Monday, October 29, 2007

Converting a Philips Showline 9350i to Digital TV (DVB) and Vista

I just picked up one of these great media center PC's off of ebay for £200. Unfortunately they have dual analogue tuners which are nigh on useless these days. Therefore I went to Maplin and picked up a USB dual tuner DVB TV adapter (K-world 399U I think) for £40.
I plugged it in but couldn't get XP Media center to work with it so I decided to install Vista.

Firstly I backed up the partitions using Acronis True Image Home. This was very important as the 9350i does not come with any recovery media!

I then added another 1GB of RAM to the 9350i as Vista is notoriously memory hungry. It takes standard DDR2 RAM (533Mhz or faster preferred but I used 400Mhz and it worked fine).

I installed vista and everything worked fine apart from three things:

1. No sound. The sound did not work initially. It took me ages to get it working....eventually I found that backup I took very useful as on the original C drive of the install there is a folder called Philips and in there was drivers for all the hardware. The audio driver in there was the only one I could find that worked so don't lose them!

2. Stuttering picture on live TV. I googled this and found the answer to be that Microsoft's Vista bundled MPEG2 decoder sucks. I downloaded NVidia's PureVideo decoder, rebooted and everything worked perfectly! You need to use this tool to change the default codec: link

3. Front Panel display says "Starting Up" constantly. I haven't fixed this problem yet. The drivers/program for this did not install properly on Vista. Anyone got any ideas?

Pictures to follow....

Update (Thanks to Ronald):

Vista drivers are here! : http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/dcbint/get?url=/sca/sca/070314/070314170811_18207.zip&ofn=Vista drivers.zip

39 Comments:

Blogger hussein kanji said...

Thanks for the post. Very helpful. What kind of RAM was it? DDR2 PC4200 or PC6400? Not sure what the pinouts are on my Philips since I haven't opened it up?

6:17 pm  
Blogger James White said...

I used PC4200 cause I had some lying around, but the stuff that was in there was PC5300 so you should probably use that. (just runs the FSB at a slightly higher speed).

3:29 pm  
Blogger hussein kanji said...

Helpful again. How many pins? Standard 200 pin module I guess?

Have you tried upgrading the internal hard drive?

3:31 pm  
Blogger James White said...

Standard DDR2 ram. I think it has 240 pins, it is the same I use in Dell desktops at work and my home desktop.

I didn't upgrade the hard disk, but I doubt this would be technically difficult. However, as everything is tightly squashed into the box you may have to remove a lot of screws.
Plus, remember to take an image backup to restore just in case :)

4:03 pm  
Blogger Ronald said...

Hi James,

Philips does provide an MCP9350i sound driver for Windows Vista, download it from: http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/dcbint/get?url=/sca/sca/070314/070314170811_18207.zip&ofn=Vista drivers.zip it's the mcp9360i sound driver but its the same as the mcp9350i. Currenty using it.

Also in this package is the VFD driver for the front : works with vista, only issue i have with it: after standby have to reboot the program for the VFD to come up again, this tool http://www.xs4all.nl/~hveijk/mst/index.htm will problaby fix that but havent got round to test this.

The third driver is MCP9360i only (tv tuner)

Internal harddrive upgrading is very simple, just 3 torx screws at the back, and it's an standard S-ata hdd, also the burner could be replaced quite easily.
System has got an extra PCI slot, just have to drill some holes with a dremel.
Also i guess since there is an pci-e riser board there could be a possibly of replacing the onboard dvi pci-e board with something a bit more powerfull. Also requires a dremel.
Furthermore found out there is another version of this system out there the Onkyo HDC-7, basically the same system but with an extra Audio PCI board.

I'm very happy with this system, would like to find a Bios update for the Intel D945GSU motherboard though, would love to replace the CPU with an dual core version.

5:49 pm  
Blogger James White said...

Thank you! That is great. I have some spare Pentium D chips lying around that I may try one day, they worked in a dell i had with an intel 945 based board.
The reason I haven't done it is that to get to the CPU looks like a lot of work, there are loads of screws and I think a lot of stuff would have to be removed first.
I did have a go at trying to remove the dual analogue tuner cards in there but I couldn't get them out, I took loads of screws out but couldn't find the right ones.

1:06 am  
Blogger chris said...

Hi James,

Any chance of a copy of those images? I found your site because I have gone ahead and blatted my machine and now vista wont allow TV to play despite following your recommendations. Obviously I'll happily pay a fee for a copy.

4:32 pm  
Blogger hussein kanji said...

have you been able to get the tv to output dvi? mine outputs over dvi, but only at windows bootup. after that i get no signal. both vga and s-video work fine, but not dvi. i'm sure it's a driver thing, but i have no idea how to fix it. i've installed the latest intel driver and set the output between monitor/television (affects vga output), and one screen to two (also affects vga output). but otherwise no luck.

1:15 pm  
Blogger James White said...

Sorry man, only running the machine through a crt TV at the moment so haven't tried DVI. I noticed on windows update a few days ago that there are new drivers for the intel chipset, you could try those.

8:26 pm  
Blogger Ger B said...

thanks for the problem solving here, we experienced the same problems. However we got the front panel working again too. First disable "use user control to help protect your computer", go to:
control panel
user accounts
turn user account on or off
disable "use user control to help protect your computer"

then

c:/philips/drivers/fpmanager/setupdut.exe

then restart!

6:39 pm  
Blogger James White said...

If you are in the UK, grab PC Pro magazine this month. It's got a free copy of Acronis True Image with it. It's well worth getting.

11:00 am  
Blogger contentcode said...

You post is an excellent guide to installing vista on a mcp9350.
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get the sound working. After installing the original philips drivers for windows XP MCE the familiar 'blob'-sound at startup returned. However, still no sound. I'm using the analog audio out, no sp-dif/digital. Any suggestions? Thanks.

12:48 am  
Blogger James White said...

A few people have had trouble with that. Did you try the driver at: http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/dcbint/get?url=/sca/sca/070314/070314170811_18207.zip&ofn=Vista drivers.zip

?

2:44 pm  
Blogger papapee said...

Hello,
Can anybody help me? I have been reconfig. partitions and the F11 option isn't working anymore. I still have de EISA partition but cann't start the recovery programm. Can anybody help me with the original philips XPMCE sounddriver? Can anybody provide the original partitions? Thanks!

12:39 pm  
Blogger James White said...

Contact me at james@verydodgy.com and I'll see what I can do :)

10:29 am  
Blogger Justice said...

Great Blog James nice to see some positive information,have sent you email.

11:15 am  
Blogger Adam said...

I'm thinking of picking up one of these but it has no OS on the Har Drive, how easy is it to set up and would you recommend using WMC 2005 or Vista Home Premium ?

10:15 am  
Blogger Edjekroketje said...

Hi James,

Here's another reply from the Netherlands, i can see i am not the first Dutchman to find your blog (many thanks too Google).
I am also struggeling with a MCP9350i. On ours the tuner hardware is not working anymore. Do you know if it is possible to replace the tuner cards? Keeping analogue tuners in would still be the best in our situation, because DVB-T reception in most cases requires a smartcard.

2:03 pm  
Blogger JENX said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:49 pm  
Blogger JENX said...

Hi James and others,

I'm currently in the proces of installing vista (64 bits) on my 9350i. Everything works fine, expect for the audio.
I wonder how you solved it? Was installing the driver you mentioned sufficient? For me the 3-bits drivers in the Philips folder won't work. I have found a similar driver for 64 bit vista, but that won't install properly.
Also the drivers delivered with the 9360i do not work.

The strange thing is that for some drivers seem to work fine - including the driver that was installed during vista setup (at least the device manager indicates everyting is ok). However, I get no sound from the speakers. I have tried a dozen drivers (HDA, Sigmatel,intel) etc but none of them work.

Hope you or any one else can help,

Thanks,
Alex

1:55 pm  
Blogger Allan said...

Hi everybody have recently purchased an MCP9350i. I got it cheap because there was no HD or OS & no memory, it did come with a cd with files on it, but the one for the tuner was missing & I can't find a driver anywhere on the net. Heres what I Have fitted so far 500gb Seagate HD, 4GB Team Elite memory (3GB recognised) Hauppauge HVR 1100 DVB-T tuner & a LG Blu-Ray/HD drive, this will be followed by a higher spec GPU & Pentium D when the wife allows the funds to be released.

12:33 am  
Blogger James White said...

Hi guys, sorry I haven't checked this page for a while :)

Adam: I'd go for Vista as media center is much better on it. Its a little fiddly to get working but it will in the end.


Edjekroketje: The cards seem to be proprietary so I don't reckon you could fix or replace them. Just buy a USB TV tuner as I have. I just got a new one, WinTV Nova-TD and it works perfectly. If you want to stick with analogue hauppauge do those as well.

Jenx: Don't use 64bit vista, 32bit is trouble enough with the dodgy drivers :)

Allan: i've emailed you

2:27 pm  
Blogger Rooby said...

I have re-installed Windows XP Media Centre on my MCP9350i, but forgot to back-up the audio and network card drivers. I learned through this webblog that they only are available via c:/philips/drivers/fpmanager/setupdut.exe..... Unfortunately, I lost that data. Could anybody send me the drivers? THX!!!!!!!!

2:12 pm  
Blogger James White said...

Rooby: Contact me at james@verydodgy.com and I'll see what I can do :)

10:41 am  
Blogger grolsch said...

Hello James,

I also lost my sound drivers from the default philips location c:/philips/drivers/fpmanager/setupdut.exe

Can you provide me the drivers to get my sound setting available again in winXP MCE?

Regards,
Christiaan

5:30 pm  
Blogger Mikaïl said...

I just installed Windows 7 on my old mediacenter, and it works perfectly with the Vista driver.

4:53 pm  
Blogger Mikaïl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:55 pm  
Blogger FWE Group said...

Great blog, many thanks -got my audio working finally

12:00 pm  
Blogger Steven said...

Very helpful posts here. has anyone successfully installed 64 bit Windows and got everything working? If so what drivers were used?

11:58 am  
Blogger Bas said...

hi

i have upgraded my 9350 to windows 7 and everything is working but the front panel display only shows the time and date and NO program info or channel number

is there anybody who has fixed this problem?

thanks
Bas

10:33 pm  
Blogger James White said...

Use the Vista drivers. The front panel works fine in Windows 7.

11:48 am  
Blogger Patrick said...

Good evening James,

I am search in for the onboard sound driver of my Philips Showline MCP 9350i Media Center. I have installed Windows XP Pro with MCE 2005.

I have scart on my TV(no LCD or LED) and want to use sometimes the Headphone. After the install it has no multimediacontroller. There only is a standard bleep from the motherboard.

The MCP worked with Windows XP Pro, when i got him from my brother in-law.

But i wanted to try the Win XP Pro with MCE 2005. And forget to backup all the drivers. Have no cdrom with them on it.
And i am trying to get the sound working sinces june last.

Can you help my please. I want to hear sound from the scart to tv and from the headphone.

Thanks in advance.

Greetings from Holland,
Patrick van Lint

8:56 pm  
Blogger papapee said...

Hi Patrick,
Contact me on djiepost@gmail.com. Thanks to James I still have the original drivers!
Groetjes Pieter

10:10 pm  
Blogger Calin Butiu said...

Hi

I have a Philips 9350i Mediacenter pc.
Just upgraded the CPU with a Pentium D945 3,4 ghz. works ok but the CPU fan runns at max speed. what can I do? any Bios upgrade available or another hint? please help me. Thanks alot

1:04 am  
Blogger James White said...

Hi Calin. I had the same issue but never fixed it unfortunately :( I tried replacing the fan with a quieter one but the CPU temp still gets quite hot under load.

9:17 am  
Blogger James White said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:22 am  
Blogger Calin Butiu said...

Thanks forthe answer james.. Please tell me . what CPU shall I install to avoid this issue. I installed a Pentium D because I hoped that this way I will be able to run flawless 1080p videos.
efor that I had a P4 prescott 3,4 ghz
all worked perfect but 1080p was not really flawless.

7:15 pm  
Blogger Calin Butiu said...

Does anyone have a original BIOS file? or somene please copy the bios file . I know there are utility s to copy.

7:42 pm  
Blogger Calin Butiu said...

Hi people.
I justinstalledaPentium D820 CPU 2,8Ghz Dualcore.
Works ok.cpu fan is quiet as it should be. any help to use de 3,4 Pentium D?

P.S. I found app.Bios Agent Plus.after scanning my PC it says that there is a Bios update available but in order to download it I should Pay 30 euros. I do not trust this. Any experience with Bios Agent Plus?

3:54 am  

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