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Old 24 January 2007, 08:09   #1
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Windows Media Center - calling all geeks!

Anyone here using a Windows Media Center appliance as a PVR/DVD player?

Any good? It looks like a big leap up in price from a standalone PVR, but another computer is always handy and it would be nice to watch downloaded films on the telly instead of a PC.

John
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Old 24 January 2007, 10:54   #2
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No but we are using a bit of software called Beyond TV - it has all the schedules etc and we have an IR dongle to switch the NTL box to the correct channel. Beyond TV then records to the hard drive via an ATI all in one capture card.

Once up and running it is so easy to use and fanatastic quality.

http://www.snapstream.com/products/b...FTBcFQod-y5gUg
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Old 24 January 2007, 12:31   #3
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The website only mentions an EPG for US and Canada -- I assume that at UK one is available too?

John
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Old 24 January 2007, 15:34   #4
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Software is Yank - they don't provide programme data but there is a hack that pulls data off the radio times site for the uk.

xmltv is what you want - then beyond tv importer pulls in the data - both free off the net.

Prob windows media is a lot easier for most people!!!
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Old 24 January 2007, 16:37   #5
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Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
Anyone here using a Windows Media Center appliance as a PVR/DVD player?

Any good? It looks like a big leap up in price from a standalone PVR, but another computer is always handy and it would be nice to watch downloaded films on the telly instead of a PC.

John
Windows Media Center is pretty good. I personally think its got the best GUI for TV/livingroom use.

If all you want is a PVR with EPG then I don't really see the need for Windows MCE. There are plenty of twin tuner PVRs with EPGs out there for not much money. However if you want to pull together a PVR, with DVD player, a library of all your music, photos etc then its worth it.

I would seriously wait for Windows Vista if you do go the media center route. The new version is much, much better.
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Old 24 January 2007, 16:52   #6
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The EPG for me doesn't show information on all the channels unfortunately which is a bit of a bind. It has to match up the channels with the local transmitter too which doesn't work on all. Unlike the EPG on the freeview card I have installed, MCE downloads the EPG data from the interweb to keep it upto date.

The new version of Vista does look very nice, I may be tempted to upgrade to it sometime towards the end of the year once everyone has moaned about all the bugs it has.

I went one step further with my MCE PC, and got it a case with a touchscreen TFT on the front....



It's superb now in the way you can use it just like a flashy CD player. When I upgrade my CRT TV to LCD, the 2nd output on the graphics card should output the video quite nicely.

-Alex
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Old 24 January 2007, 17:52   #7
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I went one step further with my MCE PC, and got it a case with a touchscreen TFT on the front....
That looks nice! What is it? Did you buy it as is, or build it yourself?

John
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Old 24 January 2007, 18:30   #8
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That looks nice! What is it? Did you buy it as is, or build it yourself?

John
It's my own build I'm afraid - the case though is a Zalman doofer... link to the spec is here:

http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/...x=232&code=029

It's silent as anything, and the screen does look pretty good. I have a microsoft infrared keyboard I use with it when you get stuck, but other than that, the tft is just fine, and runs at 1024x768 quite happily too.
The case was not cheap but worth it though I think

-Alex
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