Which one: Vista MCE or MCE 2005?

Which Windows Media Center is the right one? I’ll start off with a generic answer, it depends. The reason I say that is because it’s personal preference. For me I would upgrade to Vista MCE. There are questions below to help you decide if you should upgrade or not.

There are a lot of questions to ask yourself to determine which version is right. The biggest question to ask yourself is can your system handle Vista MCE? Running Vista requires better hardware than XP, and running media center will require even more. I wouldn’t run vista media center on less than 2GB of memory.

Another questions is does your hardware have vista drivers? Just because you think your computer is nice and has great hardware it might not have vista drivers. The biggest issue for drivers is graphics cards and tuner cards. These two things are essential for a media center to function properly. Without proper drivers it will leave you frustrated at your computer and most likely you will have to downgrade back to MCE 2005.

If your currently using MCE 2005 what plug-ins do you want to use in Vista MCE? You need to make sure before upgrading that the plug-ins that you use are compatible with Vista. If something is not compatible then you might not want to upgrade until it is made available for Vista MCE.

One last thing to ask yourself: Do you like the Vista MCE interface? I tell you to ask yourself because not everyone does.

This really is personal preference as to which version you use. Windows Media Center 2005 is a very stable OS, lots of hardware drivers, and lots of stable plug-ins.

Vista Media Center is new and exciting. It runs good as long as you have the hardware to drive it. You also have the chance to add features as people start creating it for Vista MCE.

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Now when people are starting to think paying the upgrade from XP -> Vista, maybe it’s time to look at Linux alternatives for your HTPC? Would be interesting to see you cover that to see if that would be an option.

Linux has become a great alternative to Windows Media Center. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of using Linux, but with a remote control and the interface setup anybody can use it. I’ll pull some information together about switching from Windows Media Center to MythTV. I generally pick MythTV because I feel it’s more stable than other media center software out there.

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