How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

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How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby Apoptosis » Thu May 13, 2010 7:29 am

How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Everyone wants to see Windows 7 information and today Legit Reviews shows you how to install Windows 7 Ultimate on one of our personal home theater systems! We also show you basic setup of Windows Media Center and Media Browser. Follow through as we have over 25 pictures that will walk you through installation of the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate! This is a must read for anyone that is thinking of installing Windows 7.

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For most enthusiasts installing Windows 7 is a breeze, a far cry from the cumbersome install of Windows 95/98/ME/2000. Windows Vista and 7 are extremely simple to setup, requiring almost no input from the user, even someone who knows very little about computers can run through the setup with an easy to follow guide. Today we’re going to run through the basics of setting up Windows 7 Ultimate for use in a HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer). We’ll cover the initial set up, configuration of Windows Media Center, setting up Media Browser for DVD/Blu-ray/HD-DVD playback, and talk about the Sleep modes. We are not going to get into the different codecs needed for .mkv’s and other transocded files as that is beyond the scope of this article. Our focus is for a novice who is interested in a HTPC but lacks the background knowledge of how to get it going.



Article Title: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1300/1/
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby Major_A » Thu May 13, 2010 7:53 am

I know you guys are backed up with reviews but it would be interesting to see your take on Media Center against SageTV or BeyondTV.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby Apoptosis » Thu May 13, 2010 8:29 am

Brian will be doing a review on the ASRock HTPC that he installed Windows on next, but that doesn't sound like a bad idea of a review.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby Bwall » Thu May 13, 2010 8:57 am

Major_A wrote:I know you guys are backed up with reviews but it would be interesting to see your take on Media Center against SageTV or BeyondTV.

Thanks for the feeback! I had not thought about Sage or Beyond TV as options.

I have not used SageTV but I have read good things about it.
I was a loyal owner/user of Beyond TV 3, paid to upgrade to 4 as well as owning Beyond TV Link, but it's been a couple of years now since I've used it. I made the switch to Vista Media Center and then Win7 Media Center for the ease of being able to do everything that I wanted to easily. Beyond TV is great for recording and watching TV but it's really lacking on the user interface and plug-in support on anything but Television.
Don't forget about Windows Media Center extenders such as the XBOX 360 that can access the tuner card to stream live TV!
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby hnzw_rui » Thu May 13, 2010 9:16 am

Bwall wrote:Don't forget about Windows Media Center extenders such as the XBOX 360 that can access the tuner card to stream live TV!

That's pretty much the only extender available nowadays (at least one that's not built into the TV). Microsoft, oh, Microsoft, when will you give us softsled? Or maybe tuner sharing and centralized EPG?
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby Major_A » Thu May 13, 2010 9:49 am

I've been using SageTV for 5 years give or take. Superior to Media Center in every way, except it requires Java to run. It records as MPEG files, you have a lot more control over where it saves, the recording bitrate, file conversions, and media import options. The downsides to SageTV and BeyondTV are the initial setup. They aren't as easy as Media Center but once you get the hang of it you can do it in roughly the same amount of time.

Recently I added a OTA HD tuner to a PC and have been playing with the new Media Center. I haven't spent much time on it other than having it record HD episodes of regular TV shows I watch. The downside is I have to use TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress to convert the file over to MPEG then use MPEG-VCR to edit out the commercials.

EDIT - Added a few images of SageTV
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Last edited by Major_A on Thu May 13, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby Apoptosis » Thu May 13, 2010 12:06 pm

The only downside to something like Sage TV is the cost right? $80 on top of Windows. For the average consumer is it worth the extra $80 or just more the advanced user?
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby hnzw_rui » Thu May 13, 2010 12:25 pm

Apoptosis wrote:The only downside to something like Sage TV is the cost right? $80 on top of Windows. For the average consumer is it worth the extra $80 or just more the advanced user?

Probably not. SageTV and BeyondTV are more suitable for people looking to deploy whole house HTPC set-ups. One alternative that wasn't mentioned is MediaPortal (free). XBMC looks really nice but iirc, it doesn't have Live TV/DVR capability. I actually used GB-PVR and it works great as a DVR. However, it doesn't really compare to WMC+MediaBrowser/MyMovies, etc when it comes to the "full HTPC experience".

By the way, those Sage screenshots look kinda ugly. It should be noted that it's possible to prettify Sage so it looks more like XBMC rather than the above...
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby Major_A » Thu May 13, 2010 1:33 pm

I think I picked up SageTV for $30 then paid another $20 for the upgrade to version 6.

The pictures look like crap because rather than take screenshots I used my P&S. Yes they look like poo, I was being lazy.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby kojak71 » Thu May 13, 2010 2:11 pm

We’ll cover the initial set up, configuration of Windows Media Center, setting up Media Browser for DVD/Blu-ray/HD-DVD playback, and talk about the Sleep modes.

I couldn't find any further mention of sleep modes in your guide, or am I going blind?
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby hnzw_rui » Thu May 13, 2010 2:19 pm

Major_A wrote:The pictures look like crap because rather than take screenshots I used my P&S. Yes they look like poo, I was being lazy.

Wasn't exactly referring to the pictures themselves. It was more in reference to the UI/display.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby jtennison » Fri May 14, 2010 8:24 am

Apoptosis wrote:The only downside to something like Sage TV is the cost right? $80 on top of Windows. For the average consumer is it worth the extra $80 or just more the advanced user?



There is one other major downside for many of us. If you live in the U.S. and your video source is cableTV (Cox, Comcast, Time-Warner, etc) , there is no support for CableCards within SageTV. This means inability to records encrypted or premium cable shows. There is a new version (vers 7) of SageTV under development, but the developers have not yet indicated whether it will or will not support CableCards.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby hnzw_rui » Fri May 14, 2010 9:41 am

jtennison wrote:If you live in the U.S. and your video source is cableTV (Cox, Comcast, Time-Warner, etc) , there is no support for CableCards within SageTV.

Ahh, CableCARD. Now that truly is the realm of HTPC enthusiasts. I don't think your average Joe will be willing to spend $250~400 on a CableCARD tuner. As for official support in SageTV, iirc, Microsoft had to put millions in escrow to get Windows Media Center licensed. Not sure if Sage will be willing to do the same. There's also the matter of DRM. If Sage adds CableCARD support, they need to add some form of DRM to recorded shows marked copy once.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby KnightRid » Sat May 15, 2010 5:56 am

I still stand by my take on the worst thing about these HTPC systems is the fact satellite does not do well on them and digital cable can be scrambled to be non-usable.

For my DirecTV HD setup, I would have to have the box on the same channel I want to record and I can only record 1 channel per box. If I wanted to record 3 shows taht are on at the same time, I would need 3 capture cards (or ones that can do multiple inputs) plus i would have to have 3 DirecTV boxes to tune the stations in. I know about OTA HD but locally it just sux trying to get any signals that are constant. Scrambled digital cable is the same way.

I just do not get why a HTPC would even be considered for recording shows any more. There are just too many drawbacks.

Now if someone would find a way to record multiple channels at the same time from one satellite box, then I would jump right on it. That will never happen though :(

Maybe I am just old fashioned where analog cable would let you tune channels directly on your pc and record multiple channels at once if the capture card had dual tuners. You did not need cable/sat boxes to control the channels and decryption, you could put 10 capture cards in one system and capture 10 different things at once, if your computer could handle it.

I have been looking for a way for a LONG time to capture shows on one of my computers from my DirecTV HD box. With having to have the box on the same channel as I am recording, defeats the entire thing.

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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby hnzw_rui » Sat May 15, 2010 9:59 am

KnightRid wrote:I just do not get why a HTPC would even be considered for recording shows any more. There are just too many drawbacks.

I cancelled cable service and saved myself $100+taxes/month. I just rely on OTA and Netflix for content. Oh, Amazon, too, for the occasional Blu-ray purchase for movies worth watching again. That extra $1,200/year goes a long way in computer parts, even considering a 3-HTPC set-up. :mrgreen:

Having limited access to sports does kinda suck, though.
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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby KnightRid » Sun May 16, 2010 5:55 am

hnzw_rui wrote:
KnightRid wrote:I just do not get why a HTPC would even be considered for recording shows any more. There are just too many drawbacks.

I cancelled cable service and saved myself $100+taxes/month. I just rely on OTA and Netflix for content. Oh, Amazon, too, for the occasional Blu-ray purchase for movies worth watching again. That extra $1,200/year goes a long way in computer parts, even considering a 3-HTPC set-up. :mrgreen:

Having limited access to sports does kinda suck, though.


A buddy of mine did that also. It is ok as long as you have access to OTA HD. You still have to pay for Netflix and I don't think the quality is comparable to HD on my 50" plasma.

Until bandwidth is increased in the US (Verizon - 3mb down and 768kb up - really? you call this broadband? *sigh*) you will still get a better picture from pay HD that you cant get OTA.

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Re: How To Install Windows 7 and Media Center on a HTPC

Postby hnzw_rui » Sun May 16, 2010 10:01 am

KnightRid wrote:A buddy of mine did that also. It is ok as long as you have access to OTA HD. You still have to pay for Netflix and I don't think the quality is comparable to HD on my 50" plasma.

Until bandwidth is increased in the US (Verizon - 3mb down and 768kb up - really? you call this broadband? *sigh*) you will still get a better picture from pay HD that you cant get OTA.

I was already paying for Netflix even back when we had cable service. Besides, the $18/mo for Netflix is a lot more palatable than what I'm paying for cable considering I also get Blu-ray discs in the mail and the on demand is just extra. I do have 25mbps/2mbps cable internet, though ($60/mo). I was paying for both TV and internet before ($130) but after the promo period was up, they were going to increase the rates to $160 and they wouldn't give me the new promotions anymore. Forced to choose, I chose to keep fast internet. :mrgreen:
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