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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some really stupid questions about MCE 2005.

Is it possible to buy the software without having to buy a whole pc built around it? If that is the case, the computer I am building right now isn't eligible for it.

My feelings aren't really hurt at this point, but what am I missing out on if I use my pro version of XP? I understand that the MCE 2005 has the TV tuner stuff ready to go, but that really isn't a priority for me. What else is there that makes media center so sought after?
 

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MCE hardware isn't that hard to achieve. For the most part most video cards with nVidia and ATI chipsets will work, you just have to use different, MCE certified, drivers. The TV cards also have to have MCE drivers, and an on board MPEG-2 encoder (most descent ones do).


The final part is you have to use an MCE certified DVD decoder, nVidia has one that works with most video cards, and there are several other software ones on the list.


The TV UI is very good in my opinion, it's the best that I have seen, and there are some nice add-ons that allow you to organize and sort a ripped DVD collection. Beyond that not much else, and even that I suppose you can get software that is nearly as good that will work on XP Pro.
 

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its builtin to the os.... no other way to get it.


and the reason its as popular as it is (imo) is the stability and ui compared to the other options. vista especially (to me) really looks like a ui of the future (with the way it overlays guide/menu over the tv stream) and the horizontal navigation (although alot of people dont like it but i personally do). and then its the only true media center thats actually designed to work extended (right now with the xbox360). I know the others are moving in that direction but mce is far ahead of anything anybody else is doing in that dept (especially the interaction with the ui remotely other than a few missing items using the ui on the 360 works and functions exactly the same as it would if you were on the pc... and thats a big deal imo)
 

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MCE is a "10 foot" interface that runs on top of Windows XP Professional.


What they're saying is you don't need to buy a new PC to get MCE, you can get an OEM copy of Windows XP Media Center Edition from one of the places above.


However what you can't do, is get just the "MCE part" without the OS, it's not just an application you can install on XP.


My philosophy is this at the moment:


If you need a copy of Windows, buy MCE. It's basically XP Pro, plus the fancy interface, for less than the cost of Pro. And so long as you don't need to join a domain (or cached credentials I believe) it will do everything Pro does.


You don't have to use the fancy interface if you don't want to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would say that this confirms the latter statement I previously made, and like I said I'm not surprised. As you can tell, I'm not in the know-how on this subject. Maybe retarded was a bit harsh, but I definitely lack in comprehension.


If I buy the OEM what do I lose out on versus buying a retail package?
 

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The thing you lose out on is support from Microsoft Product Support Services IIRC. As asfl said though, there isn't a retail version of Media Center to start with, so you don't lose anything.


Vista Home Premium and Ultimate will include Media Center if you want to go that way. And OEM copies of Media Center 2005 from places like Newegg are shipping with a free upgrade to Home Premium (I think there is shipping or something in there)


Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm still nervous about switching to Vista. I don't know why but I still don't see the advantage point yet.

From the way I understand it, you only get one chance to mess up and after that you are buying a new OS


I wish there was somewhere I could have a little in depth use on a computer that is running Vista or Media center. I'm definitely not convinced by microsoft's demo on their website.
 

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While I think the best solution is to get MCE from newegg with the upgrade coupon, you can trial Vista.


Unlike other Windows, MS allows installing Vista w/o a serial number. It is fully functional for 30 days, then stops. And since all Vista disks actually contain all Vista versions, you can use any disk. Just borrow one from somebody (w/o the serial #), or images are readily available online. Use a spare HDD of 30gb+.


No worries about piracy, there are no ways around activation.


I found the 64bit to be useless for lack of drivers. 32bit was somewhat better, but still not ready for my hardware. I'm sticking with MCE for the forseeable future. YMMV.
 
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