New HTPC in the works. (The software)

So. A PC-box aint good for nothing if it hasn’t got any thing on it. Ok.. ..how many Vista fans are there out there? Ok.. ..maybe not that many, but I’m sticking to Vista because my overall experience has been good. I first installed it on my PC in September last year, and after some casual restarts I updated my BIOS and it’s been swell after that. Only complaint is that the BIOS update didn’t work with cool’n’quiet.. Bummer.. Anywho.. ..here’s the list of the software:

Microsoft Vista Premium Retail

The reasons for choosing retail over OEM is that it’s not bound to the motherboard and you can switch between 32-bit and 64-bit. I’ll try Ubuntu at some point, maybe in dual-boot, but I just think it still is easier to set up a HTPC in Windows.  The price on the retail-versions has come a long way down after I bought my OEM version in september last year. But it was still the priceiest single item on my shopping list, the Antec Fusion cost about 3/4 of the Vista. I almost feel cheated..

MediaPortal

Link: www.team-mediaportal.com

This is a freeware alternative to Windows Media Centre. It has some good features, like you can have a computer anywhere in the house that function as a TVserver and the it can stream TV to other PC’s in the house. They are currently working on a complete makeover of the software that looks promising, I haven’t tried the beta yet (running their “old” software on my current setup) but as soon as I got my new PC up and running, I’m going to take a shot at it..

  • Freeware
  • Has lots of great plugins
  • Has a large community
  • Hopefully it will run more smoothly than on my current setup.

Cyberlinks PowerDVD Deluxe/Ultra

link: www.cyberlink.com

I need the MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) decoder to be able to watch our terrestial TV here in Norway, plus it’s a good player that offers hardware decoding. Since I havn’t read all there is to read on the topic I don’t know if I could have solved it in another way, but I can’t be missing the mark by too much going this way.

AnyDVD / AnyDVD HD

link: www.slysoft.com

I’m not sure f I need this yet. I’ve just bought a DVD, “Home Improvement – season 4“, and because only the first three seasons is found here in europe (zone 2) I had to order it from the US. I have had another DVD-code hack on my PC, but it didn’t cooperate with my Virtual-CD software that well so I’ll be looking out for something else, and AnyDVD has got some fine reviews. But it still is a bit on the pricey side though..

I’ll also have some programs to ripp CD’s and DVD’s with, but that’s later. I got to get it up and running as a TV-set-top-box. Because in October they will turn off the analouge terrestial signal and only send digital. And that’s one of the reason I build this box..

..and that reminds me, I forgot some of the hardware I’ll be putting in the PC..

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