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Sony VGX-XL3 - Page 5

post #121 of 3843
>>So no channels above 70 and no HD except for the OTA channels that have been remapped to cable channel numbers.

Aharding, I've got to ask the question that must be on the mind of everyone who reads your post:

What on Earth are you THINKING?

The one, the only, possible reason for putting up with all this nonsense from Microsoft and Sony is to get digital HD cable (well, that and Chess Titans, I suppose). That requires Vista and an OCUR tuner and a cablecard, each with their own activation; and CableLabs certification limiting you to a very few vendors - three or four at current count I believe. Ditch that lemon, get a refund, and go buy an XP MCE box. For less than the price of the XL3, there are several REALLY nice units (I'd recommend my Hush, but CaseLogic doesn't carry them anymore and their new U.S. distributor looks like a fly-by-night, but Alienware's got an interesting 4-tuner unit), which can have multiple tuners, are customizable to your heart's content, and aren't just "quiet" but are genuinely silent.

For considerably less money, you can watch one channel and record THREE OTHERS at the same time - and NOT have your system explode every 17 hours and have to learn Hindi.

And if you absolutely must have Chess Titans, you can always dual-boot ;-)

Get out while there's still hope for you!
post #122 of 3843
Sounds like everyone has had their fair share of problems with this machine that I thought would be so beautiful.

Well with the 1080p issue thats certainly fixable with all the prior posts, I've read and software that can and will come in the near future.

I really would like to get a HTPC but this one only has the single cable card slot. You guys also talk about how bad the blu ray player is and I know this HTPC can't pass Dolby TrueHD/DTS-MA/PCM to an AVR.

With all that being said, does anyone know of any upgrade coming next year or anytime soon?

EDIT:Oh yeah, I did have one more question, has anyone recorded any HD shows with the blu ray burner and if so, how well does it do?
post #123 of 3843
I've had my box working for two days now and it is, once again, heaven. When it works it makes all the headaches worthwhile. To solve the "Tuner not found" problem I turned off Norton firewall (which comes with the machine, go figure) permanently and re-flashed the ATI tuner card once again. I'm not sure if that last flash was what fixed it or if it was turning Norton's firewall off, but it IS working. One other lesson learned: if you have a Drobo hooked up via USB, it causes the machine to get hung on the Vaio screen during boot for a long time. Cheers, CalWhart
post #124 of 3843
>>Well with the 1080p issue thats certainly fixable with all the prior posts, I've read and software that can and will come in the near future.
>>does anyone know of any upgrade coming next year or anytime soon?

Don't hold your breathe Touchless, I'll lay odds you will see no additional major updates coming from Sony. You'll notice that all their updates were clustered between March and June 2007 (the latest one doesn't count because they're just passing along a Click to DVD fix that's not specific to the XL3). The Vaios have a long history of this, their folks are now onto beta-testing the XL4 for sure. The good news is that NVidia uses universal drivers to support chipsets and GPUs, not brands, and as you've seen in this thread their drivers already support 1080p; just not the particular right combination for the XL3. Damned puzzling, though, that Vista Ultimate supports it and, if the people posting here are correct, apparently only certain *builds* of Vista Ultimate. Was that acidental, or did someone deliberately pull the plug on 1080p capability? (That doesn't sound promising, does it?)

By the way, while I finally figured out how to get rid of, or at least change, the AOL toolbar - it's a well-hidden option - I note with some amusement Sony's 05/17/2007 registry fix, which forces the AOL search bar to actually show the search results instead of redirecting the user to the AOL website. I bet Steve Case calls that a feature, not a bug!

I haven't tried burning a BRD - waiting for the price of blank media to drop below the cost of laser surgery - but here's some things I can tell you for sure:

1. You will NOT be able to create a true BRD from recorded TV that will play back in another B-R player, computer or standalone. That would defeat all of these [excessive and in most cases idiotic] protections that we've all been complaining about.

2. You can copy a HDTV recording to another drive, and presumably to a BRD (or even a DVD, for that matter) and play it back on the same machine, but as I've pointed out woe betide you if you lose the digital license keys (e.g. by restoring a backup after you burned the BRD).

What would be interesting is if the Blu-Ray burn software is smart enough to locate the digital license and save it with the recording. I don't know how it would do that since it appears that all licenses exist within a single file (a database structure similar to an electronic audit trail), but that would almost be a satisfactory solution. You still won't be able to play it back anywhere else (I don't need objective proof of that; Sony is also an entertainment content company and there's no way their lawyers would allow a Vaio that could do that ever see the light of day) but at least you wouldn't automatically lose your licensed recordings whenever your computer goes down...or gets upgraded...

Calwhart, I'm also pleased with mine and it made it a whole week without that depressing blue-and-white icon in the system tray that means something went wrong when I wasn't looking. Ironically, one unexpected benefit of all this is that I really look forward to being in my gym since shows look so much better on my 1080p XBox than on my 1080i XL3. I have no idea why fonts look better on 1080p, it would seem logical to me that on an LCD, for which an electron beam refresh rate is an foreign concept, the appearance of a static image would be independent of interlacing. But the screen definitely looks worse in 1080i, that's for sure.

Aharding, I've got one more reason to get XP MCE if you can live without digital cable: a cheap little program called Video ReDo that lets you actually EDIT recorded TV in the MS-DVR format, sort of like...you know...as if you were actually allowed to decide when and how to watch stuff you recorded on your own machine that you paid your own money for in accordance with the Copyright Fair Use doctrine that America has followed for, oh, about the last 220 years...
post #125 of 3843
Can anyone tell me if I can run DirecTv throught my xl3 (currently being shipped). DirecTv says they don't provide the cable card (just a cable company ability?), so i assume I would need to keep a HD box from DirecTv routed through the xl3. Comcast in my area has terrible reviews and way expensive. Plus DirecTv is claiming to add a lot of HD channels in the near future. Will I be able to use the XL3 media center as my DVR and will I need both remotes?
post #126 of 3843
Quote:
Originally Posted by 52xbr4owner View Post

Can anyone tell me if I can run DirecTv throught my xl3 (currently being shipped). DirecTv says they don't provide the cable card (just a cable company ability?), so i assume I would need to keep a HD box from DirecTv routed through the xl3. Comcast in my area has terrible reviews and way expensive. Plus DirecTv is claiming to add a lot of HD channels in the near future. Will I be able to use the XL3 media center as my DVR and will I need both remotes?

XL3 has a cable card slot that is for cable service only not satellite. Its like having a cable box the size of a card.
post #127 of 3843
>can run DirecTv throught my xl3

Not really. (Uh, this is going to get slightly OT but the question *is* about the XL3...)

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, anyone who transmits "restricted" copyrighted materials in digital format (which turns out to be anything the copyright owner thinks it is, anything the distributor thinks it is, and anything the media provider thinks it is) must employ safeguards to prevent its unauthorized redistribution. Your DirecTV HD receiver will not have an digital output allowing you to record HD programming by any means, because you could just as easily hook it up to a capture board and burn HD-DVDs (the same is true of satellite and cable HD DVRs). It's also why the XL3 doesn't have any HD *inputs* so you couldn't do this even if you wanted to just record the component video (the red, blue, and green cables coming out of your DirecTV HD box). The cablecard resides within the tuner within the computer within the operating system's software environment; the idea is to demonstrate continuous custody of the signal (otherwise CableLabs won't certify it, which is why you can't build your own HDPC). The fundamental reason why we're having so many problems with the XL3 is because so many stakeholders want to make sure that their part of the pie is "protected" that the default condition is "deny service": declare the OS to be unactivated eeven though it's validated, declare the tuner to be invalid even though it was installed by the manufacturer, declare the user doesn't have licenses when they do, ad infinitum. It doesn't help that Sony is perhaps the most strident entertainment company when it comes to aggressively protecting its content (remember the phone-home spyware - ahem, I mean value-added programming - that Sony tried sneaking onto its music CDs a few years ago?) and the XL3 certainly reflects that mentality.

(Look, just because I can explain it doesn't mean I like it...)

DirecTV has made noise about working on a system similar to CableCard, but that's probably more of a marketing ploy against Dish because unlike cable, there's no FCC mandate that they work together to come up with a solution that works across different brands of satellite services, PCs, and monitors (your monitor is also part of the protected environment and must employ HDCP to prevent someone from using the monitor output as a recording source). More to the point, DirecTV's interest in this is not supporting the virtually non-existant Vista HDPC "industry," but the growing number of LCD and plasma TVs that come with a CableCard slot built-in. Probably years before it happens anyway.

The crazy thing is DirecTV has an opportunity here that they may never see again; they could capitalize on the current lamentable condition of HDPC...reprice HD service and satellite Internet to undercut cable, and force TiVo or Scientific Atlanta to come out with a truely useful DVR: a real hard drive that can record one show while watching another, store more than a handful of HD shows, a genuinely practical interface (Windows Media Center is light years ahead of any DVR), the ability to add extenders, and the capability of burning to durable media such as DVD (even if that means they will only play back in the original DVR in order to satisfy the content owner's restrictions). But sadly, greed and stupidity are the order of the day.

"Over-the-air" HD broadcasts are exempt from all this due to the 1928 Federal Communications Act, which declared radio airways to be public domain. That's why you don't need a CableCard to get HD programming from your local TV station; FCC would come down on them like a ton of power bricks.

In answer to your actual question: in theory you could use the one open slot in the XL3 riser card to add a capture board, then run your DirecTV component video into it. But what format are you going to save it in? I checked a couple of the capture boards and they all save in 480 (i or p) - NOT high definition*. BlackMagic is coming out with a 1080i capture board, but it requires >>HDMI<< in, not component; that means that your O/S will have to authorize its encryption (Vista? Hah!) and besides, it runs in a PCI Express slot and so can't be used in an XL3 anyway. If you're willing to settle for 480, then get an XP MCE computer and save thousands in the machine cost, plus thousands more in psychiatrist's bills. Note that since regular DirecTV is already digital 480p, this kind of makes getting HD satellite service moot...

Cheers, Jeff

*But it DOES mean you can record in component-quality 480p, which in my area Cablevision has declared to constitute "restricted protected" programming...which proves only that Cablevision's decision to copy-protect everything digitally transmitted cannot be supported by logic.
post #128 of 3843
great info, thanks jeff.

now i know i need cable instead of directv, like it or not, i'm now obligated, bought the xl3 from a no refunds website.

a couple more questions...

has anyone been able to watch "on demand" and "pay per view" on their xl3 with cable card set up?

i see the fine print says this may not be possible.

also, has anyone tried to get around the problem listed prior, where after 30 days running at 1080p with vista ultimate and the driver updates, the xl3 loses the cable card, "tuner not found", etc.

can we get around this by installing vista ultimate first, then the cable card? this way there is no way to lose the tuner on the monthly verification of licensing, or whatever its doing. i realized this may only be possible for people that have not yet installed a cable card.

sorry for confusing and rookie question, hopefully someone understands what i'm getting at.
post #129 of 3843
>>watch "on demand" and "pay per view" on their xl3 with cable card set up?
>>i see the fine print says this may not be possible.

Sadly, you are, and will be, SOL. First, it requires a CableCard2 for two-way authorization [= much-ballyhoo'd vaporware] and second, it's just about a cinch that the Digital Tuner in the XL3 won't work with them when they do come out, and finally, even if it did, you can bet something like that would tip the knife-edge balance that keeps the XL3 from calling the SWAT team. I suppose it's possible for a cable provider to authorize decryption of a specific channel manually (for phone-in PPV) but I haven't heard of anyone doing that; since two-way authorization is the norm in set-top boxes (cable companies hate CableCard and are only implementing them under orders from the Feds) and FCC hasn't ruled that Pay Per View is actually a constitutional entitlement, there wouldn't be a whole lot of motivation for that.

>>also, has anyone tried to get around the problem listed
>>can we get around this by installing vista ultimate first, then the cable card?

Good idea but no soap. It's not the CableCard that's the problem; that number is provided by your cable provider and is tied to the physical CableCard. In fact, no matter how badly you screw your computer up, the one thing you can count on is that the CableCard authorization number will still work. The problem is the *tuner*, which is built into the XL3 itself (some computers, such as the Niveus, use an external tuner but even then, that tuner is associated with the PC at an almost chromosomal level, so you can't just unplug that tuner and hook it up to another PC). If you could go back in time and catch the PC just before the tuner was installed and its activation code exchanged between Sony and Microsoft, then absolutely you could install Ultimate instead of Home. But without a Wayback machine you are waiting and hoping for better drivers from NVidia.

Or a patch from Microsoft, which would be just shy of a miracle right now, since they don't even realize that this is a problem...

Hope this helps (although I can't see how ;-),

Jeff

P.S. Nobody has asked the most obvious rhetorical question of all: since the XL3 provides 1080p under Vista Ultimate, why doesn't this $3,200 computer simply come with Ultimate pre-installed in the first place? Because Sony objects to the included Texas Hold 'Um on moral grounds?
post #130 of 3843
I've got my machine working well. I absolutely love it. Even so, I would NEVER recommend this machine to a friend. Life is too short and there are WAY to many problems to try and work through.

Question: Is there anyone who would recommend this box to a friend? I hate to say it, but I would not. No way.

I say this as a warning. This is not your typical Sony plug-n-play home theater component. Not trying to rip Sony, that's just a fact. It's actually the most difficult to get working PC I've ever owned. If I had to choose between a novice doing a new Linux install or trying to get a VGX-XL3 to work as advertised, I'd definitely recommend the former. Wait for the next version, unless you enjoy tinkering.

Cheers,

CalWhart
post #131 of 3843
FINAL UPDATE

I've run some experiments over the past few days to see if a copy of Vista's DRM folder(s) can reset a restored backup's licenses (although outside the scope of this test, this would presumably also apply to new re-installations). I ran into an completely unexpected complication: when trying to copy the Program Data\\Microsoft folder to another drive (so it would be unaffected by restoring a backup of the C: drive), two files in the "Crypto" subfolder could not be copied. Now, I've encountered the inability to copy files before: they're read-only, or they're in use. But this was a new one: "You do not have rights to copy this file." I researched this on Microsoft's web site and it appears that this means those files are encrypted using EFS...it never occured to me that your computer could come with files pre-encrypted (and EFS is NOT available to the user in Home, but apparently it is available internally to the system)

FIRST PROTOCOL:
1. Set Media Center to record shows to a drive other than the C: drive
2. Make a complete backup of the C: drive
3. Record one show (or at least part of a show) and verify that it plays
4. Copy the C:\\Program Data\\Microsoft folder to another drive
5. Restore the backup
6. Verify that the newly recorded show will not play, but that all previously recorded shows play
7. Copy the Program Data\\Microsoft folder back to the C: drive
8. Verify that both the newly recorded show and the previously recorded shows all play

RESULTS
1. In addition to not being able to copy all files, some files refused to copy back, with the same error.
2. New show still not able to be viewed. :-(

SECOND PROTOCOL
1. Set Media Center to record shows to a drive other than the C: drive
2. Make a complete backup of the C: drive
3. Record one show (or at least part of a show) and verify that it plays
4. Make a separate backup of the C:\\Program Data folder
5. Restore the complete backup
6. Verify that the newly recorded show will not play, but that all previously recorded shows play
7. Restore the Program Data folder ("overwrite files")
8. Verify that both the newly recorded show and the previously recorded shows all play

RESULTS
Worked flawlessly. Because the built-in backup in Vista does not allow discrete folders to be tagged for backup, I downloaded the latest version of Acronis Home, installed it, and used it to create a CD boot disk. (I got 40% off because I own the crippled Seagate version, but I never had to actually prove I owned it...not suggesting that anyone use that information...) BTW, some time ago I said that Acronis doesn't recognize USB drives; I was wrong, you need to turn on or plug in your drive just before Acronis starts loading, and then it finds the drive just fine. I set Acronis to do a data backup, selected the Program Data folder, and instructed it to copy all files (no exclusions or no exclusion except temp files).

When I restored the Program Data folder later on, I noticed that 90% of its time was spent restoring a single file with a long, cryptic name - I believe this was one of the encrypted files I couldn't copy manually. While I wasted a good deal of space backing up and restoring the entire Program Data folder, I suspect that only the "Microsoft" folder is needed - and probably only one subfolder of that one. 9/13/07 UPDATE: it is indeed the Program Data\\Microsoft folder that matters. Below that, there are multiple subfolders that are required (for example, restoring the "eHome" subfolder, which includes the Electronic Program Guide, restores thumbnail images of the new show when browsing in "Recorded TV," but does not in itself allow the show to be viewed). Therefore, I think the safest bet is to make a backup of the Program Data\\Microsoft folder, which isn't too bad: for me it was 540MB uncompressed, 241MB using minimal compression, about a minute to complete. What isn't clear is if that is just current shows, or if it includes the entire history of since-deleted shows (in which case that folder will never stop increasing in size). Why would I even suspect that? Because if you copy (not move) a show from Recorded TV to another folder or drive, and then delete that show from within Media Center, you can still play the video outside Media Center through Media Player. Somewhere, Vista is keeping a trail of all shows, even those that have been deleted. What's more, once you play a copy of a deleted show in Media Player, it magically reappears in Media Center, complete with its thumbnail! I suppose it's possible that deleted shows expire at some point - I'll burn one to DVD, delete it, and then try playing it weeks or months from now to test that theory.

It's certainly possible to trim the Program Data backup size down further by determining exactly what subfolders are actually necessary; but because multiple subfolders may interact with one another, that's a lot of testing and even if it's eventually a gig of backup data I don't think it's a big enough problem to warrant all that work.

As an intriguing side note, I tried on a lark restoring the original Program Data folder; my idea was to see if I could quickly lose the last show, and then try individual subfolders to validate which one actually contains the TV license data. To my surprise, the last show still played, even though I had restored the Program Data folder that existed *before* the show was recorded. To clarify: if I restored the entire C: drive to before I recorded the last show, the show won't play unless I also restore the Program Data folder (therefore, license information absolutely is in that folder); but if I then overwrite that folder with the data that existed before the show was recorded, the show still plays. That tells me that license data also exists somewhere else. The existance of redundant files should come as no surprise; many system files in XP have ghosts in the SYS32 folder, so if you delete the "real" file, Windows immediately makes a new copy. It appears that a second copy of license data overrides missing data in the Program Data folder, but having extra license information in Program Data does no harm.

Why should you care about all this? Because someday you're going to screw up your XL3, lose your TV licenses, and be unable to play all your recorded shows. You're not going to be able to make a new backup because it'll be something unexpected, or perhaps making a backup will only perpetuate the problem (e.g. a trojan). Media Center absolutely should have an option to export your TV licenses, but it's good to know that at least they apparently exist in more than one place. If Microsoft deliberately left an export feature out (it's in Media Player for your downloaded music, although damned well hidden) to appease Hollywood into thinking their licenses couldn't be copied to another machine and hacked, well I've just proven that false (at least the copying part :-). All they've done is make it inconvenient, not impossible. Meanwhile:

1. Get yourself a copy of Acronis or an equivalent backup program that allows you to make and restore complete backups of your hard drive and individual folders;
2. Use the Vaio utility to create an emergency OEM restore DVD set, just in case you kill everything;
3. If at all possible move your Recorded TV off the C: drive (if you do that internally it'll mean breaking the RAID and losing everything on those drives, so make a full backup first*);
4. Make and keep an off-line backup of the whole C: drive; and
5. Make a data backup of the C:\\Program Data\\Microsoft folder regularly, and immediately before you do anything that could screw things up.

Now you can get back to where you were by restoring the full backup, and then restoring the latest Program Data backup.

*If you do set up an internal or otherwise always-on separate drive, move your My Documents there too (beyond the scope of this thread), because it's good practice to store your data on a separate drive for backup, restore, and disk management purposes: if you restore a backup of the C: drive, you can't accidentally overwrite your documents because they're someplace else.

- Jeff

P.S. I think I've made my opinion of the XL3 clear: if it takes a fairly experienced engineer all these tribulations to get it to reliably work, it has no business even being marketed as a solution for the general public and I would not recommend it to anyone at this time. Oh, and my nine-day winning streak ended: I came home to the blue System Tray Exclamation Point indicating that none of my shows recorded due to "Tuner Not Found."
post #132 of 3843
Can anyone here help? I bought the XL3 when it first came out (see beginning of this thread) had the usual problems with 1080i vs 1080p. That was solved. Installed a cablecard, which worked nicely for months, but overtime, stranger and stranger things have been happening, that makes me wanna stomp my XL3 to smithereens.

First and foremost: After some Microsoft update to my PC, my Media Center has been rendered useless when used with a remote control. Pressing any button on the remote causes the PC to temporarily hibernate and then come back (or at least that's what it looks like, screen goes blank for a bit, receiver and display get no signal, and then comes back after a few seconds).
Tried it with a different MCE remote and the same thing happens. Works fine with keyboard. Anyone know how to un-install microsoft updates in the reverse order that they were added? Without Media Center working, this PC makes a crappy doorstop.

Second: After having the cablecard work flawlessly (more or less) for several months, it stopped working all of a sudden. Usually when that happened I would just turn the machine off and on and re-initialize the cablecard. But that process no longer works. Media Center dies when attempting to download some security updates. Just says "error downloading. Try again?". Any ideas? Could it be my Norton 360 software that's interfering?

Third: Media Center is a piece of !@#$. It often crashes and restarts, for no apperent reason.


Fourth: Sometimes when selecting a .wmv movie to watch on MCE, it pauses for a looooong time before displaying the movie. After that its fine, and I can view any wmvs without the30 second inital timeout.

I've given up on the cablecard issue. I don't know if I need to contact cablevision, microsoft or sony. Im ready to return the cable card. I just want a MCE pc that can do 1080p. Is that too much to ask for?
post #133 of 3843
Ranger, I know it's a MAJOR pain, but it sounds like a clean install may be in order. This is all the more reason to follow rjeffb's advise about backups.

If that doesn't work, send it in for repairs. They will reflash the hard drive and replace anything broken. Back up your files first, though. If THAT doesn't work, then ask for a new machine or your money back. After 4 months of headaches, I finally demanded my money back. I went and bought a new machine with the $$$s (which was $600 cheaper to boot!) and this new one is working for now. Good luck. I share your frustration. It's enough to drive you to drink!

Rjeffb, thanks for the great info.

Has anyone found a reliable way to get 1080P?

CalWhart
post #134 of 3843
One piece of bright news for XL3 owners: Netgear finally released SC101 drivers for Vista, and they work perfectly.
edit UPDATE: While this post does describe how to set up an SC101 on your XL3 and it works very nicely as a network drive, read later posts to learn about a nonobvious problem with recording TV (at least HDTV) directly to network before you decide to follow the instructions in this post to set up direct-to-network recording. This warning does not apply if you record to hard disc and then MOVE the show off to the network.

The SC101 is a network storage solution that you load one or two hard drives into. In theory, it can do RAID, but in my experience, RAID-1 on the SC101 is unreliable (chronic "broken mirror" problems). I have one with a single drive as my general-use Public drive, and another with two 500GB set up as JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks), which while technically not a RAID makes it look like one huge drive, that I was using as my Recorded TV drive under XP. Now, what's special about the SC101 is that it shows up as a local drive under Windows, meaning you can make it your Recorded TV drive in Vista Media Center! This makes it a viable alternative to loading an extra internal drive and running the risk of Vista objecting to changed hardware (not to mention busting the XL3's native RAID-0 and having to set everything up again from scratch). And because it can be plugged in anywhere via CAT5 and your router, noise isn't an issue. Finally, the latest firmware automatically spins it down when not in use.

The SC101 runs 10/100 and is just fast enough to do HD; for more speed, Netgear makes a (presumably more expensive) gigabit version that requires SATA drives and, of course, a gigabit router. I don't have one and haven't tried it so YMMV.

I'm not going to explain how to install and configure an SC101, but it is pretty simple. The CD that comes with it is unlikely to work with Vista, so go to Netgear's web site and D/L the latest driver (it currently says "WORKS WITH VISTA") and let it install itself.

But there's a catch: the SC101 doesn't use NTFS. That's actually a good thing, as its proprietary system is truely self-defragmenting. But it has two disadvantages: first, you cannot just pull a drive out of it and pop it into a PC and expect to read the drive; and more importantly, Media Center doesn't like it (but we can force Media Center to play nice). See, when you go into Settings and set the recorder to point to the SC101 drive letter, Media Center will complain that because it's not NTFS you can only record 30 minutes (not true!); and although it appears you can save, the settings won't stick. So, here's what to do:

1. Set any Watched Folders you want now, because you won't be able to set them later without fussing.
2. Set up your recorded TV settings such as quality and start before/end after settings, again because you won't be able to easilly change them later (unlike the Watched Folders, you can change this one on a show-by-show case so it's actually no big deal; you're just setting the general default conditions)
3. Set up the SC101 with the drive letter you really want - Control Panel, Admin, Computer Mgmt, Disk Mgmt, Change Drive Letter. I use M for Media.
4. Create a folder in the SC101 drive root directory called "Recorded TV."
5. BACK UP YOUR REGISTRY.
6. Run REGEDIT and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL MACHINE, SOFTWARE, MICROSOFT, WINDOWS, CURRENT VERSION, MEDIA CENTER, SERVICE, RECORDING. Change "Record Path" to "[drive letter]:\\Recorded TV." Change "Quota" to the following value: GB * 1073741824

where:

GB = the desired storage space, in decimal gigabytes, rounded to the nearest 50; don't fill the whole drive up, because the SC101 needs 10% free to defrag.

Why 1073741824? Well, it just happens to equal 2 ^ 30 or one gigabyte expressed in binary. So, since I wanted 800gigs, the value I used was 858993459200 (800 times 1073741824).

7. Now, here's the critical part: right-click on the "Recording" folder, click "Permissions...", highlight "SYSTEM" in the top Window, and click "Deny" for "Full Control" in the bottom window. What this does is prevent Vista from changing the settings the next time you start Media Center.

8. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, SOFTWARE, MICROSOFT, WINDOWS, CURRENT VERSION, MEDIA CENTER, SERVICE, VIDEO, TUNERS, DVR, IO, WRITER and change the "DVR Directory" to match. Again, right-click on WRITER and change the SYSTEM permissions to "Deny."

Give it a try; watch a show, and while watching, hit Record. After a minute, stop the recording (more info | stop recording), exit Media Center, and check to see if something is now recorded in the Recorded TV folder on the network drive. If so, try playing it in Media Center. I find that when I start recording, the picture stutters for the first 5-10 seconds or so, but the actual recording is fine. An added bonus is that, at least on my system, I didn't have to define my existing Recorded TV folder as a Watched Folder; all of my original shows still appear. What I don't know is if you ever need to set a Watched Folder for a different purpose (say, music or photos), whether or not you'll have to reset the permissions on that registry folder to get it to "take." I don't think so; I suspect that registry key is solely for TV, but I haven't actually validated that statement.

I mentioned that the SC101 is "just fast enough." If I watch an HD program pre-recorded to the SC101 while recording another HD program in the background, forward and reverse skips stutter for two seconds before settling down. I confirmed afterwards that the show that was being recorded was fine, meaning priority is given to the record stream (exactly how it should be). So, it appears that this is pushing the SC101 right to the limit of being able to handle all the traffic called for under maximum Media Center conditions, but I wouldn't recommend it in an environment with a lot of other traffic from other computers going through the router. The gigabit version would probably be called for there. Also, there is no way any of this is going to work wirelessly, you will absolutely need to run copper between the XL3 and the router.
post #135 of 3843
1. Ranger, truely sorry. Try a clean re-install from the Vaio partition (using the Vaio recovery tool) or, if you made them, the Vaio recovery DVD set. If you have a lot of TV recorded, get Acronis and make a backup of Program Data\\Microsoft (and of course copy your shows off the hard drive) or you won't be able to watch them. If you're still running in Ultimate, I presume that means you're no longer using the CableCard; if I'm wrong, we'd all be interested in knowing how you got around the 30-day Digital Cable Product Code problem. If you upgraded through Upgrade Anyway, I must warn you that I when I tried to retrieve my Ultimate upgrade activation code through Microsoft's much-vaunted Digital Locker, I got a stupid "That key is already in use" or similar message; I didn't follow up on it because I already knew that I was going to have to go back to Vista Home to fix the cable tuner problem. Note that there's some evidence that simply reinstalling Ultimate won't get you 1080p, it appears to be somewhat what related to luck. Bitz had Ultimate working with the 7.15.11.5818 driver; for me, it was 7.15.11.6222, posted on NVidia's web site as version 158.18 (note that this is proof that different Ultimate upgrades come with different NVidia versions). While I can personally confirm that this driver gives 1080p on Vista Ultimate (Build 6400), as noted below it fails to do so in Home Premium.

The flashing you're seeing is something I came across in Ultimate. I saw on NVidia's web site that Microsoft just released two video patches, one of which deals with the "The video driver stopped working and has recovered" issue I mentioned earlier. If a Microsoft update hosed your system, that'd be my prime suspect. I would not trust a Setpoint Rollback because they're not reliable when it comes to system-level installs. Good luck.

2. Last night I tried installing every single Vista 32 driver on NVidia's web site, including betas, that has ever been released for the 7600 (having a good backup makes one very brave). None of them gave me 1080p in Home Premium. You might recall that I got 1080p on a driver NOT intended for the 7600 (but wound up with component pastel false colors), but no such results from the official drivers. I might repeat this experiment with the non-7600 driver history, but since they tend to screw my system up it'll be really tedious!
post #136 of 3843
Just noticed on Niveus's web site their Denali Limited HDPC comes with an NV7600 (same as the XL3) and provides 1080p.

It comes with Vista Ultimate.

It's also $10,999!
post #137 of 3843
On my XL3, I've found this works pretty reliably when I get the "Tuner Not Found" error:
  1. Close Media Center
  2. Manually remove the CableCard and wait about 30 seconds
  3. Reinsert the CableCard and wait for 2 green lights on back
  4. Open Service Control Applet (type "Services" in the Start Search Bar)
  5. Restart the Media Center Receiver Service ehrecvr
  6. Tuner is now found and functioning
post #138 of 3843
>>I've found this works pretty reliably when I get the "Tuner Not Found"

Thanks! I didn't think I'd ever say it, but I can't wait for my tuner to stop working! :-)
post #139 of 3843
WOW. i have tried to seach both sony.com and sonystyle.com for the original vgx-xl3 page, the one the does the animated sales pitch,

and it is no longer there!!!!

used yahoo to search sony websites and just found the vgx-xl3 support pages, but no sales pages.

maybe they are done pushing this unit.
post #140 of 3843
HI,

I have been struggling with my VGX-LX3 for the last week. Still cannot get 1080p even after getting the latest drivers from NVIDIA site. the maximum listed in my NVIDIA control panel is 1080i.

Any advice on resolving this? What am I missing?

My driver version is 7.15.11.6369. Anyone else is having the same problem?

Thanks.
post #141 of 3843
>Any advice on resolving this? What am I missing?

To be quite blunt, what you are missing is following the first rule of forum threads: read through the previous posts on a subject before posting yourself. Do not ask a question in a forum before you've taken the time to confirm that the question has not already been asked and answered.

Go back and read the posts in this thread (which starts several pages before this one), then respond. This applies not only to this forum, but is etiquette applicable to the Internet in general.

Cheers,

Jeff
post #142 of 3843
Two issues, one for Curbnoise and the other for rJeffb:

1. The instructions you gave for solving the tuner not found didn't work for me, but maybe that's because I did it wrong. My experience:
On my XL3, I've found this works pretty reliably when I get the "Tuner Not Found" error:

1. Close Media Center
2. Manually remove the CableCard and wait about 30 seconds (did this, but the two green lights stayed green - go figure)
3. Reinsert the CableCard and wait for 2 green lights on back
4. Open Service Control Applet (type "Services" in the Start Search Bar)
5. Restart the Media Center Receiver Service ehrecvr (couldn't find it. I did find Windows Media Center Receiver Service and I stopped and then started it. BTW, to do this you have to be logged in as admin.
6. Tuner is now found and functioning (well, not for me)

2. Second issue for rJeffb:
You mentioned a 4 tuner Alienware XP box. I tried to find it and couldn't. Could you please give a link. That sounds like just what I need for my other room.

Cheers,

CalWhart
post #143 of 3843
Hey there,

ive been following this post for months now, hoping to get my Vaio 17" laptop with Nvidia Geforce Go 7600 GT GPU to output 1080p.

unfortunately, like the above, it only outputs 1080i...which is quite fustrating. Any idea how to get around this or if there is forceware available for this?

would really appreciate the help!

cheers
post #144 of 3843
Any word on a new Sony HTPC coming out ever(not just soon)?
post #145 of 3843
>You mentioned a 4 tuner Alienware XP box.

Interesting - they've dropped the WinXP model and now replaced it with Vista. It's the Hanger18 which now comes with [Home] Premium but still gets 1080p (out of an NVidia 7600 - WTF?!?) AND a 5.1 speaker system - $2959. Basic configuration is one analog and one "digital," upgradable to 4 tunes and BluRay, but it's not clear if that's an OCUR cable tuner or just OTA. The referenced Computer Shopper review talks about OTA or a settop box so I'm betting it's not OCUR, even though in theory with Vista it could support it. So it appears to still be for analog cable only or digital cable with component out from a settop (no more than 720p and probably 480p).

I also have to give a plug for Hush , I am unreservedly happy with mine but when it got hit by lightning the shipping to/from Germany was a killer - it's one huge block of aluminum!
post #146 of 3843
>>hoping to get my Vaio 17" laptop with Nvidia Geforce Go 7600 GT GPU to output 1080p.

Did you provide the correct model number? I searched Sony for new drivers or knowledge base articles for the model you stated (VGN-AR38G) and that model is not even listed as a current or past production model. The current models state they support 1920x1200, which would automatically be (P)rogressive.

Are you saying you can't get native 1080p directly to the laptop's own screen? According to NVidia, the 7600 is not fundamentally limited to 1080i on its primary monitor. I've been going on the theory that the screwup was related to the fact that the 7600 can only port 1080i to an EXTERNAL MONITOR (it's in the original 7600 hardware specs, nothing to do with the driver) and that in the XL3, the drivers under Home were getting confused by the HDMI port and defaulting to the external monitor limitations. That clearly would not apply to a laptop's LCD screen and makes me wonder if Sony has somehow hobbled their Vaio systems in general. That is supported by the evidence - ability to get 1080p under an O/S not provided by Sony, able to kludge 1080p using non-7600 drivers etc - but I am having a hard time with that because I cannot imagine why Sony would do such a thing.

Are you running Home or Ultimate? Is there any reason you shouldn't run Ultimate? I'm presuming that you don't have an OCUR tuner, I don't think anyone has even come out with one yet that fits into a laptop. In fact - I was almost ROTFL when I saw you can order an optional tuner capable of "125 cable channels" - definitely NOT digital - for an extra $400!!! (You can pick up a thumb-sized Happaugue USB card that does the same thing for about $60.) I was equally amused by the statement "Sony recommends Vista Ultimate." Unless, of course, you own an XL3, in which case Sony's recommendations are distinctly more pedestrian.

If you're running Home you may be able to fix it by upgrading - I have the upgrade DVD that lets me upgrade to Ultimate if I want, somewhere I've seen the correct sequence that lets you upgrade without having an activation key beforehand. That would at least let you try it out before you buy it. If you're running Ultimate that I'm out of ideas. Good luck.
post #147 of 3843
>>Any word on a new Sony HTPC coming out ever(not just soon)?

No but should be soon - the only thing listed on Sony's web site under Digital Home is that 200-disk DVD changer. They've dropped the XL3 and that weird cylindrical PC that nobody paid any attention to. I also checked under Vaio and Home Theater, you'd think Sony never made an HDPC. This mirrors 52xbr's previous report.
post #148 of 3843
thanks for your reply rjeffb

yes - my model number is VGN-AR38G and it was purchased in Australia.
The Graphics card is a "go" series, which means nvidia dont give out the updates, ony sony can..
i can get 1080p on my laptop. but when i HDMI output to my HDTV, i can only get 1080i...which is pretty annoying.

any ideas on how to update these drivers? my driver's date is 20/2/2007...surely there are newer drivers out there!
post #149 of 3843
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjeffb View Post

>>Any word on a new Sony HTPC coming out ever(not just soon)?

No but should be soon - the only thing listed on Sony's web site under Digital Home is that 200-disk DVD changer. They've dropped the XL3 and that weird cylindrical PC that nobody paid any attention to. I also checked under Vaio and Home Theater, you'd think Sony never made an HDPC. This mirrors 52xbr's previous report.

Hopefully it has 2 cable card slots and "Real FULL 1080P HD" out of the box. I would just make my own but, I like the fact that Sony nicely integrates HDMI/(Video and Audio), Blu Ray, and Cable Card. Basically what a HTPC is supposed to be. Is there anyway someone could post a pic or 2 of the UI of the program guide(I've never seen it.) Also is it as convenient to use as a cable box UI or is does it take a little time to get use to (delays, learning curve, etc.)

EDIT: Also, after do more reading, I didn't know that the only way to see HDTV was to watch it live. Hopefully if there is a new one coming out we can record that and watch it in HD.
post #150 of 3843
So i can confirm that the xl3 has been missing from sony's web site for some time!!!!! Ugh man, i was actually gonna finally pull the trigger and get one despite all the problems. My hp z555 just went down and i need a replacement. I have noticed that the xl1b3 has dropped to 200, crazy, just crazy. Is it possible that sony is finally replacing their xl3, or has the final major company supporting the HTPC, finally cut and run???? Its a shame the xl3 is gone, weird thing is that BBY now has it listed on their web site. Maybe sony sold the remaining stock of items to try to purge for their next gen product????
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