As some of you may already know, I have been slowly building a MediaCenter PC which is connected to my HI-FI, Network and Plasma TV. The main use of the machine to date has been a dockingcharging station for our iPod Shulle’s, Kat’s iPhone and my HTC Diamond. Boasting a massive ammount of MP3’s and Movies.
As it get’s little use I couldn’t bring myself to spend £80+ on Vista Home Premium so I could use the media center aspect. So it’s still running Windows XP Service Pack 3.
All though all of the music and movies are indexed in iTunes (for obvious reasons) I have been constantly on the hunt for something to turn the machine from a PC to a proper media center.
During my daily trawls on the net I managed to stumble accross MediaPortal. Which seems to be serving my needs perfectly.
What is MediaPortal?
MediaPortal is an Open Source application ideal for turning your PC in a very advanced Multi-Media Center / HTPC. MediaPortal allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch your video’s and DVD’s, view, schedule and record live TV and much more.
As Open Source software licensed under the GNU/GPL agreement, you get MediaPortal for free. This means anyone can contribute to MediaPortal or customize for their own needs!
MediaPortal is built on the Microsoft .NET framework using C# and currently has a growing international community of over 60,000 users.
Create your own skins, or choose one of the available skins!
MediaPortal can easily be extended with extra plugins
You decide which keys you want to use for which actions
Internal support for several remote control (streamzap, MCE, redeye, winlirc, hauppauge, FireDTV)
Windowed and fullscreen support
Supports analog TV, DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-S and ATSC
HDTV and AC3 support
Support for multiple tuners
Record, watch, and timeshift Live TV
Advanced recording scheduler: – Record once – Record now – Daily o Weekly – Weekdays (Mon-Fri) – Every time a program appears on this TV channel
Timeshifting,Watch, Pause, Rewind, FF, RW Live TV
Advanced recording management: – Handle conflicts – Set recording priorities – Quality settings / recording – Transcode to WMD, XVID or MPG – Diskmanagement auto deletes old and/or watched recordings
TVGuide: – Grab DVB-EPG & MHW-EPG directly for DVB – Supports XMLTV – Colors for genres
TV Guide search
TV Channel grouping
Supports over > 10000 channels
Auto channel tuning
Normal OSD (On Screen Display during movies/tv)
Special ZAP OSD (Shows description of what is playing currently on TV)
Support for Teletext
Standby control to put your HTPC sleeping. It will awake when there a recording needs to start
My Video / MyDVD
Play any movie your PC has a codec for (divx, mpeg, matroska,…)
All your movies will be stored in MediaPortal’s video database
View your movies by actors, genres, year, title
Sort your movies by actors, genres, year, rating
Automatically retrieves video art & info from IMDB
Stacking/unstacking if your movie consists of multiple files
Internal DVD player with menu’s (you can also use an external DVD player)
Mike Hudson is a Infrastructure Analyst living and working in Kingston Upon Hull. With extensive experience in Microsoft and Apple technologies, ranging from desktop OS’s to Server OS’s and hardware. By day working as part of an infrastructure team, and by night ridding the world of IT issues through blog posts..