Asus MyCinema P7131 Hybrid – Using the FM Radio tuner on Windows Vista Home Premium / Ultimate Media Centre

System Requirements:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium / Ultimate

The Problem:

The Asus MyCinema P7131 Hybrid tuner is a relatively inexpensive way of getting a good TV picture in your PC so as to allow you to make use of the full range of features available to you through Media Centre 6.0 / 6.1 under Windows Vista. The MyCinema P7131 Hybrid is also very useful as it comes with a LP mounting bracket for use in Low Profile, small form factor cases.

The card is equipped with a DVB-T tuner, FM Radio tuner, Analogue tuner, IR port and Composite/S-Video in connector, making it quite versatile out of the box when used in conjunction with the supplied Cyberlink MyCinema 5.0 software, however this is simply a duplication of functionality for MEdia Centre enabled systems and doesn’t do it quite as eloquently as the Microsoft solution. The problem is however that out of the box the Vista Media Centre is only able to detect the DVB-T tuner in the card. If you attempt to access the Radio feature you will receive the message

No Services Found

Asus Hybrid in MCE 6 - No Radio

You will be offered no other choice of services or configuration for the FM radio and the TV tuner service will only detect the DVB-T tuner irrespective of driver version used.

More Information:

If you install MyCinema, you can get access to the FM Radio, DVB-T and Analogue tuners through the interface and configuration, so it isn’t out of place to assume that the issue lies with the main driver. This isn’t actually the case. If you have the latest BDA driver for the Philips SAA3131 tuner in the device (version 1.3.3.5 at the time of writing) then your drive does expose the FM tuner to the system. The problem is that it doesn’t configure it to an extent that when Media Centre initialises a scan of the system bus for tuners, it is aware that there device is capable of supporting more than one interface (DVB-T, Analogue, Cable, S-Video/Composite and FM).

This issue is fairly trivial when you look into the problem in so far as Asus provide a “MCE Plug-in” on their CD which acts as an abstraction layer between the two, and will resultantly allow a rudimentary level of switching – more on that in a moment. The bigger problem is in that Media Centre itself is not able to handle more than one device type on a single bus. What does that mean?

Well, take my Hauppauge Nova-T-500. It provides two DVB-T tuner chips with each chip being identified on its own bus. This allows you to use both tuners simultaneously even though they are the same card. The Asus P3171 hybrid however uses software switching in the driver to specify which of the input sources to use against the cards one and only bus. This means that only one of the interfaces (DVB-T, Analogue, Cable, FM, S-Video/Composite) can be used at a time (fair enough) however Media Centre does not natively support the switching mechanism and therefore is only aware of the default interface type, you guessed it, the DVB-T tuner.

Personally, I am willing to for go the Analogue TV tuner as it will be switched off in a couple of years anyway, and I don’t have a cable service here so the use of that Tuner doesn’t interest me and I can live without the S-Video/Composite as my TV exposes three interfaces for those directly and I have other PC’s with capture cards in them – but having installed three of these Low Profile MyCinema P7131 Hybrid cards, it was bugging me that I couldn’t get the FM radio to work and complete the “fully featured” claim on my new Media Centre. Having already convinced the powers that be to free up space by getting rid of the separates hi-fi system, I was feeling duty bound to do this before someone asked for a radio station.

The Fix

This fix is not highly technical for the simple reason that having struggled to get it working, and in the possession of some better key-word concepts it turns out that there are others who have done this with other software switched ‘hybrid’ tuners and who were doing it as far back as XP MCE 2005.

So as it turns out that I am simply rediscovering here I shall not go into too much detail. If you already have Vista installed, you can start this process from step 5.

  1. Install your Asus Hybrid tuner
  2. Install Vista Ultimate / Home Premium
  3. Install Vista SP1 if needed
  4. Install Media Centre 6.1 (aka the Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008) if you have it
  5. Install the latest Tuner Drivers for the P7131 Hybrid.
    You can simply use the add-remove hardware wizard to do this, unless you want to use the Asus Splendid technology filtering in which case use the setup.exe for the driver program.
  6. On your Asus CD (Not the MyCinema one, the green one) open the root folder in Windows Explorer and go into the MCE Plug-in folder. Here you will find two executable files. One setup.exe (the 32-bit version) and another with the 64-bit version. Run the version that you require to match your operating system architecture and install it.
    Yes, you have to install it. I know Vista has its own MPEG decoders, but you have to install it. It is this MPEG encoder that provides the filter which allows you to select which of the hardware sources you will be using – Digital, Analogue/FM or Cable.Note: If you try and install this from the CD’s autorun, you will get stuck on a permanent error about Asus DVD 6 being installed. You can ignore this message as I have not seen any adverse effects of not having Asus DVD installed, however you must run the setup.exe from Windows Explorer.
  7. Restart
  8. Start Media Centre and go through setup as you would wish to normally
  9. When prompted to setup the TV Signal, chose to setup the tuner manually
  10. Select the default instance of the DVB-T tuner and go through setup
  11. Once complete, check to ensure that you have a working DVB-T configuration
  12. Exit Media Centre
  13. Open Regedit
  14. Navigate to :
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center
  15. Export the entire key Media Center and everything below it to a reg file. Call it:
    Digital.reg
  16. Open Media Centre
  17. Go to the tasks area and select setting, then TV and finally to Set Up TV Signal
  18. Repeat the tuner process but this time select the Analogue tuner and go through setup normally against that
  19. Once complete, check that the FM Radio and Analogue TV do work (do not worry if you do not have a picture)
  20. Exit Media Centre
  21. Open Regedit
  22. Navigate to :
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center
  23. Export the entire key Media Center and everything below it to a reg file. Call it:
    Analogue.reg
  24. Create a copy of Digital.reg and name it Hybrid.reg
  25. Open Hybrid.reg and Analogue.reg side by side. What you will do in the fairly complicated instructions that follow is copy the configured tuner settings for the analogue tuner and merge them into the same settings file with the digital tuner configuration data. This is fairly complicated, so be sure to take it slowly.
  26. Search the Hybrid.reg for:
    UserSettings\TuneRequest\Tuning Space\Default Locator
  27. Scroll back to the left and look at the first GUID in this key’s path e.g.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Video\Tuners\{71985F48-1CA1-11D3-9CC8-00C04F7971E0}
    Note that this is tuner specific, if you are using a different model tuner this may be different
  28. If you look down to the NEXT key path, the first path GUID will be different e.g.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Video\Tuners\{A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
  29. Search Analogue.reg for this ‘new’ GUID (the second one – A799A800… in my example)
  30. Copy all lines of data associated with the second GUID Path i.e. if the key path still contains A799A800… copy it and its data
  31. Pate the data OVER the same data in Hybrid.reg so that you have full data sets for BOTH GUID’s present in the same reg file.
  32. Save Hybrid.reg and close it and Analogue.reg
  33. Import Hybrid.reg into the Windows Registry
  34. Open Media Centre
  35. Go through the tuner setup process for the DVB-T tuner again
  36. Close Media Centre
  37. In regedit navigate to (create the key if necessary):
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\Radio
  38. If it doesn’t already exist inside this key create a new REG_SZ (String) called:
    _radioHardwareExists
    that is “underscore”radioHardwareExists
  39. Set the value of _radioHardwareExists to:
    True
  40. Open Media Centre. You will now have access to the Radio Tuner and be able to watch DVB-T (though not at the same time of course)

If anything goes terribly wrong during this process and/or you want to start again. in Regedit delete the entire key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center

Then simply import the Digital.reg file that you backed up at the beginning of the process. If you backup the .reg settings files, should you ever come to format your system again you will be able to simply re-import them into Media Centre (you may need to adjust the GUID values).

Creating a Windows XP Service Pack 3 Integrated CD for Windows XP Media Center Edition

System Requirements:

  • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

The Problem:

When you create a slipstreamed installation media for Windows XP Media Center Edition you receive the following error message at approximately “26 minutes” until completion during the Windows XP Professional Edition setup routine.

Files Needed
The file ‘ehiEPG.dll’ on Windows XP Professional CD 2 is needed.
Type the path where the file is located, and then click OK.

Slipstream ehiEPG.dll error

If you check the installation media, the file does not exist and you will be unable to install the Media Centre module with the Windows XP installation.

More Information:

If you check the Windows XP Slipstreamed Media, you will not be able to find the file ehiEPG.dll or ehiEPG.dl_ on the disc set. If you are looking for a short answer to your problem, here it is:

  • Windows XP Media Center 2004 – You can slipstream
  • Windows XP Media Center 2005 – You cannot slipstream

 

This one took me a frustratingly large amount of time to work out, but here is a rundown of how I have come to this conclusion.

 

When you slipstream XP SP3 onto Tablet PC Edition Media (which is the same as the MCE media minus the Sonic and Plus CAB’s), the Tablet PC components on CD 2 are updates as part of the slipstream. When you perform the same action on a MCE 2005 media set, no changes are made to the cmpnents\mediactr\i386 folder on disc 2.

So what about this ehiEPG.dll file?

The Media Centre installer is conducted through a sub-file in the i386 folder called: MEDCTROC.IN_

if you expand this file before you perform the slipstream with SP3 (using expand <path>\MEDCTROC.IN_ c:\MEDCTROC.INI) and then do the same after the slipstream you will come up with a completely different set of results (shown in the table below).

MCE 2005 SP2 (Microsoft) MCE 2005 SP3 (Slipstreamed)
Arch.jpg Arch.jpg
AspectRatio16x9.wmv = 1 AspectRatio16x9.wmv =1
AspectRatio4x3.wmv = 1 AspectRatio4x3.wmv =1
bdatunepia.dll = 1 bdatunepia.dll = 1
bdatunepia.ldo = 1 bdatunepia.ldo = 1
BigWave.jpg = 1 BigWave.jpg = 1
Brightness.wmv = 1 Brightness.wmv =1
CBVAFilter.dll = 1
ColorTint.wmv = 1 ColorTint.wmv =1
Contrast.wmv = 1 Contrast.wmv =1
DebugSvc.dll = 1 DebugSvc.dll = 1
down_gem.png = 1 down_gem.png = 1
down_otto.png = 1 down_otto.png = 1
ehchsime.dll = 1 ehchsime.dll = 1
ehCIR.dll = 1 ehCIR.dll = 1
ehCIR.ird = 1 ehCIR.ird = 1
ehcir.ldo = 1 ehcir.ldo = 1
ehCIRcl.dll = 1
EhCM.dll EhCM.dll
ehcm.ldo ehcm.ldo
ehcommon.dll = 1 ehcommon.dll = 1
ehcommon.ldo = 1 ehcommon.ldo = 1
EhDebug.dll = 1 EhDebug.dll = 1
ehdrop.dll = 1 ehdrop.dll = 1
ehentt.dll = 1 ehentt.dll = 1
ehepg.dll = 1 ehepg.dll = 1
ehepg.ldo = 1 ehepg.ldo = 1
ehepgdat.dll = 1 ehepgdat.dll = 1
ehepgdat.ldo = 1 ehepgdat.ldo = 1
ehepgdec.dll = 1 ehepgdec.dll = 1
ehepgnet.dll = 1 ehepgnet.dll = 1
ehGLID.dll = 1 ehGLID.dll = 1
ehiEPG.dll = 1
ehiepg.ldo = 1
ehiExtens.dll = 1 ehiExtens.dll = 1
ehiMsgr.dll = 1
ehIntro.wmv = 1 ehIntro.wmv =1
ehiPlay.dll = 1 ehiPlay.dll = 1
ehiplay.ldo = 1 ehiplay.ldo = 1
ehiProxy.dll = 1 ehiProxy.dll = 1
ehiproxy.ldo = 1 ehiproxy.ldo = 1
ehiTuner.dll = 1
ehituner.ldo = 1
ehiuserxp.dll = 1 ehiuserxp.dll = 1
ehiuserxp.ldo = 1 ehiuserxp.ldo = 1
ehiVidCtl.dll = 1 ehiVidCtl.dll = 1
ehividctl.ldo = 1 ehividctl.ldo = 1
ehiwmp.dll = 1 ehiwmp.dll = 1
ehiwmp.ldo = 1 ehiwmp.ldo = 1
ehiwuapi.dll = 1
ehjpnime.dll = 1 ehjpnime.dll = 1
ehkeyctl.dll = 1
ehmsas.exe = 1 ehmsas.exe = 1
ehPlayer.dll = 1 ehPlayer.dll = 1
ehProxy.dll = 1 ehProxy.dll = 1
ehRec.exe = 1 ehRec.exe = 1
ehRecObj.dll = 1 ehRecObj.dll = 1
ehrecobj.ldo = 1 ehrecobj.ldo = 1
ehRecvr.exe = 1
ehres.dll = 1 ehres.dll = 1
ehreschs.dll = 1 ehreschs.dll = 1
ehresde.dll = 1 ehresde.dll = 1
ehresfr.dll = 1 ehresfr.dll = 1
ehresit.dll = 1
ehresja.dll = 1 ehresja.dll = 1
ehresko.dll = 1 ehresko.dll = 1
ehresnl.dll = 1
ehSched.exe = 1 ehSched.exe = 1
ehshell.exe = 1 ehshell.exe = 1
ehshell.ldo = 1 ehshell.ldo = 1
ehsqdb20.dll = 1 ehsqdb20.dll
ehsqqp20.dll = 1 ehsqqp20.dll = 1
ehsqse20.dll = 1 ehsqse20.dll = 1
ehtray.exe = 1 ehtray.exe = 1
ehui.dll ehui.dll
ehuihlp.dll = 1 ehuihlp.dll = 1
EpgTOS.txt = 1
Fish.jpg Fish.jpg
Freestyl.jpg = 1 Freestyl.jpg = 1
gacutil.exe = 1
GEMMAS~1.MCL = 1 GEMMAS~1.MCL =1
mcdftreg.inf = 1 mcdftreg.inf = 1
MCETuningOverrides.xml = 1
mcrmgr.dll = 1
mcrmgr.exe = 1
mcskin.wmz = 1 mcskin.wmz = 1
medcthlp.cab = 1 medcthlp.cab = 1
medctrro.exe = 1 medctrro.exe = 1
Microsoft.MediaCenter.dll = 1
Otto.mcl Otto.mcl =1
Positioning16x9.wmv = 1 Positioning16x9.wmv =1
Positioning4x3.wmv = 1 Positioning4x3.wmv =1
PositioningOS16x9.wmv = 1
PositioningOS4x3.wmv = 1
RegisterMCEApp.exe = 1
RGBBalance.wmv = 1 RGBBalance.wmv =1
Rio.jpg = 1 Rio.jpg = 1
segmcr.ttf = 1
segmcsb.ttf = 1
Sharpness.wmv = 1 Sharpness.wmv =1
snchk.exe = 1
SS2.dvr-ms = 1
SS51.dvr-ms = 1
winxpfs.jpg = 1 winxpfs.jpg = 1
WMM2DVR.DLL = 1
WMM2ERES.dll = 1
WMM2EXT.dll = 1
WMM2FXPZ.DLL = 1
WMM2FXPZ.XML = 1

 

The differences between the two installation file sets is quite clear, there are many files missing from the SP3 installer list and a hand full of files are new on the SP3 list. The presence of new file is however understandable because of new files included in hot fixes to Media Centre Edition since XP SP2 was released in 2004. Where are the files though?

Extracting the SP3 installer reveals the files to be located within the Service Pack hierarchy in the location:
\i386\root\cmpnents\mediactr\i386

My mistake here was not examining the files closer, because I assumed that perhaps there had been an issue with the slipstream script and the files had not been copied across to the delivery folder for disc 2 during the slipstream.

To test this theory, I halted the Virtual Machine that I had asking me for ehiEPG.dll, copied the contents of service pack \i386\root\cmpnents\mediactr\i386 into \cmpnents\mediactr\i386 of my slipstreamed build folder and recreated the disc 2 ISO image.

Sure enough, the Virtual Machine installation took one look at the disc and was suddenly happy again. Sounds good?

So I abandoned the install and started again to ensure that I was not mixing file versions. The install got to 26 minutes, no problems, the install got to 10 minutes, no problems. The install came up with OOBE and still no problems.

On the start menu there was Media Center link and in clicking it the MCE initiator grumbled about the graphics card not being compatible with MCE (this was Virtual PC after all) but sure enough, MCE loaded.

I immediately hit Windows Update and was offered nothing more than:

  • Internet Explorer 7.0
  • Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool May 2008
  • 923789 – Update for Adobe Flash Player

So it looked like it had worked… until after a couple of minutes of fiddling I realised that something looked very, very wrong (and no, not just the hashed up low-depth graphics). Firstly, the plus pack and sonic plugins were missing from the system, this included the Royal XP skin that is supposed to be included with MCE.

Secondly, not being familiar with MCE for XP having never actually bothered to install the thing, it took me a few minutes to realise that this was so radically different from the Vista version that it looked more like the third party MyCinema Media Centre than screenshots that I have seen of the XP one.

Windows XP Media Centre Edition About Screen

… 5.1.2600 (XP) 5512 (SP3’s build number) it worked!

Oh, wait a minute, that says “Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

So I checked the disc’s (that I had never used before). They said MCE 2005… but a quick google told me that 5.1.2700 was MCE 2005 and that no references to MCE 2004 had even heard of 5.1.2600.5512.

So I checked Disc 2 \cmpnents\mediactr\i386\mediactr.cab pulled out ehshell.ex_, inflated it and checked the version number: 5.1.2700.2180:
5.1 (XP) 2700 (MCE 2005) 2180 (XP SP2’s build number)

I had Media Center Edition 2005.

Conclusion

I started with MCE 2005 and wound up with MCE 2004. Confused?

It then dawned on me that the SP3 redistributable must not have any awareness of MCE 2005 at all. The reason why the installer from a Slipstreamed MCE 2005 disc is asking for ehiEPG.dll is because when you slipstream, it doesn’t get the files wrong, it just assumes that you are using Windows XP Media Center 2004 and integrates the updater script for the patched version of MCE 2004!

Once I had given it the MCE 2004 source files (provided in the SP3 redist) it was more than happy to install and deliver MCE 2004 for me in fully working order.

So as far as I am concerned, if you have a MCE 2004 installation set, you can create a MCE 2004 slipstreamed media (although I do not know if the slipstream script will populate the updates onto disc 2 for you or not – I am assuming that it will. If however you have MCE 2005, then quite frankly you cannot slipstream MCE 2005 SP3 as there is nothing to slipstream.

Presumably if you reintroduce the MCE 2005 MEDCTROC.IN_ file after slipstreaming the base OS, you will be able to load a SP3 base OS and a clean SP2 level MCE 2005 – but I have not tested this hypothesise.