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.
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?