Vista Media Center Software to play stuff

My last hardware update was bubbling under for quite a while. My graphics card was good, but I wanted better, more efficient HD playback.
An article by Jeff Atwood on just that “Easy, Efficient Hi-Def Video Playback” was the final push necessary.
In it Jeff describes a great solution, using a magic DLL from Media Player Classic Home Cinema (http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/).

  1. download the standalone MPC-HC filters.
  2. Extract MPCVideoDec.ax and copy it into c:windowssystem32
  3. Open a command prompt, navigate to c:windowssystem32, and run regsvr32 MPCVideoDec.ax

Jeff also indicated that he needed to use something like Radlight Filter Manager to assign H.264/AVC, but when I go to this step it was already selected.

Unfortunately I still needed FDDShow Audio Decoder to correctly handle AC3 and DTS over SPDIF for all file formats.
I installed the CCCP Pack, as this is what I had always installed previously, but it may be overkill if the magic dll does all that is supposed (and seems) to do.
Some investigation is probably required here, but for now things are working.

Prior to the Media Player Classic Home Cinema solution, I’d swear by the CCCP Pack, an excellent codec/filter package.

I hate the lack of options when it comes to Blu-ray playback. The options consist of the most unstable, unreliable software releases I have ever encountered.
Until recently I have gone with Power DVD, but I’m now running with Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre due to it’s better integration with Media Center and the option to down sample Dolby True HD, which my current amplifier cannot handle. At this point we have a clean install, now is the time to install it (and the only point I’ve ever had it reliably work). I’m still not convinced on the repeatability of this, but I’m giving it a go.

MST Standby tool (http://slicksolutions.eu/mst.shtml) - simply the simplest and best tool for making sure your stand by and resume settings are correct (HTPC or otherwise)
LED Driver tool (http://slicksolutions.eu/ledsdriver.shtml) - This is a great application from Herman van Eijk (http://slicksolutions.eu/), who wrote MST Standby. When combined with a very simply DIY project (http://www.degroeneknop.nl/forum/index.php/topic,4809.0.html), this can turn you HTPC into a much more living room friendly DVR.

AnyDVD HD - You just need it.

Deamon tools lite or Virtual CloneDrive - I’m still undecided on which.

Media Browser plug-in - need to tweak configuration so My Videos is not the root folder containing my library

Tuner Free MCE plug-in