Windows 7 – Not Ready for Daily Home Theater Use Yet

I installed the Windows 7 beta (32-bit) on my wife’s MSI Wind netbook with great success.  In fact, it was flawless.  So I decided to give it a try on the second Media Center computer (HTPC) that I just finished building using the 64-bit version.  My results were as positive this time.  Here a summary of why Win7 Beta didn’t work for me on my HTPC:

  • Drivers. The drivers for the motherboard (Nvidia 9400) wouldn’t install from Windows Update and were over a month old.  (At least I was able to install the latest drivers on the Nvidia website.)
  • Lockups. The PC locked up twice during the install and once afterwards, requiring a power-off reboot.  This makes me nervous about stability going forward.
  • Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre won’t run.  They don’t have Win 7 support yet and forum posts suggest it will be some time before they do.  I want to watch Blu-ray movies, so this is a major issue.  I could buy PowerDVD 8, but I don’t care to make an redundant purchase of software that I don’t like as well.
  • LogMeIn (remote screen control application) won’t install.  I can get by without it by using Windows Remote Desktop, but I really like how LogMeIn doesn’t blank the TV screen when I take control from my laptop.
  • My online DVD backups won’t play. This is might be due to Arcsoft TotalMedia Theater causing a conflict, but I’m not going to continue troubleshooting due to the other issues.
  • I can’t play MKV video files without a complicated install procedure. A simple install is available for the 32-bit version of Windows 7, but not the 64-bit version.  With so many other things not working, this is just one more reason not to devote any more time to a lost cause.

These are not operating system problem, but rather application and driver issues.  By the time Win 7 is launched, the applications and drivers I require probably will be compatible.  But right now, they aren’t.  So I’m wiping the drive clean and switching back to what works: Windows Vista 32-bit.

Written by in: Home Theater | Tags: , , , | Last updated on: 2014-May-27 |

11 Comments »

  • Josh S. says:

    This is one of the reason’s why I am so adament on AVSforum and TGB about running 32bit OS for HTPC use. The software just works in 32bit and you don’t have all these weird quirks trying to get it to work.

    I’ve been running Win7 on my netbook (also a MSI Wind) as well as a test HTPC and I’ve been running it flawlessly for weeks now.

    – Josh

  • Carlton Bale says:

    I agree, there is no real benefit to 64-bit unless you need more that 2GB of RAM, and no HTPC does. Software and driver compatibilities are becoming more and more rare, but still occur.

    If Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre would run on Win 7, I would have installed the 32-bit version of Win 7 and tried again. But it doesn’t with the 32-bit version either. I have no idea why my DVD backups (folders) wouldn’t play. I uninstalled Arcsoft and they still wouldn’t work.

    Now that Vista 32 is installed, everything is working flawlessly. For a PC hooked to a TV with no keyboard, that is more important than anything else.

  • James O says:

    I’ve been running Win 7 on an HTPC for 3 months now and a lot of the existing codec packs do not handle MKV well, especially x64, the usual suspects of CCCP, & K-lite are still pretty messy for Win 7. The one that I have found that is head & shoulders above the others is Shark007.net. It’s very streamlined (just the appropriate ffdshow, splitter, etc. It’s a better choice for a HTPC as it doesn’t install a separate media player, everything is setup for windows media player and by extension Media Center. This isn’t just a brain dead “this codec pack” worked for me post, check out his page or email him.

  • Carlton Bale says:

    James,

    Thanks for the tip; I’ll give that a try over CCCP, which has caused conflicts for me in the past.

    -Carlton

  • Falko says:

    Arcsoft releaset TotalMedia Theatre 3 yesterday. Upgrade from previous version $49. And that is for the Platinum Edition. And Windows 7 Compatibility.

    Link: http://www.arcsoft.com/public/feature_comparison.asp?productGroup=tmt3

  • Falko says:

    I have PowerDVD8 and it is horrible. I was using it stopgap until TMT came back with Windows 7 support. The Media Center integration is ok, but MC Remote functionality is minimal. I prefer TMT’s MC integration and remote functionality, and that it supports HDDVD’s. Recently I bulked up my collection of those as they were being sold as DVD/HDDVD flippies for $5 or less. I am using Win7/64 as my Media Center right now, because I am a heavy user of Clear QAM HD channels. I have two Hauppauge HVR-2250 tuners. Windows 7 automanages switching the 4 hybrid tuners between digital and analog cable dynamically, and that works really well for me. I may switch back to 32bit on RC1 as I am also having some problems with additional codecs. I have a large collection of Japanese Anime Fansubs in various formats. I have gotten most to play, but some are stubborn holdouts. I am using the latest DivX and Shark007 codecs for 64bit.

  • Falko says:

    I installed it on my Windows 7/x64 Media Center last night and it works really well. The Media Center integration is even better than TMT 2. It now runs as a Media Center Application instead of launching externally. I have played DVD, HDDVD, and Bluray disks, and everything looks very good. It is a better DVD player the the built in function. DVD’s, especially anamorphic wide screen DVD’s have HD like feel to them. I am waiting on their new SimHD plugin. It uses the nVidia CUDA engine for enhanced upsampling/upscaling of standard DVD’s. HDDVD’s and Bluray’s look like they should. Tonight I will be upgrading the drivers for my nVidia GTX260 video card. nVidia has released new beta drivers for Windows 7.

    • Carlton Bale says:

      This is great news. I’m going to purchase the upgrade and install it this evening on my Vista HTPC. I have everything working very well right now, so I’m not going to upgrade to Win7, but it’s nice to know that TMT is now compatible for when I do decide to upgrade.

  • Windows 7 RC1 gets special Features says:

    Windows 7 RC1 gets special Features…

    Esta build (7100. 0. winmain_ win7rc. 090421- 1700) foi compilada na passada Terça- Feira e ao que parece já começou a ser distribuída a parceiros OEM….

  • FiveHorse says:

    I’ve been using Win7 RTM for a few weeks now, and it’s VERY smooth in my opinion.

    for MKV / FLV / and virtually any other codec (FLAC etc… have a look at Shark007 winodws 7 codec pack. It’s a very lightweight, codec pack with only the bits you need to run the files and there a 64bit supported section. And as it’s been tsted in Windows 7 theres no conflicts etc… Google it “Shark007”.

    I’ve now switched from using Klite / CCCP or anything else.

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