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Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

I've joined a couple of other folks in the attempt to rebuild their machines with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004.  I was resisting the move, but since Office 2003 has been released it gave me two reasons to rebuild my machine.  To add even more incentive, one of my hard drives decided to start acting up and went into a forever loop on wanting me to run chkdsk at startup.  Rather than try to solve that problem, went and got a new drive and it was time to FFR (FDisk, Format, ReInstall for those that don't know the acronym).  Now I have the following:

  • Intel 2.4ghz processor
  • Intel 845EBG2 motherboard
  • 1gb RAM
  • NVidia GForceFX 5600 Ultra
  • Hauppauge PVR-350
  • SoundBlaster Audigy 2
  • Promise Ultra133 TX2 controller
  • Maxtor 250gb HD
  • Maxtor 160gb HD
  • Maxtor 120gb HD
  • Maxtor 120gb HD via USB 2.0

Here is the quick and dirty instructions for getting MCE up and running.

  1. Install Windows Media Center Edition CD 1 and 2.
  2. Install Windows Media Center Edition 2004 update.
  3. Install drivers for you video card.
  4. Install drivers for your sound card.
  5. Install drivers for the Hauppauge PVR-350 (downloaded from their website).
  6. Install WinDVD 5 demo (available from their website).

Step 6 is probably the one that will bite most people.  The error presented by MCE when you try to start My TV is kind vague.  Essentially, you have to have the MPEG2 video codec installed (which is installed with the demo version of WinDVD). 

Another nice side effect of having the Hauppauge PVR-350 is that the WinTV2000 software will co-exist on the same machine; allowing you to utilize of of the additional features of the card (hardware out, svideo input, control over MPEG2 encoding parameters, etc.).  As for recording something for later playback, MCE is perfect... but if you want to record something for conversion to VCD/DVD, the WinTV2000 software is a bit better IMO.

Also, I think over time, I will slowly be replacing the existing hard drives with at least 250gb drives... I want to get to a terabyte ;-)

And, yes, I have verified that MCE is written using .NET! :-D  It's kinda weird, but it's written (even the 2004 edition) in 1.0.  Not sure why they didn't upgrade to 1.1; in any case, it's downright impressive to see that .NET is completely capable of being as responsive as MCE is.  I know some people would point out that it's also utilizing DirectX instead of the Windows Forms engine; nonetheless, it's pretty rock solid and an AWSOME example of what a smart client application can be using .NET.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.