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My HTPC is downstairs connected to my large screen. I would like to use my desktop upstairs to record over the air HDTV and stream it to the HTPC. I have Windows 7 Professional installed on the desktop. I currently have XP on the HTPC, but I'm going to upgrade it to Windows 7. Is there a particular flavor of Win 7 I should use?

Is it possible to record on the desktop and use Windows MCE on the HTPC to watch the recorded content? What about live TV? The consensus I've seen is that Windows 7 cannot be configured as a Windows Media Center Extender. Is that the case? If so, what's the cheapest solution for an extender?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There should be no problems with what you want to do and no extenders needed, assuming both of the following are true:

  1. The PC you want to view the content on can reach the network location where the programmes are recorded
  2. There is sufficient bandwidth between them to stream the content without buffering issues

I have a similar if opposite setup (Vista Home Premium with plasma in living room, desktop with 7 Pro in office) and can view recorded TV on the Vista machine when I'm in the office with no problems. In fact, I'm sure I even tried playing back the same programme simultaneously in both rooms and it worked fine.

Windows 7's libraries will make it a lot easier to manage this content. Either Professional or Home Premium would work fine for viewing the recorded TV, but as I recall Home Premium doesn't allow remote desktop connections so I'd go with Professional as it makes it a lot easier to administer a HTPC where you may not have a convenient mouse/keyboard set up all the time.

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