Advantages User Friendly, Easy to Use, Value for Money, Comprehensive Operating System.
Disadvantages Poor Documentation, Titanic Struggle Installing Operating System
I have a DVD player, CD Player, A/V Amplifier sitting in my front room all linked to my LCD TV and Sky Digi Box. They all work fine but it does take up quite a bit of room and I'd realistically like an HTPC set up to bring my multimedia module into one unit!Enter Windows Media Center 2005!
My setup consists of a Silverstone LC16M Case which houses an Asus A8N-SLi Motherboard, Hauppage PVR 250, Maxtor Diamond Max 250GB Hard Drive, 1GB Crucial Dual Channel DDR Memory to name just the main core of my system.
You will be supplied with two CD's, a Setup Guide and a Product Key to be placed on your system. To make full use of Media Center it is recommended that you also purchase a Media Center Remote Control & Extender.
Installation of most Windows Software is fairly straightforward. Not so with Windows Media Center 2005. The Setup guide supplied with the software will provide you with various configurations for your HTPC, unfortunately, it will not give you any help with loading the software. It took me a number of days to get this installed on my system only to stumble across the information I needed to complete the installation by visiting a forum.A note for anyone purchasing this software. Make sure that your system is fully compatible by visiting the Microsoft website otherwise you may find the software will not load.
When asked for the SP2 CD, re-insert Media Center Disc One as this is where it is located. Do not insert a seperate standalone Service Pack 2 CD or other copy of the software as this will not work and the software will not be installed.Once you get passed this part you should be home and dry by just following the onscreen prompts.
Once you have the operating system up and running you'll then have the option to personlise your own setup. This will give you the option of first installing your ISP/Broadband settings so your system can access the web immediately. As per usual, ensure that you install a virus protector prior to going online!
Setting Up Media Center 2005.
You then have other options which include incorporating your photos, music and videos onto your system. If you have a Media Center 2005 compatible PVR Card as part of your setup and you are connected via an aeiral, set top box or digi box then you can search for a feed. You have the option of where to save your media and to help speed up your system it may be recommended that you store this all on a seperate drive, something I will aim to do soon.There are a series of prompts to help you go through the setup process which is quite succinct allowing you to override one or all parts. You can choose not to setup the system fully initially and do this the next time you log into your system.
I did find the support on the Microsoft website good although I have found some useful informaiton on other sites.
I think this has to be the best system that Microsoft has produced to date. It is easy to use, comes with an array of bundled applications that are well integrated and quite straigtforward to use.
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