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||Tuesday, March 08, 2005
This weekend I stopped by Fry’s to pick up some networking supplies for Ben's new Mac Mini (which arrived yesterday and is way smaller then I expected it to be) and while there I thought I would check out the Media Center displays. Here is what I found:
- No living room MCE PCs. No HP z545s, no Niveus, no Alienware. No MCE Shuttles.
- Close to the TV section they had Tivo and MSN TV endcaps but nothing for MCE (granted the MSN TV endcap was broken).
- As far as I could tell they were selling four different MCE boxes. 3 Sony. 1 HP
- The HP was running Media Center 2004
- None of the MCE’s were connected to a cable feed
- One of the Sony’s was displaying the ‘TV Signal Setup page’ (which couldn't be setup because there was no cable feed). The rest were at the 2’ shell.
- The Extenders were in the networking section and while I only looked at the display in passing it wasn’t clear how the Extenders related to MCE or Xbox.
- I didn’t go out of my way to find the PMCs but they should have been cross selling with the MCEs and Extenders.
I find it frustrating to work so hard on this product only to go into a store and have a really bad retail experience. We could have the best product in the world but it’s all going to hinge on our retail experience. I know that Fry's is Fry's and not Tweeter's but still, we need endcaps selling not just our products, but our vision for the digital media connected home. We also need our products to showcase our experiences. TV should be setup and working. Stores should be selling current sexy machines. It's great that they have some traditional desktop form factor MCE's but Fry's also sells a lot of TV and A/V equipment. They should be selling the MCE's that compliment that gear.
If we're going to make a big bet on eHome we need to focus not just on building world class software or software end-to-end scenarios. Instead we need to focus on the whole end-to-end scenario, starting with someone walking into a store and ending with them months later enjoying recorded TV, music and pictures around their home and on the go.
Related post: How not to sell TV's..
Disclaimer: The opinion expressed above does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer.
10:10:08 PM 
Build An Xbox Media Center, Part 1:
There are all kinds of high-cost, high-labor ways to build multimedia networks for small-office and home-office (SOHO) clients. But the multimedia connectivity game is rapidly evolving, and there's no longer much reason to hassle with custom or proprietary solutions. With a Microsoft Media Center 2005 PC and a few Xbox consoles, you can connect up multiple rooms and have your clients sharing all kinds of media with relative ease.
Good article with lots of screenshots for all you system builders out there. If this article interests, you might also want to check out Barb's webcast, Using Media Center Extender networks in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
9:00:58 PM 
© Copyright 2005 Matt Goyer.
I work at Microsoft in the eHome division on the Windows XP Media Center Edition team as a Program Manager.
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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