Forum Spotlight: Media Center Software Central

by Alex Kuretz on March 19, 2009

in Forum Spotlight

Forum member “dbone1026″ aka Damian has spent the last few months testing, evaluating, and comparing many of the different Media Center software packages that are available, and he’s been documenting this process the entire time with us in the forums. His reviews include detailed descriptions, impressions of the features and user experience, and several screenshots showing off the best details of each package.

Media Browser resize

Media Browser resize

Damian stores all his content on the MediaSmart Server, and serves it up to a couple different HTPC’s in his home as well as his primary desktop computer. What he’s “looking for is the holy grail of Media Center software” that needs to fulfill the following requirements:

- User friendly and streamlined interface
- High WAF
- Integration of online content
- Ability to handle a large variety of file extensions – mkv and vob (dvd structure) a must
- High degree of customization
- Minimal, if any, code writing
- Wow factor (using fanart, etc)
- And of course, stable

Damian has used and reported on the following Media Center software packages and created a table that compares features and summarizes his results.

  • Vista Media Center
  • SageTV
  • XBMC
  • Media Portal
  • Zviewer
  • Boxee
Media Center Software Central

Media Center Software Central

He acknowledges that at this point he has not done any recording of TV via Media Center, but judging by his recent blog post that is about to change, as he has just purchased an HDHomeRun for TV recording purposes. I look forward to seeing how his recommendations change as this concept is incorporated into the home digital media experience.

Be sure to post in the forums if you have any questions for Damian or suggestions for other software he should try, and visit his blog for the latest on his digital home journey.

Thanks, Damian, for the detailed writeup and sharing your enthusiasm with us.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.

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