I have a freshly installed Vista MCE (SP1) laptop and a Pinnacle PCTV To Go Wireless on my (mostly wired at this point) network. I initially installed the latest player from Pinnacle just to make sure I could get it up and working. Then, before setting up the media center software to work with the Pinnacle device, I decided what the heck, and installed the latest HAVA software (1.8.1) and firmware (270.322). I also have the Virtual IR Blaster installed.
First, let me just say that the HAVA player is way more visually pleasing than the old/outdated Pinnacle player -- nice job guys! Both the video and audio quality are great.
Also, since my Vista MCE laptop is wired, I've had no problems with setting it up with the HAVA software, updating the firmware, etc, and I don't expect to have a strong need for remote or even wireless access at this point. However, I have run into one or two gotchas, stemming I think from trying to get the HAVA "tuner" to work with MCE.
First, I can not seem to get component input to work in MCE regardless if I use the component/MCE checkbox in the HAVA set up or not. It sticks stubbornly to composite so that 16:9 HD channels/programs end up with all four black bars/pillars/whatever around the program. And then when I go back to using the HAVA player, the input usually has to be manually set back to component.
Second, the video quality via MCE has two problems: 1) it's very jittery, most noticeably when I'm changing channels and the set-top box info bar comes up (the MCE info bar overlay is fine) and 2) the video stutters alot and is not smooth but speeds up and stalls from the time I start up "live tv" until I quit it.
Interestingly on another Vista MCE (HP Pavillion Desktop Media Center) where I have NOT yet upgraded to the latest version of the HAVA player, the MCE integration is as flawless as before -- it's clearly using/switching to component for the input, there's no jitter, and no stalling/speeding up. (I should note that before recently reinstalling the OS on the laptop, I had the Pinnacle software integrated with MCE just fine and without any of the above issues).
For now, I'm happy to keep using the HAVA player on my laptop and record with and/or use MCE with the original Pinnacle player on the desktop but at some point it would be nice to upgrade the desktop as well so I'm guess I'm looking for feedback, etc, as to how successful I'll be if I do so or if I just stick with the older Pinnacle software/firmware when I want to integrate with MCE.