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Windows XP media center 1st impression

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by perrin21, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. perrin21

    perrin21
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    Hi all, i have just got back from my local PC world store after seeing the first retail UK XP media center equipped PC's. I'll say it now so as not to mislead anybody. What a crock of SH£" . I have been using XP media center on a mock up PC just to try it and have been very impressed with its functionality and user friendliness, as a result i will be using it on my own HTPC as a front end.

    However as all of you know media center is only officialy available on pre built PC's made by a selected few manufacturers as Microsoft don't want the concept being mis represented and degraded as a result of poor pc's hitting the market. A good idea? the jury is still out on that one but first impressions of the HP and Advent offerings are very poor. Stuttering on playback of video content, poor monitors supplied, cases too small to upgrade any pci cards, the list goes on. It even crashed on me in the store, something i have never experienced on my own mock up pc.

    To top it all of this was a clean install on the store pc so you should expect it to run flawlessly.

    The icing on the cake though was when the PC world salesman came to offer me assistance and asked me how i was operating it. Can you believe that the salesman didn't even know what media center edition was. Or that it came with a remote.

    I am still sticking to XP media center but if the first systems to hit the shops are this bad then Microsoft might as well release the software to the public and let us build them properly.
     
  2. perrin21

    perrin21
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    The advent was the one that crashed, both machines were only 2.6ghz and priced at £1100 and £1300 i think the advent being the cheaper. The Advent really was that bad, i wouldn't use it as a pc let alone try and rely on it as a media center. The LCD monitor was probably the worst i have seen and there was no easy upgrade path

    Of course these are just my opinions and should be judged as such.
     
  3. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    I've been playing around with Media centre at home on a machine I've built myself (using the MDSN version) and I must say I love it. PVR with a digital tuner seems to work pretty well and so far it's been stable.

    It will take time for the UK machines to get built properly but think that when they do people will like this a lot.

    John

    (I hope to demo this at the Event btw)
     
  4. perrin21

    perrin21
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    I agree, i like it a lot and will be using it on my pc as i have it on CD now. The 2004 upgrade is well worth it and now that microsoft have released the code to 3rd party developers we can expect to see a whole host of new extras. The OS is great, its the makers of the pc's i'm upset with, they have all of the means to make a great product, then the accountants step in.
     
  5. james.miller

    james.miller
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    who copied who? media center and MyHTPC - the interfaces are bloody identical,even down to the picture used in the background, except MyHTPC has been available for a long time.......
     
  6. perrin21

    perrin21
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    I thgink My HTPC was created using mainlobby software available at www.cinemaronline.com I have used this software in the past and its really easy to create a custom front end for an HTPC. I would recommend it to anybody.
     
  7. james.miller

    james.miller
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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    more than a little similar......
     
  8. perrin21

    perrin21
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    Well all of the best ideas are copied. Whoever was first should take it as a compliment. Both look great.
     
  9. perrin21

    perrin21
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    I have got a copy of MYhtpc on my computer as well as showshifter and Media center edition 2004. I must say that although showshifter goes a long way to being an ideal solution, it is let down by a lack of user customisation and doesn't have the ability to copy to DVD. This is going to be a feature implemented into Media center edition with the release of 3rd party software like sonics dvd program.

    I really couldn't use MYhtpc on a full time day to day basis as it required too much setting up and i'm a bit impatient.

    I will be using my HTPC as a set top box, with hopefully no reference to windows in the background. This is a media center strongpoint IMHO.
     
  10. james.miller

    james.miller
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    i was temped to go the whole htpc route once. But think about it:

    xbox+modchip £175 (now cheaper)

    thats all there is to it. that lot plays my dvds, divx, xvid, mp3, ogg blah blah blah. it has composite,s-vdeo,rgb,component AND hi-def output. Constant 5.1 DD output aswell. Granted, dvd playback isnt up to scratch, but my dvd player takes care of that.

    Nothing comes close to it for the price.
     
  11. perrin21

    perrin21
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    Yep unfortunately computer prices fall and there is never a right time to buy. However i have high hopes for my media center pc and if it exceeds my Tagmclaren DVD32r and i use it for only one
    function to replace this player, then selling the tag will pay for the £1800 outlay so far for my HTPC. I am still waiting for my graphics card and sound card to arrive in the post but hopefully in the next day or so i will find out. If its better than the Tag (the Tag goes) if its not i will sell it to someone else. Either way i have tried to better the best myself and that in my opinion is some achievement. I have been dissapointed with the Tag overall as i expected the acclaimed Night and day difference and for the life of me i couldn't see it. Hopefully i will see it with this.
     
  12. perrin21

    perrin21
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    The sound will take some beating on the Tag though!

    Hopefully the RME Digi96/8 PST will take care of that one.
     
  13. perrin21

    perrin21
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    Well, my Parhelia and Rme arrived today. I haven't had time to set up the picture yet but its the sound i was most worried about.

    First impressions comparing to my TagMclaren DVD32r connected to AV32r for processing. I expected the Tag to come out on top on this one due to its sync link and mclaren build quality but its actually quite amazing the difference. The HTPC seems to make the Tag sound like a dull cd player by comparison. I have tried a variety of test material and every time the HTPC comes out on top. It just sounds more musical, Any owners ov DVD32r looking for a night and day upgrade for less money should give this a try. All i need to do now is tweek the display settings to see if i can better the picture and the Tag goes.

    My only complaint is the ammount of fan noise coming from my HTPC, its really distracting. I'm certain its the power supply causinjg the majority of the noise, its a 550W Qtec gold (they claim silent but its not) . Any ideas on a silent alternative.
     
  14. perrin21

    perrin21
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    Anyone any experience of the Nexus NX4000 psu. people say its really quiet 21.5Dba 400W
     
  15. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    hi perrin21,

    the Qtec golds are cheap PSUs with damn noisy fans (i've got one too), however they can be made quiet fairly easily.

    the fans inside are currently running at 12v, if you slow them down to 5v they will be almost silent (my hard drives are now noisier than the PSU). if you are looking to do this then I'd suggest going over to www.silentpcreview.com and having a browse around there. I did mine by running the fan leads out of the PSU and into a zalman fan controller, but there are various ways (with varying costs and varying cosmetic results).

    HTH
    owain
     
  16. james.miller

    james.miller
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    i just bought another psu lol. the enermax 365w. Totally outclasses the q-tec's.
     
  17. Steve Bate

    Steve Bate
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    :D :D I've had my HTPC with RME for about a year now into AV32R and couldn't agree more!!

    Just wish I could afford that Bryston 4B in the ads :(

    Steve
     
  18. perrin21

    perrin21
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    got powerstrip working perfectly now, just watched my first dvd on my 6ft pana ae300. At last its blowing my tag away, picture and sound. res set at 960 x 540 95% 1:1 looks great. watches a perfect storm using theatertek.
     

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