As I mentioned on the blog before I have decided to install Windows Vista on my main Media Center PC. Unlike any other installations I have this is THE main box in the house that does all the TV recording and Media serving and having something not working on this box is not good for the WAF (wife acceptance factor)
The spec of the box is:
- Intel P4 3.2 HT
- 2gb RAM
- 300gb of storage
- 2 x Blackgold DVB-T TV tuner card
Before installing Vista I did some research and found that 2 PCI Blackgold TV tuner cards are not supported under Vista and since I did not want to go back to a single tuner I decided I would go for a new tuner card. Thanks to the list of tuner cards that is building up on The Media Center Show forums I picked on a Hauppage WinTV-NOVA-T-500 which is a single PCI card dual DVB-T tuner as I had some good reports in the forums on using this card with Vista. I also used Windows Vista upgrade adviser to make sure they would be no surprises when installing and this also picked out a problem with the Blackgold cards
I decided to do a clean install of Vista as my XP build had filled up with the usual rubbish that gets installed over time. The installation went very smoothly, I have installed Vista lots of times now and I am impresses by how little interaction is needed. I downloaded the Nova drivers for Vista from Hauppage’s FTP site, unfortunately the drivers are part of a full install CD that you have to download, why do they do this? Just give me the drivers!
Once I had installed the drivers for the TV card and my LCD display everything was working. No need to find drivers for my FireWire card or chipset drivers which was nice!
When I ran Media Center for the first time I picked the Express Setup which allows you to use Media Center straight away and skips the TV setup. Once I made sure Media Center was working I ran the TV setup, which asks for your region (which defaults to Windows’s installed region), and post code, then it downloads the guide data and scans for TV channels. The whole process seemed a lot quicker that it was under XP.
Next step was setting the XBox 360 up as an Extender. Again this is much simpler on Vista. Just turn on the Xbox and Media Center on the my pc prompted me for a setup code which I got from the Xbox. The Xbox then connected and ran Media Center.
The next job was to get the recorded TV content back in to Media Center. This was easy as I use a separate drive for Recorded TV and it was just a case of pointing Media Center to the folder on the other disk.
The other task I had was to restore my series record settings. Over time on XP I had built up a nice set of programs I like recorded and didn’t want to re-enter them all. So I used my tool designed for this called mceBackup 2.0. I used mceBackup to backup my Media Center setting everyday on XP so all I needed to do was to install mceBackup on Vista and restore the backup and the job was done.
So Windows Media Center and the Extenders were all setup and all that was left was to install the reset of my usual applications, but I am making an effort to not fill this install with crap!
In all including swapping the cards the whole process took about 3 hours but most of the time was spent waiting and I am glad I made sure my TV card was sorted before installing
So if you thinking about upgrading and your hardware supports it, go for it!