HTPC Tip Of The Day: Media Center Programs


In my last Tip Of The Day I was scolded for not including Media Center Programs that are not part of the "Big 3 or 4" (SageTV, BeyondTV, VMC and Media Portal). These are the programs I am most familiar with and as such I visit their sites on a far more frequent basis. To make amends, the next few tips will cover three Media Center/Front End programs and some facts about each one.

SageTV Media Center

Homepage –

Cost: $80 for full version, less for clients

Description: SageTV lets you enjoy your favorite TV shows and online video when you want, wherever you want on any TV, PC or Mac!

Browse, search and watch all the latest online video from Google Video from the comfort of your couch with SageTV Media Center V6.

Enjoy the most popular online videos, news, movie trailers, TV shows, comedy, music videos and more at the push of a button on your remote control.

Client/Server Topology – Stand alone/Server/Computer Client/Placeshifting Client/HD Extender/SD Extender/Web Scheduling

Supported Operating System – Windows, Linux, Mac



Homepage –

Cost: $70


  • No Subscription Fees. Ever.
  • Skip commercials and other parts of TV shows
  • Search for shows on actor, director, or title
  • Burn DVDs of your TV recordings*
  • New! Automatically sync recordings to iPod, iPhone or Apple TV*
  • Intelligent Program Guide resolves conflicts
  • Record HDTV from free, over-the-air or Clear QAM digital TV signals

Client/Server Topology – Stand Alone/Server/Computer Client/Web Scheduling

Supported Operating Systems – Windows 



Vista Media Center

Homepage – Microsoft Product Page

Cost – ~$120 (Home Premium – OEM)


  • View custom slide shows set to music.
  • Watch DVDs and home movies.
  • Browse your music collection by cover art.
  • Organize photos and create albums.
  • Get the latest scores and stats on SportsLounge (U.S. and Canada only).
  • Discover great video from MSN TV in the Internet TV Beta (U.S. only).
  • Watch, pause, and rewind live TV shows in standard and high definition (HDTV available only in the U.S.).
  • Schedule and record TV shows and movies for later viewing.
  • Watch live, HD quality media (available only in the U.S.) on any screen in your house with Extenders for Windows Media Center.

Client/Server Topology – Stand Alone/Server/HD Extender/Web Scheduling/Placeshifting via Web Guide