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Turn Any PC Into a Media Center

#1 User is offline   PCWorld 

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 09:00 PM

Post your comments for Turn Any PC Into a Media Center here
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#2 User is offline   Lahiru 

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 10:23 AM

I would like you to know that the WinTV-HVR-2250 has PCIE and NOT PCI. People might be confused by this as PCIe is not compatible with PCI.
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#3 User is online   lvincent45 

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 10:57 AM

The article was good by I am not ready to go Vista yet.
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#4 User is offline   wmcoverdale 

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 09:07 AM

Why no mention of cheap cable connections? If your desktop or notebook has an HDMI or DVI and optical output, you can clone your computer to your AV receiver and HDTV for a 1080i or 720p display for less than $100. I clone video to my 50"HDTV (20ft distant to my computer) with a DVI to HDMI cable. I connect my audio to my AV receiver (25 ft distant) with an toslink optical cable and get 5.1 sound on my large speakers. As a result, I can select sound compatable or separate from the video. I can stream Netflix live video, or any video from my computer at 720p and 5.1 or DTS sound. In addition, I can display my slideshows on my HDTV, while playing whatever computer music or radio I feel like listening to at the time. I can listen to my computer music while surfing my computer. I also have a Sony Bluray disc drive which enables my to watch Netflix Bluray rental movies.


Although Windows Media Center works fine for videos, I personally don't use it because of its terrible search menu for computer audio. I prefer Winamp pro, which also offers internet radio, internet TV, and internet video of stations and individual artists. I use Faststone or Picassa for slideshows.


I purchased my Vista desktop from Bestbuy for less than $1,000, but have been using the aforementioned connections for over 3 years on my old XP computer, although I did upgrade my sound and video card to get the necessary outputs.
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#5 User is offline   jlangfarm 

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 09:20 AM

To: Wmcoverdale and others knowledgable

Like [~166564] I am not ready to go to Vista. Could you kindly run the (hardware and software) specs on your old XP computer including upgrades? I am also curious about what you felt was desirable in your new Bestbuy desktop. I am resigned to replace my old legacy stuff, but want to do so wisely and still avoid the Micro$oft upgrade traps. Thanks.
[~166564]
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#6 User is offline   TimCoe 

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 04:24 PM

Good Article. I see not mention of a media center software called GB-PVR. It too is free but not open source like MediaPortal. I have been using it for about 3 years now and it works great. My setup is a Intel DualCore E8400 2GB Ram two 750 GB HD's (My wife records a lot of reality shows!) Check it out at http://gbpvr.com/.
It is designed around the Hauppauge componets mainly the PVR-150 and MVP Media Server. Aside fro mt hecost of th ehardware the EPG provider that I use costs $12 a year considerably les than a Tivo setup nd more versatle.
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#7 User is offline   Spider 

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:17 AM

What kind of ram and Processor power do you need to run a good system like this?
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#8 User is offline   ChuckEtheridge 

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:55 AM

I have a Gateway fX530XV with an Intel 6400 processor running at 2.13GHz, 4GB RAM along with a 4GB USB plugged into a USB port to serve as Ready Boost, though things were working fine before it. I think that I have noticed a slight speed increase, but it has been relatively inconsequential. The OS is Vista Ultimate SP1. The video card is a Nvidia 8600GTS and the monitor is a 24" Gateway FPD2485W. I have a Digital Comcast cable service which feeds a Pinnacle 800i PCTV Digital HD tuner card and related software, and it all works very well. I also have a Toshiba SD-H802A ROM drive that I got just before the transition began to Blu-Ray as well as a Sony BWU-200S Blu-Ray fully functional drive for Blu-Ray. Both of the drives provide 1080p video and the clarity from each is quite outstanding. I tried for several months to use Cyberlink's PowerDVD 7 Ultra as well as PowerDVD 8 Ultra and in spite of at least biweekly email chats with their customer service techs neither would ever provide anything other than a black monitor. I then got a refund of at least most of what I had spent with them and went with Corel's WinDVD 9 Plus Blu-Ray. this software plays both HD DVD and Blu-Ray movies wonderfully and works with no problems. Let this be a word to the wise. For audio i have the Soundblaster card that came with the computer which does provide 7.1 output feeding a Logitech Z5300e 5.1 externally powered speaker system rated at 280 watts RMS which in the room where I have the computer provides excellent sound. I did find that though Windows Media Player was able to use the original analog TV Tuner,it will not even recognize the Pinnacle HD Tuner. I have that tuner connected to the Comcast HDTV Capable channel selection box with a short length of coax cable and it is connected to the monitor with a DVI-D cable, which uses the only HD connectors on both the monitor and video card. With my audio setup there is no reason to worry about the lack of an HDMI cable. Now that I have the Corel HD software the whole system works beautifully. It might be possible to get by with a slightly lower capacity computer, but I find that even with the modestly powered processor the whole system is quite adequate and gives excellent performance. I have written to Microsoft with the suggestion that they upgrade WMP so that it will be able to handle the HD tuner and DVD drives but have not heard anything back from them as yet. I have upgraded to IE8 Beta 1 and am looking forward to the supposed release of Beta 2 this month. The IE 8 in general works very well, though I have run into a couple of minor things that it has a problem with, but hopefully MS will take care of that sort of thing in the upcoming releases. The Vista Ultimate SP1 is truly excellent and there is absolutely no way that I would even begin to consider regressing to the XP SP2 that I used to have on my previous computer. Vista is vastly better. I got it in April a few months after the release and have had Auto Update enabled the whole time, with absolutely no regrets. It still baffles me that there are so many people who are scared of it
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#9 User is offline   TimCoe 

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 09:49 AM

In reply to Spider. My first HTPC was a Dell Dimension 4100 P-III 1 GHz wit h512 MB of RAM which worked well. The only hangup was when GB-PVR ran the ComSkip program (a program that marks commercial locations so that on playback the commercials are skipped... pretty cool) the machine slowed t oa crawl. The new machine is an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 wit h2 GB of RAM running plain old Win XP Pro. The Comskip process now runs in minutes versus over an hour per show.

Tim
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#10 User is online   tonylabra 

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 06:56 PM

Before switching to Dish Network I was on Comcast. On Comcast, My WinTv-PVR 150 MCE worked perfectly. I had a split in the Comcast cable and 1 line came into the WinTV-PVR tuner on my PC and the other to the main TV in the living room.

Life was great. Both WinTV & Windows Media Center allowed me to record cable content while watching something else on TV.

But now with Dish Network, I've lost the ability to tape a show on the pc while watching something else on the TV. The DishNetwork line into the living room goes to a set top box. From there I have it split with 1 line going to the TV that always need to be on channel 3 and the other to PVR 150 MCE tuner
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Now, I can only record what is on Channel 3. And if I switch channels on the TV, Windows Media Center or WinTV will receive the new signal and possibly interrupt what I may have started recording

Do you know if the WinTV-PVR 150 MCE will work with satellite? Can I table the direct cable line and hook it to the WinTv-PVR tuner card? Will it know how to decode the Dish Network signal?

Tony Labra
Export, Pa
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#11 User is offline   jesseweelle 

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  Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:34 PM

xbmc
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