I thought I'd start off by describing my very first media center and how it came to be before I move on to my existing setup.
Like most people that dabble in media centers I first started off with some components that I had lying around after a couple of system upgrades, initially there was no tv card, remote or nice case, but using Windows Media Center 2005 it was very effective at showing off what could be done. This eventually turned into my main media center used in the lounge, which had the following specs:
- AMD Athlon XP 2000
- 512Mb ram
- 40gig HD
- 80gig HD
- Silverstone LC11 case
- Hauppage PVR 150
- Windows Media Center Remote
This system worked well for me for a good couple of years and was primarily used for listening to music, archiving shows off of the Sky+ box and watching a few download tv shows. After a while I started looking into other Media Center applications as I was starting to find MCE2005 a bit limiting, I ended up trialling BeyondTV, SageTV, ChrisTV, GBPVR and MediaPortal, eventually I went with MediaPortal because it had a ton of features, lots of plugins, it was opensource and best of all it was free!
It was only towards the end of last year that I started looking into upgrading this system as I was looking for better performance and the ability to play HD content, but I'll get to that in another post...