Daily Archives: November 22, 2022

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

An update to Windows XP Media Center, again intended for OEM use. Very little has changed on the desktop side with most of the enhancements being done to the Media Center program. Again this version was intended solely for OEMs, so only OEM-type product keys can be used. When installing on an OEM system, like my Dell XPS Gen5, activation was automatic and I don’t remember it prompting for a product key. On VMWare, it’s a different story with it being locked out of the OS on the initial boot-up.

Some issues may occur regarding product activation since this is a Dell OEM copy, to get around this:
Spam F8 upon boot up
Select Start in Command Prompt
When the Command prompt window appears, enter ‘explorer’ and wait for the setup prompt to finish, this will reboot the PC automatically

Version Information

ComponentVersion
Internet Explorer6.0.2800.1106.xpsp11.020828-1920
Outlook Express6.00.2800.1106
Windows Media Player9.00.00.3005
Windows Messenger4.7.0041
Windows Movie Maker1.1.2427.1

The desktop remains the same as a default Windows XP, with the only noticeable difference being the Media Center icon on the Start Menu. A new Online Spotlight option is now present, This would take you to an online website, displayed within the Media Center application (possibly using the Internet Explorer engine) that would have provided further information with using Media Center.

Play DVD

The main DVD player, again we have difficulties playing DVD discs due to the lack of hardware MPEG2 decoder. You would think they would support software rendering by now.

My Videos

Videos stored in the My Videos folder are located and played back here. This does not include Recorded TV, which has its own section. Video playback requires a supported graphics card that will provide acceleration, that VMWare (Or its driver) does not support.

My Pictures

Similar has before, photos can be displayed as a single image or as part of a slideshow. Media center supports the common file formats and will display images from the My Pictures folder, or the Shared Pictures

My TV

TV functionality is still a mystery, as my DVB-T tuner adaptor is still not recognized by the Media Center Application. From looking at the help files, Media Center has full PVR functionality with the ability to schedule recordings, pause live TV & rewind. You can now watch TV in slow motion, which is useful for sports events or frame by frame to check if anything has been missed (or for any subliminal messages).
As with the previous version, you can configure the TV source to be through an antenna, using a satellite or a cable feed. The latter two probably need a set-top box along with an infrared blaster to control it.
Pay-Per-View also appears to be supported, but I’m unsure how this is implemented. Possibly it interacts with your cable box’s PPV application?
As for the TV listings, as Microsoft has killed off the EPG servers we are unable to load any channel listings.

My Music

Little here has changed compared to the previous version. Music stored in the My Music folder can be played or organized into a playlist, and played through the media center application.

More Programs

Additional programs that integrate into Media Center are displayed here, which can include games or links to the website. Dell has bundled a few WildTangent games that are intended to be played using the Media Center remote.

Otto: The objective is to turn all of the squares into your colour, whilst avoiding the enemies.

Gem Master: Similar to Sega Columns, clear the board by matching three or more colours together

Shutting down within media center