Whole House Distro setup - XBMC based on VmWare ESXi 5
Hi naa3e5,

I'm hoping you can help me... I've just upgraded my CPU from an Intel i3-2120, to the i7-3770, as the i3 did not support VT-D.
So far, I've installed ESXi5.5 and created a couple of VM's and enabled the passthrough options on the PCI cards I'd like to present to them.
I plan to install 1x Windows VM for the satellite card and it's services, and 2x Openelec VM's for the lounge and bedroom.
As I've not yet got round to creating the Openelec VM's, I thought I'd try and get the HDMI card to work with the Windows installation.
Windows can see the hardware, and I've installed the drivers, but it won't switch to using the HDMI card as it's primary output.
Please can you advise what I need to do to enable this?

Any help would be great at this stage, as I'm beginning to struggle Sad

What I did was use VMware console on vSphere and then use a VNC Client to login and switch the monitor configuration around. Make sure your VNC client supports multi monitor. I was never able to get vSphere console to display XBMC due to DirectX problems. Once in XBMX you can choose which monitor you want it to work on. Make sure you have the windows configuration in Display properties to set the vid card with HDMI as #1, that makes everything easier and I believe negates having to tell XBMC which monitor as it defaults to monitor #1.

That said I'm not 100% sure the behavior is the same on 5.5 I used 5.0
Also make sure your HDMI cables are plugged in so Windows knows there is an active display there.

I totally forgot to take a picture of the back of the rack. I'll get around to it this week, as I have off.
That's great, thanks for that!
Out of interest, did you ever try the setup with Nvidia cards? I think this seems to be my problem, as I borrowed an AMD card off a friend to try, and managed to get it working but still can't do it with my Nvidia. I will try your method though.

Also, are you running XBMC from windows, or are you running Openelec? Reason I ask is that once I'd got my friend's AMD card working with passthrough under Windows, I was unable to do the same with an Openelec XBMC installation.

And may I also ask, how easy was it to get the USB's to work? I had a quick try at this also, but didn't manage to get it working... do I need to install the motherboard drivers into Windows for it to work?

(Sorry to be such a pain, and thanks again for revisiting this thread)
So to understand the need for the multiple VMs, it's the same machine feeding to different monitors, without using other client devices to access the stored media, correct?
Yes, that's correct.
Ok, I'm almost there.... it seems that the passthrough is now working with AMD cards, but I'm still unable to get it working with Openelec.
Has anyone else here managed to do this with Openelec? I'd prefer not to have to run XMBC under windows anymore.
Passthrough only works with AMD. I never tried with OpenElec only Windows. USB works in the same manner , I just used passthrough for the USB busses.
For the amount of things I've done with PCs, I just never understood VMs at all or the need for them. I think this is starting to make sense to me though for a use like this. Never thought VMs were useful(just didn't get it), but having one PC feed content to multiple TVs.... Wish I had known I could do that. I literally could just build a great PC, put it in the living room, then run 4 HDMI's from that PC to other HDTVs and use VMs for each one right?
Not sure I understand how you would control each VM though. How do you hook a ms/kb or a remote or wahtever to each specific VM? This is all quite interesting.
You can do it on Linux without VMs too. Maybe you can on windows too, I dunno.
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(2014-01-14, 02:17)nickr Wrote: You can do it on Linux without VMs too. Maybe you can on windows too, I dunno.

Lets say I was doing it on Windows with VMs. Could all my VMs access the same cablecard/cards? That way I could have a Ceton Tuner (the 6 tuner version) and then just have it so that each OS can access them?

I've looked up "good uses for VMs" and I remember the article I read, where it basically said nothing cool you could do with VMs. It was all about testing new OSes and dualbooting so you could use old hardware/run old programs. Almost useless for me since Windows 8 supports 99% of old hardware/programs that I use and there is a less annoying method to run them normally than having to run a VM. But if I could use one PC to run multiple instances of Windows on multiple HDTVs without having to have a set top box there that'd be really really cool.

I'd use Linux, but WMC is so easy to use/setup for TV Tuners. I tried setting up other software and the EPG setup was hell.

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Whole House Distro setup - XBMC based on VmWare ESXi 50