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Windows 7: Stacking feature sets with Windows Home Server!


17 Feb 2010   #1

 
Stacking feature sets with Windows Home Server!

Quote:
After writing my previous blog post about how Windows Home Server and Zune worked together, I received an interesting e-mail with a great question. “What does Windows Home Server provide with Zune that Windows Media Center could not do on its own?” I realized at that moment, some readers are not fully aware of the full Windows Home Server feature set – especially when you integrate your Windows Home Server with other Microsoft products.

Windows Home Server provides a lot of added benefits to the Windows Home Server + Zune + Windows Media Center scenario. Let’s first talk about what Windows Media Center and Zune are capable of.

Windows Media Center is a beautiful interface found inside consumer Windows 7, Vista, and XP SKUs that offers a clean crisp user experience to watch TV through your computer. Your TV signal can come in through satellite, cable or even the internet (IP TV). Windows Media Center is capable of recording TV from those available signals (except for IPTV which is available by demand). Now if you add Zune to this scenario, you can use your Zune software to convert the recorded TV into a compatible Zune format. However, this happens during your Sync which can take some time.

Onto the Windows Home Server feature set you might find beneficial in these scenarios. For those of you already familiar, you can skip ahead to “Now back on track!” section, but I’d recommend reading all of these scenarios as a refresher.

Let’s first talk about backup!

Windows Home Server provides a lot of added features to your digital home. A definite must have for anyone with 2 or more PCs, broadband internet and the need to safely store their digital memories. On that note, we’ll begin by talking about how Windows Home Server protects your PCs and your content. Out of the box, it provides the ability to back up 10 different computers, automatically on a nightly basis. This isn’t your normal backup that just provides restore of your files and folders. This backup will restore your entire computer! Imagine your hard drive completely blows up, like a “mission impossible” note, your files incinerated with a puff of smoke. Makes you sweat a little bit with stress doesn’t it? Especially for you married couples. You wouldn’t want a divorce over losing some pictures of your wedding, or worse, your newborn child! Replace your hard drive, pop in the Windows Home Server restore CD and your computer is restored exactly how it was the night before. Yes! Programs, files, pictures, folders, even your desktop wallpaper, back exactly how you left it. Catastrophe averted!

On the go?

If you’re like me, you have a light-weight laptop, small hard drive but plenty of time to snap pictures and videos at whim. Of course, I am pretty geeky so I have my heavy duty Windows Media Center computer running at home. Though, I never tend to use my powerful Media Center PC because of the convenience of the laptop. I like to walk around the house doing various things, browsing the web and eventually heading to a specific room. Why isolate myself to a single desk? Because of this type of dynamic situation, I like to store my files in one, easily accessible location that has a lot of room. Windows Home Server makes a great storage device by allowing me to expand my storage space by simply putting in a new drive and clicking add! Windows Home Server also provides a FREE customizable domain name. What that means is you can go to your home server through the internet by typing in your own domain name, http://.homeserver.com. The “YourName” part of the link can be anything you’d like (well as long as it’s not taken and isn’t blocked by bad etiquette). Windows Home Server will make sure your IP address is always synced with your domain name and that it’s secure with the FREE SSL certificate that it gives you. This allows remote desktop sessions to all supporting home computers as well as access to your shared folders. You can upload and download content at anytime from anywhere.

There are many more features of Windows Home Server, so please, head to our website to learn more!

Now back to the original blog post topic…

Adding Windows Home Server to the Windows Media Center + Zune scenario gives you a couple of extra benefits you didn’t have before. First, the compressing of the video is done ahead of time and not ‘real time’ during the sync. Secondly, you can compress AC3 audio TV content. My previous blog post explained how to install the AC3 filter to make this possible. Most, if not all, the digital content being broadcasted will require this. It is a great workaround for those of you already trying to do this! Now add in all the features that Windows Home Server provides to the list, and WOW, you have quite the feature set.

Here’s a little recap:

Windows Media Center + Zune

  • TV acquisition
  • Zune software will Sync non-AC3 TV Content during a sync
  • IPTV content on-demand
  • Ability to go mobile with your TV Content
Windows Home Server + Windows Media Center + Zune

  • TV acquisition
  • Home Server will compress TV content ahead of sync – AC3 content included
  • IPTV content on-demand
  • Ability to go mobile with your TV Content
  • Remote Access to future recordings while you are on the road.
    • You can download these videos (which are already compressed and a LOT smaller) and sync them after download completes to your Zune while away from your home!
  • Increased storage capabilities without having to be a techno expert
JB


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 Stacking feature sets with Windows Home Server!




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