I had posted about three weeks ago about my wife buying me a new PC. (It comes loaded with Windows Media Center/XP Professional)
So today i finally had some time to learn how to rip DVD's, and watch T.V. on my PC.
First the DVD/RW. My wife had rented the Good Girl DVD. We have not been able to watch it, and it is due back tomorrow. So I thought this would be a good time to test the DVD-RW. I first had to transfer the DVD to my hard drive. What I thought would be an easy task turned a little tougher than expected. I had to download a DVD ripper to get past the encoded DVD software.(DVD will skip continuosly without encryption) With that done (an easy search through google) I ripped the DVD to my hard drive. No problems. Had to upgrade my WinDVD (19.95) software to watch it, but it was just fine.
So now onto ripping it back to a DVD-RW. I had to go to BB to get some DVD's. Bought 8 DVD-R's and two DVD-RW's. I ripped the DVD to the RW disk. Considering that it burns at 2.5x it recorded the dvd to disk in 23 minutes. Not to shabby IMO. Slapped the DVD-RW into my toshiba dvd player. No go. The player is too old to read the DVD-RW's. (4 years old) Put it in my sons cheapo Apex dvd...played no problem. So it looks like a new DVD player is in order. Overall a three hour process to figure it out. Will turn into a 45 minute process to Rip the DVD to my HD, and burn it to DVD now that I know what I am doing.
Now on to the Media Center. MS has actually done something right. The media center is a program to watch TV through your computer, and record shows on a one time, weekly, daily, or series basis. Basically its a TIVO, but no programming fee.
I started the Media Center program after hooking up the remote control and plugging Comcast Cable into the computer. The program then tested my remote to see if it works...it did. Then it asked for my internet connection. Set that up with ease. It then asked for my area code, I put that in, and then was asked to pick what cable service I had. I selected Comcast (duh) and it proceeded to download Comcast's channels and programming for my area. It did this process in about 20 seconds. The TV immediatly popped up and off I went. (Currently watching the Masters while I type this.)
The Recording is also very easy. It has multiple settings for you to pick how large or small of a file you want to record. (Best setting is about 3gb per hour, fair setting is about 1gb per hour) I picked a show to record tomorrow, after I put in the time and how many hours, the shows programming notes came up and that was it.(NHL Hockey game, who was playing etc...)
For the best feature of the media center, after i record the show or shows I want, I have the option of burning it to DVD so I can view it on a stand alone DVD player. Just a great option to have. Have yet to try that, but i will update when I do.