Today, I made the decision to transition my home theater PC (HTPC) back to Windows 7. Microsoft's new operating system has been terrific in terms of stability and ease of use, but a few nagging issues prevented me from using my HTPC the way I could under Windows 7.
For the curious, here was the final straw...
That lovely message appeared after adding the SiliconDust HDHomeRun PRIME CableCARD tuner to my setup...inducing a mix of fast-fading rage with some sadface. By the way, I absolutely love how there is just one file on the SlilconDust software page that installs and updates the entire lineup of HDHomeRun tuners! Seriously, it's a bit of programming magic that I've come to appreciate!
One other major issue that I've had with Windows 8 since the beginning of testing is that the OS crashes/reboots whenever a large ISO file is mounted to a virtual drive. My ISOs are stored on a local NAS, and I've experienced this issue using virtual drive programs such as SlySoft's (otherwise) excellent Virtual CloneDrive program.
I could forsake the luxury of a 9-tuner HTPC (7 CableCARD + 2 OTA) and make the sacrifice to the Win8 gods. Sigh. Never. I'd rather have my lossless video library (powered by MyMovies) working properly and the choice of having a bajillion CableCARD tuners all recording at the same time - if my HTPC's Core i3 can handle it! Oh for the love of Mini-ITX and ultra low-power CPUs!
The SliconDust HDHomeRun tuners were ready to go from day one with official Windows 8 support, and I'm still waiting for a similar update from the good folks at Ceton.
Update - Nov 3, 2012: The ISO-crashing issues that I experienced appear to be related to Virtual CloneDrive and not Windows 8's integrated image file support. I tested the playback of several successfully mounted Blu-ray movie image files and ArcSoft TotalMedia Theater v220.127.116.11 gave me this error each time:
Playback of the main .m2ts file from the mounted images using TotalMedia Theater or VLC worked, and playback of mounted DVD image files in TotalMedia Theater functioned just as if a physical disc were present. The version of TotalMedia Theater that I'm running in Windows 8 is newer than the version I ran with my Windows 7 setup. I was planning on rebuilding my HTPC from a clean Windows 7 install, and I'l be checking ISO file playback first thing upon reinstall.
It appears that my favorite virtual drive program that I depend on for automated movie playback isn't 100% compatibile with Windows 8, yet I remain convinced that that Microsoft's latest OS offers an efficient, well-implemented, customizable, Windows environment infused with touch interaction. I'm also finding few limitations for the OS in more traditional computing environments - my workstation and notebook PC configurations could easily be mistaken for Windows 7-based systems at first glance.
Thankfully, installing Window 7 or Windows 8 via USB flash drive to a SSD boot drive takes only minutes...please stay tuned.