My Media Center PC
Warning – this will be a geeky post. If you are not a geek or are uninterested in geeky stuff, please do not proceed.
Vista is a great media center platform. It’s nice & shiny and all that stuff. It looks hi-tech, and it’s really easy to use. The only problem is, it’s a real resource hog.
Becky and I tolerated it as long as we could. If it happened to be recording a show when we turned on the media extender (Xbox 360), that show would start stuttering badly at that point in time, and it would never get caught up and calm down.
As I said, we tolerated it. We finally had enough. Plus, it was Superbowl Sunday. I didn’t want to wait until the game had finished recording before I turned it on to watch it. Not to mention all the other times we’ve turned it on and what we were trying to watch was nothing but broken audio with pixilated video. So last Saturday I set out with the task of re-imaging the PC back to the way it came from the factory – Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.
Once I unplugged the extra 300GB SATA drive that I added for recorded shows’ storage, the restore went very smoothly. I only had to install the drivers for my analog tuner – the digital tuner was recognized automatically, which was nice, because I didn’t remember how I got it to work before. Somehow it was a real pain the first time, but not this time.
After the PC had a new, clean build, I uninstalled all that ‘extra’ stuff the PC manufacturers put on there – AOL, stupid little games, etc. I also stopped several services that weren’t completely necessary in hopes to streamline the system. I then went through the Media Center setup, and went through the process to connect the Xbox 360 back to it. Everything was going smooth – this was too easy this time for some reason.
Ok, everything is configured. I’m testing out the TV functionality. It works! Wow, it was so easy. Well, compared to last time anyway – you still have to know what you’re doing, but still! I immediately went through the guide and found the big game on FOX and set it to record.
After church Sunday night (We had 2 really good services, by the way) Becky and I came home, got some food ready and changed into some more comfortable clothes. The moment of truth was a little over an hour and a half away (Remember, the point where I power on the Xbox as a media center extender would cause the recorded show to begin its pixilating and cutting out from that point forward, and it was a little after 7:30). We were enjoying the game, and I totally forgot to even look for trouble. It never came. And this was a large recording.
Finally, the system works like it’s supposed to, although on an older version of Windows. That’s ok, lots of people are avoiding Vista for this reason alone. Maybe if I can get enough money to get a workhorse of a computer I’ll transfer it all back over. But until then, I’ll stick with my XP for my Media Center needs.