Timeline for My
Windows Media Center Setup

Date

Item

09/14/04

My Dad took me to the Atlanta Fry’s Electronics store to get me a new computer for my birthday.   I decided that I wanted the computer to have a floppy drive (for running Solitaire Royal) and non-shared video. My dad wants me to have a refurbished computer and none fit my criteria so we leave empty handed.

09/16/04

My Dad took me back to the Atlanta Fry’s Electronics store to see if any new computers are in.  We leave with an HP a562n which I setup with the NMB Technologies RT8256CW+ keyboard, Microspeed Max-Trac trackball and Creative labs 2.1 speaker system from my old computer.  After a successful boot, I remove unwanted preloaded software, upgrade the O.S. from XP Home SP2 to XP Professional SP2, install software and migrate data.

I also used Partition Magic to partition the drive as on my old computer. I setup C:\ for the operating system, my programs, Window’s profiles and data for NetObjects Fusion which is best stored on the same drive as the program.  I setup D:\  for data.

Summer 2006

I installed a Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150 TV tuner configured to record TV with the provided software with data storage on a sub folder of D:\.  To provide better viewing I ran an S-Video cable from my video card’s TV out port to the line in video port of my TV and configured the multi-monitor settings for a cloned display.  I connected a DIN adapter to RCA cables and ran the cables to audio in ports on my TV.  By connecting the DINN adapter to my computer’s front side line out port I could redirect the audio output from the speakers on either side of the monitor to the speakers in the TV.

February 2007

I upgraded the O.S. to Vista Business and replaced the computers 2 512MB memory chips with 2 1GB memory chips.  After this problems with video arose as detailed in one of my Nvida Forums posts.

Nvidia was supposed to release newer drivers for Vista than what was shipped with the O.S., but plans were changed and the Vista driver installers provided by Nvidia would not detect GeForce 5 series cards.  Through a non Nvidia web site I was able to obtain modded regular and beta drivers that would install as they were released, but none fixed my video problems.  Sometime in the summer of 2007 I became unable to install newer drivers without device manager reporting a code 43 error.

Also when ever it was time for a scheduled TV recording to take place it would only happen if my monitor was not in power save mode and my screen saver was not active.  I would come back to the computer after a period of being away and upon moving my trackball pointer the TV recording program would load and proceed to record for the length specified for a program on the correct channel that had been scheduled to record hours ago.  If I was home when a recording was scheduled to start (I rarely watch anything live.) I could move the mouse pointer right before the schedule start time and the recording would happen as scheduled.

September 2007

I replaced the computers provided Nvidia GeForce FX5200 NV34 8X AGP video card with an ATI X1050 APG video card.  This addressed the video issues, but the TV recording issues still remained.

November 2007

To address the TV recording I upgraded the O.S. to Vista Ultimate via the new Vista O.S. upgrade feature.  This enabled me to setup Media center with my tuner, allowing all recordings to happen as scheduled and provide me with features I did not have before. I configured Media Center to store recording in D:\Recorded TV.  I noticed that during playback of TV Recordings there was sometimes choppy video coupled with audio skipping.

01/03/09

I installed a 500 GB SATA 3.5" Western Digital Hard Drive hard drive to replace the computer’s provided hard drive using my Acronis True Image software to migrate the existing partitions.  After booting the computer with the old drive removed so Windows would not set registry keys for key O.S. files to indicate they were located on the old drive I reinstalled it as a slave removing the computer’s floppy drive to make room.

I no longer needed the floppy drive as I discovered a way to make Solitaire Royal run while located in subdirectory of C:\games via DOS Box without it displaying an insert disk in C:\ prompt.

I setup the drive with one partition M:\ and reconfigured Media Center to store data on M:\Recorded TV.  This corrected the problem with choppy video and audio skipping during playback of recordings.

01/07/09

I experienced problems with the system that pointed to a faulty power supply and I installed 650 Watt Power Supply to address the problem.

01/18/09

I ordered a StarTech ICUSBAUDIOB 2 Channels USB Interface Black Audio Adapter which arrived later.  I installed this adapter and connected the DIN adapter that I had been connecting to my computer’s line out port to make audio playback of recordings easier.  By setting the default audio playback device to the USB adapter prior to loading Media Center it would ouput audio to the USB device causing it to play on the TV instead of the computers speakers.

01/21/09 - 02/09/09

I authored a Visual C#.Net 2008 program (my only working C# program as all of my other working programs were authored in VB.Net) called Windows Media Center Loader.  When this program is launched it changes the default audio playback device to the USB audio adapter and then loads Media Center.  Then it monitors the loaded status of Media Center.  When it detects that Media Center has been closed it resets the default Audio device back to the computer’s onboard sound card.

As this program has the playback device names hard-coded in the source code (I have not investigated how to port my VB.Net configuration file load code to C#.) and will only function if the Windows default permission on certain registry keys are altered it is not currently available for download.

July 2009

I learned about the Comcast World of More conversion.  As this would effect my Media Center installation’s ability to record shows in the future I decided I need a tuner that supports a cable card.  A quick check revealed that Centon model tuners require a PCI Express slot which my computer does not have.

I recalled having seen something about a network attached TV Tuner with HomeRun in the product name.  Investigation leads me to the SilconDust web site where I learn that their only shipping network tuner models do not support cable cards, but that an HDHomeRun Prime is in development which will.  I sign up for a newsletter so I can learn when the device is shipping.

September 2009

While watching a recording of Renovations Realties on the DIY network I saw a message from Comcast informing me that on 09/26/09 I would need a box to watch the DIY network.  I learned that the DIY network was moving from Channel 55 to Channel 121.  As I thought about what to do, so my access to the channel in Media Center would not be lost I noticed that Media Center was scheduled to record two of my regular shows at 9:00 P.M. on the same day during the next week.

When I tried to reschedule one of the shows to record during its 12:00 A.M. reair time I could not because a special show was setup to record.  Not realizing I had already seen the special show (I figured this out during playback.) I decided it was time for two tuners.  I installed a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 TV Tuner.

I thought this would provide access to the new Channel 121 via the QAM support, but it did not only giving me the ability to record two shows at the same time.  So I after an inquiry with Comcast I got an RNG110 set top box and an upgrade to Digital Starter.

With the setup top box properly connected to the PVR-150 (the HVR-1600 lacked a composite video socket) with an IR transmitter for channel changes I was able to properly access the DIY network again, but only live.  Trying to record resulted in a copy protection error, so I had to watch all episodes of Renovations Realties live.

October 2009

I upgraded the computer from Windows Vista Ultimate to Window 7 Ultimate.

Early 2010

I started getting copy protection errors for all recordings attempted with the PVR-150.  This forced to make sure that every Sunday there was an episode of the Amazing Race or The Next Food Network Star scheduled to record at 9:00 P.M. that any 9:00 P.M. recording of Holmes on Homes or Holmes Inspection recording was canceled and replaced with a scheduled recording for the 12:00 A.M. reair time.

I had read that the copy protection flag that blocks Media Center from recording a channel is supposed to only be sent down for premium channels when you get TV from Comcast and don’t have a cable card, so I decided to investigate.  I learned that that the RNG110 set top box sends down a copy protection flag for all channels in some cases with no known resolution.  Since I was planning to change out both PCI turners for a Prime when available I opted to continue working around the issue.

As of then the World of More more conversion had not yet happened so as long as I was home when episodes of renovation realties and Disaster House aired I would not miss seeing any shows.

Mid 2010

I exchanged the wide screen LCD monitor connected to the KVM switch for the two servers in my Dad’s office with my home computer’s 15” LCD monitor.   The monitor had come with the new reception computer my Dad had ordered and was replaced with another one, because we did not want a wide screen in reception.

Once the Monitor was hooked up I could not set it for the recommended 1680x1050 resolution do to the clone setup.  Switching to a dual display fixed the problem and after some registry tweaking I was able to get Media Center to always load on my TV which was configured as the non primary monitor.

2011

Things begin to happen with regards to my desired HDHome Run Prime setup.  See Timeline for My HDHomeRun Prime Setup.

02/25/13

I moved from my apartment to a condo within the same city.  I kept my TV services with Comcast.  I changed my internet from AT&T DSL Extreme 6.0 to Comast High Speed and discontinued my AT&T Land Line service.

I kept my HDHomeRun Prime conncted directly the computer as before, but I had to get a new account Comcast account since I was moving from a location with an upgrade to service provided by a bulk account to a location with no bulk account.

After activating my new cable card and reconfiguring Windows Media Center to account for the change in zip code viewing live TV to test revealed no issues and the next day my scheduled recordings occurred without any issues.

05/13/14

Add text to detail move to secondary computer and TV issue.

05/15/14 - 05/6/14

Add text to detail purchases of items for fix of TV out issue and how fix did not work.

05/17/14

I researched the TV out issue with the Nvidia card and determined the issue could not be fixed without soldering copper wiring on two pins of the S-Video cable.  I purchased an ATI X150 video card made by ATI from eBay to exchange for the Nvidia card so the secondary computer could have the same model of card as the primary computer which had not ever had in any issues with TV out..

05/21/14

The ATI X1050 video card arrived.

I removed the Nvidia drivers from the secondary computer and shut it down.  I installed the ATI X1050 video card.  I booted the computer back up and installed the latest Catalyst control center and drivers that support the X1050 card.

I checked the force TV detection box which resulted in my desktop background immediately appearing on the TV.

After that I changed the position of the listed monitors in the Windows screen resolution control panel application to have the secondary monitor (TV) shown to the left the primary monitor instead of the right for proper mouse pointer movement.  The TV is situated in the room to the left of the monitor.

At that point it looked like everything was a go.

05/23/14

I attempted playback of a recording, but found that the video had green and purple lines and blocks throughout it.  After trying several things to fix the problem I switched the newly installed video card in the secondary computer with the one in the primary computer.  This cured the problem.

08/31/15

I installed a new 1 TB Western Digital SATA in the secondary computer to replace the primary hard disk which was failing.

11/26/15

 

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