A new TV
I finally decided on a new TV for the home theatre, after my attempts at getting the 1970’s era CRT to work failed.
I chose a Kogan 1080P-32 – a Full-HD LCD TV. Importantly, it supports HDMI input and as the name suggests can display full high definition – 1080 Progressive. Kogan are an online store, so it did mean that I had to order something sight-unseen – a bit scary when you’re spending a reasonable amount of money. Happily, the TV was couriered quickly and safely and I haven’t had any problems with stuck pixels.
I then had to connect the screen to the home theatre box. Some retails sell HDMI cables for more than $100, but instead I bought a 5m cable from MSY for $10.
It seems to work quite well with Media Center. The only issue I’ve had is that when you close Media Center and do other stuff in Vista, the display is a bit blurry. I’m not sure if that’s a problem with the graphics card or something else. Not a huge problem but it would be nice to sort it out.
I then hired a Blu-Ray DVD to try out. This also worked ok, once I realised I hadn’t installed all the PowerDVD bits. For some reason, PowerDVD doesn’t integrate with Media Center, so you either have to manually swap over to PowerDVD, or install another player like ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre. This is a bit better, though it still isn’t completely integrated as the stop/play buttons on the remote control didn’t work properly.
The net result is that everything is working well. The monitor that we were using for the TV is now back on my home computer, and we’re now looking around furniture shops for a nice home entertainment unit to put it all in.
One sad note – A couple of weeks ago we were watching TV when the machine started locking up (always in the most crucial part of the TV program!). I eventually discovered that my 1Tb WD disk had developed a bad case of badsectoritis. It was just over 1/2 full and had been fine up until now, so I can only guess that maybe there were a bunch of bad sectors in the second half of the disk that we started to hit, or some kind of electronic malfunction. In any case it will need to be sent back under warranty to get sorted out. In the meantime we can survive on the other disk.