Intel NUC External Antenna

One of the primary uses for our Intel NUC is as a cable box replacement HTPC – so that means there’s always movies, recorded TV or live TV streaming to it over the network. In the past, I was able to direct wire and use the ethernet port giving 1Gbps speed which is more than enough. But now that we moved, that is no longer an option – fortunately, I installed an Intel AC-7260¬†wireless card … Read more…

The Ultimate Windows Media Center Build and Troubleshooting Guide

After many years (and iterations) of Windows Media Center PCs, I have finally arrived to a place where the benefits outweigh the issues and I have full approval from the ‘Board’. Take a look at all of the previous posts here: http://blogs.serioustek.net/post/category/fine-tuning-media-center-7 We are now using HTPC Windows Media Center PCs on our Primary TVs and for once, everything is working perfectly, and there are ZERO ‘weird little issues’ that I have to explain away … Read more…

Intel NUC i5 HTPC Review

The Intel NUC looked appealing ever since I first saw it – it provides HD 4000 graphics, an i3 or i5 processor, an SSD, HDMI output,¬†and 1Gb LAN all in a 4″ by 4″ by 1″ package that can even mount on the back of a monitor with a VESA mount. Here’s the Intel reference page: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/desktop-motherboards/nuc-i5.html When my son started crawling and pulling himself up on things, he became VERY interested in buttons and … Read more…

Project Connect – DLNA Live TV Streaming

SiliconDust continues to give service providers the metaphorical middle finger – with a single device, the HDHomeRun Prime, you can: Watch live TV with Windows Media Center PC Turn your Windows Media Center PC into a DVR Extend the above PC to your XBOX and watch Live TV on it Do all of the above on 3 devices simultaneously Or record 3 shows at once And now, with the introduction of Project:Connect and DLNA certification you can … Read more…

FoxConn R10-H1 Review

I recently built a cable-box replacement system using a FoxConn R10-H1 barebone system. It is essentially a case, power supply and motherboard all-in-one (plus some extras in this case – a heat-sink fan assembly). Here’s a link to the system on NewEgg. After having several AMD systems in the past, this was the first Intel setup I have had in some time. It has gigabit ethernet, and an HDMI port – perfect for an HTPC. Here’s a … Read more…

Media Center Extender With a Windows 7 VM

The XBOX 360 is proving more and more useful these days. First, there is the Verizon FiOS app (which I have not tried yet). But more importantly is the fact that it is a Media Center Extender (one of the best…and only, really). I had paired it to a desktop that I wasn’t really using and could leave powered on… But the real power came when I upgraded the lab\infrastructure to VMware. I never had … Read more…

Streaming Live TV over a Wireless Network with the HDHomeRun Prime

With the recent purchase of the HDHR3-CC, I had been hoping to eliminate one of the cheap-no-HD-no-guide cable boxes and replace it with an ultra-fast, SSD based PC. The PC works great….the problem is the network – or more specifically, the lack of a wired network to the PC in question. So I purchased a wireless adapter…then I realized that I still have a Wireless-G access point, and I am therefore limited to 54Mbps (if … Read more…

HDHomeRun HDHR3-CC Review

I did not think I would be coming down this road again…but after hearing some great things about the HDHomeRun prime and sharing cable card tuners over the network – there I was at the Verizon store picking up an M-Card. I picked up the HDHR3-CC when I heard that you could share 3 tuners accross any devices on your network…the HD channels even worked over wifi…the tuner itself stays powered on while the PCs … Read more…

Fine Tuning Media Center 7 – Is it all worth it – Part 2

A while back, I had “given up” on using a Media Center PC, sold the digital cable tuner cards, and moved on to the old standby – a service provider set-top-box, hoping to use other devices and DLNA to replace some of the lost functionality. Let’s just say that even with DLNA libraries, Netflix, and OnDemand…a purpose build Media Center is nearly impossible to replace…that was before I owned an XBOX 360. Enter the Media Center … Read more…

Windows 7 Streaming: Media on an External Drive

In an effort to preserve some functionality of not having a dedicated Media Center PC (see this post for more), I have a Windows 7 VM with media streaming enabled. What does that mean? It means that any DLNA enabled device can see my media library and stream its contents. I recently needed to add more storage space to said VM, and in doing so moved all media to the new E:\ drive. Then the problems … Read more…