The more I use WMP secure Internet streaming, the more impressed I become. The empowering technology is obviously very slick and smart. I discovered that the bit rate for streaming is adaptive and adjusts to your connection speed. While I don’t have any technical details or white papers that explain the inner workings, I sense that on the host end, the connection type and speed is auto detected and the bit rate set accordingly.
So far, I’ve determined that on a host that is hard wired to my home router, the bit rate is 2000 and if the host is wireless 802.11n, the rate is 1200. Note that I am streaming no DRM’d HD content recorded using a Digital Cable Tuner and a CableCard. The client was my ASUS EeePC netbook, connected via 802.11n wireless. This means that most broadband users should have a wonderful experience. Comcast’s flagship speed is 12/2, so certainly the experience will be a good one for Comcast customers, especially considering that most will have standard definition Media Center recordings. (Disclaimer, I work for Comcast and this does not in any way represent any official statement or endorsement.). Given my own experience with these HD recordings, anyone streaming HD recordings or HD Videos will have a great experience as well. I’m not easily impressed, but this stuff is amazing.
The bit rate is shown in the upper left corner of Windows Media Player when you first start streaming a TV Show.
Here are some screen captures showing this data.
None of the info I’d see on the web mentioned much about the ability to stream Recorded TV in Windows 7 over the Internet as part of the just revealed Windows 7 Windows Media Player Internet Streaming function added to the release candidate for Windows 7. I decided to try it for myself.
First, this is secure streaming between computers I own. The provider available for the RC is Windows Live, and any computer used as either the host or the client MUST be associated with your Windows Live ID (the same one on each computer). You’ll need to set permissions on the host machine within Windows Media Player, as well.
I decided to try streaming an episode of Stargate Atlantis recorded in High Def from the SciFi channel as a first test. I about fell over because I didn’t expect it to work at all and had guessed that if I could get it to work, it would be glitchy and unwatchable. Wrong. While the content is downsampled, I’d watch it in a heartbeat wile travelling.
Incredible to me, the client I was using was an Asus EeeePC also running build 7100 W7.
While I’m no Steven Spielberg, I managed to capture a bit of this experience:
Many cable operators around the country are reclaiming analog space (separate from the over the air digital transition). If you have a cable set top box, nothing should change. If you connect coax out of the wall to an old analog set, you MAY need a Digital Terminal Adapter, DTA for short from your cable company. Most will make this available free of charge.
What you will need for optimum functionality and how to connect it:
1. Coax cable from wall to DTA RF IN
2. cable from DTA to existing Media Center tuner
3. Media Center Remote control
4. Either a built in eHome Receiver or external USB eHome receiver
5. IR two way blaster cable. The DTA adapter comes with a remote and an IR extender. Do NOT use the IR extender to plug into your eHome MCE receiver.
6. Carefully position the sticky adhesive on the LED on the end of the blaster cable over the receiver eye on the front of the DTA. Plug the other end into the port for you eHome IR receiver or the port on your USB eHome receiver.
7. The DTA has a switch on the back to set it to Ch3 or Ch4, for purposes of TV Setup on MCE this setting should not matter.
Now you are ready to re-run TV Setup. Open Media Center, Navigate to Tasks/Settings and then run TV Setup again. This article was prepared using Windows 7, but the steps are nearly identical for older versions of Windows/MCE.
Following is a screen by screen walk through using a Comcast DTA:
Started with a ASUS 1000HEB EeePC (Best Buy sells this, got it on sale for $299). Upgraded to 2 GB RAM, swapped out the hard drive for a 7200RPM 320GB Momentus drive and installed W7 clean. All the drivers were either inbox or on the ASUS site. Max Volar tuner driver was on WU.
They say a picture is worth 10,000 words. So I’m saving 20K words with two pictures.
Bottom line: My EeePC (1000HEB) is running W7, and plugging in my MaxVolar Hybrid USB tuner yields just what I expected. Awesome..
The screen on the Netbook is actually quite good. Not sure what this will do to battery life 😉