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Is building my own MCE asking for trouble?

by Rob10 / October 31, 2005 10:42 PM PST

I am considering building my first computer and would like to use Windows Media Center Edition. I've read it can be a little finiky with some hardware compatibility (which I think I could handle), but is it hard for a first-timer to put together a reliable WMCE computer from a software standpoint? I have some experience but would not consider myself advanced by any means.

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If you want a PVR sort of thing
by thought_stazi / October 31, 2005 11:20 PM PST

You should look into MythTV. It's Linux based, but probably quite a bit better than Windows Media Center... Which from what I've read, tends to be big on promises, and not quite so big on delivery.

If you're looking to use this system as a desktop as well, don't bother with MCE. There's nothing about it you couldn't do with XP Pro or Home.

Given Microsoft's usual development time to get things right, it'll be another 2-3 years before MCE lives up to the claims Microsoft is making for it now.

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re
by Rob10 / November 1, 2005 12:16 AM PST

I'm not ready for specifics yet, but there are other programs that integrate TV (Possibly HD), video and photos better than WME? Sorry if that's a dumb question, I admit to being a bit ignorant about the topic.

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Yes. And finicky is an understatement.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 31, 2005 11:29 PM PST

What many fall into a dark pit of despair over is they want a custom PC but MCE is not too forgiving if some part doesn't have MCE drivers or support.

If you want to, fine, but don't deviate from known combinations of hardware and drivers.

Cheers,

Bob

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Drivers
by Rob10 / November 1, 2005 12:21 AM PST

Thanks Bob,
Obviously I would pick new hardware compatible and rated for MCE, but is MCE that different that other hardware (camera, scanner, printer and other periferals) drivers for XP won't work? For example, I have an older Epsopn scanner and HP printer that have XP drivers. These wouldn't work with MCE?

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In fact, they may not.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 1, 2005 12:28 AM PST
In reply to: Drivers

MCE is more "eXPerience" than prior releases. Again, be sure you are ready to toss out what doesn't work.

Here's a short example. The scanner may "work" but not show up in MCE's media devices. Is that a bug or not?

Cheers,

Bob

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Not quite sure I understand
by Rob10 / November 1, 2005 10:01 PM PST
In reply to: In fact, they may not.

What "Media Devices"? I'm currently using ME so I'm not familiar with XP functionality. Are some devices (like printers, scanners and cameras) that are compatible with XP not compatible with MCE? I have downloaded XP drivers for these devices in anticipation of upgrading this computer to XP.

I thought the compaitiblity issues would revolve more around minimum performance/feature standards of the main system components like MoBo, graphics and sound card, and HD capacity.
Rob

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MCE functionality may be reduced.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 1, 2005 10:08 PM PST

For example, a proper scanner and driver will show up in MCE's display of media capture devices. However this may or may not happen.

The scanner can still work, but won't be "in" MCE's "world". It may still scan and more, but won't be part of the MCE "experience."

Then again, the scanner/driver may not work at all.

MCE is the most finicky version so far I've seen.

If this bothers you, then MCE may not be for you. Why not just use XP Home or Pro if you don't need MCE?

Bob

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TV
by Rob10 / November 2, 2005 12:06 AM PST

Thanks Bob,
I was thinking of using MCE for TV recording, ala Tivo, as well as just having an OS that intigrates multimedia. Is the way MCE might "see" my scanner or printer any different than XP Home Edition? What does MCE really offer over Home in terms of what I'm looking for?

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You get that with most TV cards.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 2, 2005 12:26 AM PST
In reply to: TV

If that's all you want, then you can add a TV card and get that working today. For much less money without all the integration issues.

Remember that I'm talking about the scanner working with the MCE "experience." Many don't realise this till they dive in.

-> And your TV card can't be one of your choosing. It must be on the list.

---> Is the way MCE might "see" my scanner or printer any different than XP Home Edition?

Yes!

Cheers,

Bob

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MCE
by chromesn / November 2, 2005 1:57 AM PST

i built my own MCE comp, and yes, it is kind of finicky. had to replace the TV capture card because it wasn't recognized by MCE: however, the win XPpro components of MCE 2005 recognize it fine. (ie: still able to use the card to record tv, so on, just not in the MCE interface.)

drivers are an issue too: such as, nvidia only recently updated a driver for MCE. (and you have to look for it specifically as "driver with MCE extensions": the previous driver that MCE could use was dated 2001)

you'll have to purchase a software DVD decoder, such as "power DVD" or " windvd": MCE doesn't come with a decoder, which is farkin goofy in my book.

anyway, here's a list of components that MCE works with:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/partners/dfw/partnerlisting.mspx

other things like soundcards are not so rigid.

at this point, as robert said, MCE is kind of picky as to what it likes and doesn't. the main reason for (my) purchase of MCE now, seems to be functionality with xbox360, which, if you're not going to purchase one, means you can find other progs that do the same thing MCE does, with much less pain.

hope this helps

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Is building my own MCE asking for trouble? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by jcrobso / November 2, 2005 6:20 AM PST

XP MCE is trouble, in any form!!!!!
Just get XP Pro, and get the addons you want. 3rd party software is BETTER than anything in XP MCE.
You can't play a DVD untill you istall a 3rd party DVD software player to get the decoder. John

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