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155 posts

Master Geek

Topic # 30715 18-Feb-2009 18:04
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Hi.. I've finally managed to get freeview playing nicely with my ati card by dumping windows 7 media center and reverting back to vista+media portal 1.0+ati catalyst 9.1 drivers. I get no issues whatsoever while actually watching freeview (and I'm at about 5% CPU usage). Still, I'm a complete newb with MediaPortal....

First, I'm using the TV Server option, and I've encountered some issues with recording. I've managed to get the tv server to record my programmes, but when I actually play them back, they skip a whole lot. It's more the video than the audio. It feels a *bit* like a dvd with a scratch in it. It's definately a problem at the recording end, because it always skips in the same places. The skipping is quite variable in amount. Over a single .ts recording, certain 1-5 minute segments might be almost unwatchable, with the majority of the file playing perfectly, or more or less perfectly with an almost imperceptable skip very rarely.

I noticed that when I recorded House and Boston Legal last night, the parts where the recordings overlapped were particularly bad. The two shows were back to back on channel 3 and I'd actually set it up as 2 seperate recordings, each starting and ending 5 minutes before/after. Perhaps this contributed greatly to the problem, although it certainly wasn't the sole cause - there were some skipping issues in other points in the file.

I'm guessing that the issue may have something to do with hard-disk performance. I *was* recording onto the same hard disk as my windows install. Is this an absolute no-no? Is recording DVB-T footage very hard-disk intensive? If so, what would my best bet be for boosting the performance so that recordings go absolutely smoothly? I'm very much still working this out, so any suggestions would be awesome!

Secondly, I'm not a fan of the default Media Portal UI at all. It just looks... tacky... and it's not very functional. I've been considering getting a remote control, as I know that Media Portal really is designed for remote controls. But to be honest, I'd just about prefer to use my wireless keyboard, as this isn't a dedicated HTPC - I use it for gaming, surfing the web, etc too.

So here's the second question - are there any plugins/mods/skins which make big changes to the GUI? Primarily, I'd love to see some improved mouse/keyboard functionality. For intance, being able to skip to different positions on a stream or recording by clicking the corresponding position on the progress bar would be great. Having more functional buttons pop up on the screen when I move the mouse would also be nice. In short... I want Media Center 7's GUI :/. Anything like that? Also, how do I remove listings from the main screen that I don't use? I *only want to watch tv with it - I'm more than happy to use powerdvd, media player, and windows explorer for my optical media, music, and photos, respectively! Alternatively, should I be using a different program? Are there HTPC programs out there designed from the ground up for use with a keyboard/mouse?

Hopefully the ati drivers issue will be resolved in windows 7 by the time it's released, and then I can go back to WMC!

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  Reply # 196580 18-Feb-2009 18:37
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When you did the testing and got only 5% CPU usage were you watching a program in HD or SD?
I can't help much with the Freeview DVB-T as it is not available here :(
But from reading all the posts on Geekzone about it I would say that the problem is your ATI card. And TV3 is the causes the most problems.

155 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 196586 18-Feb-2009 19:34
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5% when watching HD, such as the freeview HD demo channel.

Does recording video make use of my graphics card? I can see it going either way, but I'd assumed that it just recorded the streams straight to the hard disk, and saved the decoding till you played it.


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  Reply # 196598 18-Feb-2009 20:33
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There are numerous skins available on the Media-Portal website.  None are as slick as Windows tho'.

MediaPortal 2 looks better, but it is in the future.

Also you can build your own skin.

Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 196616 18-Feb-2009 22:41
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From what you described it does sound like your hard drive isn't quite keeping up sometimes.  I timeshift to the same hard drive as the OS on my PC.  I record TV shows to a different hard drive though.  When I had a single hard drive I could watch live TV and record another channel without problems.  Perhaps your PC is doing something else at the same time.  Virus scan perhaps?

No, recording video does not use your graphics card.  Only play back does.

Try the Indigo skin on the media portal website.  I love this skin, but my wife complains about not being able to read the text (too small on our 40" apparently).  So we use the default for now.  I haven't yet put the time into modifying the skin for bigger text size.  Also haven't tried the latest version either.

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