Tag Archives: HTPC

Deal of the day – Kingston V+100 SSD 96GB $104.88 after a $50 rebate

…and from a reputable seller nonetheless. Amazon has the Kingston SSD Now model SVP100S2/96G for a really good price of $154.88 minus $50 rebate makes it exactly $104.88 (vs $169.99 on NewEgg right now), no taxes and free shipping in most of the states. Good brand name, speeds of up to 230MB/sec read and 180MB/sec write and a good price right now makes it a winner. I have SSD drives in both my notebook and my Windows Media Center HTPC and believe me, nothing beats an under 25s boot from cold start to Windows 7 with Media Center loaded!

Just got it myself, expect a review soon!

You can download the rebate form Amazon’s website, valid if you order between today, 06/20 and 06/26/2011. The rebate form is also valid on a number of other SSD models/capacities from Kingston as well.

Genius LuxeMate T810 Review – Wireless Media Center Keyboard / Remote

Today I’ll review a very interesting product – the LuxeMate T810 Media Cruiser – a wireless Media Center keyboard / remote control manufactured by Genius and designed to stay on your lap and offer all the functions required to control your Media Center based HTPC. To be honest, I searched for a long time for the ideal HTPC controller and before the LuxeMate I used (and still use) my Harmony 880 remote together with Logitech diNovo Mini. While I still use the Harmony remote, the diNovo Mini is just too small for a comfortable use and has some range issues, so I kept looking. I was able to obtain a LuxeMate T810 wireless keyboard which seemed like a good choice for the task at hand (completely control my HTPC in a fast and reliable way) and my experience with it is described in this review. For reference, all my tests were performed using Windows 7. Read More…

SSD Deal of the Day – Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2/64GB 64GB SATA II

The good old Newegg has the Kingston 64GB SSD sporting 200MB/s transfer rates for reading and 110MB/s for writing, now for a really good $125 (after $15 rebate) price. Check them here. Using this SSD drive you can have your computer/notebook boot up in Windows 7 in under 30s. Check my other post about using a SSD drive with Windows 7 media Center HTPC. Hit the page after the break for full specs. Read More…

Auto login in Windows Vista and Windows 7

If you have a home computer and you want to skip the password input every time you boot your computer, there is a simple way in Windows Vista and Windows 7 to do this. I do not recommend to to this with your work computer or your laptop (that you might loose) but if you are using a home theater PC it might be a good idea, so here it is.

1. Go to Start->Run or press Windows key + R. A new windows will pop-up. In it, write “control userpasswords2” and hit OK.

2. A new dialog will display, populated with your current windows users. Select the user name you want to Read More…

How to watch and organize your movies – Media Browser, the best 7MC plug-in

Introduction:

I promised an in-depth look of the mediabrowser plug-in for Windows Media Center and I am ready to deliver. My experience with mediabrowser started more than a year ago after I built my first Home Theater PC (HTPC). I used for a while the Movie Library provided as default, but something was lacking. After a while, I installed My Movies but it just wasn’t reliable enough for my configuration. I store all my movies on a central server and , My Movies client just didn’t work properly. So I looked around some more and found mediabrowser, a plug-in which at the time wasn’t as mature as My Movies but worked better for my configuration.

I will start describing mediabrowser by using it’s authors own words:

Formerly known as Video Browser, Media Browser is a personal media aggregator that takes your recorded, digital, or ripped media and presents it in a simple, easy to use interface. Media Browser prides itself on delivering a fast, intuitive, media rich experience for the whole family.

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My Home Theater PC Story – The software – Windows Media Center

I promised to blog about my HTPC software configuration, so here it is:

As we all know, nothing works anymore without software, as buggy and inefficient some of it it.  But I am here now, to talk a little bit about that software used specifically for entertainment. I was always a fan of Windows Media Center, starting with its earliest incarnations inside Windows XP, but we have come a long way since then…not necessarily in terms of what is offered out of the box (although Netflix and Internet TV integration are something to write home about), but especially in terms of plug-ins.

Talking about plug-ins, as a personal opinion, we would see way more if Microsoft would move their corporate might and create a Marketplace for Media Center, but it may be that WMC did not penetrate in terms of usage as much as an iPhone would do, and probably never will. It is just us, the technology aficionados…

OK, enough ranting. I will start by saying that I don’t use WMC for watching TV, so no TV tuners are involved. For TV, I have a VIP 722 Dish Network DVR that serves me well. And, when VIP 922 will come, I will get that as well. My current software configuration is oriented around consuming the media I already have (my legal purchased DVDs stored on a server for convenience), my music, family movies and pictures and access to any media available online (HULU, YouTube and Netflix mostly). Lately, I found WMC plug-ins to access Facebook pictures as well, so life is pretty good.

Here is a brief description:

Operating System – Windows 7 Home Premium, 32bit. The reason for choosing 32bit instead of 64bit is due to compatibility issues many of the plug-ins still have with 32bit. Because I don’t have that much time to tinker around, I choose the safe path.

Windows 7 Codecs – Windows 7 codec pack offered by Shark007. Nothing else! Shark007 covers everything I need in terms of codecs, from DIVX to MKV containers with H264 and DTS, including the dreaded MOV format from some of the current digital cameras. I never found any format that this plug-in pack won’t play. Alternative hardware accelerated (DXVA) H264 codecs are also provided to be used by all players.

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Media aggregatormediabrowser is by far the best (in my opinion) plugin for WMC. It takes your recorded, digital or ripped media and presents it in several absolutely Read More…

My Home Theater PC Story – The hardware

Introduction:

I like to have everything at a finger’s touch so I started to build a home theater system more than a year ago. Since then the system went through several upgrades, both hardware and software but functionality is the same: To provide me with easy access to my movie library and also with TV access to continuously growing offer of digital media available online.

My main goals for a Home Theater PC were the following:

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1. Good looking case that would integrate easily with my other components

2. Able to play everything there is (and that includes 1080p stuff). As simple as that.

3. Low noise level

4.Reasonable price (under $1000)

5.Fast boot time

6.Remote control capability

Configuration:

Read More…

To SSD or not ? How Intel X25-M Solid State Drive performs in a HTPC

I use my HTPC every day to watch movies, but I don’t like to wait until it boots. To be honest, it was never that slow to boot, I have a AMD Phenom II X4 Deneb at 3.0Ghz on a Asus M4A785-M motherboard, and the system is pretty nimble as it is. However, there is always room to grow, so after a long wait I got myself the Intel X25-M SSD.

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At 80GB, the size is perfect for a HTPC, a Windows 7 installation plus various 7MC  plug-ins only takes about 25GB with enough to spare for additional media-related applications.

Installation:

Read More…

My Home Theater System

I built myself a really nice Home Theater System around my LG 60PS80 Plasma TV, VSX82-TXS Pioneer Receiver and a custom build HTPC. I will add more details in the following days, when I’ll begin a new series related to Windows 7 Media Center (7MC) and various available plug-ins. Stay tuned. Meantime, enjoy these pictures.

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