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Ok, most of my Media Center issues are now resolved. Based on all the sites complaining about "Media Center Receiver Service" issues from Media Center Rollup 2, I figured I had the same issue. I wasn't getting anywhere with uninstalling and reinstalling the updates and .NET frameworks, so I knew the issue had to be something else. I decided to look in the Event Viewer and I saw the error was always reported at "fault address 0x00000254". Looking this up separately brought in a few more suggestions. One was simply "check your codecs". I had installed an all-in-one codec pack as soon as I built the machine since this was going to be media-centric. Uninstal l that a BOOM, everything works.

For some reason, the .ax files registered by the codec pack conflict with the receiver service. Now my only issue is that my new router doesn't seem to like 802.11a traffic. I get barely 802.11b speeds. The router also supports 802.11g, but my laptop is 802.11b, which throttles the whole connection. For now, I can either use my laptop or the 360 as an extender, but not both at the same time.