Small MCE 2005 FAQ…

Machine Specs:


Recommended specs (not official)

Pentium 4 2.XGHZ or better or equivalent AMD processor

Fast Direct-X video card  (ATI or nVidia) with SVideo and/or DVI output

Supported TV-Tuner card(s) (Hauppauge, eMuzed, ATI ehome Wonder)

Large hard disk for PVR capability (200 GB)

Minimum 512MB RAM

Supported remote control and ir blaster


OS Bits:


Windows Media Center 2005 is an OEM only product, and hence the bits are not available at retail.  You can obtain the OS bits from MSDN Subscription (subscriber downloads).


MCE 2005 setup, by default, does not support joining the machine to a domain, unless this is done during OS installation, which can be problematic. However, you can install MCE 2004 OS, join a domain, and then upgrade to MCE 2005, and the domain functionality will continue to work. Note that if you join an MCE box to a domain, you can no longer use that MCE box as a host for Media Center Extenders.



Remote Control and IR Blaster:


To use TV functionality with a set top box (external tuner), you need to obtain an IR blaster and Media Center remote control. Microsoft sells these to OEM System Builders.

You can also obtain these through IHVs, such as Gyration ( Another common way to obtain these devices is through replacement parts from various Media Center vendors, such as HP.


Check with your local hardware vendor for availability (Canada Computer frequently sells these parts)


DVD Decoder Software:


For DVD playback, a supported DVD Decoder is required. The following lists the commonly used MCE compatible decoders:


-          Intervideo WinDVD

-          nVidia nDVD

-          Sonic Cinemaster


Other decoders may work, but for best results, go by this list.


Canadian Users Note:


The TV Tuner in previous releases required that you set up MCE regional settings to match the country you are watching TV in, in other words, Canada. The problem with this approach was that while TV worked just fine, you only had access to Canadian content from the online spotlight (which is very very thin right now).


In MCE 2005, this is no longer required. For Canadian users (or any users that wish to see the online content for the U.S. market), let setup’s default region apply. You can change your region under the TV settings in media center to match your local provider area.


TV Tuner cards:


Media Center 2005 supports multiple TV Tuner cards, to support record and watch on different channels, for example.


You can mix and match cards, however, Media Center does not support multiple different sources for TV. For example, if you have Bell ExpressVU as your source, all cards that will input TV signals need to be hooked up to a satellite receiver. For cable, without a set to box, all need to be connected through co-ax. For digital cable, all need to be connected to a digital cable box.

The connection between the tuner card(s) and the input does not need to be identical. You could connect one card via co-ax, and another card via SVideo In.


You cannot mix input types, however. For example, you cannot have ExpressVU and digital cable at the same time. All inputs need to come from the same media source.


Comments (9)
  1. smartwombat says:

    How about the video cards? Also do not forget about the fans (CPU,video). I built anmce2005v myself and the biggest annoyance that it is really niosy 🙁

  2. vern says:

    The remotes are also available for good prices on eBay. Some OEMs are selling the remote and a copy of MCE 2005 in a "combo pack" for around $280.

    I have an extra remote, since I thought I got screwed on the first one. It’s the new style for 2005, and it comes with 2 IR Blasters…

    Gonna put ’em on eBay soon; if you want ’em, let me know.

  3. Chi Son says:

    Newegg has MCE 2005 OEM for $131 and MCE remote for $33. An Avermedia 150MCE or Hauppage 150MCE will run around $70. FX5200 is around $50 or $60. I added the Hauppage 150 and FX5200 to an existing Athlon XP 2000+ with 256MB RAM and a 160GB Seagate; wiped the existing OS; and reinstalled MCE 2005 OEM.

    Apparantly with the hardware encoder on the Hauppage 150MCE, it’s performing better than WinPVR and much easier to use.

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