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Thread: Windows MCE

  1. #1

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    Default Windows MCE

    I'm curious if any of y'all have Media Center Edition and what you think about it. I'm re-replacing a laptop and the one that I'm seeing that I like most has this system on it and I'm not familiar with it (though it's basically just a jazzed up XP Home from what I understand).

    Let me know any positives or negatives please. (leave the anti-windows comments aside.....we all know they're the devil)
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  2. #2

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    No one has any experience with MCE or has friends that have used it?
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    Tomshardware did a very nice write up on it and it seems awesome. I'm not too sure how it affects using the computer for regular work applications though.

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    I dunno, I know one or two people who tried it and said it wasn't worth it. Unless you only use Microsoft products (Media player and whatnot), it doesn't seem worth it. It's really just a shell for a bunch of programs. The only benefit I really see is being able to use the remote control. I just bought a [url=http://www.gyration.com/en-US]wireless mouse[/quote] that kind of works as a remote, and I love it so far on my HTPC.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

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    I have it on my home PC and it works just fine. I use MS Professional at work and do not miss any of the features in my home PC that I need.

    While I have not used home edition of Windows XP - my co-workers who have seem to hate it with a passion. Based on the fact I do not notice any problems with MM at home, I would say for basic home use, it is as useful as pro.

    If I were to purchase a machine with basic - I would upgrade the OS.

    If I were to puchase a machine with MM or Pro I would not.

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    The laptop that I'm looking to buy is THIS FUJITSU (the 60602) and it already has MCE on it. I'm not paying extra for it, and feature-wise, I think it has everything that I want/need (with the added feature of dual hard drives).

    I've had XP home for a while and I don't personally have any problems with it. I'm just not familiar enough with MCE to know if it's JUST that instead of Media Player 10 (for instance) it utilizes the Media Center but virtually everything else is just like XP Home.......
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    Depends what you use it for but you should be fine with either home or mce.

    Pro gives you more options like remote desktop (don't need to be the server if it's a laptop anyways), if you need to logon to an active directory domain, run multiple processors, use the encrypting file system or many other stuff most people never even touch.

    I use pro on all my computers simply because I have the option to go either way at no extra cost so why not, right?

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    Windows xp MCE, is Windows xp pro with the Media Center wormed into it. The thing you loose, is that the computer cannot be a member of a windows domain, because "Fast User Switching" is forced on, for Media Extenders. Yes, xpMCE has Remote Desktop access, Encrypting File System, IIS (WWW, FTP) in Add/Remove Windows components, and you can use it as a regular pc.

    The Media Center is a full screen (or windowed) application, that integrates all media into one interface. Live TV, PVR, Videos, DVD, Music, Radio, Picture viewer/slideshow, Online browsing of targetted content, and add on games and programs. All available in a large interface (10 foot) suitable for displaying on a TV or HDTV (depending on video card capabilities), and navigated with an ir remote control. Windows xpMCE also supports most functions to Media Extenders like the xbox360, HP Media Extender and Linksys Media Extender (the xpMCE pc is the media server).

    Sounds good doesn't it (and it is decent), now the downside.

    xpMCE is a pig, a fully functional minimal system should be at least: 512 meg ram, 2.4 gig processor, 128 meg video card (with DirectX 9.0, hardware dvd decoder, must be MCE compatable), tv tuner card with hardware encoding (must be MCE compatable, preferably separate from video card), and recorded tv eats up disk space at the rate of 3+ gigs per hour.

    MCE uses Ms Media Player 10 (embeded) for displaying video and playing music. So media is restricted to what Ms Media Player can play. Note, if you install media decoders that mess up Media Player, they also mess up MCE.

    xpMCE uses different BDA TV Tuner card drivers, than the normal WMD drivers. So most TV Tuners don't do both modes at once (either work in MCE, or work in other applications).

    You need a DVD decoder for TV and DVDs that is made to work with MCE. windDVD, powerDVD, cineplayer, purevideo work, but you need specific versions that work with MCE, a pre-built system should have one pre-installed.

    Recorded TV is in a new format, DVR-MS. So to use recorded TV outside of MCE, you either have to burn it to a DVD, or get software that supports the DVR-MS format.

    In the US, only Over the Air HDTV is supported (with an additional tuner card). Cable HDTV is slated for inclusion in windows vista. So if you have a cable box like I do, the hd channels are down-converted to SVideo or Composite (or with a direct cable hookup, just the 100 analog cable channels are received). Note: my cable box outputs both Component directly to my tv, and SVideo to my pc, simultaneously, so I am not loosing anything by using xpMCE.

    Also supposedly coming in Windows Vista, is the ability of one xpMCE pc to act as a Media Extender to another xpMCE pc. Currently, you are limited to file sharing.

    To sum up. I use xpMCE on my pc, directly connected to my HDTV (no other monitor). It works fairly well, has a single integrated interface, and to me, is better than using the ATI media center (which I used before MCE).
    Last edited by TheReaper; 01-05-2006 at 07:35 PM.

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