Friday, May 07, 2010

Media Center Setup

I know you're dying to know how my media center is working out. I bought an Acer Aspire Revo 3610, which is the high-end nettop used in the articles I've been reading. It comes with Windows 7 and Windows Media Center, so I just had to uninstall all the crapware that comes with Windows (there wasn't as much as I expected) and install Boxee and Hulu Desktop... and the integration apps to make them work with WMC. And plug in the USB dongle for the wireless keyboard and mouse, and the USB IR receiver for the remote. And I also installed Chrome and set it as my default browser.

Anyway, I have it set to run WMC on startup. Startup takes a while. I don't know what I was hoping for, but it sucks to turn on the TV and then wait a few more minutes for the HTPC to startup. But once it does, well... then I can get the weather. And internet TV that includes . . . CBS. Not NBC, not ABC, not Comedy Central, pretty much nothing good. But if you like CSI, well then you're set. If I had any illegally downloaded movies, WMC might be good for that.

That reminds me, I should install ZincTV, it has an interface worth trying.

Boxee works well on this system. It's easy, and it looks a lot better than when filtered through the component video plug on my mac. (Something about the video conversion made it not fit the screen completely.) And the remote works with it. I may end up setting it to run Boxee on startup instead of WMC, since I can't figure out what WMC adds.

Then I also tried Hulu Desktop. And I found out that the way Hulu uses Flash is retarded. On small screens, like my laptop, it's fine, but when you blow it up to full screen on my TV, it's choppy. This seems to be a common problem, and not one that can be fixed by the user. It's completely dependent on Hulu and/or Adobe. Re. Tar. Ded. And that actually goes for any Hulu content played through Boxee, because Boxee just runs a browser to get Hulu stuff.

So I don't know, maybe one day it will be magically fixed. Maybe I'll stop watching Hulu content. Because a lot of that stuff I can get through Boxee and the network site, instead of Hulu. So suck it, Hulu! I'm watching The Daily Show in FULL SCREEN HD right now, and you're not getting my advertising attention! Bee-atch. Plus, I'm not paying a cent for cable TV. Bam!

I also have a shortcut for B's streaming Golf Channel (through Veetle). It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing. We'll see if it's good enough. He doesn't quite know how to use it yet, but when the cable goes out on Sunday, he'll probably learn pretty quickly.

So that's my review. I may have an update once the cable goes out. Will it be full of satisfaction? Indifference? Desperation? Wait and see.


  1. Awesome! I picked one up last week as well. Now I have more I can geek out with u. Make sure to download the latest flash BETA. Without the beta flash doesn't currently do gpu offloading and the CPU in the nettops isn't that powerful hence the chopiniess. We watch house fine the other night in full screen 480p. Also try setting the power management to sleep vs shutdown and you'll be up and running much faster.

  2. Hey, thanks for the tip! I discovered that I didn't actually have the latest Flash (they make it really hard to tell), I had 10.0. So I searched for GET THE LATEST FLASH PLAYER BETA and I found Flash RC4. I uninstalled the old one and installed that. Then Hulu Desktop didn't work and asked to install Flash, but that happened before and I think it overwrote the newer version for the stable version. So I didn't do that and instead tested it out on Boxee, and it worked! Yay!

    So now I have it set up to run Boxee on startup (I did have it set to sleep, not shutdown, but I've done a lot of restarting in the last few days, trying to get the drivers and Flash to work), and I can watch almost everything from there. I've made a desktop shortcut to the Golf channel on Veetle, and I'll teach B to use it when he's ready for it.