Other Fun Stuff
Vista Media Center

Here are some tips for setting up your VMC (Vista Media Center) to do cool stuff in your home. I am not a huge fan of Vista I don't dislike it either. From a media center perseptive it has served my family well. My son (3 1/2 years old) is able to navigate around and put on his favourite shows.

 

I am currently running VMC on two computers, both are run on TVs. I have a linux server that stores all of my music, photos, DVDs and documents. Most of the recorded tv is viewed from the computer that actually recoreded it, so the hard drive with the tv shows is in that computer. The other VMC computer still pulls shows from the computer occasionally, this seems to work well. I also never need to backup the tv shows to external source so there is no need to have them on the server.

 

Here are some things that I have found to make VMC work better in my configuration:


Media Center Plug-ins
Forcing recorded tv updates on remote computer
DVD library
Update DVD library descriptions
How to rip DVDs
Removing media folders


05/11 2009:
Media Center Plug-ins

Here is a list of fantastic plugins and extra applications to make your media experience even better.

 

http://www.thehtpc.net/plugin-index



25/02 2009:
Forcing recorded tv updates on remote computer

This fix will allow a VMC to update its recorded tv content from a remote computer without restarting the computer. The problem is that when the recorded tv shows are on a lan connected computer the list doesn't get updated regularly. So after a few days you will end up with a bunch of dead links (deleted shows) and no new programs will show up. Restarting Media Center doesn't solve the problem, you need to reboot the computer. This fixes that problem.

 

http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/202897.aspx

 

I set my computer to refresh the list every hour (3600000). I could probably do it once and day that would be fine.




25/02 2009:
DVD library

This little hack will allow you to display a list of ripped DVDs instead of just the DVD in the player. This is a great tool, it has allowed my to copy all of discs and put them away so the kids don't damage them.

 

http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/330133.aspx




25/02 2009:
Update DVD library descriptions

This is how you can update the DVD library content with better descriptions and images. So much better than just a list of names.

 

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=916775http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/archive/index.php/t-916775.html




25/02 2009:
How to rip DVDs

A couple different tools for ripping DVD movies are:

 

  • DVD Shrink - I am using version 3.2 it seems to work well except for Disney stuff
  • DVDFab 5 - This seems to rip anything, the folders need to be moved around when done. The trial version (DVDFab HD Decrypter) works for what we need because it will only rip the ts files to a folder not compress them.




25/02 2009:
Removing media folders

One of the really goof things about the way VMC automatically adds media content to your lists is it can be difficult to stop watching some folders. I, like many other people, kept removing folders, but they continued to get scanned. I don't want my mp3 album cover collection in with my family photos. So here is some info about how to remove those folders for good.

 

http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au/community/vista-media-center-software/30729-remove-personal-folders-vmc-again.html