The Green Button
||Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Showing up late in the product cycle as a new employee straight out of college means that you might get stuck with one of the less glamorous feature ownership areas. My first area of ownership was the settings space and within two weeks of being at Microsoft I was expected to whip it into shape.
Now imagine my surprise when a reviewer actually touched on this feature! From HTPCNews.com's review:
I will only be going over this section briefly as some of it has already been seen in other sections of this review, and there is a lot here to see.
Click through to their review, they have lots of screenshots of the settings space :).
4:24:09 PM 
CNET, Windows Media Center 2005: third time's (almost) the charm:
MCE 2005's biggest challenge, however, remains TV image quality. From our early tests, we can see some improvement from past versions of the OS, but 2005 still leaves something to be desired. The picture looks good--not great--with the PC connected to a computer screen, but the prototype Media Center Extender we tested performed poorly when connected to a TV.
2:40:09 PM 
Highlights from the Media Center 2005 launch in LA. The event is being hosted by Bill Gates and the other presenter is Sean Alexander.
Update 0: Thomas Hawk has the definitive list of articles about MCE 2005
- Bill is emphasizing that it's important that consumers have the choice of which devices they use as well choice amongst media stores.
- WMP - 17 million downloads
- MSN Music - 1 million tracks available in 17 Countries
- MSN Music - Exclusive AC/DC content! :)
- Showing off an Audiovox phone that has WMP 10 so you can watch TV on your phone (in addition to viewing photos and listening to music).
- What works with what? Look for Plays For Sure logo. Eliminates the need for consumer to worry about file formats.
- 1 million copies of Media Center sold
- Showcasing HP hardware that doesn't like like a PC, add to queue, burning, memory card reading, photo touch up, Windows Connect to configure networks, sharing via printing, burning, and Ofoto, dual tuner support, no service fees for the guide, movie portal, hidef support, MCE as a platform, showing off NPR, MSN Video, instant messenger, Queen Latifah is now on stage, MSN Music is available for MCE,...
- Video from Intel
- As Sean and Bill move to the 'bedroom', 'You can get it wherever you want it' - I think they're talking about media :)
- Demoing the Extender and XBox Media Center kit
- Demoing Portable Media Center connecting to a mini-van DVD system
Update 1: Peter Near has a really good play by play of the launch. I was too busy watching to blog :).
Update 2: Engadget has an MP3 of the event
Update 3: Photos of launch from CNET
11:46:29 AM 
We're not in LA at the Shrine but we are watching the launch live from Redmond.
Should start any minute....
11:04:53 AM 
Pre-order at Buy.com a Linksys
Dual-Band Wireless A/G Media Center Extender for $256.99 (so
it's double the cost of an Airport
Express but does TV!). It's only a little odd that you can't
also pre-order a 2005 MCE but I'm sure there is a reason for it.
What is it?
The Linksys Dual-Band Wireless A/G Media Center
Extender lets you bring the digital entertainment available
through and stored on your Windows Media Center PC to your Home
Entertainment Center, without running cables through the house.
The way my setup works is that my Media Center (MCE) is setup in
my living room as a LRPC (Living Room PC), and then my Media Center
Extender (MCX) is in my bedroom connected to my 13" Gateway LCD
television. The MCX then connects to my MCE through my 802.11a
network enabling me to watch TV without having to actually hook up
my TV to a cable connection, watch recorded TV, listen to music and
10:48:25 AM 
Thomas Hawk, Microsoft
Media Center 2005... Underwhelmed
- Satellite and cable HDTV: It is pretty clear why MCE 2005 does
not support this, the big media companies do not want to enable it
and we cannot make it happen without their support.
- Dual tuners: Cannot respond just yet.
- Purchase the OS on a standalone basis: This is incorrect. MCE
2005 will not sell at retail. However it will be available through
the system builders channel.
- Online Spotlight: Napster, Movielink,.. were all available on
MCE 2004. This is not new for 2005. Please note they we have had
VOD for quite a while now.
- Charging for RSS: Newsgator is just one app featured in Online
Spotlight. If a free competitor to Newsgator emerged and meet the
bar for inclusion in Online Spotlight, they'd be there too.
Microsoft is not charging for RSS.
The biggest take away from his blog entry shouldn't be what he is
talking about, but instead it should be all the features he has not
mentioned. There are lots of new things but you will either have to
wait for Thomas to blog about them or wait for launch.
Also see PVR
Blog's take on his post.
10:47:43 AM 
Arrives : Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. It's a '12 page'
article with lots of screenshots so if you have limited time skip to
MCE is still (in our opinion) the best home theater
product currently on the market by a very large margin.
The article also talks about how you will be able to buy this at
retail which is, as I pointed out below, incorrect. What this means
is that his complaint that:
Not shipping with a DVD decoding pack is frankly; near
unforgivable in our book considering this is one of the core
features of the operating system. Is a moot one, since
the OEM or system builder will have the DVD decoding pack
10:47:24 AM 
XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility:
The Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility helps you
determine if an MPEG-2 video decoder (also called a DVD decoder)
is installed on your Windows XP computer and whether or not the
decoder is compatible with Windows Media Player 10 and Windows XP
Media Center Edition.
10:47:02 AM 
Today's the day... Check back at 11am EST.
Update: All those pulled posts are back online.
10:43:37 AM 
© Copyright 2004 Matt Goyer.
I work on the Windows Media Center as a program manager on the shell team.
The posts on this weblog are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confer no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.
mail *at* mattgoyer.com