TV4Home Brings MediaPortal to Windows Home Server

by Damian on February 14, 2011 · 15 comments

in News

As someone who is always looking for a way to turn Windows Home Server into a central media hub, I was pretty excited when today a new Add-In for Windows Home Server v1 and Vail called TV4Home was announced. As per their site:

TV4Home installs MediaPortal TV Server on your Windows Home Server. You can then record your favorite TV shows or stream Live-TV to network clients.
The installation procedure is based on easy to use wizards, which means you can get your TV Server up and running in a couple of minutes!

The Add-In is available for the original Windows Home Server, as well as for the new version Windows Home Server 2011 (Vail).
It integrates into the WHS Console or the WHS2011 Dashboard and provides an overview of the current TV Server status.

With the Web-Interface you can schedule recordings by using the EPG (Electronic Program Guide) from any Internet-connected PC.
Simply visit your WHS Remote Access Website and click on the TV4Home link.

For those who aren’t familiar with, Media Portal is an open source HTPC media center similar to XBMC, Windows Media Center, and SageTV. A while ago as part of my Media Center Software Central writeup I highlighted Media Portal. There were many things to like about it, including a large user community, a variety of plugins/skins, and PVR functionality. However, I found at the time setting up a little more challenging and involved then I had hoped. With the announcement of TV4Home and the fact that I already have an HDHomerun Networked TV Tuner set up on my Windows Home Server, I thought this would be a great opportunity to dive back in. My hope was to put together a walk-through/guide, but as of now I ran into a couple of issues that brought things to a halt. The good news is that the TV4Home Add-In works as advertised. Like any other Add-In I was able to install via the WHS Console. Once installed I had full access to the settings in the WHS Console as well, as shown below:


However, as I mentioned, there are a couple of issues I ran in to, which I believe are Media Portal and not TV4Home related.The first issue is even though everything installed without issue and I can access all the settings, I initially get an error message that Media Portal is not supported on my Windows Home Server because it lacks critical hotfixes. I checked and indeed I had not updated to the latest UR2. I ran through the update, restarted my server, and still I get the same error message. At this point there is nothing left for me to update so I am not sure what the issue is.

The second issue is that I cannot get any HDHomerun channels  to be scanned by Media Portal. There is info on getting the HDHomerun to work with Media Portal + Windows 7 x64, but nothing specific to Windows Home Server.  There is a thread on the Media Portal forum about TV Server and Windows Home Server, but once again nothing specific to the HDHomerun. This is the type of stuff that frustrated me previously with Media Portal, as setting up the HDHomerun with Windows Media Center and SageTV were a breeze. One other item of concern (and I am not sure how accurate it is), a member on the Media Portal forum posted the following:

If you have only the storage pool, the I/O performance is not sufficient for a continuous data stream.

If true then this will make TV Server useless for my setup as all drives in my Windows Home Server are part of the pool. Like I said though, I cannot confirm the accuracy of this, especially since I have never heard of such an issue with SageTV.

Final Thoughts:

So if you couldn’t tell, my initial experience was a mixed bag. On a positive note the TV4Home Add-In does exactly as advertised and simplifies what would otherwise be a much more involved process. On the downside it appears that Media Portal has butted heads with my Windows Home Server, and there is the question of whether a drive outside the storage pool is needed for TV Server to work with Windows Home Server.  As I find time I will  try to dig around further to see if there is a solution to the issues I encountered, and if so I will try to document. For those who are using Media Portal, how has your experience been so far? If you were able to successfully get TV Server working with your Windows Home Server, what is your setup and what Tuner Card(s) are you using?





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 15 comments }

The Kitty February 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Having tuning/recording is one of my big things and I’m thinking I might try this with WHS2011. I could yet again install V1 on my testbed but my gut says 2011 will be the best platform for media and I can use my EX485 for the WHS benefits. This coupled with perhaps one of the DE type add-ins brings WHS2011 into this century and tips the balance.

Like you I toyed with Media Portal in the past. Then I found it to be very DVB-centric and hard to tweek for ATSC/QAM. Hopefully that’s better now. My test card is a Hauppauge HD2250 dual tuner but the holy grail would be a Ceton CableCard quad tuner.

Damian February 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I have the HD2250 as well, but it is installed in my desktop PC so I couldn’t test with Windows Home Server. The issue with the Ceton card is that it only works with WMC, and of course MS decided not to integrate WMC in WHS.

Your best bet for WHS integration with LiveTV is still SageTV. There is somewhat of a hack that will allow you to use Ceton with SageTV, but I think it will only work if the channel is marked free to record – http://www.missingremote.com/blog/sagedct-public-release

Ricardo February 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

I also use the HD Homerun as my main turner. It works great with Windows 7 MCE. I am concerned as to how tv4home + WHS will work picking up HD channels. This is the main reason why I chose MCE. I anyone has good luck getting tv4home working with WHS and successfully picking HD channels please post. All these items working together will make a terrific setup since the WHS is always on. As of now i’m sticking with Windows 7 MCE for watching/sharing across home networking HD tv.

Damian February 15, 2011 at 8:35 am

I have the HDHomerun set up on my WHS and have no problem getting the channels with SageTV. Obvioulsy this won’t work with WMC since WMC doesn’t integrate with WHS.

Also, I don’t believe tv4home will work with WMC. If my understanding is correct (which I cannot confirm since I cannot get it working on my machine) you will need to use Media Portal on your PCs to watch the TV feed from tv4home (via TV Server)

Ricardo February 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

Does your whole integration of HD Homerun with tvsage and tv4home work with hd channels? How easy is it to use versus MCE? Thanks.

Damian February 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm

The HDHomerun integrates without issue with SageTV (this is separate from TV4Home). You can install SageTV on your WHS, and then purchase the SageTV HD300 extenders (http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/10/06/review-sagetv-hd-theater-300/) to connect at each tv for playback and live tv streaming (or you can install the SageTV client software on each PC).

Alexander Köplinger February 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

Hi!

The warning message you see about the critical hotfixes is normal at this time.
The reason is that the MediaPortal developers don’t support Server OS in general, so the message basically tells you that anything you try is at your own risk.
WHS2011 should work better than WHSv1, as it is built upon the Win7/Server2k8 codebase and much more optimized for media scenarios.
I’ll see if I can work with the MediaPortal developers to remove that warning in the future for WHS2011.

Alex

Damian February 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Alex,

Thanks for the response and congratulations on the great looking Add-in.

Kevin March 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Couldn’t get my HDHomeRun to scan QAM channels either. It does install nice though if that’s considered a success.

Robert July 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Looking at the supported tuner cards for TV4Home/WHS 2011, I’m curious which one would be best to get. Thoughts?

MSI DigiVox Trio
Digitrade DVB-T Stick
Digital Devices Cine S2
Anysee E7 S2
Hauppauge WinTV PVR250

http://tv4home.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=List+of+supported+TV+cards

Jason August 20, 2011 at 7:08 am

I got tv4home to work with my hdhomerun tuner. I just installed the drivers on the whs2011 separately then ran tv4home. I was able to scan channels no problem (clear QAM). I then purchased a membership for schedules direct ($20 a year). Next I had to change the channels to match schedules direct channels # and set tv4home to match by channel number and all is well. The only problem I have is the client plug-in does not work and is in German. That problem has me baffled.

Matt August 30, 2011 at 5:42 am

I got this installed, and have the same stupid error come up (and have no more hotfixs to update).

Got the channels scanned and in there, but have no way of seeing them, the plugin for the Luanchpad dosnt work at all, how to access (watch) the channels?? The luanchpad opens some windows in german…. no settings to change the lanaguge of that??

ZimTommy August 30, 2011 at 6:27 am

I have to add that I’ve been using MediaPortal for the last 3 years and couldn’t imagine my life without it…..

I did go through a stage of trying to get the TVServer component installed on my WHS v1 server but could never get rid of an annoying stutter in the resulting TV. I resigned to the fact that media type stuff would work much better on WHS 2011 so will be trying this again some time soon.

For the record, in New Zealand we have DVB-T freeview and I have two HVR-2200 tuners adding up to 4 tuners in total.

Matt August 30, 2011 at 6:31 am

ZimTommy,
So you use it just on a computer that has the TV tunners with it, not on WHS2011 or WHSv1?

I ask as this seems like a dead end for me at the moment, no documents anywhere solving my problem getting it to work with the server….
But seen as SageTV dosnt seem to be up anymore I cant get a copy of that and thats the only other program that I know of that might let me watch tv from any computer in the house off the server.

Kevin I November 22, 2011 at 12:01 am

Matt – I have an HVR-2200 on my WHS2011, and it works great. Some things to nots, in teh MediaPortal, setup a Hybrid card first of all. THen do the scan, and you’ll have to filter out the channels which do nothing. THat will leave you with a bunch of odd numbered garbage… but then you will have to record about 10s from each and try to figure out which channel it really is. Takes awhile, but once it is setup… and it can be done :) …. it is sweet as honey.

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