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MediaPortal Install Guide - Page 48

post #1411 of 1429
Frustrated with paying for tv I rarely watch I have been on quest to "cut the cord" on cable. I've done some research and that's how I ended up here. I have an e-machines t6536 athlon 64 3800+ 2.4 GHz 2 gb ram PC that is running windows XP MCE. I have added an nvidia 210 and I have installed mediaportal and gone through some of the plug ins and settings. I'm unsure as to what codec's to install. I know my machine is underpowered and wanted suggestions as to what codecs to use. My main use will be as an online pvr. I will not be recording any live tv. Live tv will be ota hdtv with my antena. Thanks in advance for any help you can lend.
post #1412 of 1429
Your system should be good enough.

Have a look here: http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-...tup-guide.html

See sections 1.5 and 3.8

post #1413 of 1429
Thank You!

That's great info, just what I was looking for. I'll ask a follow up question that came up while I was going through the codec pack questionnaire.

I have an AV receiver (Onkyo tx-sr502) that I would like to connect to my htpc and have it power my 5.1 speakers. I'm not sure the best way to get it all hooked up.

In a perfect world I would be able to listen to either the tv's audio (for regular viewing of recorded tv shows) or the Onkyo and my 5.1 set up (for viewing movies or sporting events)

Would that be possible? If so, how would I set it up?

Thanks in advance for your help.
post #1414 of 1429
What GPU do you have? Are you connecting to the amp using spdif or HDMI??

Need more details to help really. I tend to have my amp on for everything because I find tv speakers very poor!
post #1415 of 1429
On all the time may be what I end up doing also.

My graphics card is an nvidia 210. My Onkyo receiver does not have hdmi out. I'm not really sure of how to hook it all up, what do you suggest?

post #1416 of 1429
Buy a $20 audio card with SPDIF out or look CLOSELY on your mobo and see if it has a SPDIF output header (2 pins although the connector often has 2 or 4 pins) - if you have the header you can fab a cable to it for coaxial SPDIF out and connect to your O's coaxial (orange RCA) digital input for DD & DTS 5.1 audio.

The 3800 is weak and recording to a HDD is not the bottleneck (recording is a snap and uses nearly zero CPU)... it's video decoding and you may be ok w/the 210... 1080i will be the harder as you have to deinterlace the video to watch it. Personally I don't use SAF, instead I like the LAV for its splitter and use the MPC-HC filter as my video decoder, which also does a fine job of any .264 material you may acquire. As far as just watching OTA ATSC TV I'd start with the LAV (full audio, video & splitter) and see how that goes!

As a test I'd get MP installed, channels scanned and use the TV-Server to PREVIEW a local 1080i channel. Then, in the main MP app record a 2 minute clip from a 1080i channel. This will act as a constant for you to assess different codecs and I'd open TaskManager and play this clip in the desktop version of MPC-HC - watch its CPU usage and this should be a good indication of how well your e-machine will perform!
post #1417 of 1429
Thank You for the very informative reply.

Although I'm new to this, I think I followed most of what you said. The audio out card you mention sounds like an easy fix. With the card in place will I be in a "receiver on all the time" mode or will I be able to switch from just using the TV's audio to using the receiver? I'd like to be able to switch if it's something easy but running the audio through the receiver 100% of the time will not be a deal breaker at all.

As far as live TV goes, I have an hd antenna but no tv card. It sounds like I will need a TV card in order to view live tv with mediaportal is that right...or can I view without a tv card and just use my tv's tunner? I have no need to record live TV. This machine will be used to view recorded online content. The live ota tv portion will only be for news and/or sporting events and will not be recorded.

As far as quality goes, I'm hoping I can download recorded 720p content and view it from this set up...is that realistic?

Thanks again for all the help
post #1418 of 1429
Or get an ATI 5450 GPU which will send audio over HDMI (it will do HD audio too if you have windows 7 and an amplifier that can do it).

The 5450 will do all you need in terms of 2D HD video and will only cost about $20.
post #1419 of 1429

Just re-read your message where you said your amp does not do HDMI. Please ignore my last.
post #1420 of 1429
I found an old turtle beach santa cruz sound card in my garage that I never hooked up, it look like it might do the trick.
post #1421 of 1429
The first thing is to get the PC to display on your "TV" - what is it and does it have HDMI inputs? You can run the video from your 210 to the TV and set your default audio as your Turtle beach set to SPDIF going to your AVR. As far as passing 2-ch stereo to the TV via HDMI audio when you don't want/need the fidelity would be a bit different as you'd have to reconfigure the PC to use SPDIF or HDMI Audio on demand... maybe some hot-key or utility but nothing is coming to mind just yet...

Once you have the display working you can test your ability to decode streamed files... I don't do them myself (3 MB/sec DSL) so I'll revert to suggesting you download some 720p and 1080i samples and see how they run. Adding a tuner card is easy although with that old system (PCI bus) you may opt for a HDHomeRun that runs on your LAN - it's about $90, or you could see (e-bay) about a Hauppauge 1600 that runs on the PCI bus. Either of these would work fine with MCE although you have the old XP-based one so I'm not sure how easy it is to recognize tuners - I'm running Win 7 with WMC and it's a snap!

MediaPortal may be more than you want or need as a novice. It integrates movie files of various containers (.avi .mkv .m4v .iso) and does a great job recording TV (as .ts files) and I've been using it for years... if you want/need the complexity then please go for it, but if you're just dabbling in this WMC may be simpler - depending on what you want it to do. CLEARLY loading MP and playing a downloaded file is a no brainer!
post #1422 of 1429
I have a problem. When I play my movies I get my normal black bars at the top and bottom but I'm also getting them on the left and right. They are only about an inch or so on each side but why are they there. When a movie isn't playing the screen is filled like normal.
post #1423 of 1429
Have you adjusted the Aspect Ratio? Right-Click while the movie is playing and locate the options.
post #1424 of 1429
How does this compare to using XBMC? A lot of the comparison threads are over a year old and I am sure both software has made strides.
post #1425 of 1429
Originally Posted by HunterX82 View Post

How does this compare to using XBMC? A lot of the comparison threads are over a year old and I am sure both software has made strides.

personally I found mediaportal quicker an easier to use and I could get it behaving how I wanted easier.

I use it for music, tv shows, films and games (including emulators and PC games)

I tested both side by side for a while.

But in the end it all comes down to preference. I advise trying both, as they are both free
post #1426 of 1429
I'd imaging that in doing all of those functions you spent quite a while tewaking the configuration settings as it's not exactly simple to even get the TV to run! And, YES, MediaPortal works with tuners whether it be LiveTV, timeshifted, recorded, or using PVR functionality and an EPG. I don't think XBMC currently supports any tuner functions.

GLAD to hear you found MP more to your liking and as you stated: "easier to get it behaving..." which has been my experience as well. None of these more interactive packages are simple - if they are then you probably don't have too many options!
post #1427 of 1429
Originally Posted by HunterX82 View Post

How does this compare to using XBMC? A lot of the comparison threads are over a year old and I am sure both software has made strides.

There is a new comparison thread here: http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-...omparison.html
post #1428 of 1429
Originally Posted by robbo100 View Post

There is a new comparison thread here: http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-...omparison.html

Ah, sweet. Thanks a lot.
post #1429 of 1429
Since we now have an updated MediaPortal Install and set up guide located here:


this thread will now be unstickied. You can still post here if you like, but the new thread will probably be more appropriate.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed!
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