Microsoft is about to give Media Center PCs a new point of view. The software giant is expected to unveil on Friday an update for its Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system that will boost the computers’ abilities to tap online entertainment such as movies, access e-mail and even let users go shopping via the special user interface, designed to allow easy access to multimedia.
Microsoft Has New Mission for Media Center
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2005-10-12 12:58 pmAnonymous
Try Ask Slashdot.
2005-10-12 1:31 pmAnonymous
I would try mythtv
I use it and it is much more flexible than MS Media Center.
2005-10-12 1:54 pmjeffbax
Myth might be more flexible, but for doing the basic rip / playback etc, its a whole lot more complicated to setup, and not nearly as easy to get hardware support.
That said, I will probably try building a myth in the future.
2005-10-12 6:00 pmAnonymous
MythTV can be easy, if you’re careful. Hauppauge cards such as the PVR-250 are well supported. Knoppmyth should be easy to install, or use Jarod Wilson’s guide and Fedora.
I rolled my own, and it was more complicated. Then again, I’m also doing over-the-air digital TV. HDTV output is difficult, but that’s not really a MythTV issue as much as a nVidia issue. And nVidia is the best choice, as far as I can tell. But I’m happy with the results: I’ve been recording, watching, and sometimes archiving HDTV for close to a year.
Standard analog NTSC or PAL is well worked out by now, and doesn’t require a powerful system. Difficulties are usually self-imposed. You can make a random capture card work with a random Linux distribution, but it will be more work than using a popular, well-tested combination.
I find that it’s worth the extra effort to get something that works exactly the way I want. Others may not find the limits of the off-the-shelf solutions as annoying as I do.
2005-10-12 2:31 pmRehdon
If price is a concern, stay away from Media Center PCs: they tend to be horribly overpriced. Plus, I still couldn’t find one approaching esthetic decency.
I’ve been considering using one of those nice Shuttle mini-pc for a long time, anyone else has ever tried with one of those?
2005-10-12 5:14 pmAdamW
I used to work for Shaw. If you’re at all interested in HDTV, get the Shaw PVR box, for one simple reason. North American digital / HDTV cable is proprietary and locked down. The Shaw HD PVR records the original digital stream for HDTV channels. You’ll never be able to do that with an external PVR, there’s no way to get the pure digital feed out of the Shaw box (with early firmware releases you could get it out of the box’s Firewire output, but later firmwares have locked this down. And you can’t dodge the firmware update, it’s sent out over the cable network, and if your box happens to be disconnected when it’s sent, it gets updated the next time you connect it). So you’re never going to be able to do really good HDTV / digital recording with a PC-based setup on North American cable networks, sadly. Sucks, but that’s the way the system’s set up.
2005-10-12 6:20 pmAnonymous
This is a bit misleading, North American HD signals are not ‘locked down’, they use QAM, which can be either encrypted or unencrypted.
A HTPC with a Hi-Def that can handle unencrypted QAM can deal with the signals directly from the cable feed just fine. There are at least 3 cards that can do this now, 2 of which work with MythTV. All your local channels should be in unencrypted QAM, the only issue would be getting premium channels in HD.
2005-10-12 5:40 pmAnonymous
If you are just looking for a PVR, go that route. It’s less hassle. If you want a media center (PVR, MP3 Jukebox, surf the net, games) then set up some sort of media center PC. If you are using a standard definition tv, Linux (MythTV) or Windows MCE are both good options. If you are using a High Def TV, a windows based box is really the best way to go by far because of programs like ffdshow which upscale / denoise / sharpen the video for a HDTV. Upscailing for HDTV hasn’t really taken off yet on Linux. Sure, it’s possible, buy you can get a way better picture with a Windows based solution.
I’m looking for a real answer.. not a Slashdot smart ass answer.
2005-10-12 1:33 pmWho is That
Do you want HBO? or any premium channel? I would check with your cable company about how that set up would work about getting the digital package (more and more, cable is moving stuff to their digital package)
a media center PC would offer more functionality, but it would be unsupported by the cable company and would not get any premium features, plus it could crash (my mom’s crashes a few times a year)
2005-10-12 7:51 pmn4cer
For premium channels through digital cable, you’ll have to use a converter box with MCE 2005. MCE in Windows Vista will have CableCard support.
and even let users go shopping via the special user interface,
Funny you have to pay in order to watch adds
Media Centers hit 27.7 percent of desktop sales at retail in the United States in August 2005
What does this figure mean? At retail, does that mean excluding online sales? That would place it in the same category as Apple’s recent 6% + figures.
ReplayTV has not kept up with Tivo on the UI side of things, but it is still better than the DVR I got from Dish. That said, the UI is good, and with DVArchive, you can use the cheap PC hard drives for space, and easily take your shows on the go. I’m remodaling a home, so I am away from home on the weekends. I just copy the shows off of my ReplayTV and on to my laptop or XBox, and I have TV for the nights. Plus, it doesn’t autmatically delete shows like the Tivo. Since development on the ReplayTV has likely stopped, it makes it likely that DRM (Digital Restriction Mechanism) will never be implemented.
Without support for the digital newtorks, and HDTV via DirecTV, Dish network, etc., Media Center PC’s are glorified PVRs that waste a good usable machine.
Why can’t Microsoft come up with a system that allows those secret decoder rings that the cable and dish networks use to plug in to enable media center PC’s? That would rule. Some TVs can do it with cable already.
PC’s are still playing major catch up to the good old TV.
Ugly, way too expensive, power consuming, insecure alternative to a Sky+ or Cable box.
Hope it is as big a success as the Amiga CD32 was.
The PC is not a TV, the TV is not a PC.
Thom, 24 hours have passed. Where’s my daily Ubuntu news? Please fix that ASAP.
I can’t decide.. should I buy a PVC from my cable provider at $600 (http://www.shaw.ca/en-ca/ProductsServices/Television/DigitalTV/Digi…) or use MS Media Center?