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C'mon then, which is the best front end....?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by northernmunki, May 8, 2005.

  1. northernmunki

    northernmunki
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    Hi all,

    Can I have some reconmendations for software to run on my HTPC? Via ME6000 80Gb, 512Mb, Silverstone LC case, 15" touchscreen and DVD-R/CR-WR.

    At the moment im running Xlobby with Carbon skin, all very cool but i spend more time tinkering than listening and watching.....thats just me though!

    At the moment i listen to music only but will add tv pvr hopefuly and some sort of interface to my ntl (or sky if i move house). I hear good reviews for various DTV PCI cards which may mean I sack my ntl connection.

    Id love to run Linux but i don't see anything out there to grab me. XPMCE2005 is expensive. Id like features to say display track names/artwork and rip CD's. Media Portal is cool but doesn't work well with touch screen, seem to need right mouse button for stuff. TV guide from 'tinternet would be good.

    Any thoughts??
     
  2. Spacecat

    Spacecat
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    MCE 2k5 by a mile for me and i have tried most of em, it just WORKS!!!

    It is also much better if you have other people who need to use it as well who are not technically minded or interested
     
  3. Ray

    Ray
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    Is the only way to get MCE 2k as a pre-install on a new PC ?

    Ray
     
  4. Spacecat

    Spacecat
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    no I bought mine and built me own
     
  5. johndon

    johndon
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    You can by an OEM version of MCE2005 now.

    You might also want to have a look at Media Portal: http://mediaportal.sourceforge.net/ looks very much like MCE out of the box but it can be skinned, has loads of functionallity (they've recently tested it recording 7 different programs at a time), it's free, and, as it's open source, there's new features and fixes coming out all the time.

    HTH

    John
     
  6. Ray

    Ray
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    Thanks guys. I'd looked at Dabs and Savastore but couldn't see it for sale on it's own. I'll search for OEM versions.

    Ray
     
  7. JSW

    JSW
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  8. Ray

    Ray
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    Cheers. When I first looked at that page I thought MCE was only £18. Then I realised that was just for the remote controller ! Doh! :rolleyes:

    I know there are alternatives to MCE but does anyone think there are major disadvantages or shortcomings to going down the MCE route ?

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  9. jon stallard

    jon stallard
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    I think that the concept of MCE2005 is very good.... but......

    If it doesn't work in as easy a way as normal AV gear, then what's the point for non technical people who just want to watch TV, play music?

    For instance, the Electronic Program Guide, EPG. I've a Sony freeview box which is quite frankly, bloody excellent in it's excecution and information on forthcoming programs. It's updated over the airwaves so you don't need an internet connection and it includes new channels as they come along.

    I've been pulling my hair out over the EPG on MCE. It downloads OK but when you look at the guide it say's no information. Thanks to this forum, I've now determined why that is and quite honestly, it's not good enough (MCE EPG, not this forum).

    My TV channels show over 130 at the moment. There's duplicates all over the place but at different frequencies, quite possibly due to other transmitters signals being picked up. So what you have to do is delete these channels and eventually, you get a semblence of what is actually on TV. And very good it is too I might add, once you've got it sorted. But as soon as they add a new channel.......

    To pull the home PC out of the geek catagory into the mainstream of home entertainment requires a far clearer method than this to set up the guide.

    And what does upset me the most is that the digital radio stations over Freeview are not available via MCE. A Perfectly good set of audio channels are only available if you don't use MCE. You can use it for FM though but lord knows how you do that? Another pci card maybe?

    So for me MCE is a love hate thing and I suspect it's the same for a few others.

    (Off soap box now :))

    Cheers,
    Jon.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray
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    Thanks for the feedback Jon. Shame about the minor niggles - although perhaps the freeview radio channels isn't that minor. If you were not using MCE which other route would you take ?

    Ray :)
     
  11. Spacecat

    Spacecat
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    well not everyones experience is the same , i found MCE 2k5 a breeze to set up
    and my missus who has literally zero techy skill or interest can use it perfectly no probs.

    If set up well its v good
     
  12. Ray

    Ray
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    Nothing that you hate about it then Spacecat ? Any minor niggles ?

    Ray
     
  13. jon stallard

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    I'm pretty sure that a good deal of my problems stem from not being connected to the internet when I first set up MCE so I'm quite willing to accept that I've made things more difficult for myself. Even so, there should be a way of erasing all the TV settings to start again.... or maybe there is and I've not found it yet? (hint hint :) )

    Strangely enough, as part of the incredible 18 or so CD package I got with my 6600gt graphics card (by MSI) there is a media centre CD which gives you some of what you get with MCE. I tired it once and it seemed to work after a fashion but as I'd already bought the OEM MCE2005 and remote, thought I'd use that instead. Now I know a bit more about what these programs are trying to acheive, I might give it another go on another machine. Could it be that without the Microsoft element, it'll do more of what I want? We'll see.

    Cheers,
    Jon.
     
  14. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi Jon,

    You can start again with setting up your tv under settings - tv - set up tv signal / guide etc.. I recently lost all my EPG settings, someone on here said it was due to men and motors channel being added. Very inconvenient, and another 20-30 minutes to reconfigure, but apart from that I think MCE is good.
     
  15. Gillykid

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    Meedio is a good alternative and lots of plug ins being developed for it. It is very similar to MCE, but a bit cheaper. It does miss a few usefull features but it does everything I need.
     
  16. CrispyXUK

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    200 odd plugins to go with it too
     
  17. Ray

    Ray
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    Is that Meedio or MCE you're referring to ?

    Ray
     
  18. CrispyXUK

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    That be Meedio, sorry, only problem with meedio so far is that the TV portion has no tuning setup for europe yet, they are still working on it it will be out in a month or so I'd have thought
     
  19. jon stallard

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    Yes, I remember you saying about that. I'm pretty sure I tried the set up from the beginning wizard the other day but just ended up with even more channels (well duplicates). I must give it another go though. Only this time at the beginning of a bottle of wine, not near the end :smashin:

    Jon.
     
  20. drummerjohn

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    Ive tried them all. MCE is slickest looking and easiest to use. But I had issues with the huge TV overscan that MCE produces and lack of plugins.

    Mediaportal is the one I use - almost as easy to use as MCE but much more tweakable.
     
  21. jameson_uk

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    I would not hold your breath. The TV part should have been released last August. It is a shame as the rest of Meedio is much better than anything else I have used but with no TV it is useless to me.

    Mediaportal does the job is free and is regularly being updated.
     
  22. CrispyXUK

    CrispyXUK
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    It is being worked on as we speak
     
  23. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon
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    If you like tinkering then try SageTV. You can customise everything and its only £40. You can also download a free trial and HTPCnews.com have an indepth review.
     
  24. hebawom

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    Another vote for MCE - it just looks and feels so much better than the competition.
     
  25. lisag

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    It's just happened again to me - anyone else? MCE EPG lost all its data, just re-associating it in the settings, but annoying :mad:
     
  26. Duggy

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    I agree with the recommendations for MCE2005, but looking at the spec of your PC I doubt it'll run usably. I tried an MCE machine based on the Via MEII-1200 motherboard (ie twice the speed of yours) and even with an NVidia graphics card the menu response was very sluggish and TV playback often skipped and stuttered. I sent it back and built my own PC based on a Pentium-M and it runs MCE much better.
     
  27. jameson_uk

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    It has been in this state since June or something last year. Checking the announcments on Meedio there is no real mention of TV anything much after the end of 2004. In fact the last realease made no amendments to TV and the one a month before just said they have increased stability (no extra functionality)

    They have a product which will not even accept video input via S-Video (So still no use for STBs). I think with the lack of progress, Meedio have shot themselves in the foot a little and numbers of users are starting to dwindle.

    I am going to consider mythTV to see what that is like.
     
  28. Spacecat

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    I bought the 1st meedio on the assumption(as they themselves said) that the Tv would be out a month later ........... THAT WAS LAST JULY!!! i bailed and went to MCE
    last October and Havent looked back!

    I have never missed a recording, the picture is Superb (esp with my new 550 Pro TV card), music is easy to manage and like I have said previously those who have no tech interest or knowledge i.e. our families and friends can use with EASE!
     
  29. psflynn

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    GBPVR is the best. Does everything and more. and its free! And best of all works as standard with Hauppauge MVP boxes (£40 dabs) as silent remote clients.

    see gbpvr.com
     
  30. Spacecat

    Spacecat
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    can GBPVR control a STB box, does it have auto EPG downloads (not all that xml stuff)
     

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