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Awesome Media Centre Guide!

Poll Results: What do you use as a media centre?

 
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    Old PC
  • 100% (2)
    New PC
2 Total Votes  
post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Here is an awesome step by step guide on turning any old pc into an awesome media centre!


This guide will show you step by step on how to turn your old computer (or new if you choose) into an Awesome Media Center PC in order to watch movies, listen to music, play games, record television, browse the Internet and much more.

Hardware (Click to show)

A few things you will need:

I am using an older Dell (about 4 years old).
- Pentium 4 processor running at 2.66GHz. 1GB Ram.
- 250GB internal HDD
- 500GB External HDD
- Visiontek Radeon 9250 PCI card with DVI
- Envy24 Sound Card with Optical Out
- DVD/RW.

This computer and configuration works great for watching movies, listening to music, and playing old school arcade games!

Although this is what I'm using you could use any spec as long as it supports HD video you should be fine! thumb.gif
Software (Click to show)

MediaPortal.
This software is FREE to use and works very well! Make sure you download the latest version (.0.2.3.0 as the time of this writing) for the best results.

DVDShrink.
This software is FREE and is used to copy your dvd collection to your new Media Center PC.

CDex. This software is FREE and is used to copy your music collection to CD. Click Here for a very useful article on using CDex to copy your music CD's to mp3's. You can also use Windows Media Player to copy your CD's into wma files and listen to them using MediaPortal.

Daemon-Tools. This software is FREE and is used to mount the iso images that you build with DVDShrink.

NVidia PureVideo Decoder- Although this software isn't free. It is inexpensive and definately worth the money. It renders the DVD's beautifully and the sound is fantastic. I would suggest the platinum version if you can afford it. It does DTS Surround Sound format.
Cables (Click to show)

DVI to HDMI. This cable is used to connect the PC to the HDMI port on the back of your HDTV.

Mini Stereo to RCA Adapter. This adapter is used to convert the audio from the sound card to the HDTV or Surround Sound System.

Optical Digital Audio Cable. This cable is used ONLY if you have an optical port on the sound card and the Surround Sound System. If you don't have this port, you don't need this cable. Use the cable above instead. This gives you superior sound from the pc for your movies and music.
Media Remotes (Click to show)

Media Center Remote. This remote works great to control your MediaPortal software with no configuration. Just plug it in to an available usb port and your ready to go. This remote package comes with the USB IR Sensor and Remote.

Logitech Harmony. These remotes are so awesome. Get one of these and throw away all of your other remotes. This is the only one you will ever need. This remote actually saved my marriage :-).

USB IR Sensor. If you want to use a remote like the Logitech Harmony, then you need to purchase this separately. This plugs into the usb port on the computer to allow you to use a remote to control MediaPortal.
keyboards And Mouse (Click to show)
Gyration Keyboard & Mouse. I would suggest getting a wireless keyboard and mouse. Brand is of your preference, but if you want total freedom, I would suggest the Gyration.
Optimization Part 1: Installing Software! (Click to show)
Okay, so now you have the software and the hardware, let's put this thing together so that we can see it in action.

First let's plug the computer into the TV. Use the DVI to HDMI cable that you purchased and plug it into the back of the computer. This cable plugs into the White DVI connection on the back of the computer. The other end of the cable looks like a USB cable but bigger, this end plugs into the back of the TV. After you have that plugged in, use your TV's remote to switch the source to HDMI.

Now use the audio cables that you purchased to hook up the HDTV or Surround Sound. On the back of the TV, look for RCA ports that are red and white beside where you plugged in the HDMI cable above. If you don't see this, get out your owner's manual and find out which ports you should use on the back of your HDTV. If you are hooking up are surround sound system, the use this cable to plug into the back of the surround sound.

After the cable are plugged in, turn your PC on. You should be able to watch your pc boot up on your HDTV. If you don't see anything, you have something wrong. Your TV might have a HDMI1, HDMI2 and so on, use your remote to go through all sources and see if you get a picture on any of them.

When the PC has completed its boot up process and you are in Windows, then it is time to install the software. Open up internet explorer and download the software above. If you are not connected to the internet on this PC, then download software from another PC and burn it to a CD, then come back and we can finish.

Let's start by installing DVDShrink. After installation make sure you place an icon on the desktop for DVDShrink. Now install CDex and place an icon on the desktop for CDex. Now Daemon-Tools. After you install Daemon-Tools you will need to reboot your computer. If, during the installation, it asks how many drives you would like, select 1 and continue. Install the Nvidia PureVideo Decoder software. After you reboot, let's install MediaPortal. After installing MediaPortal you will also have to reboot the PC.
Optimization Part 2: General Settings (Click to show)
After the reboot, if MediaPortal starts, shut it down for the time being. Open MediaPortal Configuration. Click on General. Check these boxes:

Start MediaPortal in Full Screen Mode
Autohide Mouse Cursor
Show Special Mouse Controls
Don't Show File Extensions
Enable Animations
Autostart MediaPortal
Disable WindowsXP Balloon Tips
Hide Taskbar
MediaPortal Always on top
Enable GUI sound effects

Now click the + sign beside General to expand that section. Click on Daemon Tools. Check the box for Automount .iso/.bin files. In the Daemon Tools box,select the folder where Daemon Tools is installed (C:\Program Files\DAEMON Tools\daemon.exe). Virtual Drive is the drive letter for Daemon Tools. Drive Number should beset to 0. Don't check the box to ask before playing .iso/.bin files.

Expand the DVD section. Click on DVD Codec. For Video Codec, select NVidia Video Decoder. DVD Navigator, select DVD Navigator. Audio Renderer, select default Direct Sound Device. Audio Codec, select NVidia Audio Decoder.

Expand Movies Section. Click on Movie Folders. Click the add button at the bottom and select the folder where you are going to copy your dvd's to. I would suggest making a folder on your drives called DVDs, Music, Pictures for easier access. Now click movie extensions, in the box type .iso then click add. Click Movie Database and select imdb.com for the database server. Click Movie Player. Mpeg2 Video Decoder select NVidia Video Decoder. H.264 video decoder, select ffdshow Mpeg-4 Video Decoder. Audio Decoder, select NVidia Audio Decoder. Audio Renderer, select Default DirectSound Device.

Click on Weather, Click on Add, type in your zip code or city, state and click search. This will add local Weather to MediaPortal.

Click on OK and you are ready to go. Open MediaPortal and play around. If you don't have any movies is .iso format yet, pop in a DVD and start enjoying your new MediaPortal Media Center.
Media Center Weather Page

I am going to add more blogs as time allows to show you how to use DVD Shrink and other software. You can also visit the Team-MediaPortal website and check out some of the great skins and plugins that are available. If you have any questions about any of the features, feel free to leave me comments and I will answer them as soon as I can.


http://concal.hubpages.com/hub/MedicaCenter <= these guy's are awesome!

Hope you Enjoy your new Media Center as much as I enjoy mine. thumb.gif
Edited by Crazy_Clocker - 1/27/12 at 10:26am
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32gb Corsair Vengeance Low Profile @1866mhz Samsung 840 120gb Sony...I think Corsair H100 x2 One modded to fit onto dual gtx... 
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Windows 8 Professional x64 Tails Linux Live USB  LG IPS224V 22" Monitor  LG IPS224V 22" Monitor 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
IBM PowerPC Tri-Core @3.2ghz Foxconn With Built In Wireless N+  ATI Xenos @500mhz 512mb GDDR3 @ 700mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
320gb Western Digital Caviar Blue (h4x3d) Some Random Xbox Thingy 1x 140mm fan Xbox 2011 Metro Update 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
58inch Plasma  Standard Xbox Gamepad (Wireless With Batteries) Xbox Power Brick Matt Black Xbox 360 S Case 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Kinect For Xbox My Sofa HDMI Crap Loads Of Games 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
1.7ghz Dual Core Arm Cortex-A15 @ 2.1ghz  Samsung Mali t604  2gb 
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32gb Paranoid Android 4.2.1 10.055-inch diagonal PLS-backlit LCD with 16:10... lol wut? 
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4Chan Browser
(20 items)
 
 
Nexus 10
(15 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 3930k @4.5ghz  Asrock X79 Extreme9 Gigabyte Nvidia GTX 580 3gb W/C Gigabyte Nvidia GTX 580 3gb W/C 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
32gb Corsair Vengeance Low Profile @1866mhz Samsung 840 120gb Sony...I think Corsair H100 x2 One modded to fit onto dual gtx... 
OSOSMonitorMonitor
Windows 8 Professional x64 Tails Linux Live USB  LG IPS224V 22" Monitor  LG IPS224V 22" Monitor 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
LG IPS224V 22" Monitor Tesco Value Corsair AX1000 Coolermaster Storm Stryker 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Tesco Value :( Pink thing with butterflies Logitech Razer Onza Tournament Edition 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
IBM PowerPC Tri-Core @3.2ghz Foxconn With Built In Wireless N+  ATI Xenos @500mhz 512mb GDDR3 @ 700mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
320gb Western Digital Caviar Blue (h4x3d) Some Random Xbox Thingy 1x 140mm fan Xbox 2011 Metro Update 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
58inch Plasma  Standard Xbox Gamepad (Wireless With Batteries) Xbox Power Brick Matt Black Xbox 360 S Case 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Kinect For Xbox My Sofa HDMI Crap Loads Of Games 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
1.7ghz Dual Core Arm Cortex-A15 @ 2.1ghz  Samsung Mali t604  2gb 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
32gb Paranoid Android 4.2.1 10.055-inch diagonal PLS-backlit LCD with 16:10... lol wut? 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
9000mah battery Leather flip case/stand Capacitive Touchscreen Dual Stereo Speakers 
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post #2 of 5
nice copy and paste laughingsmiley.gif

http://concal.hubpages.com/hub/MedicaCenter
post #3 of 5
he atleast is not taking credit for it, he just needs to post a source link in his OP so the source can have credit.
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3xWD RE4 2tb Crucial M4 128gb none Corsair h80 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit HP ZR30w 30" IPS Corsair vengeance k60 Corsair hx850 
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post #4 of 5
Doesn't look that way to me
post #5 of 5
he has corrected it and now no credit other than coping.
Sharkbait
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2500k OC 4.6 Asrock p67 extreme 4 gen 3 Asus GTX 670 DirectCU ii top sli 16gb gskill ripsaw 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
3xWD RE4 2tb Crucial M4 128gb none Corsair h80 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit HP ZR30w 30" IPS Corsair vengeance k60 Corsair hx850 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Lian Li Lancool DragonLord K62R1 Corsair vengeance m60 Razor Large ASUS Xonar Essence STX 
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Sharkbait
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
3xWD RE4 2tb Crucial M4 128gb none Corsair h80 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit HP ZR30w 30" IPS Corsair vengeance k60 Corsair hx850 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Lian Li Lancool DragonLord K62R1 Corsair vengeance m60 Razor Large ASUS Xonar Essence STX 
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