Tag Archives: MCE

Nvidia FX 5200 windows 7 (and Vista/XP) driver that supports tv-out (svideo).

This is a (very geeky) gem that you won’t find anywhere else – it took me long enough to work it out!

If you are reading this, it is probably because you have an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 or FX 5 series video card in a Media Centre/Center (MCE) that is not properly driving your TV via the tv-out (svideo) connector. In Vista and Windows 7, the default driver automatically provided by Windows Update is the Vista driver version 96.85.

96.85 in Vista and Windows 7 works fine with FX 5 series cards – except for tv-out, which for some reason it drives at 25Hz. I can find no way to change the output frequency (which is possibly something to do with trying to give smoother, more fluid motion to DVD’s encoded at 24fps – but just makes the screen flicker for normal TV – particularly badly if you are watching in PAL) and the FX 5 series cards are now end-of-life with Nvidia no longer supporting them or releasing drivers that provide support.

However, there is a solution that works a treat! Download the XP driver 81.98 – it has to specifically be this one as I have found the flickering problem to exist in other XP drivers before and after this particular version.

 STOP: This driver won’t install in Windows 7 or Vista as it is. Download the driver – 81.98_forceware_winxp2k_international_whql.exe and right click –> properties –> Compatibility and check “run this program in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 3)” – and you are good to go.

Note: That this 81.98 XP driver does correctly drive Aero capabilities – although doesn’t show up as so hot in performance tests – but it is a Media Centre and not an XBOX – right?


mce-media-core – the best iplayer add-on for Windows Media Centre (MCE).


The really cool thing about Windows Media Centre (to be found already installed in most versions of Vista and Windows) is that it is a central repository of all, well, your media. The problem is, that if you like using the BBC iPlayer, you effectively have to minimise the MCE interface and fire up a browser in which to watch iPlayer re-runs. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get iPlayer to run within MCE? Well, now you can.

While there has always been the Milliesoft MCE iPlayer add-on, I could never get it to work properly – and it was pretty resource hungry on my low power MCE (which also has a low bandwidth broadband connection).

So, step forward the gobsmakingly good mce-media-core. This really is an absolute gem – and probably the best add-on/plugin I have ever seen for MCE. What’s more, it doesn’t use Flash but wmv streams. As a consequence, you have to wait a minute or two for it to initially buffer, but once running, the video is broadcast quality – with no stuttering (like you can have with CPU intensive Flash rendering).

mce-media-core is still very much at the alpha phase, so some features don’t work (yet). I can’t get it to play BBC HD streams and there is no fast-forward or rewind – but I am sure that will be fixed as the product matures – unless Microsoft offers the author a job (and they really should).