Aside from the usual VNC suspects, the only thing I’ve discovered lately is the free version of the logmein.com service. It’s brokered by their server, so the machines need to be Internet accesible. I’m running it on Vista without issue, and one thing I dig, is a little drop down menu that lets me toggle between the two screens I’ve got connected to my desktop PC.
Jeff, can you use a media extender with Vista HP? My understanding is that the media extender just uses a remote desktop connection to bring the media PC into the living room. If HP isn’t capable of using the media extender, then you’ve pretty much got two choices: 1) drag the PC into the living room, or 2) drag all your guests/popcorn into your home office\den.
hajj, WTF are you talking about? My PC is already in the living room. Hence, Home Theater PC (HTPC).
And yes, Vista Home Premium works with media center extenders. But I think only the Xbox 360 is capable of rendering the Vista Media Center interface at the moment, so it’s the only “extender” you can use.
There’s another huge “gotcha” for VNC: it isn’t encrypted. Using it makes you super-hackable, especially if either client or server end are on a large network. If you’re going to use VNC, either use UltraVNC or RealVNC (which have encryption plugins), or use SSH tunneling.
I don’t think you need to have a PC in the living room to consider it an HTPC. I’m eying my Athlon 2400 with an old Hauppauge 350 to serve as a back up appliance for my TiVO. I will grant you that if you have to have it all, it may make sense to build/buy a dedicated machine. But I like the idea of cobbling one together from old parts. The problem with my plan is that my noisy Antec case isn’t going to go well with the living room decor.
I met a few parents at my kid’s little league game last year who swore building your own was nothing but problems, but I say BAH to guys like this (not to their face, of course). :)
er, WTF? I haven’t used one yet, but at every show where I’ve seen the extenders trotted out, the whole idea is to put the extender in the living room to be able to access the HTPC from another room. I realize you can use an XBox (/w extender software) or XBox 360 (extender built-in) as an extender, but I have no idea what you mean by this. I thought rendering the Vista Media Center interface was the whole point to purchasing an extender. Is this some new limit with Vista or what?
I started by using my old parts to build my HTPC. A few upgrade cycles later, it ended up getting a lot of dedicated new parts. (Though not as high-end as my main rig.) Who wants a loud, crappy HTPC?
Bull, they EOL’d the original extenders with Vista. Those extenders only work with XP MCE, and aren’t supported under Vista. Right now the only Vista extender is the 360, though I imagine they’ll release more dedicated units someday.
I was annoyed that Remote Desktop ended up in the Business and Ultimate SKUs only. It’s one of those things that very few consumers use, but that’s mainly because they don’t know about it, I think.
I was annoyed to see that they didn’t make some kind of work around for the extenders aside from the 360. I’ve had my old xbox with the extender software up in the baby’s room for the last few months, and it gives my wife the opportunity to catch up on her TV while feeding the kid. I wasn’t planning on upgrading my media center machine for a while, but I might end up having to in order to deal with high def broadcasting (which everyone assures me won’t be available except in PCs from vendors, but which I’m still holding out hope may be available in some sort of shady OEM fashion from places like newegg).
I don’t think it’s not going to happen. To get CableLabs certification, there’s other stuff in the system besides just the video card, as I understand it. So even if you got the card, it wouldn’t be enough to make it work. So I don’t see any reason to upgrade my MCE box to Vista.
Been using tightvnc from way back. UltraVNC looks very interesting. I think it’s time for an upgrade.
On a side note has anybody used the related PcHelpware app? It seems like it duplicates much of what logmein does. I’m curious if there are any advantages to PcHelpware over logmein as far as features/speed goes.
Man all of this talk will probably just make me bite the bullet and pay the extra for Ultimate. Remote desktop just works so smoothly compared to other solutions. I too like Ultra VNC but really it doesn’t stand up to RD and that disconnect every time there is a popup sounds really freaking annoying.
Realistically, barring pulling in OTA HD, the best bet you have for HD through your PC is unencrypted QAM being decoded by a Linux box in some way. The people in charge of allowing us to actually watch the cable we already pay for are not pushing for a consumer friendly resolution to the whole Windows/QAM blindspot.
I’d love to have a cable-card capable HTPC myself, but it’s just not going to happen. So I’ll settle for not giving the cable company a cent for any content that’s copy protected instead.