Re: Building a Media Center all in one box

> First can anyone that has used both tivo and media center comment on a
> comparison? Tivo is fairly idiot proof and features a very nice search
> ability. The search is what I am mostly concerned with. I've come to
> understand that media center has the same type of service as tivo but
> it's currently free (I assume that will change once media center
> becomes more used). But is it's programing downloads as extensive as
> tivo? Tivo's search by keyword or title generally reach at least 1
> sometimes as far as 3 or 4 weeks. Is media centers as good or better?
> any discussion on this would be appreciated.

I do now own a TIVO device but I sure can schedule recording using keyword
search, actor search, program name , ... And you can burn content on DVD.
The only negative point is that you can't record content in HTDV except
over-the-air signal if you have the ATI HDTV capture card.

> Does anyone currently use a PC (or media center pc) as their DVD
> player? Is it comparable? I never bothered getting a dvd player for my
> PC because I never saw the point until more software was available or
> I got a dvd burner. I think it'd be kind nice because not only can I
> watch the normal movie but I could access the dvd rom content.

I use it as my DVD player, in HTDV (using an RGB to HDTV adapter). It's
great so far. And you can watch a DVD while recording something else (of

> Dual tuners. I'm not so concerned with recording two at one but being
> able to watch live tv while recording would be nice. I saw and saved
> the list of xpmc approved cards posted here but I haven't checked them
> out yet. Are any dual tuner or will I simply need 2 cards to utilize
> this?

You need two tuners to record a show while watching another channel. I
couldn't care less because as a Satellite Subscriber I get the East Coast
and West coast channels.

> I think the box i'm currently running is an AMD 1.5 ghz with 512 ram.
> For the playback of my collection it's been fine but i'm concerned
> with it's power for encoding on the fly and in particular dual
> recording. Should I bump up the proc and ram to say 2.5 or 3ghz and
> say 1gb ram?

I don't know about the processor (I bought a P4 3.2 Ghz since I'm using it
as a gaming PC on the TV). but 512 megs of RAM is enough.

> My theater replacement. On my use pc I have 2 speakers + subwoofer.
> I'm currently using the on board sound because I simply didn't see a
> reason to continue using my sblive gold anymore. I play games and
> music with my pc and most of it sounds great, though I have a few
> operas that are done with enhanced audio for surround sound.
> Since I'm unfamilar with 5.1 or 7.1 sound I'm gonna sound like a newb
> here but bear with me if possible. Will a 5.1 system be a worthy
> replacement for my current theater (which is a faily cheap one). Will
> dvds utilize it? My encodes are from vhs so I encode using just stereo
> sound I tried a few different formats when I was encoding but frankly
> noticed no difference other then size. Frankly I never noticed a
> difference when playing them on my vcr through the theater. DVD yes,
> vhs no, course my vcr while one of the best years ago is only Hi-Fi
> stereo.
> Based on what little I know my sb live gold is fine as the sound card
> then I buy the 5.1 speaker set up and plug it in and I assume the
> speaker outputs are via the sub? Or for true surround sound do I need
> a specific sound card (all I've ever seen have the single headphone
> plug output (2.5mm ?) or a digital ouput which I assume a decent 5.1
> will accomodate. If i'm way off here any suggestions would be
> appreciated.

I didn't experiment a lot with the sound. I'm using my SPDIF out from my
to a SPDIF input on my sound receiver. It works fine so far. Sound from
TV comes out as Dolby ProLogic but my DVDs plays in glorious 5.1 sound

> Lastly, (that I can remember on a half cup of coffee) I've found a
> media center remote. I cannot find any info on the MS site (shoot me
> if you type in one query and do) though it appears to be a Microsoft
> product. All i've seen have a little roundish dealy that receives the
> signal. Does microsoft make one with a receiver that is say made to
> fit in a 5 1/2 inch bay? I figure I can adapt the standard one to do
> that if I need to but i figured that an offical product that fits into
> the bay would be available. The box I'm looking at has 2 bays, so I
> figure 1 for the dvd and 1 for the infared receiver. Minor rant I
> cannot believe the price jump on essentially desktop cases. Just a
> short time ago I remember you couldn't give away a desktop case, now
> that they are used for "media centers" they are insane in price.

I never saw any MCE remote receiver that gits in a Bay. :-(

> I'm sure someone might jump in with why not just purchase a pre made.
> 3 reasons. First I'm fairly poor. I can do this a step at a time as I
> have cash. Second, It will do what I want, storage of my collection,
> dvd player, theater, and tivo, instead of trying to find one that
> suits my purpose, not to mention the only one I saw that comes with a
> TB of drive space was $2700. And lastly because I've basically always
> built my own PCs and call it pride or ego or whatever, I enjoy doing
> it.
> Thanks for any help people can give me and I'm sure as I progress (and
> wake up) I'll find more questions to ask.

I built my own MCE myself. If you want to do this you should visit . I found everything I needed there.

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