More Problems with MCE

So I’m continuing to have a few problems with my Media Center set up and thoght I’d throw them out there to see if anyone might have any suggestions.

1. I have been unable ever to burn a television show to DVD. I suspect I may need some kind of an encoder that was theoretically included in the MCE 2005 upgrade. HP refuses to give me any such encoder.

2. I frequently get audio drop outs when listening to “my music” in MCE 2005. If I play my music through WMP and have MCE run my pictures in the background then I get less drop outs. But if I run my music through MCE I can get anywhere from 1 to 4 drop outs per song typically — quite annoying. I downloaded the latest audio driver from Microsoft yesterday and still no relief.

3. It appears that MCE 2005 requires you have Windows Messenger loaded up while it is on. I can kill it when MCE’s off but not on. Any way to disable this?

Update: Thanks to Ed Bott, #3 was a quick fix. Under the “More Programs” Menu in MCE you can turn off Windows Messenger. Thanks, Ed.

I’m also increasingly coming to the conclusion that with my large .mp3 library that a bunch of external USB 2 250 gig Maxtors is just not going to cut it. Anyone have any good suggestions on alternative media storage options? Is there some kind of a one or two terabyte server that might work well with my existing PC and Media Center? Anyone have any good experience with an off the shelf product here or have a link to point me in the right direction?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    if you have the show in DVR-Ms, you have to convert it to antoher format such as MPEG-2 if you want to watch it on a stand-alone (non PC) dvd player

  2. Ed Bott says:

    1. You should be able to burn a data DVD with MCE, but need a third-party program to burn a DVD that can be played in a standalone player. A compatible program from Sonic is included with OEM copies of MCE sold through hardware makers. This program is not included in the plain-vanilla MCE package sold through OEMs. Also, most recorded video programs in MS-DVR format are too large to fit on a single DVD without being re-encoded. You should do a search at The Green Button; you’ll find lots of discussion of your options.

    2. Are you using a RAID array or a custom disk controller? Check for an update. I have heard this sort of glitch before when I had a bad IDE driver. Also, check with the sound card maker to see if there is an updated driver (not the one from Microsoft).

    3. MCE dos not require Messenger to be running )it’s not running on my MCE box here). Check Settings, Messenger and Caller ID. This should be turned off. Also, make sure that Outlook and Outlook Express are not running.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    I was told that a third party encoder was available to allow you to convert a television program recorded in MCE directly to a watchable DVD and that this encoder was included as part of a 2nd upgrade disc that supposedly was a part of the MCE upgrade. As HP only provided me one upgrade disc I’m wondering if there is a place online somewhere where I can obtain this encoder and get my MCE 2005 to make DVD ready discs directly from MCE. This of course would be ideal.

    I can burn data with MCE but I can’t create a DVD ready DVD for the car DVD player. I’ve tried using the Sonic software that came with my MCE machine but it does not work. Sonic has a patch to supposedly make the software work for MCE 2005 but when you try and install the patch it refuses stating that you need the latest NVidia driver (which the most recent is already installed).

    Either way still on ability to make DVDs. I’ve searched some at TGB but have not found a suitable way around this yet but will continue to try.

    In terms of my music, I’m using about 6 external Maxtor USB 2 drives connected through a network (yes this may be part of the problem). Anyone have any suggestions on a terabyte type RAID array solution that I might be able to purchase that would work better? I’ve been very frustrated trying to run my music off of external hard drives as long as I’ve had it. I’ve had drives fail, misc. copy problems, etc.

    I will research the IDE driver and see if this helps.

    Not sure on the Messenger thing. I don’t use Outlook or Outlook Express on my MCE box in my living room. I’ll check the settings for messenger and caller ID.

    Thanks for the suggestions and I’ll report back when I’ve done a little more research.

    I’m especially interested in alternatives to my external hard drives to maintain my .mp3 collection is anyone can point me in the direction of a good product.


  4. Ed Bott says:

    There were actually three disks with the full MCE 2005 package delivered with a new PC from a major vendor. The normal OEM pack is two CDs.

    I’ve had generally good luck with external USB drives, but I’m very, very picky about the hardware.

  5. Grant says:

    Burning files to DVD that are playable in a stand alone DVD player does require the sonicencoders.msi (installer file) that is supplied on a third disc to MCE OEMs.

    If you do not have this installed, then you’ll only be able to burn data disks as you’ve found out.

    Sonic now offers their Sonic Primetime software that allows you to burn MCE shows to a DVD, which are playable on stad alone players. All from within the MCE interface:

  6. Anonymous says:

    I took an otherwise unused P3 machine I had around and bought a 3ware RAID card and 4-300GB drives for under $1000. Put it in the closet with a gig ethernet card in it and it works great.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have installed a MCE on XP Professional and it shows me an error when I want to shut down my computer. What is wrong? How can I uninstall a MCE?

  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    Have you tried doing a system restore back to before you installed it?

  9. Scott says:

    Grant is correct regarding burning Video DVDs in Media Center. You need to install encoders for Sonic to encode the video to the Video DVD format. Those encoders are included on disc 3 for system builders, and should be distributed by HP to owners of existing systems. If you check HP support for driver updates for MCE systems, they do have a link to download their version of sonicencoders.msi. This version lacks the AC3 encoder portion, but it will still allow you to create video dvds. Alternatively, sonicencoders.msi can be found on the web without much effort.

  10. Bob says:

    I installed the Sonic Encoders from the HP support site, and it did include both the SonicAC3Encoder and the SonicMPEGEncoder. HP calls it SP30294.exe

  11. Anonymous says:

    QUOTE: “Bob said…
    I installed the Sonic Encoders from the HP support site, and it did include both the SonicAC3Encoder and the SonicMPEGEncoder. HP calls it SP30294.exe”

    WOW man! Thanks a lot! Did a search on HP’s website, and downloaded it to my OEM MCE system. Works Great despite my doubt!

  12. John Steel says:

    For anyone who has the Sonic Solutions encoders and still can’t “Create a DVD” in MCE:

    1. Uninstall the Sonic Solutions burn engine:
    Start->Control Panel->Add or Remove Programs->Add/Remove Windows Components. Uncheck the box next to Sonic DVD and CD Burning and click Next.
    2. Reboot.
    3. Reinstall the Sonic Solutions burn engine:
    Start->Control Panel->Add or Remove Programs->Add/Remove Windows Components. Check the box next to Sonic DVD and CD Burning and click Next. *If there are errors finding the required files (CD2 is requested), perform a Search on the file names and then Browse to the folder containing each required file.
    4. Reboot.

    Thanks to Jason Tsang [Microsoft MVP].

  13. Anonymous says:

    That works perfectly. I can now see the dvd video option under windows MCE. I got the sonicencoders form the HP site. search for SP30294.exe and then just run the file from your computer and it will instll the files. I just did it and it works perfect. why my mce update disk didn’t install these is a mystery. But now I’m set. thanks to all on this site. Thomas Hawk is the best, thanks so much. Take care.

  14. Anonymous says:

    These instructions also worked for me. Thanks, guys!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I can’t get sound when I burn a DVD using the sonic encoders with MC. Any ideas?

  16. I bought a HP Pav Media Center Computer recently from a thrift store. I installed a new hardrive and installed the OS using a retail version of MCE. I downloaded the drivers from HP’s website for said model, upon executing them there is a message saying I need to install in Admin profile..there is only one profile with all admin rights but just not named admin…when I look at similar computers Hp names the drive HP_Administrator….is this the reason why I am getting this error?…help!