Adopting Media Center

Over the holidays, I started to clean up some redundant hardware at home. My daughters have been using an old laptop that really sucks so I set them up with re-incarnated desktop that I used to use as a TV PC. I decided to install Windows Media Center 2005 on that as I had picked up an OEM kit for testing that included the remote control. I ended up moving all of our music and pictures, along with some reorganizing on that machine. I also picked up the XBox Media Center Extender so we could view all that stuff in our living room.

A few personal observations on this setup.

  • The XBox interface is great. It's got a good user interface, both the visuals and the remote control that result in a pretty good wife acceptance factor. The price point of $99 CDN was great.
  • It's too bad you have to stick the DVD into the XBox every time you want to view stuff from your computer. A much better experience would have been to install it on a hard drive or something.
  • You think Microsoft would put a universal remote into the xbox media center extender remote control so I could turn on the tv?
  • My lamo Media Center is a home brew piece of junk (P3 800) but it does have an All In Wonder Radeon card in it. It's one of the original Radeon's. While I'm disappointed that the tuner isn't “MCE Compatible“ I'm surprised at how crappy the photo slide show is. Showing a slide show in any other software on this machine is just peachy.
  • My 6 year old is really fascinated with the fact that her name and picture show up on the login screen. It gives her a real sense of control I guess that this is her space. She got really upset when I disabled the guest account - she doesn't want anybody using her login. She's not exactly a touch typist so she doesn't have a password. I'm tempted to get the new MS fingerprint reading keyboard for user switching.
  • I think Microsoft should make a Media Center Extender for PC's. This might seem weird but, I want to control the media center from my laptop. Sure, I can Remote Desktop in to the machine. I'm required to change the local resource option to keep audio at the local machine so as to still hear the audio through our speakers vs. my laptop. The downside is that when I terminate my remote desktop session, it kills my session, and the audio. That sucks. I've also through about doing the remote assistance thing but from what I know, that requires passport, and I'd have to log into my account twice. Doesn't feel right either.
  • There is some weirdness with either the Windows Media Player catalog or the XBox Extender Catalog. I had cleaned up all my artist names on the media center machine locally - resolving the “AC/DC“, “ACDC“ and “AC DC“ variations. I can't find any other variations when I'm on the machine locally, but the media center extender on the xbox shows “AC“ and “AC/DC“. Argh! I've even done the Process Media Information Now menu option, but that didn't seem to fix the problem either.