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  What's so special about MS Media other than them trying to get another monopoly? 
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John Ingram Feb 02, 2005, 05:42pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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I have had everything in my PC doing what is being talked about as "new" for nearly 3 years now. Way back then I added a Digital TV card (gets around 30 free digital UK TV stations and about 20 digital radio stations free over the air) to a spare PCI slot for $70 (I am in the UK, everything here is more expensive!) , got a Infra Red remote for an old Packard Bell (UK Brand) PC on eBay for $10 then downloaded free software to get it working. I then connected my Soundblaster Live soundcard to my 5.1 surround sound and hi-fi, bought a $10 switcher and wired it though my VCR using the spare scart socket. 2 years ago I bought a DVD drive for my PC for around $60.

Now with a simple switch I could watch my digital TV and listen to my digital radio though my TV/Hi Fi, I could record TV or radio to my hardrive or VCR and now could watch DVD's through my TV through the same connections. I could also record from the TV card to my PC hardrive and have all the tvio options of live recording, etc.

The TV software allows it to start the PC up from hibernation, so I can record to harddrive or VCR on a timer as well (for those great 3am movies!). With the Monitor off and the PC in hibernation until record time and with a freeware "switchoff" program turning off the PC after recording, I could set my PC TV card to record, set the VCR and the timeoff software then put the PC in hibernation prior to bedtime all from my IR remote. Also, using the TV out on my new Nvidea card purchased 2 years ago and with a mouse control built into the remote, I can also use my PC via the TV as well.

Last year I purchased wireless connections and a digital switch (around $70) so now I don't have any wires going from my PC TV card, soundcard and graphic card to the switcher as before and do not need to get up to switch the PC computer screen or PC TV screen to the television screen.

So for an additional spend of under $250 over a 3 year period I have managed to have a PC system that will play through the TV, record TV and radio to either hardrive or VCR, do timed programming from my PC to hardrive or VCR and play DVD's through my TV screen. With my digital connections I do not have unsightly wires anymore and can switch between all the PC/TV/HiFi/DVD electronics from my $10 remote and a 2nd programmable multi-remote. (by the end of this year I hope to be down to one remote!!)

A manufacturer should have been selling these systems for many years now. To start doing this in a meaningful way in 2005 is a couple years too late. With digital TV, DVD players and TVIO etc, it's too late for the PC to be the hub of the entertainment in the home. It's more likely now that a digital TV will arrive that will let you do the net browsing, word processing and home accounts/tax returns/homework that most home PC's are used for, with a future console used for gaming and doubling up as a DVD player/TVIO recorder.

By the way, with scart sockets/connectors and rca sockets/plugs being so previlant, the above was not difficult to do at all. Just a trip to the electical store to get a lead that had x plug at one end and y plug at the other, or whatever once the hardware was in place.

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PCGEEK May 03, 2005, 06:57pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: What's so special about MS Media other than them trying to get another monopoly?
I use windows xp media center 2005 in all my PC's and just love it. Great OS.

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