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MediaPortal – Free Open Source Media Center Software

by Johnny Karp 27 July 2009 2 Comments

Features Overview

  • Internal support for several remote control (streamzap, MCE, redeye, winlirc, hauppauge, FireDTV)
  • Supports analog TV, DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-S and ATSC
  • HDTV and AC3 support
  • Timeshifting,Watch, Pause, Rewind, FF, RW Live TV
  • Play any movie your PC has a codec for
  • Watch your pictures/photos
  • Sort your music in many ways like tracks, genre, filesize, artists, album
  • Listen to your favorite radio stations (FM, DVB or internet stream)
  • Show the latest weather information
  • Read and send mail within MediaPortal

Review

Media Portal is an open source program that can turn your PC into an advanced multi-media center. With this program you can watch movies, TV, listen to the radio or to your music files, record TV shows or read you emails and RSS feed items. The people that made this program initially worked on the media center application for Microsoft XBox and after finishing that they created this open source program for the PC.

The program is very complex and my advice is to take some time to configure it right after finishing the installation procedure. You can add your TV tuner or DVB card so that it will be recognized by the program later on. You can also use various types of remote controls that are supported by this software.

mediaportal screenshot 1

Once you have finished the configuration you can get going, watch TV, movie files, music, you can even get the weather if you have a working internet connection.

mediaportal screenshot 2

There is almost no limit to what this program can do. The only thing that was a bit disappointing for me was that it’s quite greedy with your system resources and it tends to get sluggish and slow now and then. If you have a low end PC you might better not even try to install this, it could bring your PC to its knees faster than you think.

The program can also be enriched with the several plugins and extensions that are available on the developer’s website.

Version Tested

1.1

Author

MediaPortal Team

Operating System

Windows XP, Vista

Download link

Summary

Open source.

Feature rich.

minus Huge system resources needed.

Rating

empty_star

Verdict

In order to run MediaPortal properly on your PC you will need at least a P4 CPU at 2 GHz and more than 1 GB of RAM, plus a Direct X 9 compatible video card with at least 128 MB of memory. I have all those things, slightly better, in my PC but still MediaCenter was on the verge of freezing a few times while I tested it. I was quite impressed with its features, a true all-around program, but if the future versions won’t bring any optimizations I’ll send it over to the recycle bin.

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If you have any trouble with this software just leave a comment, I’ll help you out! If you know better free programs in the same category, please let me know!

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2 Comments »

  • PESfan said:

    Yeah, it does need a lot of resources. This program **cked up my computer when I installed it.

    Johnny, you write excellent articles. Keep up!

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Thanks for the comment mate. Hopefully they will optimize it a bit in the future versions.

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