New to MCE and PVR's

JohnWPB

Active Member
Ok, Ok, I decided to do it, I purchased MCE 2005 from a local computer shop that I buy a lot of stuff from. I am building this machine from the hand-me-downs from MY main computer ;) (Seems I can just about build a new computer every time I decide to upgrade my machine) I am pretty apt when it comes to building computers. I have never bought a new computer to this day. I have always bought the parts and built them myself. I built my first one in 1990, a 100MHZ machine! and at the time, it was top of the line! Since that time, I have built well over a hundred systems at work and for friends. This is just a little FYI so you know what level of help to assist me with hehehe...

Here is the case I just got to house the thing in:
CaseCavalier.gif

Got it for $99 as Sundial Micro

Ok, the system is is a 2.2Ghz Pentium 4 with 512MB memory. I put my old 256meg gfx card in it to also be able to play games on the bigscreen as well. It now has MCE2005 installed and activated.. I know the specs are a little low, as far as the processor, but it will have to do for now. I had an extra DVD burner I threw into it and bought a SB Audigy Dolby 6.1 surround sound card.

NOW is the fun part, I need to get a tuner card that will work with MCE and dont know where to start. At this time, I do not need High Definition recording. I just want to use this as a standard TIVO type system, with the ability to burn stuff to DVD. I have direct TV, So I can not even take advantage of the internal tuner card. Simply the Video or S-Video in is all that will be used. I am going to use a dedicated sat box just to connect to this system, and leave the TIVO's tuners to do its thing independantly. NOW heres where the tricky part comes in, will I still be able to get the tv guide with MCE? And what is the EASIEST way to control the schedule and channel changing via IR from the MCE to the satelite box. THis would be SOOOOoo MUCH easier if I could just use an internal tuner, but that just isnt possible with Direct TV :(


So, a lot of questions and complicated stuff for sure, so any pointers, as to what card to get, what to watch out for, and other tips to getting this machine all in order? I do know I need to get a card with the encoder on board, and not use the main processors cycles up.

I also am going to need a remote control, something either with the tuner, or that is stand alone, and MCE compatible, to also use the rest of MCE menu's ect.

Thanks in advance and any advise is greatly appreceiated!
 

Treetop

Active Member
PVR-150MCE

Has a port for an IR blaster that MCE can use to change channels on the STB.

As far as remote controls. You will need the MCE 2k5 remote and receiver (the 2k4 version wont work with 2005).

pcalchemyhas some good prices and a great reputation.

As far as the guide goes, its built into the app itself and dials out everynight to update the info. Not sure how far in advanced it goes, probably around 14 days (just a guess).

Im still debating on weher or not to pick this up myself... let us know how it goes.

BTW, Sweet case!
 

Treetop

Active Member
Concerning the sound card...

This may come in handy, depending how you are going to hook it up to your receiver... For SPDIF:
Sound card peculiarities
SB Audigy Users
There is a common initial setup problem for SB Audigy users. The Audigy will by default decode DD, and with the Audigy 2 ZS, DTS as well. Having this enabled will defeat the main point to the S/PDIF connection and process the audio on your sound card/CPU thereby making the surround sound discrete wave output which will be sent as 2 channel via S/PDIF. To ensure you are truly sending all information via S/PDIF without being intercepted by the Audigy you need to disable the surround sound decoding options and enable digital output... Some driver and hardware versions are a little different but this should guide you to the right places.

1. From the "Creative" Start Menu group choose the "Sound Blaster Audigy" group and then “AudioHQâ€. Choose “Device Controlsâ€. Click the tab “Decoder†and choose the “SPDIF Passthrough†option. This should grey out the internal decoding options.

2. Right-click on the Audigy tray icon and choose "Speaker Settings" and check "Digital Output Only". On Audigy 2 ZS cards this setting can also be found in the THX Console.
NOTE: You may find that you do not need this option enabled. Enabling this will also disable the surround sound analog outputs on the Audigy.

Taken from: http://htpcnews.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7150
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
TreeTop, YOU MADE MY DAY!!!! I wanted a simple sollution for the IR, and ill be! I thought I was gonna have to find an Ocelot, 7 differenct scripts, Girder into Homeseer, and pass commands through the message server via Cat5, find an InfRared room to room re-transmitter, 3 Cats whiskers and a Flux Capacitor to make this work ;) LOL!


Gonna get one of those cards here shortly! Thanks for the heads up!

You say it dials out to update... what is "Dials out"? :( Do you kow if it can be set to work with the DSL on the LAN?

Wow!, I am so simply happy right now knowing its gonna be just a matter of hooking up the IR blaster to the back of the tuner card, and sticking it to the Satelite STB. The whole process of involving an ocelot and scripts I was NOT looking forward to getting into.

Thanks much for the info and I will keep ya's posted on how it's comming. The case wont be here till Tuesday, so I have a bare motherboard tied into everything layed out on the bench just planning it all out and setting up all the software ect.


As for the case, yea it will fit right into my entertainment rack in the living room, and no one will be the wiser that it is actually a PC running XP :) I was looking at all sorts of MC cases, so many of them are just outrageously priced! THis one looks nice, and is cheaper than my Case for my main computer :)

Keep the great ideas coming!
 

Treetop

Active Member
You say it dials out to update... what is "Dials out"?  Do you kow if it can be set to work with the DSL on the LAN?

LOL...
You can use DSL, Cable or even a good old 56k modem.

And thank you for your heads up on the wireless mics ;)
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
TreeTop, Looks like we were typing the last 2 messages at the same time ;) You beat me to the ADD REPLY .

I just went and checke out the link, I am hapier than I was in my last message hehehe $99 for the Tuner card, AND the MCE remote! So just one bill more and I am about done with this thing! Very kewl.... Well not really, I need to get another 200Gig drive for in the MCE (Just bought one for THIS machine about a month ago) THe MCE only has a 100 Gig as the main drive (partitioned as 10 for the OS and programs, and 80 for MP3, Pictures and other small media) I will add the 200 as a second, just for the TV usage.

I read the info on the sound card, I printed it out and will take it in to concideration when I am setting all the final touches up and make sure it is all working correctly.

I wont be using MCE for MP3 playback at all. I found a program called ThePCJukebox. It BLOWS ANYTHING away I have seen yet for home use. I downloaded the trial a few months ago, and bought it the same day after installing it! If all of your MP3's have the correct ID3 tags, it will work "out of the box" by just pointing it to your MP3 folder. It will organize, download album covers and set itself up automatically. I have been using with a touchscreen for a few months now. You can check it out at ThePCJukebox.com if anyone is interested.

I will be running that on the MCE, in combination with the MCE software.
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Wow, here I go posting again already! Ok, I just check out the specs on the WinTV-PVR-150MCE and it loos great! It has its own encoder on board as to not tie up the computers CPU. On Haupages site, it mentiones that you can use SAGE TV or Beyone TV with the card as well. Again this is all kinda new to me.... I am looking to be able to pause and rewind live TV. I see no mention in any of the reviews or on Haupages site at all.

Would either SAGE or BeyondTv "add" these capabilities? I know it is just a matter of software, but it dosent look like the Haaupage Software is set up to do this. If SAGE or Beyone can, would that still pump the video through MCE, or would it then have to be in it's own seperate window.

Has anyone else here set this card up to do this, and if so what additional software would be required?
 

Treetop

Active Member
You don't need anything else! You are all set for music and tv (tivo-like) with MCE alone.

I use BeyondTV for my PVR app, but that may change in the near future.

The PVR-150MCE does not come with any software, and to be honest, thats a good thing. The software that comes with the card is okay for simple viewing, but not as a PVR solution.

The major players (commercial) for PVRing BeyonTv, sAGE, MCE, and soon to be released Meedio. Since you have MCE you are good to go.

How many pci slots does your MB have? I only bring this up in case you wish to add a second tuner in the future (so you can record and watch a different program at the same time). You can always go for a USB tuner if you run out of slots...

A good place to look for info concerning MCE is The Green Button. But be sure to bring any and all knowledge that you acquire back here to share with us ;)
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Very good to hear. I wasnt sure if media center relied on the drivers that came with the 150 for its functionality or not.

As far as PCI slots go, I am in very good shape there hehe This case takes a full ATX MB, so I have 5 PCI's and one AGP. With the modem(FOr caller ID) and the Sound card, I still have 3 slots left for expansion. The case also comes with a 300w PS, so that should be plenty.

Will check out the GreenButton later this evening and see what it's all about. As far as knowledge with MCE, this area is a new realm for me, and I am all but useless! Ask me about VB, ASP, Networking, Home Automation, Web page design, removal of adaware, spyware, hacking, vehicle mechanical problems, Photography, carpentry, or piloting (single prop job's), and I am good to go however ;)

TreeTop, you have given me nothing but good news today, I dont know where you are located, but I owe you a few drinks!
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
PVR-150MCE

Has a port for an IR blaster that MCE can use to change channels on the STB.

As far as remote controls. You will need the MCE 2k5 remote and receiver (the 2k4 version wont work with 2005).

pcalchemyhas some good prices and a great reputation.

As far as the guide goes, its built into the app itself and dials out everynight to update the info. Not sure how far in advanced it goes, probably around 14 days (just a guess).

Im still debating on weher or not to pick this up myself... let us know how it goes.

BTW, Sweet case!

MCE 2005 will work fine with the 2004 remote (it's how I am using it), but the 2005 remote is much cooler as it is also a learning remote, has a better button layout and some other neat features. The PVR150MCE does not have a port for an IR blaster, you basically have to buy that MCE remote+transceiver (around $32 on PCAlchemy) which plugs into a USB port on your MCE machine.

Because of this transceiver, you can control the satellite set top box through MCE, just like an internal tuner, and the guide supports it too if I am not mistaken, so you should be all set. I personally wouldn't bother with HDTV cards yet as none of the supported cards support hardware encoding/decoding, so your cpu will be maxed out.
 

Treetop

Active Member
DOH! Its the retail version of the PVR-150 that has the IR blaster :(

I was looking at the box (got the retail for x-mas)....

And the MCE 2k4 remote works with 2k5? All the buttons work? I had read that it didn't.... go figure ;)
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Hey E!

The $99 quoted above was for a combo pack, on PCAlchemy for the MCE 2005 remote, with the blaster and receiver, AND the PVR-150CE. You could find the 2 of them a couple dollars ceaper in different places by shopping around, but the seperate shipping would bring you back to the same price anyways ;) I dont care, I just like thats another $100 and I will be reado to get this thing going hehe.

So the remote is propritery to MCE and can't be used with other applications at all, that sux. Would have been nice to have HS be able to send IR commands throu it, oh well. Hopefully somewhere down the road someone with crack the MSIR xmitter, and it could be used, but I won't hold my breath...... Sounds like a FANTASTIC HS plugin though (hint hint to you programmers out there :( )
 

Treetop

Active Member
Would have been nice to have HS be able to send IR commands throu it, oh well.

Just what does that $60 plug-in do, anyways? I thought that would be part of it. Is it just a page for showing off and controlling your devices? Junk!
 

WayneW

Senior Member
The $99 bundle at pcalchemy allows you to add the nVidia DVD decoder for $10, which is $20 from nVidia.

I already got the PVR-150MCE at Amazon for $66 (haven't installed it) and was planning on getting the MCE2005 remote control & transceiver for $32 from pcalchemy. But I may return the Amazon card to get the pcalchemy bundle because the nVidia DVD decoder is the best decoder and you must get a decoder someplace, right?
 
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