Hi everyone. Got a few questions for you guys.
First, here is my setup:
- Desktop PC with dual DVI outputs (Geforce 8800GT)
- 42" 1080p Panasonic Plasma (With VieraLink for what it's worth)
- DVI to HDMI cable going from DVI2 to my TV
- 3.5mm to Component cable for audio
- TV and computer are only a few feet apart
Here are my goals:
- Streamlined playback of media on my computer to my TV
- Possibly using a remote, possibly with Boxee
- I don't want to have to set up a cloned display, and I don't want to extend my displays (see below for more on this)
- I would like to avoid Microsoft's proprietary media center crap if at all possible
Now, here's where I'm at now. I have my computer hooked up to the TV, and I'm using an extended display configuration to put my videos on the TV (by just dragging VLC over to the TV). This is a pain. A long time ago, I had a ATI Radeon x850xt with an s-video output that I had hooked up to a TV.. and it had this feature where any hardware overlays would be automatically directed to the TV in full screen, so I could open a video player, start the video and minimize it, and it would play flawlessly on the TV while hidden on my computer. I didn't have to mess with extended displays and I didn't have to clone my displays. Now I have an Nvidia card and I can find no option in the control panel (or in windows) to do this. I also tried RivaTuner and didn't see an option in there for it either. Any suggestions on that?
Also, I am considering buying a remote to use with my computer so I can control VLC and/or Boxee without having to get up and click around. I've heard a lot of bad things about Microsoft's strict licensing on hardware designed for Media Center, and I would like to avoid that at all costs if possible. Plus, I don't want to be restricted to using ONLY media center if I don't want to. If it's not as bad as I've been led to believe, then please let me know.
Can someone recommend a good remote that might suit what I'm looking for?
Thanks, hopefully I covered everything.
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Maybe you should reconsider Media Center?
I use Win 7 Media/Center 7(or you could use Vista Media Center), MyMovies (freeware) integrates into media Center, PowerDVD integrates into MyMovies
MyMovies monitors all your HDD's and catalogs your movies and gives a nice interface
I play all my movies from my PC to my HDTV w/ virtually the same hardware you do
ps. I use my HDTV as my full time monitor, you can too, I only turn the PC monitor on to edit photos
Logitech's line of remotes are well reviewed, and they have one priced for every budget
Get you a backlit or wireless keyboard and you are all set(keyboards w/ built in trackballs are nice)
Edit: If you buy a ATSC HDTV Tuner card they come w/ a MCE remote
Well, if you want rather minimalistic, a possible starting point could be an iMon remote.
You can add any app to quick launch (I have TMT(exteme), MPCHC, Firefox, etc, in the list). The iMon can switch between mouse and keyboard functions, although I keep a wireless mouse & keyboard on the coffee table as well. The iMon has the usual buttons to control multimedia programs, plus a good many programmable buttons.
Not to denigrate Media Center, but it's not absolutely necessary. I'm using XPpro on my HTPC. Only one display, a 42" plasma. One could build on the above basic setup with various tools.Pull! Bang! Darn!
I dont at this time but did have one of my ACER AST180 PCs with Vista Ultimate x64 hooked up to my Panasonic 42" Plasma ... worked great with the Media Center in Vista Ultimate x64.
I was doing Dual boot ... WINXP Media Center 2005 and Vista Ultimate x64 and only reason it is not hooked up ... I disconnected and took it to the work bench in my garage to add Windows 7 and while it was sitting there a friend came over ... and bought it from me for $250 bucks.
I build another and sold it on Ebay ... I'm currently building another one but the mobo is bad in the ACER AST180 and so I've removed it and put in a MSI matx mobo ... its most likely going to be sold on Ebay too.
The Media Center on Vista Ultimate x64 and on Windows 7 x64 work great.
I do have WIN 7 x64 Build 7600 on this PC and it is a dual boot and I use a Sony 32" LCD HDTV .... the Media Center on Win7 works great.
I recorded on Thursday night ... CSI:Vegas and was trying to finish watching it ... when boom ... it instantly switched to the next show to record ... which was ... The Mentalist ... nothing went wrong ... it just was time for the next show to start recording ... and it did exactily what it was suppose to do. The Digital TV Tuner is the ATI 650 PCI.
The video card is the 50 dollar Nvidia 8500GT built by AXLE [sold on Ebay] with a One Gig of Video memory ... I use the HDTV out with component out connections to my Sony 32" LCD ... and did the same with the Panasonic 42" Plasma in my bedroom.
To control the PC in the bedroom ... I use a 14 foot USB cable under the rug and goes up under my bed and use the Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mouse that Walmart sells for 40 bucks.
No Crap working here ... does what I want it to do.
I use either extended display or clone, usually clone as many games do not seem to work correctly on the secondary monitor. As for the remote, have used two but neither has the functionality of the one designed for the hardware - a wireless mouse.
Don't need any extra software to limit options. My movie menu system is Windows Explorer navigating a directory structure. I play stored movies, sometimes on DVD, rarely a BluRay, play Crysis or FEAR, son likes GTA4 and COD5, watch some HULU, other similar.
Got the same video card and connection type, display size matches as well. Much better quality than the ATI S-Video. The overlay player will not work correctly with all apps and types of player, the clone always works.
Originally Posted by Nelson37
Trust me, when you have 600 movies occupying 10 Terabytes of storage space spanning 10 HDD's across 2 PC's on a network software like MyMovies is infinitely more usable than Explorer
As a matter of fact my search for the ultimate media center catalog software started when a guest (co-worker and customer of mine) who was blown away @ the picture and sound quality asked, "Could you make it any harder" in reference to my navigating thru my library w/ Explorer
Now my systems are so user friendly "a caveman can do it"
All that extra info has to be manually added for captures, which most of my about 1 TB of recompressed videos are. They get categorized into directories at capture or re-compress time. Done, ready to go.
PC is used for many other things than simply playing movies. Media center add-ons simply in the way for these tasks.
Players often updated or changed for features or performance. Remotes program for certain software, often work differently for different players. Mouse works every time, no setup.
There's a reason the boxes come in different colors.
Originally Posted by Nelson37
Honestly, I haven't captured anything since Pres Barak Obama's inauguration speech
ps. about remotes; I only use 1 player, when you have a collection as large as mine you MUST have a standard that you stick to
I use Cyberlink PowerDVD 8, the last versionn that allows you to play isos, I save all my movies (BD and DVD alike) as disc images, since PDVD intergrates into MyMovies and MyMovies intergrates into Media Center my MCE remote controls PDVD
Then of course my MCE remote commands are uploaded into my Marants learning remote which controls everything in my theater including the lighting