Every TV tuner comes with some sort of software to allow you to scan for stations, save favorite broadcasters, and schedule recordings DVR-style. Compared to the Windows Vista's Media Center software, most of the tuner-bundled apps we've tried look positively amateurish.
TV software from Terratec (top) and Hauppauge
It works, but generally performance is poor, we've found. KWorld's software, for instance, look bad and proved rather unstable. Seriously, with Media Center bundled with Windows Vista Home Premium, if you're upgrading your OS, or buying a new, Vista-equipped machine there seems little reason not to use Vista in preference to the tuner manufacturers' offerings.
Windows Vista TV tuner set-up
You'll be able to scan for channels, watch TV, pause and record from the comfort of your sofa with the added bonus of the MCE '10ft' interface on the screen and a decent remote control. On top of that you can expect that your tuner will come with a seven-day Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) but Vista's Media Center features a 14-day EPG.
RE: Why all the mucking about?
Mmm..there are people who can't get SKY+ as they are on a communal feed, ie no personal dish
RE: Vista Media Center 64 Woes pt. 2
Well one thing to check when searching for Vista hardware is that it has the MS Vista Compatible Logo not the MS Vista Capable logo. What's the difference? Well only Vista Compatible hardware is guaranteed to work in 32 bit and 64 bit versions! Even with the logo present there is not guarantee that it works with Vista MCE. (thanks a bunch MS)
Last time I checked Hauppauge's Nova T-500 Dual Tuner card did not support Vista 64 bit and they had no plans to support Vista 64 bit either.
So to all the eye-sayers please tell me of a TV card that has dual tuners and with Vista 64 MCE supports DVB-T subtitles, MHEG-5 digital teletext and Freeview playback?
Why all the mucking around someone asked when you can just get Sky+ or a Humax PVR-9200TS? Well I'd like a one box does it all solution for CD, DVD, blu-ray, Photos, TV (Freeview), web surfing and the odd occasional letter to the rellies. Whether or not that's achievable at all is another matter entirely!
I suspect by Christmas I'll be buying a PVR-9200TS and consigning the Media PC to the back room.
Vista still has really stupid problems
I just spent the weekend trying to get Vista media center to play video files.
For some unfathomable reason, Microsoft have arranged it so the media player component of Media Center does not use the same codecs as the stand-alone Windows Media Player 11...
After many hours of searching & trying various 'solutions', Media Center still does not recognise any files beyond the built-in types.
Media player handles them all.
Vista Media Center 64 Woes
I'm not sure if this applies to the 32-bit version of Vista MC, but I tried it with the "Vista Compatible" Compro E700 PCI-E Dual DVB-T tuner and MC found the card, found all the channels, but would not display any of them when you tried to watch them! Apparently more than this card is affected by the problem.
Also be prepared for a lack of Freeview now/next, 7-Day and Freeview playback EPG support in both MC and the cards own software. Most TV cards collect the EPG fro mthe internet and not from the broadcast EPG. Without Freeview Playback EPG support the likelihood of "Sky+" style series link and PDC recording is but a pipe dream.
Also, despite having album art defined for my music collection (i.e. folder.jpg) album art is often missing! It usually appears in the album views and for the first track on album playback, but all subsequent tracks have the artwork missing! Media Player does not have this problem at all though?!?!?
My opinion is that creating a Vista Media Centre PC is not for the faint hearted and it is not ready for mass market.
RE: Virgin Media Transmission
That is indeed true.
Apparently, You can get "hacked" cards that will allow you to receive all channels. But my question is, Would VM know?
VM make contact with the card as well. If you change your TV Service package from the S package to a L package, you don't get a new card (AFAIK)...