Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuner Issues...

December 20, 2007 Posted by Jason Irwin , , , No comments

A while back I decided to go for the whole Media Center experience, and while I didn't have a copy of Windows MCE at the time, I used and open source alternative - MediaPortal ( I bought a dual tuner - specifically a Hauppauge PVR 500 MCE, which worked a treat and allowed me to watch one show while recording another - perfect!

Lately I've bought a new PC - Quad Core, 4GB ram, dual monitors, Vista Ultimate x64...a pretty nice machine for my purposes! Similarly to most computer folks out there, I relish the painstaking labor of a fresh install - loading all my apps and my settings and configuring my new box just right. All went well and in a matter of hours I was able to run Vista's in-built media center - a beautifully designed piece of software (though PiP would have been a nice addition…). Watching tv shows wasn't an issue, and all was well…or so I thought.

Days went by before I decided to watch my first scheduled recording - but to my horror I had nothing but a few minutes of green screen. The same went for the other shows I had set up to record. So I did everything conceivable, reinstalling a bunch of drivers for my Hauppauge TV tuner. At first everything worked ok. I installed, I saw tv - happy days. But once I rebooted (regardless of the driver I installed) the green screen came back!

I ripped my configuration apart but finally came upon a post which offered a solution - necessitating a fairly large tradeoff. Apparently many users have been having this issue and the hauppauge forums are flooded with complaints by angry users such as myself. Hauppauge seem to blame Windows, specifically a memory issue - the only fix I can find is as follows:

Yes, you read that correctly:

"The only 100% guaranteed fix is to reduce the total system memory so that it is below a certain amount (i.e. < 3 GB). This can be done either by pulling RAM sticks from the machine or by using a command prompt in administrator mode with the command bcdedit /set {current} removememory X where X is the amount in MB to hide from total system RAM."

I used bcedit, removing a gigabyte of ram from my system - and MCE has worked without an issue for a few months! Meaning that I have been running on only 3 of my 4 cylinders for a few months - I am pretty annoyed. Apparently this may (read "I don't believe this for a second") be fixed in Vista SP1, but from the later user posts in the above forum, it appears that the issue continues, only this time with a black screen. I plan to test this theory as I want my memory back!