Originally Posted by knight_40k
A little off topic but what exactly does windows media center do or whats so great about it? For me I go about hooking my pc to my HT is via a long HDMI wire to my receiver for video/sound and just use dual monitors with my pc screen and tv. Usually I leave my pc gaming to its setup w/ 24" LCD 1920x1200 res and Veritas
. So I guess what I'm asking is what benefits does 'media center' bring to this operation? I have multiple PC's in my house for gaming network, and could dedicate one to HTPC if there is a plus.
I personally don't game on my HTPC either. I'm sure it would be fun though. Basically, windows media center can handle all your movies, cable/sat tv, photos, music, netflix, and has some extra "media channels". It's a pretty slick program, and can be completely controlled via remote. I like the cable tv so far, and much prefer the guide to my cable box guide. I also have all my mp3s on there, and it automatically downloads all the music, cover art, and what not for it. I have all my photos for slide shows, and you can even play custom background music during the slide show. I also keep a pretty big collection of mkv HD movies, and it bitstreams audio to the receiver via hdmi. I took home a spare pc from work, and used it. It also automatically downloads, the movie info like the cast and such. The remote works well to, I use a harmony 1000. When it turns the pc off, it's really in standby mode, and when it wakes up it's automatically in media center.
If you have an extra one laying around, you might as well try it, and see if you like it. I will say, it's not for everyone though. Pretty soon, there will be a sound card that can decode HD audio as well.
It does take some work to get it right though. I ran XP at first, and couldn't get it to work the way I wanted. Now, I'm using Windows 7 RC, and it works wonderfully. It takes awhile to customize it to the way you want as well, but in my imo, it's worth it.
I do the same thing with the hdmi cable to the receiver. I have all my inputs going to the receiver, and a single long hdmi cable going to the PJ,
Some people prefer the free program "media portal" over media center. I like both, and sometimes alternate. Both work with media center remote.