My Media Center PC

Buy one or roll your own?

In my case, until a couple of weeks ago they weren't even sold in Australia so I had to build it myself.

I got my hands on an eMuzed MauiIII PAL TV card 6 months back and tried running MCE2004.

Well that didn't go well. No program guide, I couldn't even tune in the channels. I got it working eventually with some hacks and a Dutch program guide, but it was not a great experience.

Enter MCE2005, yes it works in Australia, even though we don't have a program guide (the TV stations own copyright on programming information and MS has yet to do a deal with them, though it is expected in the future)

I took a fairly standard PC and turned it into a MCE2005 box

P4 2800
1 GB RAM
>300 HD?s
eMuzed MauiIII PAL TV Card
cheap GeForce Ti4200 Display Adapter
eHome Infrared Remote Control (freebie from MS, thanks guys)

It works very well, surprising with the low end display adapter. I want be rushing out to get an FX or Radeon anytime soon.

The main thing seems to be the TV Card quality, *GET* one that does hardware decoding. If your offered one with software decoding tell em where to shove it.

I suspect you could run this on an old spare box. A P2 or P3 as the CPU isn't getting hammered and the disk subsystem throughput requirements are not high. 

Published Sat, Nov 6 2004 21:33 by Mark Dormer