Media Centres & NTL STB



I'm currently "researching" Media Centre PCs (am looking at the Higrade DMS II 3400 v Elonex Artisan).

However I have a "generic" query regarding TV capture.
The MS UK website contains the following :- "... You can connect a set-top box to a Windows XP Media Center PC, and then configure Media Center for your set-top box type and TV service provider. You can then use the Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) to browse and navigate TV channels using the same remote control that lets you access and control recorded TV and movies, music, photos, and other entertainment choices."

The more I think about this, surely the STB is going to determine channel and hence programme selection. As such I cant see how the MCE EPG can be used to determine viewing and program recording.

Am I missing something here ?


Standard Member
NTL STBs are slightly different - they use a proprietry type of IR which means the media center remote control cannot control it without a convertor.

with Sky, an IR blaster connects to the back of the sky box, which allows media center to change the channel and send various other commands to the box, essentially controlling it.


it works quite simply.

the mce machines knows what tv program is on and at what time, due to the guide data that is downloaded

it ALSO knows what channel the stb must be on for that program to be shown (this is all collected automatically via the epg download)

and once more, it knows what ir codes need to be sent to make you set top box change channels (it either learns your existing rmeote or you tell it what stb you have from a given list)

then, you plug a little ir blaster supplied with the mce machine into the back of the mce machine, and place the iremitter by the ir window of your stb (normally in the front)

now, when a recording is due to take place, mce will send the appropriate ir codes through the iremitter and your stb will change channel accordingly. winderful

the only caveat is the pace series 4000 (4000, 4001 etc) set top boxes supplied via ntl and telewest cabled areas. They only "speak" irda, whereas ALL mce machines output CIR (consumer infrared), hence the irblaster cannot make it change channels sell a cir-->irda translator specifically for this purpose, expect to pay about £35 for the device.


Many thanks for the info, as I have a PACE 2000 looks as if I'm in business

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