Sunday, 11 October 2009

Upgrading the Media Center to Windows 7

After my success with upgrading my not-so-modern PC to Windows 7, I thought I'd take another plunge and do an upgrade of my Vista Media Center machine. This is the family TV so any problems would not go down too well!

The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor didn't flag any major showstoppers, but it did suggest uninstalling the ATI Control Center (which I did). It also warned that I may need to upgrade the drivers for the iMON device (this is the front-panel display on the Antec Fusion 430 Silver case and IR receiver for the remote control). Conveniently, just before I installed Win7, iMON reported that there was a new update available so I allowed that to go through, hoping it would help avoid some of the problem some people have had.

I inserted the Windows 7 Ultimate x86 DVD, ran setup and selected 'Upgrade'. Probably about an hour later (and 2-3 reboots) it was all done.

A quick check confirmed that yes, live TV still worked (phew!) – and so did the remote control.

Going to the Guide showed the new layout, but oh dear – there were no listings for any of the ABC or SBS channels – hmm that could be a problem. But that was enough for one night, so I left it there.

The next morning, I woke up to discover that the kids had already figured out how to watch the previous night's recording of Ice Age – which was a good sign that nothing had changed too dramatically!

I recall seeing mention in the Australian Media Center Community forums that Windows 7 would finally allow use of the FM radio tuner included in the Hauppauge HVR-2200. I went to the FM Radio menu but it said I needed to add a tuner, even though the upgrade had found the 2 digital tuners ok, so I followed these steps:

First, choose Analogue antenna 

Confirm 2 analogue tuners are available

Now choose to set up the digital tuners

Confirm 2 digital tuners

2 analogue and 2 digital tuners will be configured

Scanning begins

Analogue as well as digital channels are found

TV Signal is now finished

Then I was able to go to the Radio menu item, choose FM Radio, then enter the frequency for a local radio station!

Enter 107.9 to get Life-FM in Adelaide

I was intrigued about what to do about the missing TV guide information for the ABC channels in the guide. Mike Hayton (from Microsoft) posted this explanation of how the guide gets updated, so I configured the Automatic Download setting to ensure the guide gets a chance to grab the latest listings..

Windows 7 TV Guide

So, thus far everything has gone very well. The upgrade went without a hitch and everything appears to be working at least as well as before. One problem I did have with Vista MCE was for some reason I was never able to upgrade the ATI video drivers beyond around version 8.4. Every time I tried a newer version, the machine would BSOD. So far the upgraded machine seems stable with the latest video drivers from Windows Update (8.632.1.2000 17-Oct-2009).

I see from New Magic's drivers page that there's an updated driver for the HVR-2200 for Windows 7. I'll have to check whether that got installed through Windows Update, otherwise I'll install that just to keep current.

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