MS Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Thought it would be a neat idea to install the Media Center Edition OEM on the PC I put together myself for multimedia purposes. So I bought the OEM and had a go at installing it. Turned out not to be such a great idea, so be warned.

OEM means for original equipment manufacturers, so it’s assumed that you know what to do with the software, which includes the following:

How to install it, which isn’t as simple as you might think (now that I’ve warned you, you can Google for details). Get it wrong, and you’ll find that the Media Center interface doesn’t install, and Internet Explorer and Media Player are hidden.

It comes on two CDs, or on one DVD – the DVD may throw up a request during installation for the 2nd CD if you haven’t followed the instructions!

It’s rather fussy about hardware; for instance if you thought it would work with a ATI Radeon 7000 video card you’ll soon find out your mistake. The drivers can still be installed but WMC will have nothing to do with the “Catalyst” utility. (though I did find a free download that went in the toolbar and did a much better job of controlling the TV-out.)

It is incompatible with the BBC’s iplayer download (the 2008 regular version). Heck knows why; the similar 4OD works just fine.

My advice is, unless you have some good reason for using WMC and know how to make up a complete hardware/software package that will work, give it a miss and use Windows XP Pro instead.  You should be able to get XP Pro to do what you want.  If a certain Ebay retailer is to believed, you can even get a freeware Media Center-like interface.

FYI one of the MS Vista editions incorporates Media Center functions, or so I’m told.