Windows XP Media Center (advice from experienced users please!)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GimmeSlack12, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #1
    Ok, so a friend of mine will be moving to a new house and I am in charge of setting up a PC media center. He's based in the Windows world and although at our current apartment he uses my MiniG4 Media Center I think I need to understand the XP media center OS as an option. This mainly stems cause he has a few PC's that could be used for this.

    What does this OS do? And is it worth my while to explore installing and using this OS if he wants it mainly for movies, music, and DVD playback. All accessed VERY easily (he is not computer literate at all).

    My other option will be to recommend another Mac Mini and operate a Front Row setup for him. Which works, but will cost some $$$ for hardware. Advice on experiences with XP Media Center please? I know what I want to do, but it needs to be fairly foolproof.
     
  2. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816

    ImNoSuperMan

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    #2
    I`m currently using Vista MCE right now and it`s usable once you install the right codecs. But you cant really rely on it too much. It`ll hang, crash at it`s will and is a real pain to get everything working. Still it`s very much usable. But compared to a mini It`s over ten times more likely to give you troubles.

    Even then I m pretty much happy with my setup. It was cheaper than a mini and there are a lot of options available compared to the mini. You can get component output very easily which you dont get in a mini.

    If you can make him spend some money and mini fulfils all his needs then it`s better to with the mini only. Otherwise a Vista/XP MCE is also usable but only if his current hardware is good enuff for an MCE computer.
     
  3. Aceon6 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    #3
    Husband has an HP Pavillion Win XP Media Center setup. It does just what XP does, just puts the controls for media closer to the user. Does it make media playback any more friendly? Not really, its just that the controls are more obvious.
     
  4. GimmeSlack12 thread starter macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #4
    Gotcha, so its basically XP Home with some gimmicky title. I like the PC idea a bit more because I could add 5.1 sound or additional video output support a bit cheaper than with a Mini. Then again, anything to be watched will be .avi or some other compressed format which usually circumvents those added high quality features.
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #5
    No - not exactly. What it gives you is Front Row on steroids.

    Vista Media Center is stable and in most ways a far better option than a Mini + Front Row, as long as you don't start putting in those dreaded codec packs - (and there's no comparison on a Mac - I mean, in comparison to Vista, what codecs plays on Front Row?)
     
  6. GimmeSlack12 thread starter macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #6
    First of all, does it have to be Vista Media Center? I use Vista at work and it doesn't network well with XP boxes which is what will generally be used. It behooves me to no end as to why these two OSes do not network well together.

    And FR can do any file format you throw at it as long as you have Perian installed. FR plays everything in Quicktime player, so you just have to have the codec plug-ins for QT to get the same features in FR.

    I'll have to feel out my friends thoughts on the Mini. Believe me I'd love to get him on the path to switching.
     
  7. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #7
    OK - I'll give you Perian :p but Media Center functionality is in general superior to FR.

    Perhaps you're not aware of the operation of the firewall among other standard Windows networking components and messed something up, or either of the two installs were carried out by someone who doesn't know what they're doing. XP in general networks seamlessly with Vista.
     
  8. GimmeSlack12 thread starter macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #8
    Yeah I messed up by getting Vista. Believe me if it was a Firewall problem I'd have never brought it up. Yes, I agree FR is quite weak.
     
  9. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #9
    6 months ago, maybe. Not now. The other big difference is in the hardware ecosystem around MCE - a key factor I think if you want to maximise the use of a computer as a Media Center. Significantly better than for FR.
     

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