My Media Center is Cursed

I finally have everything pretty much working. My StarChoice DSR530 is being driven by the Media Center PC I put together, it's recording shows through the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 150, and I can play them back through the XBox 360.

The Media Center UI coming out of the XBox 360 looks great - it's an HDTV UI that looks sharp, although the actual video quality is obviously not HD. I can use the XBox 360 controller to play the XBox Live Arcade games, play the game that's in the tray, watch TV, listen to music, browse photos, all without having to reconfigure the TV or the receiver.

So it just had to happen. We're watching TV when the video stops and won't continue. Hmm. Check the event log on the Media Center PC and it's got this over and over:

The device, \Device\Harddisk0\D, has a bad block.


I did a chkdsk /r to remap the bad block, but now I don't know if the drive is on it's last legs or if it just has that one bad spot... I haven't activated the Windows XP Media Center install that's on it yet (I have about 25 days left) and I don't want to activate it if I'm going to need to reinstall on a new drive.

This is a great system, but there are too many pieces involved, and it's just too fragile.

For example, if the power goes out, the system won't come back up in a state that's ready to record. The DSR530 won't automatically turn on, and MCE doesn't know that it's off, so it will be sending "change the channel" commands to a box that's off.

I think nirvana would be a set top box that was the satellite receiver with Windows XP Media Center Edition as the embedded OS. That way every piece would know what every other piece was doing. Ship a set top with MCE embedded, let the XBox 360 act as an extender for it, and I'd be happy.

Unfortunately the set top market is like the cell phone market - it's all about lock-in.