WMC Plugins that I use

As you know that I have setup a HTPC which I have described it here. My HTPC project is still ongoing and ever ready to evolve.  In order to enhance my HTPC experience , I have decided to use additional Windows Media Centre plugins to make my life easier (I could just control it with a remote). This would allow me to do additional things and expand my HTPC.
Here are some of the plugins or software that I use
1. Kylo Web Browser
Download link

Kylo is an amazing browser. It is built upon Firefox and it is designed for big screen . As you could see the buttons and text size are large enough so that you could sit back and surf the Internet. Its great for reading news online , checking out scores or simply just quickly check your e-mail on the big screen. With Flash compatibility and the ability to use Windows Media Center Remote for navigation , it makes an ideal Web Browser for your Media Center
2. Hulu Desktop Integration 
Download link

Hulu made an awesome application that allows you to watch hulu programs without a web browser. This Intergration tool serves as a middle man , allowing you to launch Hulu Desktop via Windows Media Center. What it basically does is that it minimizes Windows Media Centre and starts Hulu Desktop. If you close hulu desktop , bam it shows back Windows Media Center. So it makes it seamlessly
3. BBC iPlayer for Windows Media Center 
Download link

There is even a BBC iPlayer addin for Windows Media Center. It makes it easier for me to watch programs such as Top Gear , Click and BBC News. All done with a touch of a button that is.
Oh yeah if you are outside US/UK , you would probably need to use VPN , so that you could use BBC iPlayer and Hulu . So what other add-ins do you use. Kindly share and leave a comment

Getting Cheap TV Tuners to play along with Media Center

My WinTV PVR 150 Media Center Kit TV Tuner
My WinTV PVR 150 Media Center Kit TV Tuner - This uses Hardware MPEG2 Encoder which works with Windows Vista Media Center

Before I bought the Hauppauge TV Tuner (PVR 150 MCE Edition) , I bought a WinFast 200 XP RM Tuner. I thought that it would just work like the rest of the tuners (Bought it for RM 145). I found out that the TV Tuner doesn’t work with Windows Vista Media Center Edition as Windows Vista prefers a Hardware MPEG-2 Encoder , usually those expensive TV Tuners such as Hauppauge TV Tuner comes along with it. Whats the difference you ask , well there are some difference between the two. Lets take a look at them shall we-. Firstly ,TV Tuners that do not use a hardware MPEG2 Encoder , they’ll usually only work with softwares (aka PVR Software) that comes along with the hardware. The software doubles as a software MPEG-2 Encoder , in other words it uses up your CPU Cycles to encode MPEG-2 Video direct from the steam and feed it to the TV. Usually with a fast CPU you wouldn’t feel the pinch but when you try to use a slow CPU , lets say 450Mhz you’ll be seeing the frames are being chopped as the CPU isn’t fast enough to encode the Stream and output it. Okay , now lets say you have a decent CPU (Pentium 4 1.6Ghz and above) and you don’t have the moola ($$$) to buy a hardware encoder card and yet you still want to use Windows Media Center  to record. Then continue to read on my journey…on how to convert your cheapo TV Tuner card to work with MCE. If you’re using a software TV Tuner that is – Otherwise you’ll be getting this error !
Whoopsy ! - Guess it doesn't see the card !
Whoopsy ! - Guess it does not like my Card

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