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Permalink to this day 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'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  Permalink to this item []

The new Media Center SDK. If you're interested in the SDK also be sure to read Michael Creasy's blog. Today he has a post about How To Build An Add-In For Windows Media Center Edition 2005.

Where is your killer app?
2:44:03 PM  Permalink to this item []

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  Permalink to this item []

Highlights from the Media Center 2005 launch in LA. The event is being hosted by Bill Gates and the other presenter is Sean Alexander.
  • 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 0: Thomas Hawk has the definitive list of articles about MCE 2005

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  Permalink to this item []

Joe Wilcox is in LA and has a post on the launch of MSN Music.
11:06:43 AM  Permalink to this item []

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  Permalink to this item []

Michael Creasy, a software design engineer in test on the Media Center team has a 'summary of the highlights' on his blog.
11:04:07 AM  Permalink to this item []

Thomas Hawk has a great roundup of the MCE related coverage
10:53:02 AM  Permalink to this item []

Pre-order at 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 view pictures.
10:09:02 AM  Permalink to this item
10:48:25 AM  Permalink to this item []

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  Permalink to this item []

GamePC, Symphony 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 the conclusion:

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 pre-installed.
10:47:24 AM  Permalink to this item []

Windows 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  Permalink to this item []

Hauppauge, WinTV-PVR-500MCE brings TV watching with background recording to Windows XP Media Center Edition :
Watch one channel while recording another with the WinTV-PVR-500MCE and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. WinTV-PVR-500MCE contains two complete TV tuners, each with their own hardware MPEG encoder!

One of these would be nice for my home theatre PC (HTPC) because I have no open slots and cannot add a second tuner.
10:46:13 AM  Permalink to this item []

Today's the day... Check back at 11am EST.

Update: All those pulled posts are back online.
10:43:37 AM  Permalink to this item []

© Copyright 2004 Matt Goyer.
I work on the Windows Media Center as a program manager on the shell team.

Disclaimer: 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.

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Updated: 11/1/2004; 11:01:00 AM.