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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, this might have been covered before, but please humor me :p


What are the major benefits of running Media Center Edition VS plain XP Pro for an HTPC?


I'm currently running XP Pro with TheatherTek, Holo3d, audigy 2, athlon 2400+, Radeon 9500 pro, and 512m Ram.


I'm just kinda curious to see what (if any) benifits switching would buy me. Thanks!!
 

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MediaCenter is basically an app that sits on top of Windows XP so other than the features of MediaCenter itself there aren't really any other benefits. The features of Media Center are:

My TV - With a compatabile TV tuner card you can watch live TV and record it in a TIVO-like interface (built-in EPG)

My Videos - Allows you to watch your recorded videos (not recorded TV - that is in the above section)

My Pictures - Provides a simple picture viewer with slide show capability

My Music - Lets you play existing MP3 and WMA files (with a search feature and a playlist feature)


The features from MCE above can all be accomplished with other products that are out there (mostly free), but the nice thing with MCE is that the interface is simple and the remote works well. That helps the wife acceptance factor (WAF).
 

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MCE is only sold with new systems so you'd have to buy all new hardware, and your selections might not be what you'd choose if you were building your own box.


Check out myHTPC before you make any decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thats what I was afraid of. Since I'm running some pretty good stuff anyways. I've used myHtpc, and it works pretty nice.


All in all I was just wondering with the heck MCE even was.


Thanks!
 

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Although MCE is sold with new systems (at a rather hefty price) in specific configurations, the other LEGAL way to get it is as part of an MSDN subscription. It is pretty well integrated IMO for a v1.0 application. I can't speak to any HDTV benefits using MCE, but the PVR features are pretty ideal. Scheduling recordings using the program guide, conflict resolution, etc. are handled better than most apps that ship with TV/PVR cards. You can find links to building custom MCE systems at machineroom.org or xpmce.com. The really critical component is the TV tuner card (Hauppauge PVR250/350).


My biggest complaint is the proprietary file structure of the recordings. If you don't have a specific version of Sonic MyDVD, then you can't do anything but archive the recorded program (forget about creating an SVCD or DVD). I wish that Nero or somebody would come out wish a solution for this problem. At this point, I'm using MCE as a digital VCR/TIVO in case I'm away from home. The ease of use is a big plus for me.


I've been following the development of MyHTPC, but I haven't had a chance to look at the TV modules and how they work. I think it has a lot of promise, plus I have another computer set up for it. :D
 

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Be careful.... if I'm not mistaken the only LEGAL use of that MSDN copy is for product development, testing, etc... not for end-use......
 
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