Windows MCE vs. SageTV

April 24, 2005

I’ve been a fan of SageTV for quite some time now.  I still get a few pangs when looking at some of the new stuff coming out for Windows Media Center, however.

Just in case you’ve been wondering what the difference was, Terry Stockdale has posted a nice comparison of SageTV vs. MCE.

“If you’re an advanced user, add SageTV into your current Windows computer and throw away your VCR(s). If you bought a MCE system, download the trial version of SageTV and give it a try. Think about being able to add multiple hard drives for storage—and storing in standard mpeg formats, not proprietary Microsoft formats, too!”

Most of his points are pretty good.  The long and the short of it with me are the file formats—Sage records in easy-to-manipulate MPEG2, while MCE does its own proprietary thing, with its own DRM formats. 

MCE’s interface makes the SageTV interface eat hot death, though.  I’m currently using an “MCE-like” “Skin” for Sage that helps a lot, but it’s not entirely perfect. 

Last but not least, I go around and around with SageTV’s “Intelligent Recording” (ie: if you’re not doing anything else and have some disk space, record something I’d like) which isn’t very intellegent, repeatedly grabbing stuff that I’ve told it explicitly that I don’t like.  Looking at the SageTV forum I’m far from alone in having this problem, so hopefully it will get addressed soon.

So, I’m still doing the SageTV thing.  The picture quality is excellent, the formats are open, and I’m putting up with other issues hoping they’ll get fixed soon.

Some of those third-party MCE add-ons look mighty nifty tho…


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