Moving Pains

I have moved house. Now that in itself is a painful enought event. Then my telephone company decided to make it even worse. I had asked them to connect my new services on the 16th and disconnect my old services on the 21st. Simple stuff, yet they managed to do both on the 16th, leaving me in limbo communications wise. Luckily I have a backup mail server so I didn’t lose any mail, but it was inconvenient as hell. Thanks Telstra

My Media Center PC

Buy one or roll your own?

In my case, until a couple of weeks ago they weren’t even sold in Australia so I had to build it myself.

I got my hands on an eMuzed MauiIII PAL TV card 6 months back and tried running MCE2004.

Well that didn’t go well. No program guide, I couldn’t even tune in the channels. I got it working eventually with some hacks and a Dutch program guide, but it was not a great experience.

Enter MCE2005, yes it works in Australia, even though we don’t have a program guide (the TV stations own copyright on programming information and MS has yet to do a deal with them, though it is expected in the future)

I took a fairly standard PC and turned it into a MCE2005 box

P4 2800
>300 HD?s
eMuzed MauiIII PAL TV Card
cheap GeForce Ti4200 Display Adapter
eHome Infrared Remote Control (freebie from MS, thanks guys)

It works very well, surprising with the low end display adapter. I want be rushing out to get an FX or Radeon anytime soon.

The main thing seems to be the TV Card quality, *GET* one that does hardware decoding. If your offered one with software decoding tell em where to shove it.

I suspect you could run this on an old spare box. A P2 or P3 as the CPU isn’t getting hammered and the disk subsystem throughput requirements are not high. 

Media Center Edition 2005

I have learned a few things over the last week playing with the new MCE 2005.

You can do a clean install of MCE 2005, but you cannot join a domain.
***Actually you can if you join it during setup***

You can upgrade over MCE 2004.

You can’t upgrade over XP Professional. It will pop an error refering to PxShare.exe

You can however have an MCE 2005 joined to a domain. You need to do this in MCE 2004 and then do the upgrade.

I looked into why you can’t join a domain and found some registry keys that are unalterable. I tried to change them, believe me, but they appeared to be locked by some method I don’t understand.