From the Forums: How to get Windows Media Center working with Xbox One

You may remember that back in September, Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox One would not be able to be used as a Windows Media Center Extender, something that was supported on the Xbox 360. But what if your Home Theater PC, running Windows Media Center, was hooked up to your television? Could you display that content inside the Xbox One's user interface, as you can with a TV set-top box?

As it turns out, the short answer is, "Yes, you can." Neowin forum member "woodyp" posted up how he managed to accomplish the task on Monday, "Getting Windows Media Center to work on the Xbox One." He has a Silicondust HDHomerun Prime TV tuner set up to work with his home theater PC.

Here is his full procedure:

  • 1. I went into X1 settings page and under TV (I think) and disabled the option that Xbox turns off power of my "cable box"
  • 2. Under the initial TV setup screen (separate screen from step one above) I used "Media Center PC" (just typed media when asked what was the brand), in addition to setting up my cable provider, etc etc. Please NOTE that I have a Media Center IR Blaster connected to the computer, so I am not sure if this is required or not. I would assume it is otherwise you will have to just use your normal WMC remote or keyboard/mouse to change channels).
  • 3. Allowed it to run the "power test" even though nothing would happen. Said it "worked' and moved on. (Notice nothing ever showed up in the little TV preview area on the right hand side of this particular screen so wasn't really worried).
  • 4. Launched the X1 TV app and saw my HTPC desktop. I could control the desktop environment with my mouse and keyboard.
  • 5. Launched Windows Media Center (WMC) and it launched. I used X1 to change channels. Even in just the default WMC screen it sent the command to change channels based on the integrated X1 guide (not the Media center guide).
  • 6. The image was just slightly degraded (probably due to the HDMI pass-through), but not very noticeable. However this method was much more responsive then using a traditional media center extender (I also have a Ceton which is horrendously slow). it seems even snappier than the 360's media center extender). I assume this is attributed to direct HDMI connection vs. Ethernet. 7.
  • The only issue I experienced was NO SOUND. So I actually switched to the HDMI cable that came with the X1 for the HTPC to the X1 and rebooted the HTPC. Then I had to go into the audio playback devices (right click on speaker icon in Windows) and manually select my HDMI source which, for me, was AMD. For some reason it was disabled. So I re-enabled it and set it to default and tested it by adjusting the sound volume and heard the windows ding.
  • 8. With the sound working and the Xbox guide capable of changing channels, it seems to be all working fine. If you get an error about "video display playback" or a DRM issue, just reboot the system while the X1 TV app is active. That way it gets a solid HDMI handshake.

The final result looks pretty impressive, at least based on the screenshots that "woodyp" has posted. As you might expect, different TV tuners and Home Theater PCs might have slightly different procedures to get up and running inside the Xbox One but at least this shows it can be done.

So if you are looking for an excuse to buy Microsoft's new console (and there may still be some out there to buy) and you have a HTPC, this might help get everything set up.

Our thanks to Neowin member "woodyp" for his efforts in posting this article and the screenshots in our forums.

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45 Comments

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I really hope that they are (and if anyone at sling is listening, please do not leave out proxy support).

But in the meantime, you can hook up a cheap laptop with HDMI out to my Xbox one, and connect a small Media Center IR receiver to the laptop.
After that, if you set your Xbox One to have the cable receiver as a Media Center PC, it can control the Slingplayer Legacy Desktop app.
(Also, don't forget to set the Xbox One TV app to your TV provider - Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, TimeWarner, etc.)

Issues you might have with this kind of setup:

1. Powering on and off the Slingplayer app on your desktop
- The power off command for Media Center PC from your Xbox One will either shut off your laptop/PC or send it to sleep. You would need to edit the registry on your PC to change the media center receiver power off function to open and close your Slingplayer app.
Otherwise, you would always have to manually start up the Slingplayer app using a mouse (or remote mouse app on a phone/tablet).

2. Network limitations (bandwidth caps/speed)
- Having the Slingplayer app running constantly will eat up a lot of your bandwidth and may affect your multiplayer gaming experience, unless you have a high speed/unlimited bandwidth connection, or decide to manually lower the quality of your Slingplayer stream.

3. Pop-ups
- You may encounter other PC applications that pop up with update warnings, or even within the Slingplayer app itself, warning you of poor network conditions (sometimes). In this case, you would need to manually move a mouse on your PC to clear it.

I'm overseas for the moment, and the setup I mentioned above is working for me without much issue (connecting to a sling device back in my home in the USA).

Hey guys, good article. Im so disenchanted and wont be persisting with MS anymore as a home theater option. I was an avid WMC user loved it as a DVR. The UI is beautiful and best in class. Im in Aus and yes we still use DTTV and I dont have a cable box. XB1 is great for gaming but will never, ever become the home entertainment centre MS wants in its current form.

If there was an WMC app Id pay for it in a second. If there was a Coax DTTV to HDMI cable so I could watch FTA TV in the WMC app id buy it in a second. And lastly if there was a portion of the HDD set aside for DVR, yes the system would be perfect and the XB1 would the the only peripheral ever on my TV and Id probably end up buying stuff of XB Music and movies and what not.

All of the above is a moot point because soon as iTV is released the xbox will be relegated to gaming only and Apple will own the living room as well... My two cents.

If anyone was interested... I have a Linksys DMA2200 plugged into my Xbox One. Works great; never thought I would ever use that DMA2200 ever again. Power consumption is way less then a full PC.

This pretty much seals the deal for me. I wanted the X1 experience, but if I could not pass through my HTPC, it was a no go for me.

i had used the 360 as a media center extender for a day, and missed using my remote. I do like the voice control of the xb though, so my topology has now been changed so that the wmc win 8.1 server is using the hdmi pass through connection. So far, a/v is working properly. I am able to watch movies, tv (using hdhomerun prime), and multiple applications without issue.

I use a rii flymouse remote with the IR portion of the remote passing through a usb-uirt device. The IR signal uses an extensive configuration within eventghost to control wmc, projector, wireless hdmi extender, and a denon amp. I had found the instructions listed above to verify that my setup matched. I understand that the power cannot be controlled. However, i am unable to change channels either. I have used eventghost to debug received IR commands from the kinnect.

So far, when the kinnect is pointing towards the usb-uirt (1 ft throw), i see a nonstop stream of ir commands being sent to the usb-uirt receiver. The xbox one/kinnect seems to be idle, but i do not see any ir codes within the eventghost application. I have also verified that multiple remotes are working properly with the receiver.

The usb-uirt specs are listed below:

IR Reception

• 34-40KHz Frequency Range
• UIR-compatible Receiver Mode
• >8 Meter Sensitivity
• IR Wavelength Filtered
• USB Wake-from-Standby Capability
• Built-in wideband IR detector for accurate Learning, including carrier frequency.

There is another model that allows for 56KHz range, but i do not have that model.

• *56KHz IR Receiver Add-On Option*

Will this setup work or could there be an issue with my ir receiver range? If so, could anyone recommend a ir receiver for win 8.1 that allows for the proper range of ir from kinnect? Also, why would the kinect send so much ir traffic on an idle system?

thanks in advance.

sideone said,

So far, when the kinnect is pointing towards the usb-uirt (1 ft throw), i see a nonstop stream of ir commands being sent to the usb-uirt receiver. The xbox one/kinnect seems to be idle, but i do not see any ir codes within the eventghost application. I have also verified that multiple remotes are working properly with the receiver.

I am now able to see codes in eventghost. But, wow, i have NEVER seen so many ir codes from one device. I am afraid ill run into issues with such a huge stream of data.

thanks,

s1

Quick Rant: I have no idea why Microsoft doesn't embrace WMC. It's a genius ecosystem if you know how to set it up. Just make it easier. My system of Xbox 360s as MCEs and modest media server with 4 tuner Ceton card wows everyone with it's ease of use and power.

1. Make an XB1 MCE app.. I'll gladly pay or
2. Does anyone know if XB1 will work with a Ceton Echo or similar MCE as its TV source?

Whole heartedly agree. Apart from lack of native MKV support on XBOX 360s, it, along with a few plug-ins, is absolutely fantastic. I decked out our house with XBOX 360 arcades as extenders and it's so bloody nice. I don't understand why they feel the need to kill this very lovely system that works with what IMO is a clearly deficient system in the XBOX ONE.

Hopefully Ceton or SiliconDust can somehow persuade them but I doubt it. Too bad there wasn't more of an outcry from the Media Center community to make MS change their minds like they do on most everything else.

I don't understand why MCE hasn't been turned into a set of modern apps. Map the start button to take to new start screen, the remote works (I have 3 MCE systems), and then just make sure there are apps that support the input. The Netflix app for instance doesn't work, but how hard could it be to allow arrows to work? It would be much faster. I would even just use a keyboard or manually program my harmony remote other than the fact that no modern app works with the recorded TV files, which is just absurd. I would happily pay for a modern app MCE suite that provided the functionality MCE has.

Doby said,
I don't understand why MCE hasn't been turned into a set of modern apps.

Because content license holders want you to be beholden to them for every viewing. The only way for MS to get any traction on that side of the entertainment equation was to strip out any potentially competing offerings and YOU are the remainder.

Media Center
Mediaroom
WebTV

All attempts at putting consumers first, which outraged license holders and made it hard to negotiate XBox Video contracts. With those dead, MS can better monatize their OTT offerings.

Deihmos said,
In case you didn't know. WMC has been dead since Vista.

WMC received a big update in Windows 7, so that's not true at all. Windows 8 has seen it neglected, but it was certainly improved in Windows 7.

yardmanflex said,
i would pay $10.00 for MCE app if thy would just offer it.....come on team Xbox One..

I posted a similar comment in the xbox forums. I'd pay $15-30 for no problem.

It's not that they can't do it, they don't want to do it because think they will lose money from rentals and purchases. Well, for me, I have never rented or purchased any video or music content on the xbox and I never plan on it either. I cancelled my pre-order as well since the Xbox "One" isn't worth it for me to leave the 360. Why call it the "One" when you still need other boxes?

Looks like something I might try if I ever get an XBox One for my media centre setup.

(I hate the term "Home Theatre". It's pretentious and unnecessary IMO.)

DJGM said,
Looks like something I might try if I ever get an XBox One for my media centre setup.

(I hate the term "Home Theatre". It's pretentious and unnecessary IMO.)

What if you use a rear projector and the screen is 40' diagonally, with theater seating? Could it then be called a home theater?

Mobius Enigma said,

What if you use a rear projector and the screen is 40' diagonally,
with theater seating? Could it then be called a home theater?


No, that would be classed as a "Home Cinema".

If your living room or lounge room is large enough to accomodate theatre style seating
that it becomes a small auditorium for about 10 or more people, plus an actual stage
for live performances to take place, , then you'd have a "Home Theatre".

Essentially, if you don't have an auditorium and stage in your living room, or any other
room in your home, then you do not have a "Home Theatre". Simple as that, really.

Based on the fact it's just a HDMI passthrough I fully expect Linux and Apple derivatives are already doing the same. I can see how this can be useful - just need that 103" wide TV now

Depicus said,
Based on the fact it's just a HDMI passthrough I fully expect Linux and Apple derivatives are already doing the same. I can see how this can be useful - just need that 103" wide TV now

You mean copying as we speak.

Depicus said,
Based on the fact it's just a HDMI passthrough I fully expect Linux and Apple derivatives are already doing the same. I can see how this can be useful - just need that 103" wide TV now

You mean copying as we speak.

I have to admit I was thinking about trying this when I got my XB1 last week, but hadn't found the time yet. My only concern is that this still requires the XB1 to be within HDMI distance of your WMC PC. With the WMC Extender support in the 360, I could have the 360 function as a "remote terminal" for my home DVR and cable, even in a room with no cable. That's the functionality I really want back.

xpxp2002 said,
....

This is why WMC is still an activity in my logitech harmony remote.

Until I can browse my local content via ONE, it's not the ONE box to rule the room.

It's all cool but I really don't understand what this acheives. It this something like getting the best of both worlds. As in enjoy both PC and console games on your TV?

AsherGZ said,
It's all cool but I really don't understand what this acheives. It this something like getting the best of both worlds. As in enjoy both PC and console games on your TV?
There are a bunch of us who use WMC with tuners for our TV experience. This allows you to run your HTPC from your xbox with the voice commands, I'd guess. I don't know many who use their HTPC for gaming, but that too could be an outcome.

Eliminates having to change tv inputs for one and also facilitates skype calls while watching tv. For me, I'm mostly covered with my cable providers video on demand app and just need to see it come Xbox One like it is currently available on Xbox 360. Give me that and the basic ability to pause tv for up to 5 minutes, I would be very satisified. Microsoft also needs to release a digital tv tuner dongle for those who have cut the cord .. or at least enlist a 3rd party accessory maker to do that.

JohnCz said,
Eliminates having to change tv inputs for one and also facilitates skype calls while watching tv. For me, I'm mostly covered with my cable providers video on demand app and just need to see it come Xbox One like it is currently available on Xbox 360. Give me that and the basic ability to pause tv for up to 5 minutes, I would be very satisified. Microsoft also needs to release a digital tv tuner dongle for those who have cut the cord .. or at least enlist a 3rd party accessory maker to do that.
Pausing isn't enough for me. I need dvr space with my kids. If they'd make XboxOne interact with network tuners and let me hang a disk drive off the usb I'd buy a few of them for throughout the house. Until then I'm kinda waiting to see where the TV UX goes with them.

deadonthefloor said,

Not going to happen.
There is a paradigm shift underway. content consumers are the third class citizen in this new arrangement.
lolwut

Deihmos said,
Why would the picture be downgraded? Isn't HDMI passthrough suppose to do just that? Pass through?

It's obviously not just pass-through if it's able to display it in a window inside of the XB1 UI. It re-transmits it.

Thief000 said,
Indeed. I do hope a WMC extender app is in the works for the Xbox One for the people that still use that functionality.

Nope
Microsoft telemetry says that only .001% of windows users use the software and the new direction is to suck up to content creators and studios.

Consider WMC to be a old horse sent out to pasture.

Yeah, that's what I figured. I stopped using it quite a while ago too and DLNA just works as well too. But it sucks for those people that still do though and maybe there will be somebody making an app for it. They'll just have to wait and see.

No need. You can keep using the 360 as an extender to your Media Center PC. I hooked my 360 into my XOne and it works great. No lag as was implied prior to launch. You can immediately jump out of Media Center and into the XOne UI. You can also snap apps while watching TV on Media Center. The only thing you can't use is the One Guide but Media Center has a great guide anyway so not a huge loss.

I do hope that Ceton is working on an extender app for XOne so I can retire my 360's.

deadonthefloor said,

Nope
Microsoft telemetry says that only .001% of windows users use the software and the new direction is to suck up to content creators and studios.

Consider WMC to be a old horse sent out to pasture.

Several months ago I would have agreed. But the HD HomeRun Prime has changed the game for me. Why pay the cable provider $15+ a month to rent a DVR STB when WMC can do it for free (plus $1 to rent the cable card), and get a better experience!

Now, ALL my TV's are driven by WMC from Windows 7 or Windows 8. I hope M$ is paying attention!

ndfan77 said,
......

They are if you've enrolled in the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

Still, we are the minority and MS interests are not in replacing the set top box.
The writing is on the wall.