Share Recorded TV with other Media Centers / Domain Version

Got Vista Ultimate Edition and a Windows Domain? If so read Mike Brown’s blog post on how to get get Media Center working with the domain

Well with Vista out now I thought this could be useful for some users who also run a domain at home.  Vista Ultimate supports Windows Domains and Media Center and still allows fast user switching so extenders still work, so those of us with domains at home can take advantage of the added benefits of being a member of a domain and still enjoying all the features of Media Center.

Read on

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Windows Home Server for developers

One of the Microsoft products I saw at CES that I am really excited about is Windows Home Server. It has the potential to be a great product for the enthusiast, as well as the great backup/sharing/remote access features its a platform that developers can have a go with.

Dan Fernandez (Lead Product Manager for Visual Studio Express) has posted on his blog about the opportunities for Hobbyist developers. He points out that as its built on Windows Server technology (including IIS) and can run .net applications developers extend its function.

Read the blog for more details and have a listen to The Media Center Show #91 for more details on what home server can do.

I intend to talk more about Home Server in the future

Windows Home Server Management Add-ins
We’re also working with the WHS team to create Visual Studio Express Project Templates to create add-ins/snap-ins to the Home Server management interface for your own custom application, like a Home Automation management tool to be able to control your lights from anywhere.

Going from XP Media Center to Windows Vista Ultimate Edition

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!

Win Pamela Pro and mcePhone with The Media Center Show Community Forums

I have a new give away on The Media Center Show community forums. Each week I will be giving away a copy of Pamaela Pro + mcePhone Bundle worth €19.90

I will be awarding the software to the post of the week. It could be for helping someone out or posting info of a your TV card config. So get posting!

 

Pamela for Skype adds some nice features to Skype: Call Recording,Video Recording,Answering Machine, Skype Podcasting  (see for HERE more details)

mcePhone for Skype allows you to seamlessly integrate Skype and Pamela in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.
Once mcePhone is installed, you will be able to navigate and use Skype and Pamela seamlessly within the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 environment.

Vista Media Center Sports Lounge Review

One of the most interesting things I saw at CES was the new Windows Media Center content in Vista, and the one I did like that the Sports Lounge, which is totally intergrated in to Media Center.  I did an interview with a ref on the Microsoft stand at CES but I haven’t been able to review it myself as here in the UK it is not available.

So I was very please to see a review of it on Missing Remote, so if you want to know more read the review

If you’re interested in sports, this application was designed with you in mind, and it does a very seamless job of incorporating your love of whatever sport into a sexy Vista MCE experience. So throw away your memories of the original Online Spotlight applications & their clunky, ugly interface, and prepare yourself for true integration

The Media Center Show Extra #8 – CES Part 3

This week on the Extra show I continue my CES coverage. First is a look at the Gyration Remote Control that was on show at CES which is a great motion controlled remote control, it was the first chance I had to play with one and I must say I am impressed.
Then Ted Singh from Embedded Automation showed me around his booth at the show, including a demo of the Vista version of mControl, the home automation software for Windows Media Center.
I have one more CES show planned. If you have an suggestions for items I should feature on the show please head over to the community forum and let me know.

The Extra show has its own RSS feed and site now, so don’t forget to subscribe

The Media Center Show #92 – CES Part 3

The Media Center Show #92 – CES Part 3

January 25th, 2007

The Media Center Show #92 (MP3 – 11.5mb- 33mins 27secs)
by Ian Dixon

LISTEN HERE

This is my final set of interviews from CES. This week on the show I interview Steven Cheung from Vidabox talking HD-DVD. Christoph Buenger author of mceWeather explains what he was doing at CES, Ted Singh from Embedded Automation talks home automation and about the winner of their Digital Home contest and finally Jonathan Sass from Simplifi Digital talks about their digital audio solutions.

Checkout The Media Center Show Extra, and see my CES videos Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

The Media Center Show with Orb Networks

Send your questions and feedback to isdixon at gmail dot com
Don’t forget your to check out Media Center Show Gear

Checkout the new Media Center Show Community site

Show Times:
00:36 Coming up this week
01:21 Email – How to fix up your tags – Album Art fixer
02:44 Email – GPRocks.Net
04:02 List of TV Cards that work well or not so well with XP and Vista
05:20 The Media Center Show Extra CES Part 1, 2, and 3 , leave suggestion here
05:45 Vidabox Cablecard
06:07 A Message from Onevoice
07:02 A Chat with Steven Cheung from Vidabox
10:00 HD-DVD and upscaling
10:50 Christoph Buenger author of mceWeather
14:29 Ted Singh from Embedded Automation
15:00 mCentral
18:00 Vista version of mControl
21:40 Jonathan Sass from Simplifi Digital
22:20 AV Expander card
24:00 Media Center amplifier
25:57 Ted Singh returns to talk about the Digital Home contest
29:11 Visit the community site http://iandixon.co.uk/cs
29:28 Music by Ian Dixon

Media Center Communicator

Vista Online Spotlight applications come to the UK (sort of)

While US users of Media Center have been enjoying new Vista version of he Online Spotlight content over in the UK no such content had shown up.

Over on The Media Center Show forums I noticed that someone had spotted more content for the UK was here. BBC7, and others have been spotted, on my machine BBC News, ITN News, FunSpot. All seem to be old style HTML application which is a real disappointment, hopefully some MCML apps will show up around launch time to show off the potential of Vista Media Center  and the new style MCML applications

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