Reader Questions: Round 3
Still a few more days to get your
questions answered as a part of Media Center Week. You guys have been doing great; I think we
are over 100 comments just like this week!
Also, don’t forget to enter to
win one of the Big Screen plug-in’s.
The winner will be chosen tomorrow night.
Q: I'm thinking of
replacing my extenders with PC's so that I will have access to my DVD's through
out the house without transcoding, etc.
I do push HD through the extenders now (All XBox 360s). Also, I'm finding that my family is really
using the Netflix WatchNow feature witch won't work on extenders. So the question is this... Do you think the
HP Pavilion Slimline series you describe above would get this done?
That will work, but of course understand that you lose the
ability to have a central EPG that can be accessed throughout the house. Also streaming of any protected content
(CableCARD, CGMS-A) will not work. You
would also need local TV tuners in each machine if you ever want to watch live
TV within Media Center. If these don’t
matter in your usage, then using something like the Slimline would work perfect.
Q: Do you use media center extenders on a
You bet! I’ve mainly
been using the Linksys DMA2100 and DMA2200 lately. I love the DMA2100 the most. It’s small enough that you can hide it
anywhere, plus it is 100% silent.
Q: Any thoughts on
advantages/disadvantages to Media Center vs. Sage TV or Beyond TV (if you have
At this point the advantages of Media Center vs. the
competition are dwelling. Sage is on the
top of my list in Media Center competitors as they have hardware
Extenders. In my view, PCs have little
to no place in the living room. I want a
silent CE device. Both Sage and Beyond
TV will support the HD-PVR which finally gives them HD in a respectable manor. With Microsoft not likely to touch Blu-ray,
the advantages of Media Center keep falling.
For the truly integrated experience, I think Microsoft will always
rule. Sage/Beyond/etc are not getting
native tuners any time soon. With the
HD-PVR, that means less and less. I
think Microsoft really has to pick up the ball and finish connecting the home. Xbox 360, Zune, Media Center, etc should all really
Q: Is there any kind
of Media Center plugin that will detect my cellphone via BlueTooth and display
caller ID on screen?
I don’t believe so, but that’s a great idea that I haven’t
heard before. Maybe some developer is
reading this and wants to take a stab at a plug-in?
Q: Does Vista Media
Center support receiving the TV Schedule via DVB-T?
This is called using in-band EPG data, and no it doesn’t as
far as I know. Media Center will likely
get it’s first taste of in-band EPG data usage with DVB-S tuners (like
DIRECTV). I hope this transitions to
other sources, but the main factor generally seems to be how complete the
in-band source is. I know here in the US
the quality of ATSC in-band data is hit or miss much of the time
Q: I am thinking
about getting Vista x64 for my Media center machine. Will HDPC-20 support x64?
I got 4GB and a dual core 2.4GHz and I hope that will be enough.
I don’t have anything official, so please don’t take it as
that, but I would think the HDPC-20 (DIRECTV tuner) will support both 32-bit