Thursday, January 04, 2007

Media Center vs MythTV

Some of you may know that Matt and I have been having it out lately over a certain topic. It's all quite recent, actually, and it only goes back to the other night, New Years Eve in fact, when we were all over at Matt's and he couldn't get his MythTV to display live tv so we couldn't watch the ball drop over Times Square.

I guess I should start by explaining what MythTV is. From the MythTV wiki, it is described as an alternative to digital cable services and traditional set-top-box PVRs and TiVos. It runs under the Linux OS. It's main purpose it to record, play, and organize TV programs. It also has plugins for other media types like photos and music.

Now I will explain Media Center. From wikipedia, it is described as a version of Windows XP designed to be a specific media hub. Moreover, can be used specifically for all media that you can throw at it: tv shows, tv program guides, photos, music, it can even take a recorded tv show or movie, and burn it to a dvd that you can use in a stand-alone dvd player. Same as above, it's main purpose is to act as a PVR or TiVo.

To summarize: they basically do the same thing. And I'm sure that lengthy lists of pros and cons can be given for both MythTV and Media Center.

My main argument is that my Media Center could have shown the ball drop quite easily. Whereas Matt's MythTV gave us the blue screen of death and then a mile of Linux code that no one could understand.

I'll be honest - I wasn't always this happy with our Media CenterPC, however, knock on wood, it has been working great lately. All our favourite shows have been recorded, and the guide feature is awesome for searching for other shows. You can search by genre, or for specific actors in movies, or just plain old title searches.

Both of the two apps are completely customizable - and both have a wide array of plugins that can be added so you can surf the web and email clients, get the latest news and weather, even use it as a video phone, all from the comfort of your couch with the remote.

I guess for a decision to truly be made, I will have to visit Matt's again so he can show me the 'working' version of MythTv 0.20 - and in all fairness, I should show him the neat things that can be done with Media Center. So stayed tuned to both super_ap and Bloggin it up for more to come about the MythTv / MediaCenter duel of 2007.


Ferda said...

Boo MythTV!!!!

James said...

Find this article interesting?

Check out Matt's side of the story here.

Jen(nnn) said...

I didn't know you could burn DVDs with Media Centre! Thanks for letting me know... I would have never clicked on "More Programs" otherwise.

Wow... I'm off to burn movies from my hard drive!

James said...

Looks like we have a new fan of Media Center.

James said...

Jen - you can also use the "i" button on the remote (or right click with the mouse) to access an additional menu specific to the file that is currently active.

For example, if you are watching a recorded show, you can press "i", and then click burn to CD/DVD. It will then take you to the burning area when you can prep your burn. You can add more shows, adjust quality settings so you can add LOTS of shows, and then select BURN. It will convert the file to a playable disc in any normal, standard DVD player.

Very cool in my opinion. But, the conversion process seems to take quite a while on our PC, I suppose this is true for all PCs when converting video/audio files. But I'm not really sure.

Matt, any comments?

James said...

Here's another great thing about Media Center:

I found this great plugin called MyMovies2 - it's basically a database that tracks all your offline and online dvds and movies. It connects with IMDB and creates a WICKED searchable database of directors, actors, movies, EVERYTHING. It also tracks when you last watched a movie - or if you've never even watched it.

Matt said...

Converting shows to DVD format is resource intensive, it will always take time, might be faster if you were already storing your DVD files as mpeg2, but mpeg2 files will probably take more HD space.