I've never tried the Sapphire Theatrix Theater 550, but if you google it - it says it's compatable with MCE 2005. The key to selecting a tuner card is it has to have MPEG2 encoding built directly on the card. I have an eHome Wonder made by ATI - but they apparently discontinued the card in January.
Other cards that work well are the Haupauggae 150MCE and PVR 250/350 which get good reviews. Also the ATI All-In-Wonders with numbers in the 9000's work as well. There is a hardware compatability list on Microsoft.com which will show you all the cards.
The remote is this: http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...ture=Microsoft
It's $48 from a company in Vancouver which is where I ordered mine. It arrived next day! They say it requires a system purchase on their website.. but that's not really 100% true - you are required to buy additional hardware. So maybe you could pick up your tuner card at the same time, or even a network cable. This is a Microsoft thing.
It's not really about the remote. Take a look at this 2004 model (don't order this one, it's more expensive anyway): http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...acture=PHILIPS
You will see what comes with the remote. The IR blaser connects to the IR receiver of the remote which connects to your Illico box.
HD does work, yes. However, I'm too poor to invest in HD now. If anyone would like to donate a new HD plasma/LCD to me, please send me a PM.
You will need a HD card, such as the HD Wonder which can be ordered from the States, there are other options - but I can't intelligently speak on it as I haven't researched it much. After I get that plasma maybe I will......
Unless your computer is in the same room as your television, I highly recommend getting one of these products:
Xbox Media Center Extender: http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pro...=&newdeptid=15
Linksys Media Center Extender: http://secure.ncix.com/products/inde...acture=Linksys
These connect your computer to your television. I have the Xbox one and honestly don't know how I'd live without it. It was $99. I do know for a fact that these do NOT support HD. Keep in mind they are version 1.0. Version 2.0 (and a free update is coming out for existing users of both) should be out before the end of February.
The coolest thing about the Extenders is that you can have multiple in your house. Your computer becomes a media server and you can watch your recorded TV on any number of extenders.. so your TV in the den accesses it, your TV in your living room... possibilities are endless - only limited by the horsepower of your computer and the network connection speed (go wired, it'll save headaches with wireless).
I bought the OS from the same company too: http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...ture=Microsoft