The v2 extender has landed!

DHL dropped off my Linksys DMA2100 Media Center Extender yesterday, and I had it completely set up within 30 minutes.

My first impression was, “Wow, this is small.” The v1 extenders were the size of large pizza boxes, and an Xbox 360 has a certain chunkiness to it. I didn’t appreciate how small this device was till I unboxed it:

image

It’s a nearly perfect square, less than 7 inches from front to back and side to side, and about 1-1/2 inches tall. For contrast, that black Vista remote, which is included with the extender, is an inch longer than the box is deep.

The backside has most of the connectors you’d expect: HDMI, component, composite, and S-Video. It has stereo audio outputs (two RCA jacks) and a digital audio output. My Xbox had been connected using a digital optical (TOSLink) cable, but the DMA2100 only has an RCA-style digital output. (The manuals say the DMA2200, which includes a DVD player, has an optical connector.)

Although I could use HDMI and pass it through my receiver, I chose component video instead to connect to my 50-inch 1080i set and found a high-quality RCA cable for the digital audio. When I powered up the unit, I had to adjust a few system settings to let it know I was using a surround sound system and wanted output at 1080i. I also configured it to go straight to the Media Center interface

I’ve set up Media Center Extenders many times before, and this setup was typically simple. I did have to install an extender update on the Media Center box before I could complete the connection, but after that small detour everything worked perfectly.

I noticed right away that there was none of the glitching I had been seeing when using the Xbox 360 as an extender. That glitching was only on one or two channels (NBC HD programming was especially noticeable); the symptoms were a very slight jerkiness in fast-motion scenes. That effect is completely gone now. I’m not sure whether it was the extender update or the hardware that did the trick, but I’m glad to see it.

Performance on menus is fast, very fast. It takes about 10-12 seconds to go from a cold start to the Media Center interface. By contrast, the Xbox 360 had to first load its own interface, then log me in, and then finally connect to the remote system, a process that could easily take a minute or more. In operation, the system is faster as well. I’m using a Logitech Harmony remote to control the extender, and response to each button press is instantaneous. That wasn’t always the case with the Xbox 360.

And it’s gloriously quiet, unlike the Xbox. The Spousal Acceptance Factor for this unit is an 11, compared to maybe a 3 for the noisy Xbox 360.

The price should drop over time, but I’m thrilled with the performance and consider this unit worth every penny of its $250 price tag.

Update: Scott Williams asks what kind of network connection I’m using with it. I knew I forgot to mention something! I have a wired connection that goes through three switches to get to the living room. The extender has Wireless N capability built in, but I don’t need it (and don’t have an N-capable router/access point anyway).

And one more unboxing picture, to show which cables are included, from top to bottom, counterclockwise: RCA stereo, component video, composite video, Ethernet. No HDMI cable, no digital audio cable (although any decent RCA cable should do fine).

 

image

I’m happy to answer questions in the comments section and will continue updating this post as needed.

124 thoughts on “The v2 extender has landed!

  1. Thanks for the review Ed. I’m considering getting one myself. I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that it doesn’t play DivX or XViD as was originally promised. Have you had a chance to try that out?

  2. Scott, I updated the post with details about the connection (wired, not wireless N).

    Roman, I have a note in to Linksys to ask. I’m not a DivX user and don’t want to test on my main Media Center box but will probably install on a different Media Center machine when the second extender arrives.

  3. Roman, Linksys says the box supports Xvid (with no further configuration required) but not Divx. I just download an Xvid file in 720p, saved it to my Media Center machine, and successfully played it back on the extender.

  4. I just ordered one today from Dell. What cables are included?
    Linksys has no info on their site.

    Jim
    
  5. Jim, the package includes component video, composite video, RCA stereo, and Ethernet cable. Not included: HDMI or RCA digital audio.

    And thanks, Chris.

  6. Thanks. I read that Linksys will have a firmware update to support ITUNES media. Do you know anything about that?

  7. No, I haven’t heard that. I’ll sit down with Microsoft and Linksys and D-Link at CES and hopefully get some answers. A lot of this is, for some bizarre reason, still under embargo even though the products are shipping.

  8. Thanks for your help. I look forward to using this. My wife will think I am a genius. (Hopefully)

  9. I plan to buy one and bring it back in Europe. It is still not available here (France) and the Dollar rate makes it cheaper for us to buy in US.
    Can you tell me what voltage the AC adapter supports ?
    Thks

  10. Herve, the manual says it supports 100-240V and includes a plug clip for the region in which it was sold. So you should be able to use a plug adapter and have it work immediately

  11. Hey thanks for the write up. I have been thinking about one of these for awhile and was not sure if I should take the plunge – it seems almost worthwhile to spend a little more and get a full mac mini setup to an HDTV.

  12. Ed, Just got a Linksys BEFSR41 Cable/DSL router. I will have a wired network. Is there anything else I need to hook up the DMA2100 besides an Ethernet cable?
    Jim

  13. Jim, Ethernet cable is included. The other connections depend on your AV setup. If you want an HDMI connection or optical audio, you’ll need to get your own cables. Component and RCA audio are included

  14. Michael, I’m using a Dell XPS 410 with two CableCARD tuners, running Windows Vista Ultimate, although any Vista Home Premium or Ultimate system will work.

  15. Thanks Ed, I am new to networking & was not sure. I have the router set up & have a 25 foot ethernet cable to run the connection
    upstairs. Have a digital coax cable for the audio. Just waiting until
    this bad boy arrives.

    Thanks again,
    Jim

  16. Hi Ed,

    have you tried streaming content recorded via CableCard? This is something that was impossible with V1 extenders. Also, have you tried streaming content from a NAS device? If so, do you need it to be a NAS with a DNLA server? I want to be able to record CableCard HD content, dump it to a NAS, and then stream from the NAS to the TV via the extender! Thoughts? Thanks!!

  17. Erik, I would say 90% of what I have watched over this box so far was recorded on a CableCARD and is streamed directly from the HD on that Media Center box.

    Because of the DRM in CableCARD files, I do not believe you can copy them to alternate storage on a different device and play them back that way. They need to be played back by streaming from the computer on which they were recorded.

    As for streaming from other devices, I presume you mean DLNA, not DNLA? (Thought I had missed an acronym update!)

    The design of the Linksys box is to connect to a Media Center PC, period. It’s not a general purpose media gateway, unless it has some secret functionality I’ve missed along the way. So I have a Windows Home Server box with Music Sharing turned on, but I can’t recognize it via the DMA2100. However, I believe can designate that shared folder as one that I want to see in the media library on the Media Center machine, and it will in turn be available through the extender.

  18. You mention that you had to install an update before using the DMA2100. Was this a Microsoft update of some kind, or some Linksys driver package?
    I am thinking, that this maybe could be the update, that updates the extender part of Vista Media Center, to be able to stream DivX/Xvid, and therefore could make it possible for the Xbox 360 to play DivX/Xvid through the extender interface (I believe its just the extender part on the media center itself that needs to be updates, since the Xbox dashboard is able to play DivX/Xvid)

  19. I can confirm the DMA2100 will only play MPEG-4 ASP files created with Xivd codec. I tried everything to get Divx to work for days now… I use AutoGK converter for encoding both Xvid and Divx into AVI containers that both work in XBOX 360 Dashboard.

    One of the two codec’s only working woukd not be that big of a issue for me … But my library is all Divx. This will take weeks to redo with a Xvid codec. (which does work, I have tested it.)

    I have read many posts stating that Divx should work… But yet to find someone to say they have done it.

    I have email into Linksys Support… I will post their response.

  20. I am interested in importing one of these into the UK, currency conversion rates are very good at the moment (in comparison, the UK price will be the equivalent of around 400 dollars)
    and these devices are not yet available in Britain.

    Does the manual mention PAL support? The V1 extenders didn’t work over here (see http://www.salloway.org.uk/mediacenter/mcx/MCX/uk.html). They look terrific and I can’t wait to try one! I hope someone can help.

  21. Hi Ed,

    Same question as Marc S. asked before, I have the DVD gallery enabled in MCE, does it work in the extender as well?

    Also, it might be good to mention there are more differences to the 2200 model (Optical SPDIF for one)

    Thanks,

    Martijn.

  22. question.. VONGO movies will not play on the XBOX extender until the download is done. Do you know if that is the case with the Linksys extender?

  23. Hi Ed. couple questions if I may:

    1) As someone else asked already, does the US model you have output NTSC only, or does it offer PAL output as well? – that is if 720/1080p actually has NTSC/PAL and it’s not native HD anyway? – I guess it’s still PAL/NTSC ? — any setup options on the unit for this?

    2) Strange one this, but humor me.. IF you unplug the power cord to the DMA2100 and leave it a while – when you power it up again by plugging it in again does it boot up and become connected and ready for use without any intervention (e.g ON) , or do you have to a) hit the power on the remote first and wait, or b) (worse) set it all up again because it’s forgotten what it is? — the reason I ask is that to save power we turn off all our AV kit remotely by killing the power, and I just wondered if it will mash the extender ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    Thanks.

    Keep up the great Blog ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    Mart.

  24. Mart, great questions… I don’t have a definitive answer to #1, but the manual does mention that the Euro version inclues a SCART adapter and there is a reference to choosing PAL output at 576i for resolving problems when viewing SD content with that adapter. Draw your own conclusions!

    On #2, the DMA2100 doesn’t have a power switch (the 2200 does). I have unplugged the power several times on two separate units, and it remembers the settings with no problem. You do have to use the remote at that point to actually make the connection, and there appears to be a 30-second or so boot time from a power-off state.

  25. Ed,

    Congrats on your new toy! Do you know if there are any current/future adapters for RF remotes? Currently and IR remote solution will not work for me as I have my TV wall mounted and boxes hidden.

  26. This sounds very interesting.

    Unfortunately no CableCARD support in Canada, yet. Most HD channels are DRMed – I think that local over-air channels available through ATSC are not DRMed on cable.

    Hmmmm, a second bathroom and upgraded laundry room or a big screen LCD, HD cable box and a media centre?

  27. Hi,
    this seems very interesting and it will be very difficult to wait the european version to be distributed.

    My question : does the extender support Wake-on-LAN ? Indeed, I do not want my media center PC to be turned on at all times and I use the Vista sleep option (working great). Is the extender able to wake the media center?

    thanks

  28. Ed,

    Have you or will you be testing the wireless capabilities of the extender? Most of my house is wired, but to put this thing in our bedroom, I need to go wireless or start fishing cables through walls. I’d rather upgrade my wireless network that go up in the attic.

    Aaron

  29. Aaron, I won’t test wireless till I get back from CES, and only hten when I get a wireless-N router.

    Ben, I don’t know about Wake On Lan support, sorry.

  30. Can you use both the HDMI and compoent outputs simultaneously? I would like to use the extender on displays/amps in two different rooms so I can get the same shows/photos/music onto both.

    Thanks,
    Todd

  31. Hi Edd,
    RE PAL output, I was actually after knowing if the US product can do PAL (!) — the US/UK pricing is a bit biased towards importing the US models if they can do PAL, or if the UK release is delayed ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    @Ben: You can use a wired IR extender (or a wireless one) if you want to hide the extender and make the IR work (this is my plan also) – in the UK the OmniLink IR Extender does the job for me nicely (I think I have about 4 of these in total) – see my blog http://martgadget.blogspot.com/2006_01_01_archive.html for info on how I hooked it up – but you can definatley use something like this cheaply to ‘bend’ IR round corners , along wires and into cabinets etc ๐Ÿ˜Ž – I use it for multi-room IR for Media Center currently and it works just fine.

    Also check out the Harmony 890 – a universal remote that uses RF if you want that http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/remotes/universal_remotes/devices/374&cl=us,en , but get out your wallet.

    Mart

  32. Hello,
    Been using the DMA 2100 for a few days now and it works fairly well. It takes a few minutes to actually get warmed up then it is quite responsive. Especially photos and getting around the user interface.

    My question is, are you having any audio stuttering issues when playing xvid files with ac3 audio? My set up is through the digitial coaxial output to a yamaha receiver. Stuttering only occurs when selecting audio surround in the linksys set up an goes away when selecting stereo (then no surround sound plays through my audio system). I have other media players that handle this without any problems only the DMA 2100. This is quite annoying and unplayable when in this mode. Are you experiencing this problem? Thanks.

    Chris

  33. If you have Windows ultimate and a Blu Ray dvd drive on your computer, can you stream to your TV full 1080p hd with this extender?

    Thanks

  34. I purchased one of these devices. I set it up pretty easily, but on the second night I was using it it seemed to have a big hiccup that I can’t recover from. The music library (on my machine is in excess of 10,000 songs on about 800 or so albums) started dropping album art, duplicating abum entries… I checked on the PC and it was fine over there. I am going to reset the whole thing and see if that works. Anyone else experience something like this?

    And I am using 802.11n and it streams HD content pretty well with only a few stutters (granted the PC is only 15 feet from the computer since I live in a small apt in philadelphia). Also, no luck with DIVx, but Xvid seems to work. I don’t understand that becasue I thought they were essentially the same?

  35. Would anyone knows that there would be soon crack or any alternatives that would make this box play DivX ?

    I’d like to have one of this box but most of them are DivX.

    Many thanks.

    Chris Lanier says:
    DivX will play too, both DivX and Xvid are MPEG-4 ASP. The difference is DivX is a registered trademark.

    Posted December 28, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

  36. Ed, you compared both the DMA2100 and the XBox. I can purchase the DMA2100 and the XBox for about the same price with my discounts. If you were me which one would you purchase? If I can use the XBox as an extender I guess the biggest benefit would be the BlueRay player on the XBox. What do you think?
    Thank you.

  37. Ed, one more question. Can you control your Windows Vista desktop computer application, like Internet Explorer with the DMA2100 or can it only control the MS Vista Media Center application?
    thank you.

  38. John, the Xbox doesn’t have a Blu-ray drive. There’s an optional HD DVD drive, but that adds quite a bit of cost to the system.

    To me the three big differences are the DVD drive (Xbox has one, DMA2100 doesn’t); wireless N support (DMA2100 has it, Xbox doesn’t); and noise (Xbox has fans, DMA2100 is completely fanless).

    And no, you can’t do anything except Media Center tasks with an extender. It provides an interface that is more or less identical to the MC interface from the main PC, with no option to run anything that isn’t already in that framework.

  39. Great review and posting. I have been looking into these for several months, ever since I saw D-Link’s version of their extender. However, their ‘N’ model is not yet shipping and I was hoping to get the latest and be able to watch HD content.

    I currently have an Apple TV and have been pretty upset with its performance. It constantly drops the wireless network settings and forces me to re-enter the passkeys. It also re-syncs the movies if I watch them on my PC, even though nothing has changed other than me watching it again (one of the reasons I like the idea of just streaming from the Media Center).

    Do you have any experience with the Apple TV and would you be able to post a quick compare on your thoughts between the two devices?

    Thanks!

  40. Thank you everybody for the posts. I’ve been very tempted in buying one of these toys but wanted to know more and thenks to Ed now I know much more. I did not know that this baby does not play Divx which sucks.

    I am looking to buy DMA 2200 or D-Link DSM 750
    Ed, do you know which one is better? D-Link has this MediaLounge going on and says you can watch YouTube videos and more.

    Can you watch YouTube wideos with DMA 2100?

  41. The DMA 2100 and 2200 play DivX files as well as they play XVid. The only difference is that they won’t play the file if the fourcc code in the file is “DIVX”.

    Change it to XVID and the file plays fine.

    And you can not watch YouTube videos with the DMAs as far as I know.

  42. Chris,

    that is a GOOD news… thanks.

    how would we know one DivX files has fourcc code in the file?

  43. Thank so much for the info,
    People like you help other people decide wht to buy and learn more about new products.
    I will do the same if I buy a product. I will l post review and I will be very helpful and I will asnwer to every question people may have.

    Thank you,
    The new iTV (apple TV) was released at MacWorld. $229.00 for the little thing. You don’t need a computer to use it. And now you can rent movies directly from your flat screen tv at $2.99 per movie and $3.99 per HD movie, plus you can buy TV shows, music, and music videos..oh yeah.. you can also watch YouTube with this thing.
    You can’t stream video content from your PC, but you can watch slide shows of your pictures if you decide to connect the apple TV to your pc (or mac).
    It looks like a pretty good toy..and for $229.00 i think it’s worth the try.
    Can you rent movies with a DSM-2100 MEdia Center Extender? (MovieLink maybe)?

    Did I mentioned with apple TV you can start watching a movie you rent after just 30 secs you click “rent movie buton”.

  44. Rex, I saw the announcements of Apple TV yesterday. It’s not something I want, and I would caution you from taking all of the claims literally. For some people, I agree it sounds like a good solution. I will have some opinions to offer based on the specs later.

    Meanwhile, yes, you can rent movies via a Media Center Extender using Vongo, which also promises that you can start watching “within minutes of beginning your download.” I haven’t tried it. Amazon Unbox also works with Media Center, as do MovieLink and CinemaNow. None of them are particularly user-friendly yet.

  45. Ed,

    Great review of the DSM. I do have a question. Let’s say I want to buy 2 DSM media extenders and want to watch live TV on both (different channels). Do I need to have the same amount of TV tuners installed on the vista Media center as well? Thanks for your help.

  46. Luis, if you want to watch or record two live signals simultaneously, you need two tuners. That applies with or without extenders. The main Media Center PC manages the changing of channels on each tuner and the streaming to each extender. The extender just functions essentially as a remote display.

  47. Ed,

    Thanks fro your prompt response. I do have a dish network Sat connection at home. Do you know of any splitters fro this sat signal to multiple cards? What are my options with a set-top box? Once again, thanks fro your prompt response.

  48. Luis, you need a separate set-top box for each tuner. A single tuner card controls a single set-top box and there is no way to split the output of a set-top box. Media Center needs to be able to send a channel change signal to each set-top box so that each tuner has a proper signal to work with. If you have a dual-channel set-top box that has a single remote control input and two internal satellite tuners, you will be unable to use it with Media Center.

    When I had this configuration with DirecTV, I got two of their most basic set-top boxes and the configuration worked just fine.

  49. Ed,

    Thanks for your reesponse. I had obtained valuable info on how to connect Vista Media Center with set-top boxes. I though I could have done it different! well, Since my setup calls for three media extenders, I somehow need to get 3 set-top boxes. Is this the same with cable TV I assume? Once again thanks for your info, It is been very valuable.

  50. No, Luis, you do not need a different set-top box for each extender! You need a set top box for each live channel that you want to watch or record at the same time. That’s different. And yes, the situation is the same with cable. When a tuner is tuned to a channel so that someone can watch it or the system can record it, that tuner is in use and cannot be used for something else until the task is done or canceled.

    You can in fact have three extenders and a single tuner. In that case each extender can watch a different recorded program at the same time, or ONE extender (or the original Media Center PC) can watch live TV while the others are idle or watch previously recorded programs.

    I hope that’s clearer.

  51. I got it Ed and thanks fro clearing the waters. In my case, the client wants to be able to watch live tV on all three extenders so for this particular setup I have to recommend three set-top boxes. Once again thanks fro your very valuable advice.

  52. I have been fiddling with one of the DMA 2100s for a couple of weeks now and I have a recurrent problem: the extender keeps loosing the setup information and I have to re-pair the extender and the pc. This is a big pain because for some reason the extender (or PC – not really sure how it works) does not maintain the library settings and then I have to re-setup the entire library.

    Anybody else seen this problem? Any solutions? or suggestions?

    I am running it on a wireless n home network and when it does work it works well. No problem streaming 720p content (that is dvd remuxed to drv-ms format, I don’t have anything in higher resolution to test) without a glitch.

  53. I heard that the the linksys extenders don’t support all the cool bells/whistles of the Vista Media Center interface such as the cool transitions when playing a slide show. Is this correct?

    Also, can you stream DIVx or XVID to it?

    Thanks!!

    -Steve

  54. Correct, Steve. No transitions in slide shows. You can stream Xvid, but not Divx, unless you manually edit the Fourcc attribute of the file to make it appear to be xvid.

  55. Greg, I have two DMA2100s and have not seen that phenomenon at all. However, both are wired connections. It sounds like you might need to RMA that unit and get a new one.

  56. Thanks for the reply Ed! Can you elaborate just a bit – how is the interface other than missing transistions? Are the menus pretty much the same as on the PC and so on?

    Thanks again, great blog here!

    -Steve

  57. Hi Ed,

    In previous posts I have read that the DMA doesn’t provide access to Vista desktop features such as IE nor does it allow users to view YouTube videos.

    Is there a general limitation which prevents users from streaming video content directly from the internet?

    Thanks.

  58. Albert, you can think of a Media Center Extender (any of them, the DMA 2100/2200 is not unique) as a terminal that provides remote access via the Media Center interface. So any access to internet resources has to be done programmatically via that interface. Most apps that are written to snap into Media Center should work over an extender. But IE doesn’t fit that model. As a result, an extender doesn’t have direct Internet access, nor does it have access to native Windows applications. It is possible to stream content over to an extender from a website, but an interface has to be written first. So if you go into the Online Media section you can install the Showtime app and stream from there. You can also stream Comedy Central content and MSN Video content. I would imagine someone could use the Media Center SDK to write a YouTube viewer, but there might be copyright issues involved with that.

    Steve, per what I just wrote, the extender interface is essentially identical to the main Media Center interface. The things that are missing are menu and graphical effects that are tied to the GPU. The color is slightly different as well, a pale blue instead of the rich blue of the PC MC interface. But only a true enthusiast would notice the differences.

  59. As everyone else has said – excellent blog!

    Can you let me know if the DMA will stream stragith VOB files from the PC? Historically I have used AnyDVD and DVD Shrink to crack and rip my DVD’s so I already have perhaps 50 or so DVD’s ripped to a single VOB file. Whatever Media Extender I go with next (currently using a Showcentre 200) will need to support this.

    Also – do you know if the DMA supports Nero Digital files?

    Cheers

    Steve

  60. Is there away i can watch files on the linksys DMA2100 extender from my NAS unit connected to my router?

  61. Rob, you can point your Media Center PC to the remote folder during Library Setup. If the Media Center has codecs to play that content, you may be able to stream it.

    FWIW, I have played ripped DVDs over the network to the extender with no problems. But they were transcoded to xvid. According to what I’ve read at The Green Button, the Linksys machines won’t handle VOB files.

    http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/236983.aspx

    But I’m told if you rename the file from my_movie.vob to my_movie.mp2 it will work. I can’t test that right now.

  62. @Mart (45): Sorry for the delay in answering. PAL (50 Hz) is an option on the Linksys setup menu; the default on the US model of course is NTSC. So it looks like this model will travel across the pond just fine.

  63. Does anyone know if DMA-2200 supports external “srt” and “sub” files ? Hope so. Thanks a lot.

  64. Will any of these v2 extenders support access to iTunes music, playlists and videos… we need some interoperability here… down with DRM !!!

  65. NEED HELP, PEOPLE – Does anyone know if DMA-2200 supports external โ€œsrtโ€ and โ€œsubโ€ files ? Hope so. Thanks a lot.

  66. Wow! Awesome forum! I have a question related to storage. Can you “tell” Vista where to put recorded TV or other media through the extender? If so, is this a cumbersome manual process, or is it – to coin Ron Popeil’s omnipotent quote – Set and Forget? Also, is there keyboard & mouse capability. My apologies if these have been asked ealier, I tried to be thorough going through this forum. TIA!

  67. Mike, this isn’t really a forum, just a big comment thread on a blog post. But that doesn’t mean your questions aren’t great… So here are some answers:

    Setting up an extender is pretty much “set and forget”. The media is stored on the main Media Center PC that it attaches to, and when you add an album, some digital photos, or a recorded TV program on the main PC, it is available on the extender shortly thereafter.

    No keyboard or mouse is required or even possible. All interaction with the extender is through the remote control.

    DivMan, you might have better luck asking at The Green Button, which IS a forum!

  68. I recently set up my DMA 2100 extender and have found that I can only connect to it through a machine running Vista Ultimate. I have not been able to connect to it thorugh my Vista Home Premium machine. In talking with Linksys support they told me they are experiencing some issues from customers trying to connect to it Home Premium. This was of course surprising and disappointing as Linksys support rep said they do not have fix/patch or anything yet to sold this issue. Curious if anyone else has experience this issue or if you have any thoughts on what might be the root issue. I love the Extender – and performance – just need to be able to connect to it through my desktop running Vista Home Premium.

  69. Thanks for all the nice comments here…

    Is the language that comes up in the extender related to the extender itself or will it show menues in the language on the connected PC?

  70. Is there away i can watch files on the linksys DMA2100 extender from my Maxtor Shared Storage NAS unit connected to my router and not use a computer at all?

    I currently use this configuration with my Roku for .mp3 playback. Want to assume that what Roku does for audio, this extender does for video?

    Is this correct?

  71. Is there any comparisons out there between the linksys & the D-link?
    It looks like you can get the D-Link Extender W/usb port for only $20 bucks more at compusa…I’m having a hard time deciding which one to get.

  72. Ed or anyone else, I really hope someone can help.

    I’m considering getting several extenders, but I want to achieve something that I just cannot seem to get any info on.

    Basically, I just want the content I’m watching on the Vista Ultimate PC mirrored to all the extenders on the network. This applies to say live TV, or music, or video. A bit like what is currently possible with a digisender.

    Is this possible?

  73. I realize this might be a dumb question, but I am not a HDTV user in the living room…I do however have a new HDTV/Monitor hooked up to my new Quad-Core 3gigRAM Media Center TV in my Den and it DVRs my favorite programs.

    My question is if I put one of these in my livingroom, what port does it go in to my old-school TV? I mean I already have a DVD player, a VHS player and my Cable box all feeding signals into the TV on AV1, AV2, SD1, Channel 3-4, etc. So does this device need me to yet put the TV on another channel to see the MCE feed from my media PC in the den?

    Thanks,

    Scott

  74. With Media Center Extender 2100 is it possible to stream content over to the extender from a website app in Online Media section. I can view the apps but they hang when I try to play MSN video. MTV loads but the Video displays buffering and no video appears.
    Any suggestions would be great. Super Blog site.

  75. Ed,

    Since you have been in talks with Microsoft and Linksys. Do you think you can talk to Linksys and have them put the support for playing either ISO files or VOB file streamed to the version 2 Linksys Media Center’s?

    I have added a 3rd party plugin “my movies” found at mymovies.dk and it allows the Vista Media Center to play the video_ts folder files (vob’s) and provide full DVD functionality and creates a database of your movies so that you can search for particular actors and what not on the Vista machine, but when I try to stream it to the Media Center, the media center complains that it is not a recognized format, which I understand its not a currently supported format and my whole point of the post.

    I really don’t want to use transcode360 or some other transcoding software on top of everything else if I don’t have to because of the added overhead. Nor do I want to use a product like dvdshrink to put all of the VOB files into a single one and rename it to a mpg file like some of the posts suggests.

    Sorry for the long post.

    Please let me know what you can come up with.

    Thank you,

    Jim

  76. I think this was asked before, but I do not believe I have seen an answer.

    Can an extender wake up the MCE PC?

    In other words, if the MCE PC is in sleep/standby mode and I turn on the extender, will it cause the sleeping PC to wake up? Or will I need to go to the PC and manually turn it on first?

  77. ED,
    I just installed my dma2100 from Circuit City using wirleless-n to my d-link 655 wireless gigabit router and it works great with my Vista Ultimate Media Center on older DELL XPSGEN5 system. The 2100 connects via HDMI to my Toshiba 50″ 720p 16×9 plasma TV via my Sony receiver HDMI switcher. The streaming is flawless so far.

    However, when tuned to HD TV channels why doesn’t it fill the whole screen? My cable HD box fills the whole screen when I am tuned to HD channels. Is there a setting that I am missing?

    By the way, I also recently purchased the Apple TV plugged to a 1080p TV and it works flawlessly with wireless-n, plus no antennas. It fills the whole screen at 720p. We like its capabilities but it doesn’t nearly have the abilities of Media Center.

    Help!

  78. Del, you should see HD channels in full-screen resolution. Check the DM!2100 setup and make sure its set properly for 1280×720 (720p) resolution. Both of my HD sets are connected to DMA2100 extenders and they display full screen. Also check the TV input to make sure it’s set properly. Either or both might be set for 480i or 480p.

  79. Thanks Ed for your quick reply!

    Ed, Yes I do have it set to 720p. But could it be due to my older DELL XPSGEN5 PC video card not originally supporting HD nor having an HDMI plugin. My Comcast Cable TV box is a Scientific Atlanta 3250 HD and also doesn’t have HDMI. So I use the old S-Video connection between the HD Cable Box and my PC’s video card.

    Plus, I just noticed that I do get full screen HD when I choose programming from the internet thus bypassing my tv tuner, etc. It looks great even with wireless-n, no hesitation! My d-link 655 router optimizes video/audio/data according to docs so it must be working fine. This internet video really looks like the wave of the future. But it looks like you have to subscribe to video services like vongo and showtime, etc. I will have to learn more about IPTV.

    Ed, Please comment on these thoughts?

  80. Del, S-Video is a 480i solution. If you’re seeing it at full screen, it’s being blown up to fit. Are you sure you’re not using component video?

    As for your PC’s video card, it is not involved in any way when you use an extender. The signal is streamed to your extender, which uses its own video circuitry to deliver a signal to the TV set.

    Why don’t you contact Linksys support and ask them for help?

    Yes, Internet TV (which is very different from IPTV) is the wave of the future, but it’s still quite a ways out…

  81. Ah, I think I see what’s going on now. Del, when you connect your cable box to your Media Center using S-Video, you are being delivered an SD signal. In fact, you cannot get an HD signal out of your cable box and into your Media Center. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. So your extender is behaving properly, displaying the SD signal in a small box on your HD set.

  82. Ed, in your review I saw you are running Vista Media Center on a Dell XPS 410 with two CableCARD tuners, running Windows Vista Ultimate. Does the cable compan coax cable plug into these tuners?Does this setup eliminate the Cable companies set top box? Will this get HDMI into my older Vista media center pc? How do they plug into the PC, USB or iLink? Or do I need I still need to get an HDMI plugin to my PC?

    I had read back in January 2008 that cablecards were a big headache. Has that changed? What brand of tuners work?

    Thanks Ed,
    Del

  83. Ed, I googled you on the above 20 questions above about cable cards and HD tuners. You are a very busy guy and Wow on your books and articles! I am honored that you answered my prior questions.
    I found all the answers to my 20 questions above in your article:

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=421&page=2

    I am retired now but my life’s work was programming/software development. I just experiment on my own these days. You are the Peter Norton type guy whom I admired in times gone by.

    Thank you Ed.

  84. I would really appreciate if you could help me setup DMA 2100 to play my ripped DVD in VOB format stored on an external HD. On my extender menu I do not see the “dvd library” option in the “TV+Movie” like I see on my Media Center menu on my PC.

  85. I’m wondering if you can help. I bought the DMA2100 about a week ago from Circuit City on a discount because it was the used store model. After using it over the past week I have been very happy with its performance. Today I came home from work to find that on the RGB connection, all I get is the screen full of bright colors. The HDMI works alright, but trying to get the RGB to work, I reset the box and now I can’t get it to connect wirelessly. I’ll try wired later. I’m wondering if you have heard of this happening before (the box freaking out and going funky colors) or do you think I have recieved a lemon?

    Setup:
    Dell Desktop wired to a Linksys router, DMA 2100 connected wirelessly to the router, connected by HDMI (for now) to the Widescreen LG TV.

  86. Mike, I recommend you contact Linksys support. They have a lot more experience with the device and should be able to diagnose any problem (including detecting a DOA unit). Your unit is definitely still under warranty, even if you bought it as open box.

  87. I was hoping there was an extender that would allow me to take my 80 DVD’s and put them on a PC so they can be managed and watched on a 1080i display. Don’t even think apple PC does that. In the past the only video that the extender would show was Video recorded to the PC’s…NOT Purchased DVD. Has that changed?

  88. Joseph, there is no legally available tool that will permit riping of commercial DVDs. As a result, no company will dare create a feature like that, which could get them sued out of business overnight.

  89. Hello Ed,

    I know you’re a busy person (followed other articles to this blog and found some answers I’ve been searching for), so I’m taking a stab at hopefully a simple question for you.

    I read the q’s above between Luis and yourself which answered a lot. Though I must admit I am a little unclear on a couple of things.

    I would like to setup 4 dma2100’s wirelessly around the house and serve “Live-TV” to each dma at the same time should they be needed.

    Admittedly I know little about TV signals, though I do understand I will need 4 satellite recievers now…

    My question is; because most satellite channels are not all in HDTV, can/should I use 4 “Dual Tuner combo cards” and use a splitter from the output from each receiver in order to watch both NTSC/HDTV per reciever? or should I just buy 4 single Digital (HD) PCIe tuner cards and connect each (of 4) receivers to 4 of those? I don’t want to run into problems viewing HD vs regular signal..

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. buying the right tuner card seems to be my last step here…Thanks in advance! ๐Ÿ™‚

  90. Oh and I wondered if vista U MC will change the channels on each receiver for me through the dma2100’s when being watched individually? or do they need to be programmed to use a specific Tuner card?

    Thank you in advance again for any help. ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. Sean, if you use standard cable receivers you will NOT get HD output to them. In my setup I have two USB digital tuners connected to an antenna, receiving over-the-air HDTV, and two CableCARD tuners receiving HD cable signals. It is not possible to pick a tuner when you choose a channel; the Media Center service does that using its own logic.

    If you are willing to buy a new PC to get CableCARD support, then I recommend a setup like the one I have, which is adequate for most needs. Adding a third or fourth CableCARD tuner will cost over $200 each and require some registry hacking. If all four extenders are in use at once, presumably at least one will be watching something previously recorded. If they’re all watching live TV all the time, you don’t need a Media Center, just a cable/satellite tuner box!

  92. I have problem with installation soft for DMA2100 on my PC. Could someone tell me if it’s work with Windows XP ? I have installed also MS netFramework.

  93. I’m new to the extender world, so I’m sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but, how does the DMA2100 change the channels on my set top box if it’s not in the same room?

    Thanks in advance.

  94. Odd questions centering on how the remote control works with the extender and the IR receiver connected to the PC.

    Main question: does the DMA2100 IR remote-control, control MCE from the PCโ€™s MCE IR receiver (not through the extender)?

    Or, when using the Extender from another room with the DMA2100 remote, does the PC react in the same way as it if you were in the same room with the PC using an MCE remote?

    I plan on being able to watch MCE on two different TVs, one controlled by the existing MCE IR receiver connected to the PC, and the other connected to the Extender. My problem is the IR signals that control the PC get blasted in the room which has the extender. I need to make sure they donโ€™t conflict.

  95. Ron, an extender’s remote works on the extender, which in turn controls the Media Center interface through a Remote Desktop session. Normally, these would be in separate rooms and you could do completely separate things with each session, watching a live program on Tuner #1 on the extender, recording a program on Tuner #2 in the background, and browsing the music collection or watching a prerecorded program on the main PC.

    If you are in the same room with two devices side by side, then any button you push on the remote will be sent to the extender AND to the main PC. Bummer.

    There’s a utility you can use to change the ID number of the remote control you use for your main PC. It’s included with the MCE Power Toy, which was just reissued for Vista.

    Follow the links in this post:

    http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=2075

  96. This is a good device when it works but…… it rarely works. I’ve been through 2 devices in the last several months and 2 reinstalls of my OS all because of this device. I’ve never had to purposely do an OS reinstall for anything before. I’ve lost 20-30 hours just trying to fix it. If its working for you now don’t do anything to it, meaning don’t put in the firmware.

    Its currently sitting broken no long able to connect to the OS for no reason what so ever.

    I don’t recommend it to anyone, unless you want waste hours on end trying to fix it.

  97. Why not put your old firmware back in de DMA 2100 if it causing so much trouble…
    Greet comments. Thanks, helped my a lot

  98. I am not sure about the codec problems, I would like to view Movies that are .AVI or Mpeg, is there a codec that I need for the extender and if they play on my main computer why dont they play on the extender. If you have a link for the newest firm ware, I would greatly appreciate. Because it this is not any fun, all I get is errors on all the channels, and I can play my Sirius Music, I am about ready to sell this on EBAY and wait for a better Idea, Is there not a wireless monitor extension out there, it seems with wireless key boards and game controlers, all we need is a wireless conection for the TV.

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