Surround Sound in My Vista Media Center

I’ve had my Vista Media center running on a seven or eight year old Sony Vaio desktop for a little over two years now.  It has been an alternately exhilarating and maddening project.  A while back, I got a new TV and a new satellite box and nearly drove myself mad figuring out how to get the IR blaster to change the channel while I’m asleep so my daughter can get daily doses of Sesame Street.  With time, all of the hurdles that presented themselves were solved.

This weekend, I think I finally solved the last (known) hurdle and am enjoying my living room setup as it was meant to be enjoyed.  I finally have 5.1 surround sound thanks to a $10 sound card and a $3 cable + shipping.  It took me two agonizing years to jettison the Creative Audigy 2 card that came with the computer.  Vista didn’t like it and hell, either did I.  The card I got is cheap, simple, and has an optical output that solved all of my problems after a painless install and about 10 minutes of software tweaking.

Now, with about 150 concert DVD’s and Audio DVD’s ripped to the hard drive, my entire collection (with the exception of the DTS only audio discs – but I’m close to solving that one) is there at the touch of a button on my Logitech Harmony remote.  Like all things worth having, it’s been a lot of work but hugely rewarding.  This weekend, the rewards came in the form of 5 speakers and a sub all humming together in sweet unison.


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