The Ultimate Windows Media Center Build and Troubleshooting Guide

After many years (and iterations) of Windows Media Center PCs, I have finally arrived to a place where the benefits outweigh the issues and I have full approval from the ‘Board’. Take a look at all of the previous posts here: http://blogs.serioustek.net/post/category/fine-tuning-media-center-7 We are now using HTPC Windows Media Center PCs on our Primary TVs and for once, everything is working perfectly, and there are ZERO ‘weird little issues’ that I have to explain away … Read more…

Intel NUC i5 HTPC Review

The Intel NUC looked appealing ever since I first saw it – it provides HD 4000 graphics, an i3 or i5 processor, an SSD, HDMI output,¬†and 1Gb LAN all in a 4″ by 4″ by 1″ package that can even mount on the back of a monitor with a VESA mount. Here’s the Intel reference page: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/desktop-motherboards/nuc-i5.html When my son started crawling and pulling himself up on things, he became VERY interested in buttons and … Read more…

FoxConn R10-H1 Review

I recently built a cable-box replacement system using a FoxConn R10-H1 barebone system. It is essentially a case, power supply and motherboard all-in-one (plus some extras in this case – a heat-sink fan assembly). Here’s a link to the system on NewEgg. After having several AMD systems in the past, this was the first Intel setup I have had in some time. It has gigabit ethernet, and an HDMI port – perfect for an HTPC. Here’s a … Read more…

Streaming Live TV over a Wireless Network with the HDHomeRun Prime

With the recent purchase of the HDHR3-CC, I had been hoping to eliminate one of the cheap-no-HD-no-guide cable boxes and replace it with an ultra-fast, SSD based PC. The PC works great….the problem is the network – or more specifically, the lack of a wired network to the PC in question. So I purchased a wireless adapter…then I realized that I still have a Wireless-G access point, and I am therefore limited to 54Mbps (if … Read more…

HDHomeRun HDHR3-CC Review

I did not think I would be coming down this road again…but after hearing some great things about the HDHomeRun prime and sharing cable card tuners over the network – there I was at the Verizon store picking up an M-Card. I picked up the HDHR3-CC when I heard that you could share 3 tuners accross any devices on your network…the HD channels even worked over wifi…the tuner itself stays powered on while the PCs … Read more…

Denon AVR-2112CI Review – Networking

In an effort to replace lost functionality, I recently upgraded the AV Receiver to a network capable Denon AVR-2112CI. The full documentation is here, so I’ll spare those details. Going from a receiver with no HDMI inputs to one with several was a major bonus. Plus it is network-capable, which makes it that much better. After 2 firmware updates, everything is working great. The Pandora Radio app, internet radio, and DLNA music are great – … Read more…

Fine Tuning Media Center 7 – Is it all worth it – Part 2

A while back, I had “given up” on using a Media Center PC, sold the digital cable tuner cards, and moved on to the old standby – a service provider set-top-box, hoping to use other devices and DLNA to replace some of the lost functionality. Let’s just say that even with DLNA libraries, Netflix, and OnDemand…a purpose build Media Center is nearly impossible to replace…that was before I owned an XBOX 360. Enter the Media Center … Read more…

Windows 7 Streaming: Media on an External Drive

In an effort to preserve some functionality of not having a dedicated Media Center PC (see this post for more), I have a Windows 7 VM with media streaming enabled. What does that mean? It means that any DLNA enabled device can see my media library and stream its contents. I recently needed to add more storage space to said VM, and in doing so moved all media to the new E:\ drive. Then the problems … Read more…

Fine Tuning Media Center 7 – Is it all worth it?

See Part 2 here. I didn’t think that it would come to this…but we have finally switched to a cable box, and I’ll be re-purposing the Media Center PC shortly. This post has 2 purposes: 1. To help me make sure I did the right thing and work out ways to get functionality back. 2. Help anyone that is thinking about going this route make the decision. We have used a Media Center based TV … Read more…

Fine Tuning Media Center 7 – Media Storage

There are several ways to create a media ‘store’ with an HTPC- Store everything on a single local drive (this drive will also hold the OS) Store everything on a network share Store everything on a second local drive Store everything on an external USB\eSATA drive I think the last 2 options provide the easiest and best solutions – especially for large amounts of media. The problem with storing everything on a single local drive, and … Read more…