WARNING: Acer Aspire L200 Media Center running Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 can’t be connected to a Sky set-top box
These Media Center PCs are supposed to connect to your aerial or set-top box and show you live TV through the PC. Why would you want to do that? Well because it is a computer you can combine this with other features in the same box: you can listen to music from your hard disk or CDs, watch videos from your hard disk or DVD player, listen to the radio and look at your family photographs. All this is combined into an easy-to-use interface for non-technical people.
So it should just work, right?
Not if you are connecting a Sky set-top box to your Acer Aspire L200 it doesn’t. To set this up you need a particular wire that Acer do not include with the PC. The kind of wire doesn’t matter: if you’re interested it’s an infra-red emitter that you stick over the magic eye on your Sky set-top box so the Media Center remote control can change the channels. This is important so that the PC can record a particular channel when you’re out or asleep.
I cannot, simply cannot, believe I am the only person in the UK who has tried to do this. I called Acer Technical Support. The young man reading his script said he couldn’t help. I asked him to talk to his supervisor. He came back on the line. Oh yes, he said, you need an infra-red emitter cable. You can get them from our Parts Sales department on this number.
Yeah right. He had successfully got rid of me and of course Parts Sales had never heard of this and certainly had no such cable in stock.
But why sell the PC in the first place without a 50p cable that enables a very common setup? Let me be clear: it’s not just that I cannot change the channel with the Media Center remote, it’s that the Media Center setup fails if this cable isn’t plugged in. That’s right, Windows XP Media Center setup depends on this cable and Acer don’t put one in the box or even supply one after market.
I’ve ordered one from elsewhere. I have the technical know-how to fix this. But this is a consumer device. My user experience has been very poor indeed. I recommend you do not purchase an Acer Aspire L200 Media Center.
I would welcome feedback on this article. Please leave a comment here