HTPC: Part 2 – The software

Let me show you what I’ve done to get my HTPC up and running, through some blogposts.
The drilldown
Part 1: The hardware
Part 2: The software
Part 3: The overall conclusion and some pictures

This part will be about the software that is used on my HTPC to get everything working.

* OS: Windows 7 Home edition 64bit

Because of the fact that I got 4gb of memory, there was only one option and that was installing Windows 7 Home edition 64bit!
It’s a good OS and will serve all my needs.

* Media software: Windows 7 Media Center

With the Win7 Home edition, you’ll get Windows Media Center 7 for free! it’s a great HTPC software tool that already contains many features, but you’ll also be able to install extra plugins.

* Music playback: Windows 7 Media Center & iTunes

I manage all my music in iTunes ( playlists and metadata tagging ), this because I use my iPod Nano during my sport activities! On my HTPC I have a backup running of all my available music, so Media Center will pick this up in the Music hub.

* Picture viewing: Windows 7 Media Center & FastPictureViewer

I own a Nikon D40x and love the quality it produces! To be able to do fine manipulation on my photo’s I tend to save them in RAW format ( Adobe DNG to be precise ). But the Pictures hub of Media Center doesn’t support any RAW format… to accomplish this, you can get the 64bit codec from FastPictureViewer! It works like a charm, now all my RAW pictures are viewable inside the Pictures hub.

* Blu-Ray playback: ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 3

TotalMedia from ArcSoft is a solid product when it comes to Blu-Ray playback on Windows… and thanks to the Media Center integrated interface you can now watch your Blu-Rays from inside Media Center itself!

* DvD playback: Media Browser

All my Dvd’s are ripped unto the HTPC. To get a nice interface for different catalogues, I opted for Media Browser… it’s just a great tool with also plugin capability! It can also auto fetch movie information ( metadata, posters and backdrops ) from the internet.
I made a seperate catalogue for general movies and one for my kids 🙂 .

* Weather information: mceWeather

Great plugin that will show you a nice forecast of the weather of any location!
Another one worth mentioning is HeatWave, but I don’t like the info switching on the main screen.

* CPU temperature: CoreTempMC

A nice little plugin that allows you to keep track of the temperature of your CPU from within Media Center.

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