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Beginner needs help with MCE etc

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by FrostyBeers, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. FrostyBeers

    FrostyBeers
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    Hello,

    I just bought a new computer this week and would like to get it installed as a MS media center.

    I am very confused at the moment.

    At present I have a PCI-E video card ( Nvidia 6660 eXtreme ) installed.

    NOw I understand I need another capture card.

    But first things first...

    Can I have Microsoft Media Center installed and also have Windows XP installed at the same time ? ... At present the computer has XP on it, but I am finding it hard to find any website with any beginner info.

    Also, I cannot find anywhere that is selling the Microsoft Media Center software.

    Anyone out there willing to give me some starting pointer ? that would be super :D
     
  2. lisag

    lisag
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    Hello....

    Well, Windows XP Media Center Edition is basically XP pro with the MCE app as an add-on. If you have bought a PC with XP already installed you will have to buy the MCE version of XP to get the MCE features - bit of a waste of your current XP license, but nevermind.

    You can buy the MCE operating system a few places online, www.scan.co.uk is one of many. You will also need the MCE remote and USB receiver dongle thing.

    In addition you will need an MCE approved tv card, you can choose between analogue tv, or you can capture from external set top boxes, like Sky, or NTL or you can get a Freeview card. If you want to watch one channel and record another you need two tv cards.

    lisa
     
  3. FrostyBeers

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    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the reply :D

    I'm really new to this stuff. Ok well that's good to know.... so I'm assuming that with the add-on... when I turn the computer on I would have the option of choosing either the Media Center, or XP right ? .... but I can't access the Media Center from Windows XP ? .... not sure if you would know the answer to that...

    Also, - I have an old tube TV, about 5 years old... the tv doesn't even have Svideo on it... so the only way I would be able to hook up the computer to it would be using RCA cables.

    Years ago I put my computer tV out plug to one of my TVs and the resolution was terrible. I had Windows 98 on the TV, and the desktop was so fuzzy that I just couldn't use it that way. Now I am assuming that the Media Center would either use a very large font or new system for display on a TV.... or is it a waste of time doing it with my current TV ?

    Does one need one of these new LCD rear projection ( like the Sony Wega) with a DVI input on the back of the TV for the Windows Media Center to work properly ?

    Thanks much for any info Lisa, and others.
     
  4. Tezdread

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    Hi Frosty,

    If you have MCE already installed on your PC you would proably know (Do you have a Big Green Windows Button on start menu?) Lets assume you don't. When you buy MCE and it first starts up, it will look pretty much just the way it does now, but you should have that big green button on your start menu ;)

    It works like other app's, you can access it from the start menu and when you do it changes the display from what you're used to, to one very different big menu buttons etc and you'll then run through the setup. Have you seen any screen shots etc?
     
  5. Tezdread

    Tezdread
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    oh yeah, about the TV...you will probably need a free scart on the TV (or a duble scart connector with a switch) and then SVideo to Scart cable. If you can't connect it to your TV, to be fair you may be wasting your money as that's where it comes into it's own...but that's my opinion only

    basically you can output it to what ever you have available..you don't 'need' LCD / Projector etc...you can output to CRT or TV as long as you have the right connectors
     
  6. FrostyBeers

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    Something tells me you are playing with me, but I'll play along.... ;)

    Yes, I do have a big green "start" button on my computer, it's in the lower left hand corner of the computer...

    However, somebody at a local store told me that you cannot have Windows XP AND Windows Media Center installed on the machine, he said that when you buy a Media Center box ( computer ) ... when you start the computer up by turning it on, it goes *directly* to the Media Center screen.... there is NO Windows XP installed on the computer.... so when you turn it on, it's more like a real piece of hardware you would expect to see in your living room. You turn it on and it goes directly to the MS Media center screen and you are on your way to do what you wish with it. This makes sense to me, as why would somebody want to have a "computer" with Windows XP on it in the living room... hmm....

    Perhaps the guy has mislead me or he doesn't understand what is going on, but he inferred that Microsoft Media Player is not an "add on" ... it's an OS on its own and has nothing to do with XP and cannot be run on a computer using Windows XP.

    However what you are saying is now making me very puzzled.... are you saying that a machine I would order from a vendor that is a certified MS Media center "comptuer" will also have Windows XP on it ? and that I would need to boot Windows XP *first**... then choose the Media Center "application" from the Start menu ?

    I'm a complete newbie to Media Center, so please excuse my ignorance, - but if the salesman told me this is the way it was, I sort of believed him. :confused:



     
  7. lisag

    lisag
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    Oh dear, :D

    Ok, windows media center is a windows xp o/s with the additional add-on of windows media center app. You can adjust the settings so that when the computer starts up it goes directly to Media Center so you don't see the windows xp desktop (probably the demo that the salesman saw).

    However you can just exit out of it and normal windows xp is there.

    Why would you want an xp pc in your lounge? Well how about laying on the sofa and browsing the net? How about being able to playback file types that MCE does not support, how about playing pc games on your big plasma tv with 5.1 sound :)

    lisa
     
  8. FrostyBeers

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    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for jumping in. Well so I guess I had yet another ill-informed salesman. It seems they are all dopes no matter where I go, and the simple rules they use are " if you don't know the answer, then make it up as you go " :mad:

    On your point about sitting in the living room and using the computer to do stuff ( on Windows XP ) ... what are you using so that your TV is as sharp as a computer monitor ?

    I've hooked up my computer in years past using the "TV Out" of my video card, and you cannot even read the text of icons on the Windows desktop.

    In order to have crisp writing on a **TV** you must be using a real LCD with DVI inputs ? or a Plasma I imagine. Lucky you ;) , but if you have a regular tube tv as in my case ( 27" ) and it only has RCA jacks as inputs, - you will never get crisp writing...... ??

    Thanks for your info and time, I do indeed appreciate it.
     
  9. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi Frosty,

    Yes I have a plasma, lucky me ;)

    A tv with RCA jacks - what not even scart? Some people seem to have managed to get fairly decent results via a VGA to scart cable, there is a very long thread on it if you do a search..

    So have you got MCE on your machine? If you hit start is Media Center an option on your start menu?

    lisa
     
  10. FrostyBeers

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    Hi again Lisa,

    Well to be honest, I have NO clue what "SCART" is. I've seen
    at my local electronics store:

    RCA cables
    S-Video cables
    Component cables

    but that's about it..... oh and also FireWire cables ( for a digital cam
    corder ) ... but SCART ? ... nope I have not seen this type of cable,
    nor ever heard of it. Geez, I must be getting old :rolleyes:

    Nope, I do not have Media Center insalled, I see I can buy it at that store in the United Kingdom, but I wonder why it is not avaiable in the U.S.A, I have checked numerous large websites and there is just nobody selling it, it almost makes me wonder if one can only buy it here if you are an OEM system builder.... very depressing if that is the case.

     
  11. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi, oh I didn't realise you were in the US,
    No scart in America? :eek:
    here you go
    You will need to buy the remote and usb dongle too.

    lisa
     
  12. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    SCART is is a European Connection you will not find it on any Tv in the USA, instead you have a Component connection on most of your tv's whereas, we have a SCART in europe...
     
  13. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    *Double POST*, refer to Lisa's POST, two posts above...
     
  14. Cyclone

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    I have seen many posts on this forum where people claim they do not have windows xp on their MCE system (also saying they don't have internet explorer etc). Is it possible some system intergrators sell their MCE systems with Win XP 'locked out' or something similar ? so only media center is accessible ? (maybe something like windows Embedded, where only the MCE part is accessible)

    Or have they just not found the 'exit' media center option.

    Just curious.......
     
  15. phunkey_monkeh

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    A few screenies if it helps.

    When i first start Windows Media Center Edition
    Picture 1

    Media Center is located in the Start menu, you can either click here to start it, press the green button on your remote, or set Windows to start it on Pc bootup.
    Picture 2

    Initial MCE screen
    Picture 3

    My Movies Plugin (optional)
    Picture 4

    Hope that clears it up.
     
  16. FrostyBeers

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    Hi guys and Lisa thanks for the info - it's much appreciated :)

    phunkey monkeh thanks for those great screen shots ! - wow ! Media Center
    looks amazing .

    I have a question for you. The OEM software is software only, - what is the hardware needed to get this remote to operate ? .... I thought the only thing I needed extra for the Media Center was a Hauppauge video card ... oh boy ok so what else do I need ? hmm...

    This remote control, I'm assuming this must communicate with something in the computer, so would this be something that Microsoft makes ? ( some sort of receiver ? ... perhaps a PCI card receiver ? )

    thanks in advance.
     
  17. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi, it's this a remote control, and the receiver connects via USB.

    You also need an MCE compatible graphics card and drivers, dvd codec, and tv card(s) and drivers. Compatibility List

    lisa
     
  18. Tezdread

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    Hi, I see the error in my post !! certainly wasn't playing with you...I realise now that the default start menu is a big green button doh!
    hope you get it all sorted anyways MCE is worth it and I guess you'll be able to get the right cables sorted for your TV
     

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