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Building The Ultimate Home Theater PC

Software Installation

Once we had installed all of the hardware, the first functional test could be run. Even while it was still open, we got a positive sign of life that prompted us to go ahead and close the Hiper case. The next step was necessarily to install an operating system. Our choice was the MediaCenter 2005 Edition from Microsoft. According to the advertising, this version of Windows XP can do everything that we expect from our HTPC. We'll see how much of that is true.

Microsoft Windows Media Center is supposed to provide playback of TV, music and movies.

Installing the MCE 2005 software and the driver went off without a hitch. Only the constant rebooting of Windows after every driver installation is nerve-racking. After countless restarts, it is finally ready. The first time Media Center is started, the actual multimedia center opens.

A few manual operations, and the new user interface is configured.

The Media Center software is adapted with just a few dialog boxes. Even integrating the TV combo card functions from the word go. This version of the Media Center software can be adapted for 260 different countries. After the TV and radio providers available for our country are loaded, the stations can be set for the TV card. If desired, an electronic program guide (EPG) can also be downloaded. This EPG is also used to control the recording functions later on.

Choosing the region (e.g. Germany, as can be seen in the picture)

Program list (TV program guide) for the next 14 days is loaded on installation.