Social Connect
« My Notebook is My Other HDTV! | Main | Behind the Scenes at Revision3 »

My HTPC: Win7>Win8 - UPDATED

Updated October 7, 2014 to note that Windows 8 support has improved

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...

I'm going going back back to Windows 7...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!

Note: Ceton has since added Windows 8 support for most of its InfiniTV CableCARD tuner products.

See Robert's Favorite Home Theater Gear!

ISO issues
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.

Heron Fidelity's Cord Cutting Guide

Update - November 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 v5.3.1.172 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.

Check Today's Audio and TV Sales!

Update - October 7, 2014: The now abandoned ArcSoft TotalMedia Theater (and likely all remaining consumer Blu-ray player software) added Cinavia anti-piracy technology to all versions after v5.3.1.146. ISO files created from Cinavia-enabled discs will eventually cease playback and display a related message. Software such as SlySoft's AnyDVD HD and DVD-Ranger's CinEX HD utility offer a work-around for dealing with Cinavia-enabled content. Also, SlySoft has since updated its excellent Virtual CloneDrive (virtual optical drive) program to improve compatibility with Window 8.

Blu-ray Movies for Less Than $10!

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.

Reader Comments (8)

Hi Robert! Did you have any issues activating Windows 7 back?

Love your work! Thanks!

November 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSantiago

Santiago: I don't expect to, and I'll certainly report if that is not the case.

November 2, 2012 | Registered Commenterheronfidelity

Yes I did also go back to Win 7. Find it strange that I could not get 1280 x 720 video out as I could with Win 7. Win 8 only seems to offer 1280 x 768. I like to use 720p out some times.

November 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBo

Hey Robert,

I took the plunge on win 8 and like you windows media center --wmc-- is critical for me. I did not have any problems setting my rig up. I have a windows home server 2011 --yes I am probably 1 of 5 that do-- with mymovies on it and use powerDVD 12. Also I re-installed slysoft virtual clone drive, no issues whatsoever with mounting ISO's or crashes. I also have a HDHomerun tuner, no issues. I did buy the OEM version of Win 8 Pro on the egg did not go the upgrade route. The only issue that I encountered was that WMC refused to close --it took 2 mins for it to close after pressing the x button. I first changed the settings on mymovies from manage from wmc to mymovies and then I changed windows UAC to never ask problem solved. This might be a dumb question but do you think some of your issues could've been related to going the upgrade route instead of a clean install? I know that would not solve the 4 tuner issue though, I can't understand why MS would limit one to 4.

November 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFelix Baquedano

Hello Robert, If you are having problems with tuner limits in Windows 7, there is a program called Tuner Salad that removes the limit, it now allows up to 12 tuners!
I believe it only works for Windows 7 though.. I have used as many as 7 tuners all ATSC, a mix of stand alone usb, network and pci cards in 7..
Here is the link
I believe it is no longer freeware..
Hope this info helps..
By the way love Tekzilla..

November 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBug

Curious to here more about this actually "installing Window 7 or Windows 8 via USB flash drive to a SSD boot drive takes only minutes...please stay tuned"...

December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I just set up my first HTPC under Windows 7 using the Ceton USB InifiTV 4, I'm intending to replace my TIVO and cable boxes with an HTPC based set of systems. The has to be bullet proof to maintain happy wife.

I thought I'd use an ACER Revo for one extender to get the benefits of a PC too and an XBOX for the second extender.

The InifiTV set up smoothly.

I'm now setting up the Revo, which came with Windows 8. Low and behold, no tuner bonding for Windows 8 from Ceton!

Have you found any workarounds to allow a Win 8 machine to receive live TV from a Ceton InfinTV?
Or should I just go get a Silicon Dust product and give up before I start?

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike O'Hare

I have been searching and looking at what I would need to set up a HTPC and use for TV and after looking at your favorite gear.

It seems like Silicon Dust is the only option really to help reduce the cable bill by getting rid of the rented cable box's and set up an HTPC and stream the TV with a home network, as well as setting up Plex.. I looked at what you stated for what you like and have. But the Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe - 6-channel Internal Cable TV Tuner for CableCARD, and the Ceton extender are no longer available.

Have you recently done any updates, if so what have changed / updated.

November 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndre

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>