Media Center TV Pack

For months (maybe more than a year) Microsoft has been working on an update of Media Center codenamed Fiji. The Media Center community was excited about rumored new features. The update was released last month as the TV Pack, but in a strange move Microsoft only released it to OEMs (companies who build PCs). The community, expecting a service pack or some other easy upgrade, was confused and angry. Of course nothing like this can be kept off the Internet and presently with a little searching you can find and download TV Pack.

My Media Center PC has been running fine, but I've been tempted by the new features of TV Pack. The most annoying thing about my current Media Center is no support of digital broadcast TV. Hello, Microsoft, analog TV is scheduled to go away February 2009. The TV Pack adds digital broadcast TV (ATSC) and program guide support along with a slew of other TV signal types (folks in the US are most excited about Clear QAM which allows reception of all unencrypted channels on cable, but many Media Center users fumed over no support for DirectTV and other satellite systems).

With two digital TV tuners in my Media Center PC, I finally couldn't stand the messed up program guide and took the plunge and installed TV Pack (following these instructions). The install went fine. The only extra thing I did was install beta drivers for my tuner cards that were reported to work better under TV Pack. Now I have program guide info for all the digital channels and a slick way to organize and group the channels to eliminate duplicates.

As long as I don't have any crashes or other problems, I'm happy with the upgrade.


I am Matt said...

What kind of tv card to you have? I have been toying with the media pc, but the streaming media seems to be working pretty well. On videos I can tell there is some choppiness. I don't know if it is the video, the large screen or the stream.

KanyonKris said...

I'm using two AverMedia M780 combo (analog/digital TV) PCIe cards. I've been happy with them. The beta 0.30 driver seems solid under TV Pack. This card is not quite as sensitive as my digital TV tuner box which pulls in channel 30 just fine but the tuner card has trouble (sometimes clear, other times blocky, and sometimes no signal at all). The card supports Clear QAM, but I haven't tried that yet.

I've tried a few streaming videos with Media Center. Sometimes it works great, other times it stutters. I have a 1.5 Mbps DSL connection.