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  1.    #1  
    Was looking at upgrading my XP Home Edition to Windows Media Center and was wondering if anyone else is running it and what they're experience is with it. I'm looking at using it to record cable TV and then use it to pipe it back out to my TV once I buy the XBOX 360 which will have Media Center extender via WIFI. Then I can also use the 360 to pump music from my PC to my living room surround sound system. At only $299 I think the 360 is going to be a great option for this type of thing.

    In addition to general experiences with Media Center, I was wondering how large a hard drive I should expand my system with to use it. I have an 80 GB and was thinking of adding at least a 200 GB drive or maybe a 300 GB. There also appears to be legions of tuner cards available and I am lost as to what the differences are between them. Any insight would be appreciated.
    ROOTING for WebOS makes me more sympathetic to Cubs fans.
  2. #2  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-C
    Was looking at upgrading my XP Home Edition to Windows Media Center and was wondering if anyone else is running it and what they're experience is with it. I'm looking at using it to record cable TV and then use it to pipe it back out to my TV once I buy the XBOX 360 which will have Media Center extender via WIFI. Then I can also use the 360 to pump music from my PC to my living room surround sound system. At only $299 I think the 360 is going to be a great option for this type of thing.

    In addition to general experiences with Media Center, I was wondering how large a hard drive I should expand my system with to use it. I have an 80 GB and was thinking of adding at least a 200 GB drive or maybe a 300 GB. There also appears to be legions of tuner cards available and I am lost as to what the differences are between them. Any insight would be appreciated.

    I use the ATI E-Home tuner card for analog, and the ATI HDTV tuner card. (M$ makes you include that analog card even though the HDTV tuner card would be able to do both.)

    ATI makes many analog tuner cards -- but very few which are suitable for MCE. Be sure to check before you buy if the SPECIFIC card you choose from whichever manufacturer you buy from, will work.

    I got mine from ATI because the motherboard is also ATI, as well as the HDTV tuner -- so I wanted to lessen the chance of some compatibility hickup.

    I 'm also someone who actually prefers the ATI software suite for watching and recording TV. (most folks prefer MCE.)

    From what I hear the Hauppage tuner cards are considered better -- but I've never tried them.

    200gb drives are cheap -- never get anything smaller -- (get a 300 if possible.)

    other specs to check:

    Be sure that you see if your motherboard supports SATA (SERIAL ATA) otherwise get an conventional ATA 133 (or ATA 100) drive, 7200 rpm,
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  3. naivete's Avatar
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    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    I use the ATI E-Home tuner card for analog, and the ATI HDTV tuner card. (M$ makes you include that analog card even though the HDTV tuner card would be able to do both.)

    ATI makes many analog tuner cards -- but very few which are suitable for MCE. Be sure to check before you buy if the SPECIFIC card you choose from whichever manufacturer you buy from, will work.

    I got mine from ATI because the motherboard is also ATI, as well as the HDTV tuner -- so I wanted to lessen the chance of some compatibility hickup.

    I 'm also someone who actually prefers the ATI software suite for watching and recording TV. (most folks prefer MCE.)

    From what I hear the Hauppage tuner cards are considered better -- but I've never tried them.

    200gb drives are cheap -- never get anything smaller -- (get a 300 if possible.)

    other specs to check:

    Be sure that you see if your motherboard supports SATA (SERIAL ATA) otherwise get an conventional ATA 133 (or ATA 100) drive, 7200 rpm,
    Take these advice. Back in June, I had to setup a media center pc for my brother. It was not straight forward. In short, MCE is very picky with cable set top boxes, so if you have one, I suggest you get a third-party app. There is SageTV(not free), and then there is myHTPC(free). Like Barye, I got the E-HOME Wonder. I didn't get the HDTV wonder because the reception is really bad at my brother's home.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by naivete
    Take these advice. Back in June, I had to setup a media center pc for my brother. It was not straight forward. In short, MCE is very picky with cable set top boxes, so if you have one, I suggest you get a third-party app. There is SageTV(not free), and then there is myHTPC(free). Like Barye, I got the E-HOME Wonder. I didn't get the HDTV wonder because the reception is really bad at my brother's home.

    If I used the supplied ATI antenna as intended (indoors) I'd be gettin alot of Hi Def snow too --

    it works just fine though on the roof.

    I live in Wash. DC which has had a good HDTV rollout, and I don't have much in the way of obstruction between me and the transmitters (from my roof). DC has no mountains or skyscrapers which helps too.

    Though most are garbage, my found channels list displays 28 OTA HDTV channels (maybe 12 of which are real. Though PBS uses all 4 of its frequencies to show different programming, the big broadcasters still use their subchannels for showing weather maps.)

    There's a website (don't recall its name now) that helps the aiming of your HDTV antenna, and thats essential for getting a strong signal.
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  5. NRG
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    #5  
    MCE is crap and propiertary. One word for ya, Meedio! www.meedio.com

    The community is like the Treo's where there are lots of people writing scripts for it and customizing it. I love HTPCs and this was my choice. Use almost any card, or piece of hardware you choose.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by naivete
    Take these advice. Back in June, I had to setup a media center pc for my brother. It was not straight forward. In short, MCE is very picky with cable set top boxes, so if you have one, I suggest you get a third-party app. There is SageTV(not free), and then there is myHTPC(free). Like Barye, I got the E-HOME Wonder. I didn't get the HDTV wonder because the reception is really bad at my brother's home.
    MythTV is great, especially if you want a dedicated box for this. But it's for geeks. Unfortunately, the average PC user doesn't have the patience for Linux, although there is an all-in-one software package w/Knoppix out there.
    MaxiMunK.com The Forum That Asks, "Are You Not Entertained?"

    Remember: "Anyone that thinks the Treo should just work right out of the box, shouldn't own a Treo..."
  7. naivete's Avatar
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    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    If I used the supplied ATI antenna as intended (indoors) I'd be gettin alot of Hi Def snow too --

    it works just fine though on the roof.

    I live in Wash. DC which has had a good HDTV rollout, and I don't have much in the way of obstruction between me and the transmitters (from my roof). DC has no mountains or skyscrapers which helps too.

    Though most are garbage, my found channels list displays 28 OTA HDTV channels (maybe 12 of which are real. Though PBS uses all 4 of its frequencies to show different programming, the big broadcasters still use their subchannels for showing weather maps.)

    There's a website (don't recall its name now) that helps the aiming of your HDTV antenna, and thats essential for getting a strong signal.
    I doubt it will work for my brother because of the elevated train track (LIRR) nearby. He tried his roof antenna, but the recption is just bad.

    He has digital cable and he wants to be able to control his set top box via the media center pc, so I got him the Gyration MCE keyboard and remote-mouse. Everything seemed fine until I try to control the set top box with the mouse. I had to search very hard to find out that I need an rf to ir modulator so that the mouse can talk to the set top box. On top of that, you cannot setup your tv tuner in MCE unless you have an IR extender from Microsoft. That's when I concluded that I need a third-party media center app.
    Last edited by naivete; 10/24/2005 at 04:18 PM.
  8. NRG
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by naivete
    I doubt it will work for my brother. He tried his roof antenna, but the recption is just bad. I guess it's because of the elevated train track (LIRR) nearby.

    He has digital cable and he wants to be able to control his set top box via the media center pc, so I got him the Gyration MCE keyboard and remote-mouse. Everything seemed fine until I try to control the set top box with the mouse. I had to search very hard to find out that I need an rf to ir modulator so that the mouse can talk to the set top box. On top of that, you cannot setup your tv tuner in MCE unless you have an IR extender from Microsoft. That's when I concluded that I need a third-party media center app.
    I cannot stress this enough to you folks, Meedio is the way to go. All this stuff you mention here has been solved with Meedio and its plugins
  9. naivete's Avatar
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    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by NRG
    MCE is crap and propiertary. One word for ya, Meedio! www.meedio.com
    It seems like we're using the same product. I did some reading on Meedio and it turns out Meedio is the commercial version of myHTPC, with more features loaded.

    The community is like the Treo's where there are lots of people writing scripts for it and customizing it. I love HTPCs and this was my choice. Use almost any card, or piece of hardware you choose.
    That was the main reason I went with Meedio/myHTPC. The other reason being it was free.
  10. naivete's Avatar
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    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Insertion
    MythTV is great, especially if you want a dedicated box for this. But it's for geeks. Unfortunately, the average PC user doesn't have the patience for Linux, although there is an all-in-one software package w/Knoppix out there.
    Can I use MCE hardware for this? Since my brother is stuck with the MCE mouse and keyboard.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by NRG
    MCE is crap and propiertary. One word for ya, Meedio! www.meedio.com
    I'll check that out, but honestly i havent seen anything that beats my TiVo so far.
    iPhone in the Washington DC area.
  12. NRG
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by naivete
    It seems like we're using the same product. I did some reading on Meedio and it turns out Meedio is the commercial version of myHTPC, with more features loaded.



    That was the main reason I went with Meedio/myHTPC. The other reason being it was free.
    Yep, I was a myHTPC user before Meedio came out. myHTPC was the version before Meedio came out. I went with Meedio for the looks and integration, plus most of the community development for myHTPC has come to an end. Just for some of you folks out there myHTPC is FREE, Meedio is not. The transition was rather painless.
  13. NRG
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by AnteL0pe
    I'll check that out, but honestly i haven't seen anything that beats my TiVo so far.
    I made my HTPC not for the TiVo functions, but rather for processing skills of a computer. For instance, when I play my DVDs through the HTPC all my movies are up-converted 720p. Or I rip my DVDs down to the hard drive , therefore stripping out the trailers, macrovision, FBI warnings and audio tracks I would never use. Or schedule the HTPC to control the temperature, lights, etc. via X10. Then there is the movie feature which I really like. This feature will run automatically whenever you set it to and download not just the times for your local theaters, but also their trailers!! A short list of things I have set up to do; get movie times and trailers, get email, surf on the bis screen, up convert DVDs to Hi-Def, stream internet radio, play MP3s, rip DVDs down to my 1.5 terabyte sever, stream video and/or audio throughout the house, control the lights and temp in the house, and ................ I could go on but I think you get the idea.
  14. #14  
    Has anyone here tried Beyond TV's solution? Looks good and i'm looking forward to the next release.

    I'm going to build an HTPC with highdef, FM, AM (any help here????), and all out media center. I'm also going to use shoutcast to broadcase an FM/AM station or two so that I (and my family) can listen anywhere. All I need now is $1000 to build the PC :-/

    Timmay
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    Visor Pro -> Visor Edge -> Treo 180 -> Treo 270 -> Treo 600 -> Treo 650 -> T|T2+SE T68i -> Treo 600 -> T-Mobile MDA -> Treo 755p -> Treo 800w -> Treo 755p -> PALM PRE -> Palm Pre 2 -> HP Palm Pre 3

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  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by NRG
    I made my HTPC not for the TiVo functions, but rather for processing skills of a computer. For instance, when I play my DVDs through the HTPC all my movies are up-converted 720p. Or I rip my DVDs down to the hard drive , therefore stripping out the trailers, macrovision, FBI warnings and audio tracks I would never use. Or schedule the HTPC to control the temperature, lights, etc. via X10. Then there is the movie feature which I really like. This feature will run automatically whenever you set it to and download not just the times for your local theaters, but also their trailers!! A short list of things I have set up to do; get movie times and trailers, get email, surf on the bis screen, up convert DVDs to Hi-Def, stream internet radio, play MP3s, rip DVDs down to my 1.5 terabyte sever, stream video and/or audio throughout the house, control the lights and temp in the house, and ................ I could go on but I think you get the idea.
    mother mary of god... 1.5TB server? are you running a 10/100/1000 network?

    Timmay
    Iím a lucky man to count on both hands
    The ones I love..

    Visor Pro -> Visor Edge -> Treo 180 -> Treo 270 -> Treo 600 -> Treo 650 -> T|T2+SE T68i -> Treo 600 -> T-Mobile MDA -> Treo 755p -> Treo 800w -> Treo 755p -> PALM PRE -> Palm Pre 2 -> HP Palm Pre 3

    Twittering about
  16.    #16  
    I'm not interested in any other solution than MCE. I'm sure Meedio and TiVO are fine for just video, but only MCE has the integration capabilities I am looking for.

    MCE provides a way to extend MP3/video capability from the PC in my bedroom to the home theater system in my living room where I plan to put an XBOX 360 which includes Media Center Extender. The Extender is based off the version on the first XBOX which allows you to remotely run Media Center Edition on your PC from the XBOX onto the living room CD with a remote. Except the 360 has WIFI so that I don't even have to run ethernet cable to my wireless router.

    The 360 can also do cool things like rip audio CD's and it is going to replace my old living room DVD player which doesn't support DVD-R/DVD+R reliably. On top of that the 360 is also going to play games in HDTV-5.1, allow voice calls and (I think video conferencing) over IP, and rip MP3 tracks from CD's onto it's internal drive. It is going to retail for $299, all of which makes a pretty ideal solution for me since I have no desire to put a second PC or DVR/TiVo device in my living room when I can get so much more this way.
    Last edited by Bob-C; 10/24/2005 at 10:31 PM.
    ROOTING for WebOS makes me more sympathetic to Cubs fans.
  17.    #17  
    I'm confused about how the tuners work. Right now I have analog cable TV so all I can relate to is how analog works. And Comcast has recently started scrambling even a lot of non-premium channels so that my cable ready TV can't even watch some of them now. So for those channels I have to run the signal through their rented converter box first to watch it on TV. I am assuming that the PC analog card would have the same problem but what to verify.

    I also have no experience with Digital cable, how does that work? When you say you have an HDTV tuner card, does that mean it receives only HDTV broadcasts or is it used to receive all digital cable broadcasts (i.e. most of which are not HDTV)? Do I have the same issues as with the analog converter?

    Also, when you say the HDTV tuner card has an antenna provided, are you saying that you can use it to receive DirectTV transmissions instead of a dish?
    ROOTING for WebOS makes me more sympathetic to Cubs fans.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-C
    I'm confused about how the tuners work. Right now I have analog cable TV so all I can relate to is how analog works. And Comcast has recently started scrambling even a lot of non-premium channels so that my cable ready TV can't even watch some of them now. So for those channels I have to run the signal through their rented converter box first to watch it on TV. I am assuming that the PC analog card would have the same problem but what to verify.

    I also have no experience with Digital cable, how does that work? When you say you have an HDTV tuner card, does that mean it receives only HDTV broadcasts or is it used to receive all digital cable broadcasts (i.e. most of which are not HDTV)? Do I have the same issues as with the analog converter?

    Also, when you say the HDTV tuner card has an antenna provided, are you saying that you can use it to receive DirectTV transmissions instead of a dish?
    We all have slightly different needa, cable companies requirements etc --- so what works for me might not for you -- and in general it sure sounds as though NRG know this stuff better than the rest of us --

    but I'll try to answer some of your questions by describing my set up a little more:

    I subscribe to basic cable but I don't need any cable boxes for what I'm getting since I don't get the digital channels. I hate tuner (converter) boxes -- and that applies to satellite as well -- as they make the whole television viewing recording process pretty cumberersome. I have a lot of TVs, vcrs. PC PVRs -- and until they stop analog broadcasting -- I want them to all be able to view and record without restriction.

    ATI's HDTV tuner is, as far I know, only for getting HDTV broadcasts -- not for cable (for that you generally need digital tier service and a cable company's tuner.) ATI supplies with their system a small triagliar bladed antenna which is intended to sit like rabit ears atop your TV -- where it is utterly useless.

    I simply took it onto my roof, and mounted it to a pole -- its working fine that way.

    I like ATI's software which is fairly basic and easy to use.

    Its key feature for me is its ability to play back rcorded video at double speed with minimal distortion. The compressed audio is fully comprehensible and this enables me to watch alot more news programming within a limited space of time. I've been doing this since the days of Sony's Betamax, (later Mitsubishi's VHS vcrs also had this ability.)

    If others PVR software could do this I'd consider them.

    MCE is peculiarly picky as to which specific tuners it will work with -- but don't buy ANY tuner without researching it carefully to ensure that its compatible with the software you'll be using.
    All HTPC software has pretty tight requirements, MCE just seems like theirs is the worst.
    Last edited by BARYE; 10/26/2005 at 10:17 AM.
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  19. one918's Avatar
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    #19  
    If it is Xbox related, I would recommend going to Xbox-Scene, and check out the forums. There are a bunch of kids with smart A#% remarks in there and a lot of adults with the same. If you ignore all that though, there is a lot of good knolwedge. Just like any message boards, if you have half a clue about what you are talking about, you will get good answers there....

    A couple good sites to check as far as HTPC is concerned are
    1. Build Your Own PVR Forums
    2. SageTV Forums
    3. BeyondTV Forums
    4. WinTV Forums
    Last edited by WTF; 10/25/2005 at 04:50 AM.
  20. naivete's Avatar
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    #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    I simply took it onto my roof, and mounted it to a pole -- its working fine that way.
    When you said it worked just fine on the roof, I thought you plugged your existing antenna into the HDTV Wonder. I think I'll give it a try with ATI's antenna. Now I just have to find a retail store that sells it, so I can return it if I can't get it to work.

    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    I subscribe to basic cable but I don't need any cable boxes for what I'm getting since I don't get the digital channels. I hate tuner boxes -- and that applies to satellite as well -- as they make the whole television viewing recording process pretty cumberersome. I have a lot of TVs, vcrs. PC PVRs -- and until they stop analog broadcasting -- I want them to all be able to view and record without restriction.
    I haven't seen TV's with a built-in digital tuner. The closest thing I saw was a showcase of a CATV (digital??) tuner card in PCI format.
    Last edited by naivete; 10/26/2005 at 09:57 AM.
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