A noobies experience of mediaportal (1 Viewer)

ElvisMcDuck

Portal Member
July 24, 2005
27
0
Skedsmokorset
Home Country
Norway Norway
I am a complete newbie on everything that has to do with HTPC's. A couple of months ago I bought a TV-tuner on impulse (Terratec 400), just because I wanted to play around with it and see what this thing was.
One thing led to another and now I find myself struggling with Mediaportal on my brand new, self made HTPC.
A few days ago, when I was swearing and clicking like a maniac, I sat down and tried to cool of a bit. I thought
"I can’t be the only one who struggles with this, I should try to make a thread on my "war on the machine". This might show the programmers some problems they haven't even thought off, because to them it would be like turning the system on, before you try to use it. And it probably would help other newbie’s later on, when I some beautiful day, have it all set."

Ok, I'm starting to realize that "all set", is probably not the best phrase to use on software that comes in new versions every day :)
But I mean being able to watch TV, DVD, Use the radio and so on.

My system consists of the following more or less randomly chosen parts:

CPU: Athlon 64 3200+
Memory: Corsair value 3200 DDR 2*512MB
Mobo: MSI K8N NEO4 F
Chipset: NVIDIA nForce4
Vid card: Powercolor Radeon X600 PRO 128 MB - with the latest drivers
TV Card: Sapphire Theatrix 550 PRO - with the latest drivers
Hard disk: Samsung Spinpoint P120 200GB
DVD tray: NEC ND 3540A
Power: NorthQ 4001SX 400W
And a couple Zalman and Papst fans all stuffed into a Silverstone LC03 case.

This I have connected to my 16:9 TV through the VGA port to VGA scart with a homemade cable (which there is a thread on here) :
http://nolanparty.com/mediaportal.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5531&highlight=vga+scart

I'm Using powerstrip (Which was a bastard to set up) to set resolution and timings.
I’m currently running on something like 900x500. This was a predefined resolution in powerstrip named widescreen and I just adjusted the timings until I could see the desktop clearly.

My TV card came with a mediacenter software package from cyberlink, that was terrible. The sound on the TV gets scrambled everytime I change the channel and there is no DVD player in there, when I tried to watch a DVD, I got sent to cyberlinks webpage where they kindly offered me to download a trial of powerDVD...."Mediacenter software package,my ass!!" I thought and started the hunt for a better sollution.

I decided to give mediaportal a go.
After downloading and installing I started my new, free( :D ), super mediacenter... And got met by a wizard for setting things up.
Or that’s not true I got a notification that I didn’t have vobSub installed. Apparently this was something for subtitles, which is good to have, so I installed it.

Then another notification for missing FFDshow. This program I’ve seen being mentioned on every HTPC site I’ve been on, so "click" and FFDshow is soon installed. 8)
Well it wasn’t that easy. The installation procedure of FFDshow lets you choose a lot of stuff....!!
And choices are a newbies worst enemy. I thought "this program is supposed to be gold, so I let this handle everything"
So I clicked in every route I could find and got through the installation.
This turned out to be not so smart, or more straight put; idiotic.
Later when I tried to listen to radio, it sounded like they had moved the studio in to a tin can and placed all the mics 10 meters away from that can.
Of course I should have done a basic install, leaving everything to the default values. Well now I know that, so you see I’m learning.

Now the mediaportal setupwizard finally started. And phew.. It was quite easy to get through. Even I know wich country I’m in and stuff like that, a few choices on the first page was totally greek, like something about GUIOSD and exclusive directX in fullscreen mode, but these I left alone as they were.
Finally the main window of mediaportal appeared, and with trembling hands I started to test this wonder.

Nothing worked. The TV picture was missing the bottom of the screen. I don’t remember what happened when I tried to watch DVD. The radioscan didn’t find any channels and I even managed to hang "My Tetris". At this point I gave up, downloaded powerDVD6 and watched my movie with the volume set to maximum, because the sound was very low. Later I found out that I have to adjust the wave slider in windows volume control because DVD has a different soundlevel than TV/radio and cd.

But I thought "Mediaportal seems to have many great functions and it is getting better everyday".
So now I am determined to get this up and running. I decided to start with the TV and get the picture shown properly.
I had downloaded a pre-release of version 0.1.3. And in the mean time I had read something in the wiki about always starting with the latest final build. (Of course I didn’t look into the manual until after I had tried it on my own)
So I got the final build of 0.1.3 and tried again. The picture was still off. So I thought "there is probably a plugin I need or something like that". I found this plugin :
http://nolanparty.com/mediaportal.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5703

Add-ons installer sounded nice, and it worked!! :D My TV was shown perfect and I wonder if even my remote started working, or maybe this was the first time I tried it, I’m not sure.
Later it turned out that this Add-ons installer had nothing to do with how the TV was shown.

The next night me and my wife watched a movie using powerDVD, It played perfectly and it was funny, so I decided to show her how great it was to watch TV through my new wonderbox.
To put it nicely lets say my wife is a bit sceptical to my new project, and I thought now she is in a good mood and have just enjoyed a good film on the box. So this is the time to show her more goodies. 8)
Well it didn’t exactly go as planned. The TV picture was shown out of position again and it was also stuttering like hell. Obviously the pc had a really hard time doing its job.
I said something like "humbl.. mumble.. worked yesterday.. grumble.. grumble.." And went onto my main pc to do some forumsurfing.

I found some thing about some programs taking up much memory like mediaportal and powerDVD, sometimes don’t free up the memory properly when you shut them down. So a restart is needed. I guess that was my problem. It also said it might be a sollution to disable the pagefile, which I found so terrifying that I haven't tried it yet, maybe I do it later on.

The picture out of position was next on the list. Now I knew there had to be some setting that had changed and I knew I had tried to change some stuff when I was trying to fix the picture, so I decided to do some clicking.
I went into setup and straight into TV, thinking "now you bastard, now I'm gonna get you".
In there you can choose which decoder you want to use (choises,choises..)
I tried every decoder listed in the menu, this didn’t do me any good. :( so I put on MPEG2Dec Video Decoder. (This is the video decoder wich was chosen by mediaportal after I installed it).
And looked into this decoder under filters, There are a few options there and the first one is "Enable planar YUV Media types(YV12,I420,IYUV)" So I thought "What on earth, could that possibly mean?" I didn’t have a clue and I still haven’t got one, but I tried disabling it and it didn’t help me a millimetre :cry:
so I put it back on. I did this with all the parameters and still no good. :x
I changed the decoder went back into filters and went through click bonanza again but still my tv picture didn’t show the bottom of the screen. :evil:
I tried to look into ffdShow planning to start changing parameters in there. But the amount of parameters effectively scared me onto better thoughts... WIKI reading.
I found something about framesize and framerate wich is country and tv specific. So I went into the menu, to have a look at those. (Setup - Television - Capture cards - Highlight your card - edit)....Only to find out they were greyed out... :twisted:
But on the same page there was a label saying Device property a blank scrollingfield and a little setup button.
I chose video capture device and clicked setup. In the window that opened I went into the tab "Video decoder" and here I could see my capture card was set to NTSC and since I live in Norway I chose Pal-b.
Clickety clickety clack!!! And my TV was filled with a correct shown picture!!! I allmost had to go change my underwear... :oops:

Of course, later on this automaticaly changed back so I had to do this over again, but now I knew what my problem was so I searched for "ntcs pal" in the forum, and found this thread:

http://nolanparty.com/mediaportal.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7912

Right now I also found this:

http://nolanparty.com/mediaportal.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7924

And this:

http://nolanparty.com/mediaportal.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8442

I think it is solved now, but I'll give it a few more tries first. I think this comes from watching DVDs from different regions, it seems like this set some parameter that gets stored somewhere.

So now I have TV working, next step is gonna be internal DVD player up and running. I have just stumbled over this thread:

http://nolanparty.com/mediaportal.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=541

So now I'm gonna go try this.
 

vbap

Portal Pro
February 15, 2005
131
1
Melbourne, Australia
Hi ElvisMcDuck,

Thanks for posting, it's good to read how people first approach HTPC software. I researched various programs about 18 months ago, and my research lasted about 6 months before I even downloaded anything to try!!

I agree, the popup box when you first run MP prompting about vobsub and ffdshow are not nice for the newbie, and hopefully is something the Devs are working on for a future release. BTW, have you seen frodo's preview of the new setup wizard for 0.1.4.0? It should go a long way to helping the setup process become a smooth one.

http://nolanparty.com/mediaportal.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8458

Good luck with your adventures!
 

FlipGer

Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • April 27, 2004
    2,658
    115
    47
    Leipzig, Germany
    Home Country
    Germany Germany
    Hi,

    many thanks for this nice and enlightenment report. :)

    It is always helpfull to hear the points and problems were "newbees" are struggling. If you are using MP daily since the early days you might loose the view for such details.

    Keep up reporting how DVD and movies are working.

    Flip.
     

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