shame MS into releasing an official version!

I have an XP MCE license, and I`ve love to use it with WHS :D

#10
JC634 (WGS)

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Well, if this really works and MS picks up on it, I would even consider paying for it if MS released an official add-in. Or whatever they chose to call it. For some reason, I just don't see MS releasing something like this as a freebie as part of WHS v1.

But on the other hand, given all the problems, i.e. the Corruption Bug, that WHS users have had to endure this might just be a nice "carrot" to improve the product's image.

That could make it a win-win situation for both MS and the consumer.

The one problem that I do see about the while thing is; how would this be integrated into the WHS console? Probably should not be at all. What I would imagine as the ideal solution would be to install a link on each client machine which could then open MC on that client. You got 5 computer or "devices"? You could have 5 instances of MC running! If all the clients want to watch TV at the same time, some sort of tuner farm or related HW setup would be needed.

The beginnings of true "connected" home! This would then make WHS a true home server.

#11
GaMeR

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I can asure you all we won't release a complete product like this. What we could do is provide the files/scripts/patches or tutorial for people who want to make this version of WHS. This mean they would need a legit copy of WHS and MCE. And as Drashna allready said, this project just started with the question: Can we do this? Will it work?

Our intentions are not to distribute pirated software, and we won't. People still need thier valid licences for thier products (that is WHS & MCE) to be able to activate. There are other ways, we know that too, but we won't cover those ways.

And since there are other sites/forums trying to hack MCE onto Windows 2003 this isn't new. It was about to happen sooner or later anyway. Personally I don't see anything wrong in this project.

Well, if this really works and MS picks up on it, I would even consider paying for it if MS released an official add-in. Or whatever they chose to call it. For some reason, I just don't see MS releasing something like this as a freebie as part of WHS v1.


Actually, I like to think the other way around. I hope MS picks up on it and use this idea in v2, or even in the next Major update of v1. the MCE market is huge, and having WHS jump into that market it could be a huge boost.

Personally, if MS would have made 2 versions of WHS, 1 without Media Center and 1 with. I would have bought the one with Media Center. MS seems to be good in releasing different kind of windows versions with no actual differences. I use vista Ultimate, but I don't see any "real" differences with Vista Premium. no extra vallue is added to Ultimate compared to Home Premium. At least a WHS with and without Media Center would be "real" value.

#12
scoob101

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What we could do is provide the files/scripts/patches or tutorial for people who want to make this version of WHS.


Could you tell us exactly that "this version of WHS" is? I think the main question is, can it support Media Centre Extenders like the xbox 360?

Our intentions are not to distribute pirated software, and we won't. People still need thier valid licences for thier products (that is WHS & MCE) to be able to activate.


Quite right. I`ve still got mine, and I`m itching to put it to good use B)

#13
GaMeR

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Could you tell us exactly that "this version of WHS" is? I think the main question is, can it support Media Centre Extenders like the xbox 360?


One of the reasons why I wanted Media Center on WHS. :P

#14
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I'm currently trying to get a 360 from a friend and test out the media center functionality. I don't see why it wouldn't assuming it works 100%. However, there are still a number of things we need to do to make this "ready", including a number of performance hacks. We have noticed a number of unresolvable errors during installation, but it works fine despite this. And worse case scenario, it may end up more as a media extender server, but that isn't a bad outcome IMO.

As for "shaming" Microsoft into including this functionality in WHS in the future: We absolutely hope this happens. And this may just appear in v2, but only Microsoft really knows that!

For now, lets just say, it works with a few bugs, and we can even get it to install during the WHS installation! We are working on getting *everything* needed to run the best we can. But when testing the slightest change, it takes about 10minutes to re-compile the DVD image, and about 60-90 minutes to install on my Virtual Machine.

EDIT: Also, Media Center does not, even normally work under Remote Desktop, unforuntely. XP MCE or VMC.

The current working name we have for this "version" of WHS is "Windows Home Server: X Files Edition". It is a really bad, inside joke. Once you've messed around with the installer DVD, and have become familar with it, you will completely understand.

And I want to thank GaMeR for finding a) the information (originallly on TGB forums, and officially thank those guys too), and B) for testing it out and making sure it works! My contribution has been integrating it into the installer due to my familarity with Windows Installation disks, and WHS's install disk itself. Lets just say that I know more about the installer that is probably healthy or safe. :P

#15
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It looks like there is no way for us to manually enable hardware acceleration for video or audio, so after WHS is installed, you would have to do that manually, for better performance. However, enabling windows audio service by default is really simple, so that is a plus.

On the downside, because Media Center is designed to only run on XP Media Center Edition, there are a number of unpreventable errors that we have run into. This doesn't prevent you from using Media Center from what we've seen.

#16
GaMeR

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On the downside, because Media Center is designed to only run on XP Media Center Edition, there are a number of unpreventable errors that we have run into. This doesn't prevent you from using Media Center from what we've seen.


Media Center itself should work fine without errors, the only errors are installation based, and from what I've seen it's nothing major. Also my script corrects the error anyway. I've been digging into this and it looks like the CAB installer has trouble registereing one of the .dll files. But since my script does this automaticly after the CAB is installed is gets registered correctly anyway (I'm still investigating this).

#17
Yagi

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This is amazing! I've been really hoping someone one do this, I've been using gbpvr which isnt nearly as beautiful. Tell me, does Webguide work with it and recognize it being an mce? If so it would be great to be able to stream and remote record programs!

#18
Danee

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Hey Guys,

Nice work! I integrated Media Center in RC1 a year ago, posted it at the Microsoft forums

When using it I didn't find it very usefull to run Media Center of my WHS, it is to big and noisy compaired to the Mac Mini's I use as Media Centers, plus the fact that I wanted to switch to Vista for my Media Centers, so I only used the recording functionality.

I used Babqvant's Recording Broker to move my scheduled recordings to the WHS and it worked great. Only downside is you can't see your planned recordings on your Media Centers after they're moved to the WHS box.

I had no errors running it on WHS, the only annoying thing I had was an extra dialog when shutting down or restaring the WHS, because of the extra services for extenders (v1!)

Did you guys manage to get Rollup 2 integrated? This would allow Extenders V2 (Xbox 360 for example) to connect.

(After getting my RTM copy I never tried integrating it again because I had no more spare hardware to test it, and also to little time :( )

Cheers,

Danee

#19
Richard Miller

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Hey Guys,

Nice work! I integrated Media Center in RC1 a year ago, posted it at the Microsoft forums

When using it I didn't find it very usefull to run Media Center of my WHS, it is to big and noisy compaired to the Mac Mini's I use as Media Centers, plus the fact that I wanted to switch to Vista for my Media Centers, so I only used the recording functionality.

I used Babqvant's Recording Broker to move my scheduled recordings to the WHS and it worked great. Only downside is you can't see your planned recordings on your Media Centers after they're moved to the WHS box.

I had no errors running it on WHS, the only annoying thing I had was an extra dialog when shutting down or restaring the WHS, because of the extra services for extenders (v1!)

Did you guys manage to get Rollup 2 integrated? This would allow Extenders V2 (Xbox 360 for example) to connect.

(After getting my RTM copy I never tried integrating it again because I had no more spare hardware to test it, and also to little time :( )

Cheers,

Danee

What happens when you try to install Rollup2 ? does it say "Windows Media Center not found" ?

In the WHS registry look for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Ident key.

Set Ident key number to “ 3.0 “ reboot WHS then try installing Rollup 2

#20
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I believe we are using Rollup 2, but I don't know for sure. GaMeR does know, and if anyone knows the way to check (correct file version and the like), let me know. And Richard, we don't have that problem, and checked that entry anways. Set to "3.0".

Right now the major problems are: when installing, it fails to find RegASM.exe and prompts an error. Non-fatal, but annoying, and would prevent automated installation. Which means you would have to have a keyboard and monitor attached. However, including regasm.exe produces a relatively fatal error. And media center will not work. Something about languate, not 100% sure. The other problem is that there is no set way to enable hardware acceleration for audio or video, which are pretty much required for smooth playback. Both will have to be done manually, by the PBtC (Person Behind the Curtain).

Other than these two problems, it installs pretty much seemlessly from the WHS disk. Oh, and it does have the prompt about the extenders when shutting down/rebooting.




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