I've just upgraded my Win7-based MC with a new Intel DH61AG which comes with a "htpc" labeled header on the mainboard which I've never seen before. The manual only provides information on the pin layout but doesn't say anything about what this port is actually used for:
Especially the "recording_led" thing makes me curious... Does anyone have some information on how this header works? Do I need some piece of software to have it work with the MC software itself?
It looks like the main purpose is to interface with HDMI-CEC which would allow controlling downstream devices through the HDMI control channel.
Simmilar to this, but internal: www.pulse-eight.com/.../104-usb-hdmi-cec-adapter.aspx
Pulse-Eight now make an adapter to go on this pin out, link here: blog.pulse-eight.com/.../internal-cec-its-coming
Honestly, the only advantage to the internal header is "one less cable". I would strongly recommend the RCAware HDMI-CEC device. It can be plugged into any HDMI port on your TV or AVR. It comes with a pre-configured plugin for EventGhost, and works very well. You can control any HDMI-CEC compliant device with the RCAware device, regardless of which port you plug it into.
Click to see my hardware config
There are many different solutions available on the market that do not require the use of this header, although this has been designed to Intel's specification and also exposes the Recording LED and provides support for it, so you can see when something is being recorded before trying to shut down the computer.
There is a disadvantage to the RCAware device in that it is unable to detect the Physical Address required as part of the HDMI specification and therefore is not a certified device and requires user input to make work.
Yes, the RCAware device requires a little setup, but it's pretty easy to do. I would imagine, that since the Pulse-Eight device plugs into the HDMI cable in series with the PC's HDMI output, it could detect the physical address of the PC.
One of the really cool things about the RCAware device is that you can set it up to emulate several devices simultaneously. It has been a wonderful addition to my home theater.