Since I have built a new PC, it was up in the air to what I was going to do with the one that was replaced. After some thinking I thought that I could make a Media Center PC. Now I’m not too familiar with the MythTV or BeyondTV feel, but I have always liked the Windows interface. So that’s the route I decided to take.
Let me explain my intent here first. I already have a Dish DVR box, so I am not interested in running a line from that to my PC and back to the TV. Why else run a Media Center then? First off, I have a ton of music. Secondly I feel that it would be simple way to store movies and/or videos and to play them directly to the TV. Lastly, and most important, I have all the seasons of Lost downloaded and I’m only at the beginning of the second season… :)
The hardware that I will be using is a Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 and a Logitech Harmony 550. The Hauppauge comes with its own remote, but this version does not support MCE. I installed the card and their drivers along with the IR Remote software for the WinTV-PVR-350. (I’ve seen better software written by high school students!) Then I started up Media Center. I quickly found that I was able to perform basic commands with the Hauppauge remote, such as pausing/stopping my music. But I could not navigate Media Center in any way.
So then I set up a new device on my Harmony remote (a Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350). Again this would only control some of the features that I wanted. What I needed was the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500MCE which was designed specifically for Windows Media Center. I figured since I was out nothing, I went on Hauppauge’s website and took a look at the available downloads for the WinTV-PVR-500MCE card. I found that they have Media Center drivers for all there MCE edition cards. I downloaded and tried running the setup, but it immediately discovered that I was a fraud by complaining that I didn’t have the correct hardware installed. Looking through the downloaded folder though I found that there was an IR Remote executable. After I installed the IR software for the MCE cards, my remotes suddenly started working in Media Center!
Now I know that I’m using a Logitech Harmony to control my box, but I also confirmed that the original Hauppauge remote worked perfectly as well. This is the greatest thing since sliced bread!