In my last thrilling instalment my wife came home to a “new” media center.  Not only are all channels working, but I decided to tune in some of those new high definition stations….

CPU usage for viewing a HD channel has now increased by 40%.  If you record a HD channel you get yet more CPU usage….sigh.

So SD channels are fine, but HD channels definitely use more juice.

The situation has been made tolerable by removing Yahoo Widgets and shutting down a few more non-essential services.

Why don’t we just avoid HD?  In Australia there are extra programs on HD that differ from the usual.

Why is it so?

My current theory is that my HP Pavilion a1515a media center lacks a DXVA compliant video card.

DXVA means hardware decoding of MPEG-2 data.  I assume the higher resolution of HD means more stuff to decode.

My current strategy is to buy a DXVA compliant card.  Will let you know how it goes.

Vista Media Center

I recently installed a copy of Windows Vista on another partition.  I was kind of hoping the experience may be different.

Sadly I have to report that the default experience was not great for two reasons:

1. Seems to use more CPU, which means even worse stuttering for HD (SD Digital is ok though)

2. Vista Update keeps applying some update which blue-screens the computer on startup.  I keep having to restart in safe mode and uninstall the cursed things.  I suspect this is due to a driver incompatibility, so hopefully the new card will help with this too.

I’ll be dual booting for a while and comparing the experience.  More posts about this in the future too.