I never was even remotely interested in using an external player for Media Browser. Not for the years I’ve been using it. I’ve been happy with the internal player of Media Center, so never really saw any reason to use anything else. I’ve been able to support a myriad of formats with no trouble and even get DXVA playback with subtitle support working, with relatively no issues. It’s just worked. Well, Friday, I decided to mess around with using Media Player Classic Home Cinema as my external player for Media Browser 3 and I am now an official convert.
MPC-HC has been my preferred media player outside of Media Center for years. I just never liked the idea of doing anything outside of Media Center if I was happy existing completely inside of it. Superior image quality? Whatever…the internal player looks fine. Better codec support? Yeh, well, ffdshow does whatever I want…however I want. That has primarily my stance for the past 3-4 years, or more. However, recently, I’ve been extremely interested in the progress of the LAV filter set. I’ve really wanted to use them, but they’ve given me some issues using the internal Media Center player, so I keep abandoning them. Well, I knew they were completely supported with MPC-HC, so it really started to eat away at my urges, so I figured, “What’s the harm in trying?”
There was no harm. I mean, once I started really looking into using MPC-HC as an external player, I started to accept it more and more. It’s very widely used. It can’t be all bad right? I was mostly worried about the ugliness in switching from Media Center to MPC-HC, but once it was setup correctly, I have to say, it surprised me how seamless it really was. For me, it literally switches back and forth in a fraction of second…I have, maybe a half-second of black screen before my video starts playing or when returning to Media Center after stopping video. That’s generous. I don’t notice any maximizing or minimizing of windows. It’s just very…clean.
I did run into some issues in the beginning, but it was because I had no idea what I was doing. I had all the filters configured correctly in MPC-HC, but controlling MPC-HC with the remote was giving me some problems. I actually had given up earlier last week on an attempt because of this. It continued to eat away at me, however, so on Friday I gave it one last chance, and that’s when I noticed something in the MB3 Configurator that set me straight.
I totally missed that little link at the bottom because RTFM is for noobs. Well, I clicked that and angels sang and a bright light shone from the heavens, illuminating this little dialog box…
I clicked Yes and tried again. Well, what do you know? Everything works…perfectly. Perfectly much better than I ever expected. So well, in fact, that it is now the permanent configuration in my bedroom and living room HTPCs. Oh, the picture quality is improved, I have to admit.
Anyway, I never thought I’d actually use an external player for Media Browser. I’m proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
I guess I’m also proof that an old dog with new tricks is still an old, stubborn dog. I’ve since moved away from the external player and gone back to the internal one for Media Center. Primarily because I got LAV filters working with it with working subtitle support.