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…

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…

Media Center Extender With a Windows 7 VM

The XBOX 360 is proving more and more useful these days. First, there is the Verizon FiOS app (which I have not tried yet). But more importantly is the fact that it is a Media Center Extender (one of the best…and only, really). I had paired it to a desktop that I wasn’t really using and could leave powered on… But the real power came when I upgraded the lab\infrastructure to VMware. I never had … 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…

HP Compaq NC6000 Windows 7

Who says you can’t teach an old laptop new tricks? About 7 years ago, my Dad and I purchased new HP laptops – I needed one for school. The two that we purchased were very similar- the one I had was an HP\Compaq NX5000 and his was an HP\Compaq NC6000. They look nearly identical, but the NX model is maybe 1\4 inch wider. About a year ago mine died (or so I thought…another post for … Read more…