So, I had an extra machine about, and thought I would try to install Media Center in order to see what the hullabaloo is all about. It went something like this.
Purchase remote control and video tuner ( NVTV dual tuner ) no more than 200$ invested here.
Install MCE - basically XPsp2 plus some. glitch - during install you are prompted for CD #2 , ok pop in CD2.. and hit OK.
Later I am prompted for my XP Sp2 CD. Hrmm I dont have that, but I can download XP sp2 from the internet and expand it to a flat on the drive. Reinstall MCE. Prompted for XPsp2 .. direct it to c:\xpsp2\i386. It hums for a bit and then bombs on trying to find hcsp**.cab ( can't recall the exact name ) Arghh.. Finally based on a search I find some thread which says "when it prompts you to install SP2 CD - toss in CD#1". Doh! OK, now that I did that, it zips right thru the install.
Next up - the MCE rollup. Wait - it wont install without .NET 1.1
Install MCE rollup
Install MCE rollup fix
I had downloaded the latest drivers for the NVTV tuner, and thought I would simply install the tunder drivers using that instead of the CD they sent me.Ok, that worked out alright. Yay.
Now I click on the green MCE button and go to configure it.. ( I still dont think it is configured correctly ) but it only detected one tuner. I bought a "dual tuner" so I figured it must not have detected correctly. I say "manual configuration" which goes on easy enough.
Finally, the moment of truth. I click on "Live TV" and boom. Nothing. Errors about a decoder.
So I run Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility and sure enough no decoder found. Doh! It turns out I did have to use that CD Nvidia sent me. Another neat tool is the Windows XP Media Center Diagnostics Kit v3.0
OK - so I run setup from there and now and I up and running! Yayy! Live TV.
Test some simple recordings, yup looks good. Well I dont actually have it hooked into my TV yet, so on the computer monitor it looks so-so, I hope to see better quality from my TV.
Anyway - some neat things I found, and I am sure that any MCE nut reading this is saying "yah all these are well known links" or has already clicked ahead in disgust of my MCE incompetence so I'll continue to ramble on.
http://www.benshouse.net/?page=add-ons.php&cat=Other&sortby= - plugins galore
http://mcesoft.nl/ - cool MCE site
http://asciiexpress.com/webguide/ Cool web plugin to access your MCE from the internet
http://blog.mattgoyer.com/ - blog with some neat MCE links
The whole reason for the dual tuner was so I could watch one thing and record another ( or maybe record 2 different channels at the same time ?) I don't know how to do this yet, but plan to test it very soon. I also am not sure how I want to hook it up to my TV which is about 15 feet away.
All in all I think it's great , I've only just installed it this week and haven't had time to play with it much. I will continue to post about my sucess\failures in the coming weeks\months.