I’ve been running Vista Media Center (VMC) on two machines for a while now, and so far I have to say that the experience has been pretty good, but not all smooth sailing. Just like XP MCE 2005, VMC is very dependent on the capabilities of the hardware platform, the setup of the operating system and any third-party software which has been installed.
So, I decided to put together a piece detailing the problems I encountered and how I got around them – what worked and what didn’t.
Intel is positioning its Viiv technology (both hardware and software) to be the platform of choice for HTPCs. One of the machines I use, an Optima Viiv Media Center, is one such device. My experience so far is that it doesn’t make a lick of difference whether your HTPC is Viiv or not. My second machine is an Asus P5N32-SLI-Deluxe-based system, without a whiff of Viiv in the air, and it performs just as well.
The only real advantage of Viiv is that it guarantees a certain base – you know pretty well what you’re going to get and how it’s going to work. This sometimes does help in taking the guesswork out of where to start troubleshooting any hardware problems. Also, Intel’s product support is outstanding, so an Intel-centric system is no bad thing. But don’t assume that just because a system is Viiv that it’s going to handle VMC any better.