A Win 7 Media Center question

Jun 30, 2004
13,740
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#1
HISTORY:

I've "done things" that some would say aren't "optimal:" My Sandy Bridge build of 2011 functions as business-center, "everything-center" and HTPC. Instead of computer "speakers," I run an HDMI cable across the room to an ONKYO 7.2 AV/Receiver hooked up to my LG 42" LED TV.

This has all worked just great for a couple years. BUT -- this was an overclocked Sandy -- rock stable and with "maximum LINX" G-Flops that are all the same for dozens of iterations. I noticed, after a while, if I didn't reboot my system every few days, the system would mysteriously crash or reboot -- maybe every week, sometimes every couple days. I put in a query here at Anandtech, and someone noted that it wasn't the "turbo" over-clock that was causing it, but the low-power EIST state whereby the voltage would occasionally drop too low. By upping the VCORE OFFSET by one notch, this apparently has been resolved.

BUT -- MEDIA CENTER. The system is running two monitors: one for regular computer apps and some games, and the HDTV. I have Media Center defaulted to the HDTV.

Whenever I start Media Center, it appears in a window on the TV. This window is smaller than the full TV screen. While MC "remembers" the position of the upper-left corner of the window, I must drag the lower corner initially so that the window fills the screen.

IF -- I choose to "Maximize" that window to full-screen mode, it becomes an inconvenience for accessing the other monitor with my mouse: I must Alt-Tab to make the mouse active for that monitor. So -- I PREFER to keep Media Center in an un-Maximized window that just fills the TV screen.

HOWEVER -- whenever I close and then re-start Media Center, the upper-left position is where I'd previously set it, but the window-size still requires me to drag the lower-right corner with the mouse to fill the screen.

Is there some "edit" to the registry -- some sort of "fix" -- so that Media Center will "remember" the maximum (un-maximized) window size when it is restarted?
 
Aug 30, 2000
25,911
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#2
Computers are cheap. HTPCs don't need to be super powerful. Spend $500 on a dedicated HTPC and call it a day :)

EDIT: Yes I know that wasn't your question but its the only useful answer I can provide.
 

Slugbait

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
3,633
0
81
#4
Maxifier will likely be no better than hitting the Windows key. Specifically, once mouse focus is allowed outside the MCE shell, media being played in Media Center will stutter and break sync with wild abandon. I don't recall exactly the issue (it's been about three years since I researched this) but it has something to do with DirectX and the MCE shell while in full-screen mode. Back when I tried the Windows key workaround, I was running a Xeon W3570 with six gigs and an 8800GTX 768, so the problem is definitely not due to lack of power.

Bonzai, what you're describing is very old behavior that has impacted the Windows shell for ever. However, I am unable to repro on my machine, MCE remembers my window size. But I read somewhere of a workaround once: if any part of the shell window is bordering on the edge of the display, the window size will not be remembered. Try resizing to the point that you can still the desktop on all four sides of the MCE window.

Otherwise, I did a little bit of searching, and the issue *might* be resolved by installing the hotfix for kb979560, if it isn't installed already. Good luck.
 
Jun 30, 2004
13,740
257
126
#5
Maxifier will likely be no better than hitting the Windows key. Specifically, once mouse focus is allowed outside the MCE shell, media being played in Media Center will stutter and break sync with wild abandon. I don't recall exactly the issue (it's been about three years since I researched this) but it has something to do with DirectX and the MCE shell while in full-screen mode. Back when I tried the Windows key workaround, I was running a Xeon W3570 with six gigs and an 8800GTX 768, so the problem is definitely not due to lack of power.

Bonzai, what you're describing is very old behavior that has impacted the Windows shell for ever. However, I am unable to repro on my machine, MCE remembers my window size. But I read somewhere of a workaround once: if any part of the shell window is bordering on the edge of the display, the window size will not be remembered. Try resizing to the point that you can still the desktop on all four sides of the MCE window.

Otherwise, I did a little bit of searching, and the issue *might* be resolved by installing the hotfix for kb979560, if it isn't installed already. Good luck.
"once mouse focus is allowed outside the MCE shell, media being played in Media Center will stutter and break sync with wild abandon."

Hmmm. I never noticed that happening. When I built this Sandy Bridge machine, I made a compromise between cost and "Latest-greatest" benefits. I didn't even consider using the Intel graphics on the CPU, or even "trying it out" by itself. So I ordered an eVGA 570 GTX ["Fermi"?] -- a notch below the flagship before they release the 6XX models.

Then, I found myself installing Lucid Virtu and coordinating the iGPU and dGPU -- and not sure that it really mattered.

I seldom notice anything close to stuttering or breaking sync. I DO notice that when I start a game with Media Center running and tuned to a TV program, there is a momentary interruption in sound, but not a "stutter." Once the other program -- like a game -- is loaded, MC just keeps running uninterrupted.

All this in the context that MC is still running in a window on the HDTV while I play a game full-screen on the other monitor.

As for NutBucket: Sure! I said that! I violated a lot of commonly accepted wisdom! Maybe -- it was because I'd been installing TV-tuner cards in my main system before developing a "Home Theater" mindset -- you know -- so I could watch the McLaughlin Fool Pool on my monitor while running Quicken and spreadsheets and reading the NY Times in the web-browser -- all at the same time.

After that, I was feeding unencrypted SD from our cable subscription to a similar machine, so when we ditched the energy-consuming legacy tube-TVs for HD, I thought to continue on that track.

I probably built a precursor to laptops in 1983, with a battery-driven Timex-Sinclair 1000 (ZX-81) in my grandmother's old overnight Samsonite suitcase. But I've yet to buy a real laptop! I couldn't justify it as more than a toy, since -- even during the last decade -- I didn't need a computer when traveling the 1,500 miles between here and my cousin's place. [Keep in mind -- "I'm retired."]

So . . . I have this room set up the way I want -- desk with computers, printer and scanner on one side of the room, AV/Receiver and HDTV on the other side. This is for someone who either sits at their desk or kicks back on the couch with his "green-button" remote.

Anyway, it's interesting to explore the possibility that MC does something different between being in a window and full-screen mode. And I appreciate the observations and advice.

Oh . . . and too bad MC and Windows Remote doesn't have a simple feature that allows one to go from windows to full-screen using the green-button device. It allows you to "sleep" the computer, even turn it off. But -- not these extra incidental tasks.

I guess that's . . . just the way it is . . .
 
Last edited:
Jun 30, 2004
13,740
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#6
I think I'm going to download the Beta Win 7 version of this and give it a try. From its description, it could be the best of both worlds, unless Slugbait's observation is "totally true" for my needs.

Oddly, this "one-PC-for-everything" approach I've followed doesn't seem to be much of a setback or problem. This -- despite the fact that I have two of my own workstations and a server in this room, and there are two workstations upstairs.

Perhaps the experience gives me "insight" in allocating different functions to the two workstations at my fingertips (excluding Remote Desktop and certain functions of WHS).
 

Mushkins

Golden Member
Feb 11, 2013
1,635
0
0
#7
Simple question nobodys asked yet: what resolution is the TV, and what resolution are the video files you're playing?

Every single video playing software i've ever used will automatically resize itself to match the size of the video file thats opened. It will only force stretch if you manually resize the window after it's open or maximize/fullscreen the player.

If your opening 720p videos on a 1080p TV, they're going to be in a 720p box unless you stretch them. The only exceptions i've seen to this default behavior are media management frontends like Plex and XBMC that assume you want to fullscreen whatever it is to begin with. There might be some player specific flags you can set to force all files to open at X window size.
 

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