So, last night (April 28th, 2009) at the Tiki Hut Windows 7 demo, I was supposed to talk about some of the new features of Windows 7, like Direct Access (Microsoft's new VPN client) and BranchCache (basically an enhanced DFS). But of course, Me being Me, I wanted to do a demo of the new features of Media Center in Windows 7!
But, I'm not running Windows 7 on my laptop.
I had it running in a VirtualPC, which is pretty cool all on its own, but you can't attach tuners to a VirtualPC.
So, I asked Blain Barton if I could use his laptop to do the MC demo. He said "Oh, we don't have the time to get MC set up and working."
I said, "I can have it up and running in less than 5 minutes”. He looked at me like "No way". But he said, "Ok, give it a shot"
I took out my handy dandy little AverMedia Volar Max USB ATSC tuner (that’s always with me in case of emergency TV withdrawal), a Yagi antenna that I had brought with me and a 10' piece of RG6 cable (regular coax antenna cable). I ran the cable out the door behind the Podium and setup the antenna pointing out the window. Unfortunately, the MS office in Waltham is on the wrong side of the buildings for a direct line of site to the TV towers that are only about 10 miles from there. So, signal is good only for the strongest stations in the area.
I inserted the USB tuner into a slot and Win7 immediately recognized it and installed the driver. I went into Media Center and did an express setup, then into Settings / TV / Tuner Setup and went through the steps of getting guide data (setting Zip Code). The guide data downloaded and I then went into Settings / TV / Digital TV Signal Strength and removed any channels with weak signals. I still had about a dozen channels after removing the weakest ones.
I opened the guide and started flipping through the channels looking for something in HD. At this time of day the only thing in HD was Oprah . . . Oh well. I flipped the switch on the podium and Oprah in HD was being projected onto the 2 large screens (I think they’re about 7’ screens) in the theater and the audio was coming through the sound system. Various MS employees who happened to be walking by at the time came in and were looking at the screen kinda confused. One said, “I didn’t know you could get TV on these projectors?” I said, “You can’t. It’s coming from this laptop.”
About this time Blain came back and looking at the screen said “Wow, you got it working cool!” He came around behind the podium (the other ms employees following) and was looking at the setup. He asked how I was getting the signal and how everything was hooked up. I showed them the tuner, the cable and the antenna, explained how easy it was to set up and how little it really cost to get FREE HD!
Now mind you, this was an hour before the start of the event and I was just testing the setup. But I already had 6 people walking out of there saying. “That’s too cool, I have to do that!”
Wish I had time to show them the REALLY COOL STUFF.
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