A few weeks ago, we introduced the first of a series of articles on building a home made PVR, "Building a Linux PVR Part I - MythTV Setup and Install". Today, we bring you the second part of the series, which focuses on Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 and how it compares to the Linux-based MythTV.

When Microsoft first introduced their Media Center Edition of Windows, many saw this as a great opportunity to acquire a cheap PVR, since it was combined with a PC that could be used for the usual day-to-day tasks, such as word processing or browsing the Internet. But with that, Microsoft decided to bundle MCE with custom PCs that are built using the short list of supported hardware by big names in the industry, such as Hewlett-Packard and Gateway Computers. It could not be bought off store shelves by PC enthusiasts who already had hardware capable of PVR operations, nor did Microsoft plan on supporting hardware besides those from the few names it worked with.

Fast forward to today where Microsoft has begun selling OEM versions of their Media Center Edition to "Mom and Pop" shops to be installed on only Media Center Edition certified machines. This is a step forward, since it gives more power to those smaller shops. Media Center Edition still does not have support for the long list of hardware that MythTV does, but Microsoft has expanded their driver list quite a bit from their first release.

Although we installed MythTV from scratch in the previous review, we will use KnoppMyth in this half of the analysis. KnoppMyth installs cleanly and easily, but does not offer as much support as getting your hands dirty with a "from scratch" install.

Media Center Edition 2004 vs MythTV


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  • KristopherKubicki - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    Id consider it more functional except the feature of on-demand content, which is pretty neat in my opinion.

  • dvinnen - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    MythTV wins because it is free, cheeper to build a machine with, supports more hardware, and almost as functional as the Windows version. Reply
  • mab0270 - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    That's the beauty of MythTV: It's free, so you don't have to "buy it for some future upgrade".

    I'd have to say Myth works pretty well straight out of the box, providing you know how to follow instructions on how to set it up. As mentioned in the article, KnoppMyth makes it pretty easy to get a functional Myth system in about 20 minutes.

    As for wondering whether those future upgrades will happen, it's being actively developed, and its popularity is growing every day. If you want a feaature, and you have any programming experience, you can even look into implementing it yourself!
  • Questar - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    So MythTV wins due to a potential to get better in the future??

    Yeah, I always buy products for some future upgrade that may or may not happen, verses how well they work on the day I spend my money.
  • Price2Rise - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    It would be great to see how a review of MythTV and MediaPortal would look. MediaPortal is open source as well and runs on Windows instead. It is a young project, but it is looking good already -> Reply
  • Price2Rise - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

  • mcveigh - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    mce 2005 is coming
    10/12 acording to that thread.

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