Windows? XP Media Center Edition 2005 Pros and Cons?

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Jackliz

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Howdy, Framily.
I am helping a neighbor with purchasing a laptop.(The choices are Dell, Compaq and Toshiba) The software offered with the machine is Windows? XP Media Center Edition 2005. I don't know anything about this product. What are it's pros and cons? Strengths or weaknesses?

BTW, we are somewhat warmer down here in Hondo, TX, thank goodness!! How about you?

Regards,
Liz
 

Steve CDN

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I have Win XP MCE installed on two systems and have a couple of years experience with it.  It is built on the Win XP Pro platform and includes an extensive utility to manage music, photos plus the ability to record TV as well as watch and playback recorded TV.  The system has to be equipped with a television integration device, either as a USB device for a laptop or a card in a desktop.

I use the TV feature but not the photo and music management, because I prefer my own software for this purpose.

If MCE is chosen for the purpose of TV, then consideration should be given to an accelerated video card, an upgraded monitor, plenty of memory and a very large hard drive.
 

Ned

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My first recommendation is the Toshiba over the other brands.  Second, unless they really need the multimedia features for MCE, it's overkill for a home computer.  If they do intend to use MCE, then Steve's suggestions are good.  They'll want to be sure to have an HD tuner (not all MCE computers have one) and an HD DVD optical drive.  HDMI outputs are also desired to connect to an HD TV.
 

Cabbie

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For Christmas I bought my daughter a new Dell Insperion; Windows MCE was really the base level OS offered by Dell; you scan hell out extra to have XPPro with a automatic upgrade to Vista Business when it's release to the public this month. I went that route so I wouldn't have to go out and buy a copy of Office therefore saving some money.

I'd be surprised if Compaq and Toshiba aren't offering the same packages. After all Mr Gates needs to be fed.

As for Dell; don't cross them off your list. I've been a certified Dell repair technician for my job for six years now. I grant you the first couple of years, the Dell laptops were a pile of junk; but by 2004 they were getting to be a real stable unit. We see a lot less repairs at my job than we used to and we support 3000 users of which more than 1500 have laptops. Dell service will repair them on-site almost anywhere; I've even had to set up a call for service in a village in Thyland. Took them three days to get it done, but it got done.

Their no-fault service plan is great; I've had one laptop dropped from a airplane ( the top of the stairs, not in flight ) and one backed over with a car and Dell took care of the warranty with no argument ( after the laughter subsided.).
 

Steve CDN

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My Dell Inspiron 9300 is performing like a champ.  It's in use every day multitasking, with online and offline activites with several intefaces in use and external storage connected.  My previous Toshiba began falling apart after a similar length of time in service, so my bias is in favor of Dell.  At home I have a Dell desktop which performs equally well.
 

Ron

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Steve said:
My Dell Inspiron 9300 is performing like a champ.  It's in use every day multitasking, with online and offline activites with several intefaces in use and external storage connected.  My previous Toshiba began falling apart after a similar length of time in service, so my bias is in favor of Dell.  At home I have a Dell desktop which performs equally well.


You must either live right or are just lucky. ;D ;D
 

BruceinFL

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Have had Dell laptops and desktops. Never had a lick of trouble with any of them. Our company went to Dell because of the reliability and support when it was rarely needed. Haven't had a Toshiba myself but those I know who have them are satisfied. Can't go wrong with either IMHO.

Have a new Dell E1505 with Media Center. So far the O/S works great. When I got the MS updates, they were for Windows XP Pro. Media Center was the standard software for the computer. Since Media Center is built upon XP Pro, why do they charge mega bucks to get XP Pro instead of Media Center when purchasing the computer. Have been trying to figure that out for a while. Is Media Center a stripped down version of XP Pro? Inquiring minds want to know.
 

Jim Dick

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Ron,

Guess there are two of us that are lucky. I've had a couple of problems with the Dell and trying to explain stuff to India isn't easy but it is working great right now. Can't blame them for a hard drive crash. Once they understand the problem the repair is very quick even when sending it back to them.
 

Ron

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I haven't had ANY problems with either Gateway computer other than a crashed hard drive and like you said can't blame that on the manufacturer.

I had my fill of Dell while I was working and the company had some Dells.
 

Jackliz

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Thank you to all that replied. Jack and I have had good results with our Dell laptops. Now I know something about Windows XP MCE.  ;D

Regards,
Liz
 

Karl

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Not meaning to take a swipe at any manufacturer in particular, but I think they ARE to blame for things like hard drive failures. Just look at computers like Emachines, Acer, Packard Bell to name a few. They throw inferior components together to garner the low-end market; supplying shoddy merchandise and no-level support. It was not uncommon for power supplies and hard drives to crash, and because they tried to pack a 5bls into a 1lb box, they were almost impossible to work on. Compaq was one of the worst offenders in that area. With laptops, yes you can get one for $600-$700 bucks, but you'd be smart to consider it a throw-away rather than a long term investment. You get what you pay for. In my book, Toshiba and Sony top the list right now.   
 

Ron

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I am sure you are right Karl but in many cases it is just a matter of age and use.  In may case the original hard drive had been in use in the laptop for more than 6 years.  Personally if I were to buy a new laptop it would be a Jerry F brand which I think is even superior to Gateway, Toshiba, or Sony.
 

Jackliz

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Ron said:
I am sure you are right Karl but in many cases it is just a matter of age and use.  In may case the original hard drive had been in use in the laptop for more than 6 years.  Personally if I were to buy a new laptop it would be a Jerry F brand which I think is even superior to Gateway, Toshiba, or Sony.

OK, duh. WHAT is a Jerry F brand laptop?

Jack
 
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