Dear fellow Media Center users,
I was hoping this day would not come – but since Microsoft ended support for WMC we have all been living on borrowed time. I’ve tried to delay this as much as possible for myself – because of the large investment I have in WMC technology – and for the community by offering new streaming options and other features for WMC. But – the reality is the technology I am clinging to is showing its age… and I can’t fix entropy.
I’m not going to tell you what to do – you guys will know when and what. I’ve reached a decision regarding my home media center experience that I thought I would share. I’ve begun the process of converting my massive library and systems over to Plex and a combination of Apple TV and Fire TV. Why? Right now Plex is the leading media platform (in my opinion). With the launch of their Live TV and DVR services it now has the last piece I needed to replace. As I am heavy into the Apple ecosystem – a couple of Apple TVs on my primary TVs make sense. I am also using the awesome Channels app for Live TV from my HDHomeRunPrime and Netflix. With Amazon about to release an Apple TV compatible Prime Video App – All of my media sources will be represented. On my other TVs I think I will be using a combination of Fire TV and Fire Sticks – mostly because of cost and amount of viewing time on those devices.
Couple of other recent events affected my decision and timing to begin the cutover – including the recent Rovi guide issues.
For those that are interested – here is what I am going with for the new setup:
Plex Media Server
- HP 8300 USFF Desktop; Core I7-3770s @ 3.1GHz
- 8GB RAM
- Samsung EVO 240GB SSD
- Running Windows 7 X64 Pro (Why? Personal choice)
- Synology DS414 with 12TB of storage
- HDHomeRun Prime (2)
Media Streamer Devices
- Two Apple TV (4th Generation) devices
- Fire TV or Fire Stick (3)
- Plex (with Plex Pass)
- Channels for IOS and TVOS
- Amazon Prime Video
- MCEBuddy (for file naming and conversions)
- AnyDVDHD (For ripping)
This brings us to the Add-ins: Amazon Video for Windows Media Center and Netflix for Windows Media Center. At the moment everything is the same as it was yesterday; the apps are still available and I will be supporting them with updates and fixes as needed. I am mulling over my long term plans though. One option would be to just release them on GitHub and let the community update and manage the solutions. The other would be finding a motivated WMC developer that would like to take ownership of these projects – like I did for the Amazon plugin – and continue to develop them for the community. If you are such an individual – please contact me.
I would like to thank my many followers here and on The Green Button for their suggestions, donations and comments over the past 3 years. It has been a pleasure to contribute to the WMC community. WMC’s reign was good. The king is dead! Long live The King!
Hi Marc, I tried your proposed setup and came crawling back to media center with my tail between my legs. What killed it for me was the ATV4 couldn’t play my FTA recordings natively (actually there isn’t much it can play natively at all for that matter) and needed transcoding by Plex. And the lack of skip buttons on the ATV4 remote made navigating past ads too painful. I use EPG collector for my guide data anyway, so your wonderful Netflix addin plus OpenPHT still keeps Media Center as the hub of my entertainment.
Marc, I am in total agreement with you about the future of our media setups. i just wanted to say thank you for providing well written and extremely useful plug-ins for our little hobby UI!
You’re most welcome!
The problem for us is that plex does not have a Netflix app. However there is a WMC plex app. So we use WMC for live TV, radio, Netflix, and Plex.
I checked out Plex’s Live TV/DVR service after my WMC laptop died this week. After paying for a PlexPass for the month to test the viability of Plex for my Live TV/DVR needs, I quickly realized that Plex has a LONG WAY to go, to get Plex to where WMC is now.
PLEX Failed the wife acceptance factor miserably.
I’m rebuilding another Windows 7 MCE system now… and will stay there for the unforeseeable future. I cannot justify spending money on a Plex Pass for the privilege of beta testing Plex’s Live TV/DVR offerings. Nor do I have the time to do so.
Channels also has a DVR service (but only if you have IOS devices like Apple TV, Ipads, etc).
Understand your move away from WMC but think I’ll stick with my current setup on Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center for as long as I can. I just works (and Kodi on a FireTV stick for another inexpensive option still works great with WMC as my primary back-end/higher end secondary TVs)
As a side note, I do hope that you can get the Netflix plugin working again as it works great integrated into WMC! I contacted Amazon Prime support via email and they stated that the Silverlight player was not discontinued so does sound lime maybe some kind of change on their end.
Thank you for your wonderful addins to MCE. I can see why you’re choosing this new path.
I’ll stick with MCE solely because the ease of recording rare shows and movies if they ever are on TV. I’ve been able to record movies that I couldn’t find online or in the local library using this ‘record in future’ feature.
I’ve also fixed the Rock issue with EPG123 using schedules direct and my genres and guide never looked better.
Best of luck! I suppose I should sharpen my programming skills and create an addins half as valuable as yours.
I only just discovered this and you have created a wonderfully useful addition to my WMC setup, especially since the native app went away years ago and the current website added those “previews” on mouse over. Your program gives me the essentials. That is something I always liked about the WMC design in general. Simple. Intuitive. Straightforward. I just wanted to say a public thank you. The longevity of your addition is a testament to your skill.
Thanks Jim – much appreciated!