Media Center

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A Media Center is the software and/or hardware suite used as the central resource for the majority of media content an individual consumes.



Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center is a product released by Microsoft after extensive research and many near-disaster trial & error release attempts. The Microsoft line of content-focused applications have seen tough times, and even tougher consumer reviews and criticisms.

In 2004, however, Microsoft finally announced that they had gotten it right, and subsequently released Windows Media Center 2005 for Windows XP. The mild success of Media Center would be short-lived though, eclipsed by the massive success of online video sharing sites (such as YouTube, which was picked up by Google to the tune of $1.6 Billion) just a year later.


Media Center and your set-top box

A set-top box is the generic name for a cable box or a satellite receiver. You can connect your PC running Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition 2005 to a set-top box and watch and record either digital cable or satellite TV signal.
To connect a set-top box to your Media Center PC, you will need:
  • 2 coaxial cables
  • A coaxial cable
  • IR control cable: The IR control cable relays information from the Media Center PC to the set-top box to change the channel.
  • SU MedCntrPcSTB02.jpg
  • Remote sensor: The remote sensor receives the signal from the Media Center remote control and relays it to the Media Center PC. When you plug the IR control cable into the remote sensor and the set-top box, then the remote sensor also relays the signal from the PC to the set-top box.
  • SU MedCntrPcSTB03.jpg
  1. Connect one end of one of the coaxial cables to the cable jack in the wall.
  2. Connect the other end of the coaxial cable to the cable input connection on your set-top box. This connection is often called CABLE IN, IN FROM WALL, or INPUT. If you cannot locate this connection, refer to the instructions for your set-top box.
  3. Connect one end of the other coaxial cable to the cable output connection on your set-top box. This connection is often called CABLE OUT, OUT TO TV, or OUTPUT.
  4. Connect the other end of this coaxial cable to the TV IN jack, located on the back of the Media Center PC.
  5. Make sure the remote sensor is positioned near the set-top box, and then connect the remote sensor to the USB port on the back of the Media Center PC.
  6. SU MedCntrPcSTB04.jpg
  7. Locate the area on the front of the set-top box where you aim the remote to change channels, change the sound level, and so on. This is the remote receiver.
  8. File:Tips.gif
    Tip: The remote receiver is sometimes hidden behind a panel of dark, transparent plastic on the set-top box. Shine a flashlight onto the transparent area. Inside, you should see a small black box. This is the remote receiver.
  9. Remove the small piece of paper covering one side of the IR control cable. This will expose adhesive on that side of the IR control cable.
  10. Using the adhesive, attach the IR control cable in front of the remote receiver on the front of the set-top box.
  11. Connect the plug of the IR control cable to the back of the remote sensor for the Media Center PC.

    Once you've connected the set-top box to the Media Center PC, you need to complete the TV Signal Setup Wizard in Media Center.

    To access the TV Signal Setup Wizard:

  1. Press the Green Start Button on the remote to open the Media Center Start menu, and then select Settings.
  2. On the Settings page, select TV, and then select Set Up TV Signal to begin the TV Signal Setup Wizard.
  3. SU MedCntrPcSTB05.jpg
Note: If you have problems connecting your Media Center PC to your set-top box, refer to the documentation that came with your Media Center PC, or contact the hardware manufacturer for assistance.

[1]



Windows Messenger error in Media Center Edition 2005

There are two ways that I know of to fix this, and they are as follows:

Method 1 - Disable Messenger functionality in MCE2005 (per user)

  1. Go to the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\IMSettings
  2. Under the fEnableIM DWORD value, change that value from '1' to '0'
  3. Alternatively, download and merge the 'fixwmerror-method1 - wmintegrationdisabled.reg' from the [zipped registry key files] to make the above mentioned change. To re-enable Messenger integration, merge the 'fixwmerror-method1 - wmintegrationenabled.reg' file instead.
  4. Note that this fix is 'per-user' so you have to apply it for every user that is affected.

Method 2 - Exempt the Media Center 2005 from the security update (per-machine)

  1. Go to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\
  2. Create a new key called 'ehshell.exe' if it doesn't already exist.
  3. Create a new DWORD value called 'AllowMessengerExecHandleFailure' and assign it a value of '1'
  4. Alternatively, download and merge the following zipped [registry key file] to make the above mentioned change.
  5. Note that this fix is a global fix, so it affects all users on your computer system.

I believe the second fix is more comprenhensive, so that's the fix I'd recommend as you can continue to use Windows Messenger post-security updates. I've heard reports that the new update removes the UI choice as to whether or not to enable Messenger functionality, so if you want to turn on/off Messenger functionality in Media Center, you can also use that method.

I had the 5.1 version of Windows Messenger installed before the security update was installed, and I still have the Messenger UI choice within Media Center. It seems (though I'll need others to confirm) that those using the older 4.7 variants of Windows Messenger have lost the UI choice within Media Center.

I'd be interested to know if anyone lost the UI to enable/disable Messenger functionality within Media Center would regain it upon installing the latest version of Windows Messenger (5.1.0715).

To obtain the latest version of Windows Messenger, see the following kb article, [How to obtain the latest version of Windows Messenger 5.1 (KB899283)].


[2]






External Links


References

  1. Media Center and your set-top box: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/using/setup/settop.mspx
  2. Jason Tsang's Blog - Windows Messenger error in Media Center Edition 2005: http://blog.jasontsang.ca/2008/08/windows-messenger-error-in-media-center.html

See Also

Multimedia | Media Player | OS | PC | TV | Slingbox