Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Media Center & Latest Drivers

In the newsgroups, most issues can be resolved by ensuring you have the latest drivers for your Media Center computer. For example, many users with dual core AMD CPUs will run into stuttering/freezing issues with Live TV or Recorded TV playback if they don't have the latest AMD CPU driver installed. Those that also suffer from Digital Audio Service Errors can find fixes in updated drivers. Here are some links to the some of the more common asked for driver download locations that I've encountered in the Media Center newsgroups.

Hauppauge TV Tuner Drivers are a bit of a special case. While Hauppauge does have drivers available at their website, they are often not the latest drivers. I've found that the best source for Hauppauge drivers is at ftp://ftp.shspvr.com/download/. Within this directory, you can find the latest drivers (both WHQL'ed and prerelease) in the respective product directories. For example, for the popular PVR150 and PVR500 tv tuner card, you can click the following links to get to the latest WHQL'ed and Pre-Release driver versions. One good thing about these drivers is that a changelog is available within the driver downloads, so you know what has changed.

In general, one should also seek out the latest drivers for their motherboard's chipset, audio card and network card (especially if you use Extenders).

All this said, make sure you do not use any drivers from Windows Update, especially when there are updates readily available from the manufacturer. Often times, not only are the drivers from Windows Update old, they also don't have the full functionality that drivers from the manufacturer would have.

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