Home Entertainment

Posted in MCE (Vista) by Chucky on the October 3rd, 2007

There is a bit of a buzz building out in the wild at the moment about TV’s that are smarter than your average TV. We all know them as Home Theatre Personal Computers (HTPC’s) but to the average consumer, that means about as much as 1080p and Bluray.

The technology has been around a few years. The hardware is the same that you would see in any old computer. The software, however, is really in its infancy. The main contender is called Microsoft Media Center. If you own Vista Premium or Vista Home Premium Edition, than you already have it. Chances are, all you need is a tuner card (for receiving TV signals) and you’re ready to go. Well, that’s what they tell everyone.

In reality, unless you know a bit about computers, it’s not ready for you yet. Some of these problems include;

1. Australian TV guide is not available by default. Extra software and configuration is required.

2. It is a computer, it needs maintenance and support. Average consumers want something like a DVD player that doesn’t break when it doesn’t get turned off properly or an update disagrees with driverX and breaks everything.

Anyway, I just wanted an excuse to share my setup with everyone. It’s evolved over the past two years and I still battle the heat created when a computer gets put in a drawer. Trouble is, computers are noisy and when you have one sitting near your TV it’s hard to hear the TV! So this is why it is in a drawer. I installed some piping last weekend and it is definitely cooler now, but now the fans are always working hard - noise. Next step is to upgrade to a quieter Intel Core 2 DUO CPU - money.

I could always put the main bits into another location away from the TV, and run an “Extender“. But I just bought a PS3! Will Microsoft force me to buy an XBox or will they just let me buy the extender software and load it onto a laptop or something.

Some pics to explain what I mean;