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MediaPortal 1.0 vs Vista Media Center review

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to give my opinion after trying both. I'll edit as I get to know better.

Music:
-Mediaportal has gapless audio playback; VMC doesn't and that rules out VMC for music lovers.
-Mediaportal works out of the box with standard file formats that VMC is tricky to get to work properly with such as ogg (could be codec writers' fault not MS but MS should still fix it).
-Mediaportal has a more flexible interface for browsing. (By folders or tags while VMP is by tags only.)
Winner: Mediaportal by a long way

Photos:
-Organization is better in VMC unless you a complex folder structure (in which case I can't compare the two)
-Photos are sometimes misoriented in Mediaportal (doesn't respect orientation tags?). That's easily fixable with a couple of remote control clicks. VMC has a filter that oversaturates images. That's much less easy to fix as you would have to identify the filter, invert it, and apply it to a duplicate copy of your library.
Winner: Mediaportal

Video files:

DXVA is important as it reduces processor demands, allowing smaller, cheaper, quieter, less power-consuming systems, and increases responsiveness (fast-forwards, seeking). Subtitles are important unless you speak all major languages. The only player that is free and uses DXVA while displaying subtitles is MPC-HC, which is also a top notch player in many other respects.

-You can use MPC-HC with the my movies plugin in VMC as a hack but it doesn't work seamlessly. MPC-HC as an external player works with no problems from mediaportal and takes no time to set up.
-Setting up DXVA without subtitles in VMC works more seamlessly but takes a lot of fiddling with codecs.

Winner: Mediaportal

Interface:
-VMC's user interface looks better and effectively displays information visually.
-User interaction is very well designed in VMP, simple, intuitive. Mediaportal has an unnecessarily complex interface and if you end up in the wrong place you can sometimes get lost and sometimes crash the system.

Winner: VMC by a long way

Ease of setup:
-For basic use VMC is simpler. Not many people in this forum will be in this category.
-To do anything beyond the basics (play mkv, change video player, adjust browsing method, etc.) mediaplayer is simple to set up while VMP is either difficult (look at the codec problems people have here) if it is even possible.
-Setting up control (e.g. with MCE remote) is simpler in VMC.

Winner: Tie (really, mediaportal is very easy)

TV: untested
Blu Ray/DVD: untested
post #2 of 18
One biggie you forgot to mention that goes in the favor of Media Portal is flexibility. With skins and plugin support, you can do ALOT more with MP than with VMC.
post #3 of 18
I love mediaportal and use it for most of my video watching. As a video player it works great and is very flexible. On the other hand as for the TV functions I'm extremely frustrated. I've got an HDHomerun and cable. I can manage to watch the channels that I get, but I have been defeated totally by the epg. So there is no way to record anything. I don't have much experience with Media Center and tv, but I tell you it has to be better or nobody would ever use it.
post #4 of 18
This is not a review...This is a "I like Mediaportal" because it suits my needs post. Now, that's perfectly fine to me but You left out a huge amount of features and options that both offer. While I really like Mediaportal...I can do everything I need with VMC, a couple of decoders installed and Video Browser. I guess to each his own.

BTW, the biggest drawback for me with Mediaportal was the ability to have movies and shows on multiple disks and MP display them all. last I heard it still did not support this feature...Meedios worked out of the box, has Mediaportal fixed that issue?
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraZtiK View Post

This is not a review...This is a "I like Mediaportal" because it suits my needs post.

OK, I'll edit the videos section as that is probably more tailored to my use. The other parts are fine I think.
Quote:


BTW, the biggest drawback for me with Mediaportal was the ability to have movies and shows on multiple disks and MP display them all. last I heard it still did not support this feature...Meedios worked out of the box, has Mediaportal fixed that issue?

Unfortunately Vista didn't implement virtual folders as fully as they planned to, but maybe you can still make a "search folder" and type it in?
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraZtiK View Post

This is not a review...This is a "I like Mediaportal" because it suits my needs post.

I have to fully agree with this. It's great that you found one you liked but please don't call this a thorough review by any means.

First you didn't "test" TV/DVR nor Blu-Ray capabilities which are major aspects for a lot of people. Nor did you seem to test any of the many 3rd party plug-ins for Vista that are out there.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraZtiK View Post

BTW, the biggest drawback for me with Mediaportal was the ability to have movies and shows on multiple disks and MP display them all. last I heard it still did not support this feature...Meedios worked out of the box, has Mediaportal fixed that issue?

I have five disks and one movie list in MovingPictures plugin as well as in TVSeries plugin. This is supported from beginning...
post #8 of 18
dude,

Windows 7 MC + VideoLibrary + MPC Video Decoder + MPC Matroska Splitter + ffdshow beta6

I can play any format, DXVA is supported, HD sound to my AV, no external player needed

But as others have said, to each his own depending on their needs.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by benjamin.r View Post

dude,

Windows 7 MC + VideoLibrary + MPC Video Decoder + MPC Matroska Splitter + ffdshow beta6

I can play any format, DXVA is supported, HD sound to my AV, no external player needed

But as others have said, to each his own depending on their needs.

Blu-ray from the disc? Is Windows 7 MC going to get us there without PowerDVD or TMT?
post #10 of 18
I greatly prefer the VMC interface. Love it with mymovies. And with a few apps/codecs I have it playing every video format out there, seamlessly, all from within VMC.

I don't use it for music or for photos.

I have yet to find any other app that I like as much as VMC.
post #11 of 18
only problem is media portal tends to crash a lot more than VMC
especially using it with skins like streamedmp

did you compare the cpu/memory utilization?
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzdalf View Post

Blu-ray from the disc? Is Windows 7 MC going to get us there without PowerDVD or TMT?

Sadly no. Only rips (.m2ts, .mkv) but then again, I rip everything so I don't mind...
post #13 of 18
Tried Mediaportal once. Pointed to a music folder over the network and it simply crashed. VMC/VMP plays music fine over the network.
post #14 of 18
YMMV. I had no problems playing any of my files over the network with Mediaportal, but my wife's laptop with Vista by default wouldn't recognize MPEG2, GIF, or TIFF as media files until I found a registry fix.

And the Video folder was empty even when I pointed it at my networked media drive... though you could still play the videos by going through VMC's photo interface and selecting "Show associated video" or whatever the GUI said.

I'm not saying I couldn't have resolved those issues, too, but VMC didn't work "off the shelf" for me, personally, and Mediaportal pretty much did. To each his/her own.
post #15 of 18
MediaPortal's interface can look equal or better than VMC with a skin like Monochrome.

VMC's interface out of the box is cluttered with useless items. The only way to make it palatable is to use MC Menu Mender to edit and reorder the menu items (or do it by manually editing the ehres.dll.)

VMC has recently come a long way in terms of useful plugins, and this has brought it a bit closer to MediaPortal in this respect.

The main reason I abandoned MediaPortal, was the poor support for North American TV tuners. Also, VMC's extender availability is a huge plus.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan1 View Post

MediaPortal's interface can look equal or better than VMC with a skin like Monochrome.

VMC's interface out of the box is cluttered with useless items. The only way to make it palatable is to use MC Menu Mender to edit and reorder the menu items (or do it by manually editing the ehres.dll.)

VMC has recently come a long way in terms of useful plugins, and this has brought it a bit closer to MediaPortal in this respect.

The main reason I abandoned MediaPortal, was the poor support for North American TV tuners. Also, VMC's extender availability is a huge plus.

This is truth. Using MP 1.0+ is a hassle for TV viewing. Recording doesnt work correctly (I think it's a problem related to the EPG), no simple way to access an EPG in NA, and dont dare try to minimize MP on a PC without first remembering to stop playing a video or turning "off" the TV because it will power lock on you,.
post #17 of 18
Mediaportal looks awful and the interface has being out of date for years. It has the same browsing folders feel no matter what your skin is, and a lot of the skins are ones that were ported over from xbmc. I'm always hoping mediaportal has changed but unfortunately i'm always disappointed as it just feels like the same slow buggy program I tried 3/4 years ago and end up uninstalling it after minutes not days. It even makes my q6600 seem slow. For me I want my htpc to have eye candy and mediaportal doesnt have that. They need to give the interface a complete overhaul which looked like it would happen in mediaportal 2 but that seems dead in the water.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaisersose View Post

Mediaportal looks awful.... It has the same browsing folders feel no matter what your skin is....

Not true. It was not true a year and a half ago. At least not with some skins, like Monochrome, and the right settings.

I sure had my gripes with MediaPortal, but it really doesn't sound like you've spent much time with it, so don't spread FUD.
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