I wanted to put together a set of instructions for a Home Theatre PC destined to fit into the living room and be accepted as part of the TV as opposed to a computer.
There are a couple of little tricks that are outside the install wizards that I think make things work that little bit better.
I have done this a few times now (because I can’t resist tinkering), sometimes from notes and sometimes from memory, but I wanted to capture and collect the nuances (if any).
Actually, the process has become simpler as the software support has improved and I have moved from Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (MCE) to Windows Media Center within Vista Home Premium(VMC). I’ve stuck to 32-bit builds of the operating systems, partly because of the issues I’ve read on drivers and partly because the H.264 functionality for the Fiji TV Pack is so far only 32-bit. I am currently experimenting with a 64-bit build of Windows 7, but that’s for another day.
The instructions here are particular to my hardware configuration, but only in the finer detail. The general process steps have remained consistent even when the hardware and software has varied. The building blocks of what you need for a HTPC are pretty constant.
- PC with TV tuner and optical media drive
- Operating system and drivers
- Software to play stuff, such as Mpeg decoder, codecs and filters
- The Media Center Software
All of this stuff is out there to be searched for and I’ve tried to include the appropriate links at the appropriate points.