Friday, September 12, 2008

Mediaportal, Vizio TV

Mediaportal( ) is an amazing piece of free mediacenter software. After setting up my Homeserver, I initially used the Windows Mediacenter available in Vista Home Premium. It has great interface and is an awesome product from microsoft. But it has its disadvantages, a few important ones like
  • Cannot play all kinds of video files (.avi,.mkv,.xvid,.divx, ISO Images etc.. etc..) without lot of setup
  • Importantly - can remember only one movie that you last watched

After doing some internet search, I stumbled upon mediaportal and boy...what a great product and that too free. It has all the features of Windows media center and much more. After downloading and installing the K-Lite Mega Codec pack, it plays any kind of crap file that you ask it to. Also more importantly, if it remembers every video that you have watched. So you can start and stop any time and continue it whenever..........that is really great. AFter setting up mediaportal and the other utilities needed to control it with remote, it is just a great experience.

Additionally, you have to download and setup the clone drive product to load ISO images automatically and play them from media portal.

My homeserver and my mediapc upstairs both run mediaportal and gives a consistent user interface. Also everything is controlled through the Harmony 880 or the Microsoft remote.

I also want to mention the amazing picture and colors on the Vizio 1080P TV. OTA HD programming looks stunning and for hundreds of dollars less than a sony/samsung, Vizio is the way to go. They make great TV's and in prices that we can afford. Blacklevels are not great, but what the heck. How many movies are you going to watch that need such high black levels.

Pictures of entire setup in the next post.

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