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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,


I've been using Tivo for a long time now. I plan to upgrade to HDTV and sadly my current Tivo won't touch that.


MCE intrigues me becuase I envision have the MC up in the office and stream the content to my TV via xbox 360. Yes, I realize this puts me in the late fall/winter time frame. I'm just starting my research now.


The question I have is simple. If I want Windows Media Center how do I get it???


I went to microsoft.com and they posted some links to some companies that make them the whole system (hardware and software together). To me this makes little sense because I'm very capable of buying the hardware and putting it together myself. However, I can't figure out how to obtain a copy of Windows MCE.


I read through same faqs explaining that I need to get a tv tuner and a good video card and that sort of stuff. Thats all fine, but what about the software? Where do I get it?


A couple other questions I have...


What is the current state fo HD support for MC? If I get HD from comcast will I be able to record it on my MC? If not now, will I ever?


If MC requires me to get my HD from OTA can I somehow integrate it with my comcast basic? There are a few needed channels I only get from comcast.
 

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srohde,


I can answer at least your first question. You need to buy MCE as a OEM version. In otherwords as a computer manufacturer. The good news is all you need to do to qualify is to buy a piece of hardware such as a hardrive, motherboard or I believe some vendors will even allow memory or other. I think newegg caries it along with other vendors. Just do a search on Goggle.


As for recording YD off of your Comcast box. I don't believe so.
 

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Quote:
What is the current state fo HD support for MC? If I get HD from comcast will I be able to record it on my MC? If not now, will I ever?


If MC requires me to get my HD from OTA can I somehow integrate it with my comcast basic? There are a few needed channels I only get from comcast.
I will answer the other questions

oh and check out pcalchemy.com

they sell HTPC products/bundles and have a perfect 10 rating on resellersratings.com

I also have made quite a few purchases from them

and they have the best support you can ask for


MCE only supports HDTV from over the air currently

it will likely only change when VIsta is released


to get your cable TV recorded you will need a pvr card

a capture card which takes in analogue video and encodes it to mpeg for storage

such as a pvr 150 MCE or MSI Theater 550 Pro

these card will only capture analogue video at 480i though


furthermore MCE currently requires you to have a hardware mpeg encoder card

to enable Digital ATSC in MCE


and you can use a cable box with the analogue capture card

the mce remote will come with an IR emitter to change the cable box's channels
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, that helps alot.


As a side note, I went over to Frys last night and played around with MCE for the first time. It is pretty slick.


One thing I realized that I hadn't known before is that the media center appears to be just an application that runs on Win XP. I guess they had to do some fine tuning to the OS to get that app to run correctly which is the only way to explain why I need to buy a whole OS just to get that app.


More questions:

I currently have comcast basic package ($15/month for 30 channels). If I get MCE can I plug the comcast cable AND the OTA signal into the box and have them integrate? Like if I want to record The Tonight Show in HD will MCE be smart enough to record from OTA and not the comcast version? But if I want to record something off of Discovery channel will it be smart enough to get it from comcast? Will this all be seamless? I imagine I should be able to tell MCE to ignore the comcast network channels and just use the OTA ones. Does anybody do this? Is MCE designed to do something like this or is it only possible with lots of duct tape?


I suppose windows vista will be ready to go with media center. Do you guys know if Vista will include Media Center for free, or at least as a stand alone app that you can purchase?


Anyway I don't think Vista is scheduled until late 2006, no reason to wait around that long.


I have a feeling Vista will be the ultimate media center though with support for next gen optical discs and hopefully cable card and full HD support from cable. Also, built in support for ripping movies to the HDD (legally). Ahh, the beneifits of copy protection.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by srohde
I currently have comcast basic package ($15/month for 30 channels). If I get MCE can I plug the comcast cable AND the OTA signal into the box and have them integrate?
The digital OTA channels will show up as separate channels on your program guide in MCE. And yes, it will be a single, integrated program guide with both digital OTA and cable channels. Also, you can edit the program guide to not show those cable channels which you do not have, as well as add digital OTA subchannels beyond the first one for multi-casting TV stations.


Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmmm.... Ok, sounds like this could work for me. :)


I have a few months now to figure out what are the best quality tuners/encoders/decoders I can buy and find out how much disk space I will need (and then double that number :) ).


thanks much guys!!
 
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