Bizarre hardware compatibility problems

I have been using Windows Media Centre since the version accompanying Vista as my main (only) TV source, currently using the Windows 8.1 release. I’ve really liked it as a product – I like the interface, the recording/timeshifting capabilities, guide layout, etc. I’ve also really liked using it with IceTV here in Australia. Recently my HTPC, a low-spec purpose built PC in an Antec Fusion 430 case, had some problems with performance. I suspected the hard drive, a 2TB Western Digital Green drive just over three years old. I thought about replacing the drive, but I’ve been eyeing off an Intel NUC as a replacement HTPC for a little while now and with approval from SWMBO purchased the DN2820FYKH. While it only has a dual-core Celeron, HTPC duties aren’t that onerous, and this model supports hardware offloaded MP4, WMV and MPEG2 decoding – almost all of my media. This was a decision made easier by the fact that I’ve been using a USB dual tuner for the last 8-9 months, and don’t really watch DVDs.

So, NUC + parts = success? Turns out, no. Everything seemed set for success – tuners detected, firmware and drivers updated, almost everything WHQL certified. But, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get any channels to scan. I plugged in a different hard drive and loaded Windows 7 – still no joy. The tuner worked fine in my Surface Pro 2, however.

An obscure forum post (obscure enough that I can’t find it today), regarding problems with a different model of NUC and a different hardware item, mentioned a whisper that the 7260 WiFi/Bluetooth card might be the cause. With nothing to lose and other ‘no-money-down’ solutions exhausted, I gave it a go and removed the 7260 mini card. To my surprise, this has fixed the problem.

While it leaves me needing a network cable for my HTPC, otherwise it’s fine.

I am posting this in the hope that someone else might stumble across it and likewise be saved from much frustration.

Aside from this issue, the NUC seems likely to be an excellent HTPC. Performance is adequate for this purpose, power draw is very low, and the device is quiet, compact and unobtrusive. I would like to add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse instead of the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000 set that I have, as the USB receiver takes up one of the limited number of USB ports and has a high power drain (although that kb/mouse set has been fantastic for the very low price).

In summary:
The Intel NUC DN2820FYKH comes with the Intel Wireless-N 7260BN WiFi adapter pre-installed. This adapter caused problems with the operation of my USB connected Leadtek DVB-T Dongle Dual TV Tuner, and seems to likewise cause problems with some other USB devices although I cannot verify this. These problems affected the operation of the tuner, but not its detection by Windows. Possibly, simply disabling the device would be sufficient, but I chose to remove it physically instead, and am now using the LAN port for my network connectivity.

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