Just couldn’t wait to get home Friday night so I could continue on with my Vista Media Center project — I know right, I’m so cool. I did take two hours off to watch We Own the Night on Blu-ray with my wife, but the rest of the night I hacked away on my VMC and I made a few strides.
First I installed Acronis True Image to do full image backup to the existing Dell recovery partition. Right now I’m doing it with the 15-day trial, but might pay the $50 since it supports imaging while Windows is running and will also do incremental imaging. I also finally remembered I already had a BT mouse, and I’m happy to report my Mighty Mouse is working with VMC nicely — yes I actually like the Mighty Mouse. Still no keyboard though, but thanks to Patrick’s tip in my last post, I have a very workable solution, while I wait for the relatively expensive BT keyboard (diNevo Mini) Grant told me about, to come down in price.
The last thing I did Friday night was to discover a way to transfer all my TiVo recordings to my Media Center. First I setup TiVo Desktop 2.6 to download all my shows to D:\TiVo — including new shows from cable channels — and then installed the fully functional trial of VideoReDo, and finally I installed and configured TVAP, which automatically watches my TiVo directory for the shows that have finished automatically transfered from my TiVo, then converts them into DVR-MS files and moves them to my Recorded TV directory. The coolest part is that all the meta data is there and fwd/rwd works, but for whatever reason the thumbnails don’t.
I got up Saturday morning, made a Latte, and took a nice walk with the family. Then when I got home I continued to fight with my IR system, I discovered that if I electrical tape the flasher to the to the sensor and move it away from the other flashers, it works better; but it is still annoying to use. I spent the next few hours rewiring all my equipment. I do a lot of testing in my rack and I never clean it up as I go, plus I used to have DirecTV and I left all the wires there even though I’d removed the H20. So after that was done — what a relief — I went on to reprogram my MainLobby Home Automation controller with a new macro for watching the VMC. I had to disabled sleep with the remote so I could use the IR signal from the button to kick off the macro. I still need to figure out how to do the volume and power, might build some logic into my macro, might replace the remote — more on that later.
So now that all that was done, I spent some more time adding all my family’s series recordings — almost 30 in all — and discovered I had a few conflicts and was reminded why I needed a CableCARD tuner. Then I remembered I had an old PCI V-Box Cat’s Eye ATSC tuner from another project and slapped it in. I tried to use MCE Tuner Extender, but it wouldn’t work, so I added an old USB MCE analog tuner I had — yes I have tons of crap like this all over the place — and after a few minutes fighting with the unintuitive interface, I had all four tuners working. After this, I was having problems updating guide data and thanks to Process Explorer it appeared the files where in use by WebGuide, so I stopped the services and was able to update, so I just removed the plug-in for now.
While I was wiring everything up, I discovered my ATI DVI to component adapter didn’t work on my ATI Radeon HD3650 video card, and based on the documentation, I came to the conclusion that component wasn’t an option. For those who don’t know, the reason I prefer component is because I have a Key Digital 8×3 component matrix switcher, and an HDMI matrix switch costs way too much — not to mention I like to make my own cables. I do have one 35-foot HDMI cable ran to my 60-inch Pioneer Kuro, but I use it for Blu-ray since component can’t carry 1080p24. So this revelation motivated me to sell my BD-P1000 on Amazon and buy a Lite-On Blu-ray player from Newegg for $129. I also took advantage of ArcSoft’s April Fools day sales — ends today enter code Fool08 at checkout — and got Total MediaTheater for $45. The Lite-On drive comes with Power DVD, but it doesn’t integrate with VMC very well.
Now that everything was working, I finally took some time to watch a few shows, some recorded on the VMC, some converted from the TiVo, I’m experiencing some judder, but not sure why or how yet. Will keep an eye on it, may try switching the output to 1080i.
I also spent some time tweeking the audio settings of ffdshow so it’d pass DTS, but then I was having some choppy playback on a few 1080p mkv files with DTS — you didn’t think I went without Paramount and Universal movies in HD did you? — so I switched it back to decode and re-encode as AC3.
I still have no idea where this thing is going to live, it’s just so big. Right now it’s on the top of my rack and looks like it might fall off at any minute, I may just have to wait until I sell my TiVos to find it a permanent home.
I also saw a deal on the Harmony One which I’ve had my eye on since CES, so I ordered one. I figure the worst case I’ll just sell it. But best case it’ll fix my IR repeater problem and make it easier for me to control the volume and power of my system since the VMC remote Dell included isn’t programmable. I used to have a Harmony 880 and I hated it, but after playing with the One at CES, I quickly realized they’d fixed all my gripes, but I was still not willing to pay $250, so it appears my wait is over.