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Old 22nd July 2005, 12:39   #1
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Default media center pc?

i was looking at my pc setup and i have a tv tuner card with remote a wireless keyboard and mouse and speakers and the normal stuff so i was wondering if it is possible to make it a media center pc. the cpu is an amd sempron 2200 and i have an 80gb harddrive with 256mb ram and another 14 gb harddrive on standby if needed.a 48x cd drive and a 52x24x52 cd-rw drive. so is it possible or should i just stick with this setup
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Old 22nd July 2005, 14:15   #2
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A media center PC is just a marketing term. you already have a TV tuner card and the software. So why do you need to go out and buy XP media center edition when you already have the same setup. Its like have a multimedia edition car with DVD player charging 50K extra when you can put in one yourself for 25K.
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Old 22nd July 2005, 14:19   #3
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Interesting!.... but what exactly you mean by a 'media center PC'?
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Old 22nd July 2005, 14:32   #4
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oh, sorry by media center pc i meant windows xp media center edition. i was just wondering if windows xp media center edition offers something extra. but if not then i dont see a point in getting it thanks

Last edited by chittibells2005 : 22nd July 2005 at 14:34.
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Old 4th August 2005, 17:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chittibells2005
oh, sorry by media center pc i meant windows xp media center edition. i was just wondering if windows xp media center edition offers something extra. but if not then i dont see a point in getting it thanks
sorry to reply so late

The WindowsXP media center OS is only for PC Vendors i.e. it only comes as OEM & not as retail
the benifits of XP MC (media center) OS is that the TV Tuner, Windows media player are tightly integrated with the hardware which allows you to control "media" files on your PC via remote (even the songs & videos along with TV), ATI graphics cards which come with TV tuner are already having this facility, for other TV Tuner cards it can be customised (I never tried it but it can be done, by editing your tuner cards remote config file)

XP MC OS also has TIME SHIFT feature which means while watching a TV show suppose you suddenly have to go to some work you can pause the telecast just like you will do on VCR (the moment you press pause button the telecast is being recorded & stored on your hard disk) & after you press resume you can start from where you left & can ever fast forward & rewind the telecast
(BTW Pinnacle TV Tuner cards have this facility - I use it & really useful)
and it has other obvious features like scheduled recording & etc

hope that helps
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Old 30th September 2006, 12:33   #6
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*Bump*

Looking for a similar solution for my bedroom. What I basically want to do is make surfing and watching TV much more enjoyable.

My existing setup is a Sony LCD with DVD and 5 speaker home theatre setup. So basically, I only need a competent CPU to hook up to the existing hardware. Is the Media Center software what I am looking for?

The features I have in mind are:

- Wireless Internet
- Wireless keyboard and mouse
- Connecting the CPU to the home theatre to play MP3s
- The time shift feature that Adya33 mentioned so that I can pause and resume while watching regular TV
- Program the center to record certain tv shows (like old VCRs had)
- A remote to control all these functions

I hear that the Windows Media Center OS is now available off the shelf. So should I buy one of the ready Media Centers, or custom build one?

Thanks much in advance for the help
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Old 30th September 2006, 12:41   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
The features I have in mind are:

- Wireless Internet
- Wireless keyboard and mouse
- Connecting the CPU to the home theatre to play MP3s
- The time shift feature that Adya33 mentioned so that I can pause and resume while watching regular TV
- Program the center to record certain tv shows (like old VCRs had)
- A remote to control all these functions
custom build... dont go for media center.
1. Wireless internet : Buy a netgear WGR 615 for 3000rs and connect to your modem, you have wireless internet in your entire house.
2. Wireless keyboard and mouse : Dont really need that, tv tuner cards have remote, and working from the bed on a distant computer screen is not worth it. For 3000-4000 you can get a high end TV tuner card with remote and many other features like on the fly MPEG4 recording(needed if you want to record long programs and dont need to keep a 500GB HDD).
3. Simple. Make sure your home theater has 5 channel input. Most do. So all you need is a creative SB live 5.1 sound card, and connect it to your home theater.
4. Most TV tuner card software offer that time shift feature, limited only by your disk space.
5.Remote control is there with TV tuner. Dont know about DVDs.

On how to go about that, dont go for a branded PC. go to your local assembler.
Get a nice powerful Dual core(Intel) or a 64bit(amd CPU) with a decent graphics card(high end required only if you are into gaming). Make sure you have svideo out on the card for giving to LCD screen(unless its a simple LCD monitor which can connect directly to the comp.
Make sure you get around 250GB SATA HDD(If possible import it, its only 100$ for samsung in the US).
Get 1GB RAM.
You are ready to rock and roll.


PS: I suggest you get a wired keyboard and wireless mouse as most DVD viewing applications can be controlled entirely by mouse.
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Old 30th September 2006, 12:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
The features I have in mind are:

- Wireless Internet
Not many good wireless internet options[wifi,wimax] available for home users from service providers end.

You can take a dsl connection on your phoneline and connect it to a wireless broadband router .This would enable you to have wireless internet in your premises.


Ps: I too recommend not going in for wireless internet option[from presently available options] for a desktop pc.If it were a laptop then it would have been a different matter.

Last edited by rahul_intlad : 30th September 2006 at 12:58.
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Old 30th September 2006, 12:50   #9
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i think most of the features you mentioned can be had with a decent built pc.
- You would need a wireless router to get wireless internet, but if it is a desktop pc i dont see the point unless the pc is very far from the main access point.
- Wireless keyboards and mice can be bought off the shelf. i used microsoft and found it very convenient but they stopped working after two years.
- You can buy a basic media streamer to connect your pc to your home theater to get your mp3s
- The time shift feature is not hardware based so you can get it with a devent pvr software.
- same as above for timed recordings
- this part i am not sure about. i know most tv tuners come with remotes and the media streamers also come with remotes but i dont know if they can be integrated into one. If you have an old palm pilot lying around, you can buy software that allows it to be used as a remote(i had a trial version but i forgot the name) you can program it the way you like it.


i think custom built is the way to go though.

EDIT: seems like i am a couple of posts and a lot of information late.

Last edited by heelntoe : 30th September 2006 at 12:51.
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Old 30th September 2006, 12:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
Looking for a similar solution for my bedroom. What I basically want to do is make surfing and watching TV much more enjoyable.
If you already have a computer then its just matter of adding few cards.

Quote:
custom build... dont go for media center.
If its buying new PC then better go for branded PC with median centre OS.
Here's why, on custom built PC you have to use remote provided by TV tuner card. Which means you can only access TV viewer application with it.
On other hand in Media Center OS the remote is associated with OS.
Which means you can control TV viewing app, Media player, Radio tuner, photo slide-show and DVD viewing.
Also being branded PC you can get better support (though not always true)
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Old 30th September 2006, 13:04   #11
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Lot of ads coming from dth providers who are also talking of recording live tv,I dont know the recording capacity however.But you should also look at that option as well.
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Old 30th September 2006, 14:46   #12
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That was F-A-S-T! Thanks a ton for the advice, dudes. Have called for quotes and should get delivery in the next week.
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Old 30th September 2006, 15:01   #13
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adya, the reason I dont recomment media center edition is because its crippled. Some features of generic XP home are not available, and security is also not much.
However a Windows XP generic installation can be made media center.

Moreover in media center edition recorded programs are not really highly compressed so you have limited shift capablity. With custom built PC with 250GB HDD you can have 50-60 hours of DVD quality video on just 1/5th of the disk!
You can go on vacation for a week and not miss any of the cricket matches of ICC champions trophy
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Old 30th September 2006, 15:29   #14
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check this article on techtreehttp://www.techtree.com/techtree/jsp..._id=556&page=9
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Old 30th September 2006, 15:47   #15
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Quote:
adya, the reason I dont recomment media center edition is because its crippled. Some features of generic XP home are not available, and security is also not much.
MCE is basically WinXP Home with added multimedia goodies. There is absolutly no reason for it not to be less safe.

Quote:
Moreover in media center edition recorded programs are not really highly compressed so you have limited shift capablity. With custom built PC with 250GB HDD you can have 50-60 hours of DVD quality video on just 1/5th of the disk!
You can always add extra hard drive.

Also I think you are still missing the big advantage of MCE is that you can control entire media from just a single remote.

Take example, you are watching TV while getting ready to go to bed. There is nothing good on TV so you decide to listen to music. In custom built machine which you are recommending you will have to go to PC to access music folder and play songs. In MCE you just use remote.

This picture shows what can you control in MCE from remote http://www.winsupersite.com/images/r...mce2005_06.jpg

Last edited by adya33 : 30th September 2006 at 15:48.
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