Fight between free pvr's and HTPC's

At work we are trying to offer a HTPC to our high end customers. Windows Media center simply does not cut it. We tried to make it usable to our customers for 3 months and it is simply too buggy, too locked down, and too limited. We then embarked on a dual path to find what is great for our customers right now... 1 is windows based running mediaportal the other is Linux based running MythTV. Personally being a Linux guy was betting on Mythtv... I was surprised. The windows box took a day to get going. Mediaportal is incredible, those guys can do a media center pc far FAR better than the best at Microsoft could ever dream of. Mediaportal is what Windows Media Center 2005 should be... Only problem seems to stem from hibernate/sleep of the pc. sometimes the system does not come back to life and requires a reboot... This is not mediaportal's fault but windows XP fault and we are working on it... All the test machines are running good and the users are happy.

Switch to the Linux+MythTV.. I took 4 days building it by hand and in the end mythtv fell on it's face. the menus are not laid out very well, the graphics are as good as the mediaportal guys but I missed the aspect ratio control that mediaportal had. I also could not get the watchtv function to work.. I could record, but picking watch tv locked up mythtv.

Hardware and the underlying linux worked fine.. I was even watching Comcast on demand digital QAM feeds that neighbors were buying (they are not encrypted) and some HD channels that were also not encrypted... something that is 100% impossible under windows as you cant make it tune to QAM frequencies.. but mythtv is not ready. it is not stable, it is not useable for the non-techie rich guy.

This saddened me. I hoped that Mythtv would have improved cince 2001 but it has not.. not on the useability side or configurability.. (I should be able to easily hide menu items I dont want on screen for the user.

So right now if you want a really good HTPC, install XP (yuck) and MediaPortal.


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