CableCARD Opens Up, but Does the Marketplace?

The news at CEDIA that CableCARD will now be open to all has
got everyone worked up about Microsoft getting things right and that the
platform is back where it needs to be. 
However, while the news of CableCARD getting unlocked from OEM only
machines is fantastic I’m not sure it chances much in the marketplace.

First of all, AMD
appears to be out of the marketplace
which is actually a much bigger deal
than people might think.  While this
hasn’t been confirmed, reports out of CEDIA showed that AMD didn’t have a lot
to say about CableCARD in general.  Most
likely the only reason we are seeing updated firmware for current OCURs is
because AMD never actually wrote the firmware for the cards, Digital Keystone
did.  Clearly competition
is the best way to drive prices down
, so AMD not focusing on the market isn’t
a good thing.

The big news it Ceton
will actually be releasing an MOCUR for retail consumption
.   This isn’t the BOCR
I have talked about in the past
(CableLabs still hasn’t published any specs
for that), but it is the first MOCUR.   My question here is what kind of distribution
will Ceton be able to get?  I’m not
exactly expecting the card to show up at my local Best Buy.  If CableCARD tuners aren’t going to be
available at brick-and-mortar retailers the concept of the market opening up
dramatically is still slim.  Maybe Dell
and HP get back into the market now that OEM BIOS isn’t required, but they seem
to have a bad taste in their mouth from previous experiences plus selling the
tuners with new PCs gets us right back to where we were before.

Price is another issue when we talk about expanding the
current marketplace.  Preliminary reports
are that Ceton is currently targeting a price between $300-$600, which would be
a huge upgrade from current AMD pricing, but this is still very costly when you
consider 46 out of the 65 PCs Best Buy lists on their website cost $750 or
less.  Without a big retail partner Ceton
will surely not be an AMD-sided production run which means prices are likely to
be higher simply because economics of scale doesn’t work.  Maybe if/when Hauppauge
ships a CableCARD
tuner the distribution side will be fixed (however, I don’t
believe the HD PVR has retail distribution either).

There is still the possibility that Microsoft
would market this for the living room
, but that’s still highly
unlikely.  Trust me, the lack of cable
HDTV isn’t the one thing that stopped Microsoft from ever marketing Media
Center and Extender’s, and it surely won’t change that.  Microsoft isn’t likely to ever market Media
Center or Extender’s, or any pairing of the two.

It is no doubt the Media Center community will jump on this
change, but do you believe Media Center is now in a better place to expand in
the marketplace now that CableCARD is not locked to an OEM machine?

Microsoft Enhances the Digital Cable Experience and Names 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Winner

Customers get new capabilities, more
options, and a better digital cable experience in Windows Media Center.

ATLANTA, Sept. 9 — Today at CEDIA EXPO
2009, Microsoft Corp. discussed key Windows Media Center features for Windows 7
and announced a series of initiatives that enhance the digital cable experience
in Windows Media Center. With the addition of native support for additional
international broadcast TV standards, including QAM and ATSC, there will now be
support for switched digital video (SDV), a new tool that will make it possible
for end customers to add a digital cable tuner with CableCARD to their PC, and
for existing digital cable tuner with CableCARD customers to enjoy more
portability for digital cable TV that is marked as “copy freely”
(CF). In addition, Microsoft and the Media Center Integrator Alliance (MCIA)
announced the winner of the 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest,
showcasing the many ways Windows Media Center can be used in a whole-home

“We’re continuing to work on creating opportunities for
partners that will enable great entertainment experiences on the PC,” said
Craig Eisler, corporate vice president of entertainment client software for the
TV, Video & Music Business at Microsoft. “Consumers understand that
having access to content via the PC is critical when it comes to entertainment
experiences, and with these announcements, we’re underscoring our broader
commitment to deliver a rich experience with Windows Media Center.”

Switched Digital Video (SDV) Support Added for Windows
Media Center

In response to customer requests and cable providers’
deployment of SDV, Microsoft now supports SDV in Windows Media Center for
Windows 7. In conjunction with a device known as a tuning adapter, supplied by
a customer’s cable provider, Windows Media Center and a digital cable tuner
with CableCARD will be able to tune to SDV channels. Customers can enjoy SDV
broadcasts on PCs running Windows Media Center in Windows 7 and a digital cable
tuner with CableCARD.

End Customers Can Now Add Digital Cable Tuners With
CableCARD to Their PCs

Microsoft and CableLabs announced that customers will now be
able to add digital cable tuners with CableCARD to a Windows 7-based PC with
Windows Media Center. A new tool will be provided by Microsoft that assesses
the PC’s ability to support the solution. This tool will analyze the customer’s
PC and enable digital cable support if the PC meets requirements, opening
digital cable options to Windows Media Center customers across the country.
Microsoft also announced that, with Windows 7, it has increased the number of
TV tuners that can be connected to the PC from two to four per tuner type,
thereby allowing customers to simultaneously record or watch as many as four
digital cable TV channels.

“We are excited that digital cable customers will now
be able to take advantage of this new opportunity to bring great cable TV programming
to the PC,” said So Vang, vice president of OpenCable at CableLabs.
“We are dedicated to helping customers get the most from their cable
service, and this will be a great win for both the customer and the cable

Digital Cable Customers Can Now Enjoy More TV Portability
in Windows Media Center

Microsoft and CableLabs also announced that they worked
together to enable digital cable tuner with CableCARD customers to enjoy more
portability for digital cable TV that is marked as “copy freely” (CF).
Customers will be able to play CF-marked digital cable recordings, such as
those from local channels, on other PCs, devices and portable media.

Windows Media Center Features in Windows 7 Highlighted

Using new Windows 7 features such as Windows Touch,
HomeGroup, Remote Media Streaming and PlayTo, sharing recorded TV, videos,
music and pictures throughout the home, while on the road and to remote
locations has never been easier. There is also support for the AVCHD format.
This allows customers to view HD video from many popular HD video cameras.

In addition, support for the international broadcast TV
standards that was released with the Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008 will
also be included in Windows Media Center in Windows 7. This includes native
support for both ATSC and QAM, the ability to remap channels, and support for

New Firmware for ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuners

In conjunction with the Microsoft and CableLabs
announcements, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) will be providing a new
firmware update that is available to all ATI TV Wonder digital cable tuners
being used with Windows 7 and Windows Vista. This firmware update will allow
existing digital cable tuner with CableCARD customers to enjoy more portability
for digital cable TV marked as CF. Customers will be able to play CF-marked
digital cable recordings, such as those from local channels, on other PCs,
devices, and portable media. In addition, the firmware will contain support for
SDV. When installed on a Windows 7-based PC with a digital cable tuner with
CableCARD and a tuning adapter from a cable provider, it enables access to
switched digital channels in locations where SDV has been deployed.

2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest Winner

Microsoft, in collaboration with the Media Center Integrator
Alliance (MCIA), announced the winner of the 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate
Install Contest. The winning installation was submitted by Dustin Anderson,
general manager at Vision Audio in Lubbock, Texas, who built a system with
Windows Media Center at the core of the entertainment experience in an
extensive whole-home installation for a customer in Odessa, Texas. The
installation integrates six Windows Media Center-based servers, one Windows
Home Server, five dedicated theater-style rooms, 12 media racks, 98 speakers,
and 30 zones of distributed audio. The home includes products from key MCIA
member companies such as Autonomic Controls Inc., Crestron Electronics Inc. and
Niveus Media Inc.

The Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest, now in
its third year, encourages integrators to show off their talents by presenting
their most unique and creative installations that leverage Windows Media Center
technologies. Vision Audio’s integration of the family’s music, movies, videos
and pictures, as well as the integration of Windows Media Center and Windows
Home Server with the Crestron home automation system, and the large scope of
the installation set it apart as the winner for 2009.

“We’re thrilled to receive this recognition from
Microsoft and the MCIA. The Windows Media Center platform has enabled us to be
on the cutting edge of technology, which has provided us with critical business
advantages during the economic downturn,” Anderson said.

More information on the contest and images from the install
can be found online at

Also on Display at CEDIA EXPO 2009

At the Microsoft booth at CEDIA EXPO 2009, Microsoft will
show additional hardware and software installations that enhance the digital
cable experience. Demonstrations include these:

  • The new Zune HD portable media player using the Zune HD AV
    dock to display 720p content on an HDTV. The Zune HD and updated Zune PC
    software will launch on Sept. 15.
  • A home server powered by Windows Home Server software. The
    upcoming Windows Home Server Power Pack 3, currently in beta testing, will add
    enhancements for Windows Media Center. Power Pack 3 features include the option
    to move recorded TV content to the home server in a variety of resolutions, and
    the ability for users to see statistics about the home server through Windows
    Media Center.
  • A technology preview of the new Multi-Channel Cable TV
    Card from Ceton Corp., which enables PCs with Windows Media Center to play or
    record multiple live channels of premium HDTV at once, and stream live HD
    channels or recordings to multiple TV sets throughout the home, all with a
    single CableCARD.

OCURs Finally Approved for Tuning Adaptor Support

While I still haven’t seen specs updated to confirm how I
believe CableLabs would handle Tuning Adaptor’s with OCURs
, I can confirm
that the next firmware release (in theory 1.19) will support Tuning Adaptors as
CableLabs has officially approved all ATI OCURs as Tuning Adaptor ready (hooray
for me being wrong!).  In addition the
firmware should allow for less
DRM on non-flagged CableCARD recordings
.  Expect more next week at CEDIA.

This is one of the very few predictions
that Ben at Engadget HD
made that I believe will come true.

Going Beyond The Enthusiast Market

Charlie Owen, a former Media Center team member wrote a post this
week about Media Center expanding its marketplace, specifically
going from
the current enthusiast market to a more mainstream market
.  Charlie analysis comes to the pretty simple
answer of It’s
possible, but highly unlikely at this point.”

I had previously come to this conclusion, but to me
the real question is “
will Microsoft attempt to develop for the
enthusiast market?”  Lucky for me,
Charlie replied to my comment with exactly what I was expecting

Charlie: “No. That’s because they have never done so. The enthusiast market is
always a subset of the overall market any product targets. Put another way:
Where the goal is making a profit you wouldn’t sacrifice a broad market
opportunity of 100 for the narrow enthusiast market of 10. Making a
Microsoft-sized profit is different than making a profit if you were a much
smaller company.”

In other words the future for Media Center is one or two
options.  Option 1: Microsoft stops
development of Media Center (very unlikely).  Option 2:
Microsoft transitions Media Center to a market which has the possibility to
create a “Microsoft-sized profit.” (Hint: TV on your PC)  Re-quoting
from early this year, the days of Media Center being billed as the
do-it-all center of your home are over.

My opinion continues to be that Microsoft will focus more
and more on the Xbox
360 as the center of the home
.  The
benefits of the Xbox 360 over Media Center are almost endless from a business
perspective.  The massive amount of end
users (an unquestionable 30 million, with 20 million of them being Xbox Live
subscribers) means content providers are going to flock to the platform.  Microsoft can sit back and rake in yearly
recurring revenue from these 20 million Xbox Live subscribers along with the
massive amounts of licensing accessories and the Xbox 360 brand.  Media Center on the other hard makes
Microsoft absolutely no money as it is a part of the standard Windows SKU (eg.
No one except members of The Green Button ever purchased a Windows license just
to get Media Center).

There are still people holding out hope for Media Center to
become a platform for the home.  The
recent announcement that Dish
Network will not be shipping
their tuner anytime soon didn’t
surprise me one bit
.  Why would Dish
bother to continue with Media Center when it is pretty clear Microsoft is
moving away from the consumer they thought they were buying into?  This same concept is at play with Media
Center Extender’s.  There is still some
hope that Toshiba
will be releasing an Extender, but I think the concept
that most people miss is that whether it gets released or not means little in
the grand scheme of things.  If
Microsoft’s heart is not in providing a platform for the home, you can really
know going into your purchase that you’re going to end up disappointed at some

The biggest question mark might be Windows Home Server.  For years I have said the concept of
including Media Center in Windows Home Server is pointless
and does nothing to expand the current market
.  If HP ditched Extender’s and CableCARD due to
poor sales, why exactly would they have the least bit of interest in shipping a
Media Center+Home Server box?  If OEMs
are not interested, why is Microsoft going to develop it?

Most people underestimate the OEMs when talking about Media
Center.  OEMs are really responsible for
Media Center from start to finish from a customer’s perspective.  HP and Dell have shown they have little
interest in Media Center by either discounting CableCARD PCs, killing off
Extender’s, and even in HPs case killing off their HT-styled z-series Media
Centers.  Dish
are just as important and have shown that they are increasing less interested.

Microsoft’s latest attempt to make a market for Media Center
has been the custom integrator channel, and some have big
for what Microsoft might have in store.  Sadly most of the possibilities have already
been proven false, and based on what I’ve been told from those in the industry
interest in Media Center in the custom channel is dropping fast.  I’m interest to see how much longer Microsoft
attempts to push into the market.  With
their partner OEMs such as HP, Linksys, Dish Network pulling out these leaves
the custom OEMs like Niveus Media and Life|ware to pick up the slack.  Unfortunately there is only such much they
can do.  If Microsoft’s commitment in the
channel falls it might be the end of the custom market experiment.

So once again the question is what’s next.  Recently there have been some great new
show up in the Media Center community with some great
suggestions.  I’m done with
suggestions.  Microsoft knows exactly
what we want, let’s not pretend they don’t. 
The issue is it is no longer in their best interest to pursue most of
it.  What’s next?  Who knows. 
All I want at this point is for Microsoft to publicly provide a roadmap
for what Media Center is to become.

What Do You Think of Windows 7 Media Center?

This weekend I installed Windows 7 on my Media Center and
thought about writing a review.  However,
I think Ben
successfully did that already
so rather than try and recreate it I’d rather
know what you think.

Looking through Ben’s list of new features and changes, the
one thing I noticed was that the vast majority of them are visual changes to
the UI or straight up eye candy.  Sure,
they add additional functionality but channel logos, TV show images, colored
coded EPG, and fancy fading in/out only goes so far when there are dozens of
useful features still needed to make Media Center the center of the home.

Features like HomeGroup are great, but once again it doesn’t
work with protected CableCARD content and some
people aren’t too happy with that
.  Several
of the other cool features existing in the TV Pack, so if you managed to get it
stable enough to use you will see less “new” features in Windows 7 than those
who have been using Vista w/o TV Pack.  Overall I’m happy with Windows 7 for my personal use; however
it fails to make further inroads into any market except the existing enthusiast

What’s your opinion? 
What do you like and dislike? 
What features are missing?

Is Hulu Coming to Media Center?

I don’t
believe that Hulu
has a large interest in Media Center, but those very same
mockup’s that show Media Center’s “PCTV” marketing also show Hulu as a key
experience.  My guess is that the material
Microsoft provided to Lippincott said
Media Center provides an Internet TV experience, and the designers took that as
Media Center providing access to the most popular service for online TV shows.

I don’t believe that the content providers are interested in
seeing Hulu on the big screen as it would jeopardize traditional content
delivery.  Hulu’s entry into the 10-foot
UI marketplace is heavily designed around the desktop PC, and their TOS
makes that very clear.

Media Center Gets "PCTV" Marketing in Microsoft Store Mockups

It has been
my theory
that Microsoft is slowly ditching the concept of using and
promoting Media Center as a whole home entertainment experience and moving to
the “TV on your PC” concept which they have been actively promoting over the
past 6 months.  This concept is something
that most Media Center enthusiasts don’t want to believe as it turns Media
Center into a product that most current users have no interest in.  What better way to find out the future of
Media Center than looking at how it could be presented in the upcoming
Microsoft retail stores.

got their hands on some leaked mockups
of the retail experience, and while
Microsoft’s PR is pushing the leaked images as “early
prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans” I think it will further key
us in on the future of Windows Media Center.

The images, which are presented in on
Gizmodo show Media Center being marketed
as “PCTV” with such usage scenarios as “watching the Today Show while checking
emails during breakfast” and “watching American Idol while on the blog.”  Other key features in the mockup include PC
as a PVR, watching Internet TV, and managing all media in one place.

The mockup of the retail experience is
driven by what look to be PC monitors or small screen HDTVs.  A theater setting or living room with Media
Center as the center piece doesn’t look to be in the picture if this mockup is
to be trusted.  Also missing in the
mockup is any mention of Media Center Extender’s.

I have no doubt will we see things that are not clearly
outlined in the leaked images, however I do believe the marketing material for
Media Center is what we will end up seeing. 
Notably missing from the mockups are large displays for Xbox 360, Zune,
and even Home Server.  I’m not sure Home
Server will get a large amount of square-footage designated to it, but I do expect
Zune and Xbox to have their place (both Zune and Xbox are outlined
in the product offerings mockup image

What’s your opinion, will the marketing for Media Center be
focused on whatever PCTV is, or can we expect Media Center being pushed as the
10-foot experience that we really want?

Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

Reports suggest that the Digital TV switch in the US went by
with little confusion or problems.  Of
course, if you rely on Windows Media Center your experience likely wasn’t in line
with those reports.  Ben
said the transition is causing grief for Media Center users
, but for most
that might be an understatement. 

Microsoft seemed to think they were prepared; after all they
deployed a nice Service
Alert tile in Media Center on the 9th that explained the issue
.  What they didn’t do is update their servers
and other online components to reflect the frequency changes that came with the
switch.  Unlike most setups, Media Center
replies on online data instead of communication with the ATSC
broadcasters.  Microsoft is aware of the
issue and seems
to be making progress
in various places, however this is one of those key
updates that Microsoft had loads of time to prepare for and when the switch
came it caused mass confusion among users.

The interim fix for the issue in Windows Media Center is to
edit the atscchannels.xml file in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\EPG\prefs with
the updated frequencies.  You can find
those frequencies at various websites including TV Fool
(just input your zip code) and the FCCs own database.  You can also delete the atscchannels.xml and
manually create the channels within Media Center.  To do this navigate to Settings > TV >
Guide > Add Missing Channels.  The
frequency is the same as the “real” number shown in the TV Fool website.  Doing this manually requires you to assign
the EPG listings to the channel through Settings > TV > Guide > Add
Listings to Channel.

Update: This should now be fixed, re-run your Guide setup.

Xbox Unveils Entertainment Experiences That Put Everyone Center Stage

Microsoft rewrites the rules on fun with controller-free
entertainment, Facebook for your TV, plus instant on 1080p HD streaming video.

LOS ANGELES — June 1, 2009 — The future of home
entertainment has a new name: Xbox 360. Today, Microsoft Corp. opened the
Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) with a historic Xbox 360 briefing that
rocked, tweeted, revved and awakened the world to a new era of fun and
entertainment. In addition to premiering 10 exclusive new games,
revolutionizing the way we watch TV, and making it easier than ever to connect
to friends, Xbox also welcomed visionary filmmaker Steven Spielberg to
introduce “Project Natal” and controller-free gaming.

“Today with cultural visionaries at our side and
controller-free gaming on our horizon, Xbox 360 authored a new page in home
entertainment history,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the
Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “For us, this E3 is about
breaking down barriers — between generations, between games and entertainment,
and most important, between video game players and everyone else — in a way
that only Xbox 360 can.”

During its briefing, Microsoft showed why Xbox 360 continues
to defy industry sales trends. First: A lineup of blockbuster games to ignite
every passion, including “Forza Motorsport 3,” “Alan Wake,” “Halo 3: ODST” and
“The Beatles: Rock Band.” Next? A host of groundbreaking Xbox LIVE services,
from instant on 1080p HD streaming movies and television to Facebook and tailor-made for your TV. And rounding it all out, “Project Natal,” a
whole new way to play, no controller required.

“Project Natal”: No Strings (or Controllers) Attached

Unveiled for the first time to the public was “Project
Natal,” pronounced “nuh-tall” and a code name for a revolutionary new way to
play, no controller required. See a ball? Kick it, hit it, trap it or catch it.
If you know how to move your hands, shake your hips or speak, you and your
friends can jump into the fun. The only experience needed is life experience.

Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the “Project Natal”
sensor is the world’s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array
microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device.
Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, “Project Natal” tracks your full body
movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of
emotion in your voice.

In addition, unlike other devices, the “Project Natal”
sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognize you just by looking at your
face, and it doesn’t just react to key words but understands what you’re
saying. Call a play in a football game, and players will actually respond. Want
to log onto Xbox LIVE? Simply step in front of the sensor.

“The next step in interactive entertainment is to make the
controller disappear,” said Steven Spielberg, visionary director and producer.
“With ‘Project Natal,’ we’ll see games that bring everyone together through
technology that actually recognizes us.”

The Best of the Internet, Custom-Made for Your TV

Groove, party or connect with a friend. Xbox LIVE, the
world’s largest social network on TV, today announced that Facebook and
would be tailor-made for your TV, only on Xbox 360. Microsoft also announced
Xbox LIVE Party for movies, which allows movie experiences to be shared — on
the couch or across the country over Xbox LIVE in supported movies.

“We are always asking ourselves how to make the TV more social,”
said John Schappert, corporate vice president of Interactive Entertainment
LIVE, Software and Studios at Microsoft. “By bringing Facebook, and
Xbox LIVE Party for movies and TV shows to Xbox LIVE, we’re not only extending
the walls of your living room beyond your home to your friends in different
corners of the world, we’re creating the definitive social network, uniting
more than 200 million people to share status updates, pictures, thoughts on
music and the world’s best online gaming experience.”

The addition of Facebook to Xbox LIVE means friends are
always connected, anytime, anywhere — from virtually any couch. But updating
your status and sharing photos won’t be the only things you can do. Using
Facebook Connect, you can share your greatest moments in gaming by posting
updates and screenshots from supported games directly to Facebook. Don’t let
your moment of glory fade away — make sure everyone sees it with Facebook
Connect, starting with the future version of the premier EA SPORTS golf
franchise “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®.”

A first for TV,,1 part of the CBS
Interactive Music Group, will give Xbox LIVE subscribers access to millions of
songs streaming through Xbox 360 to the best speakers in the house. Xbox LIVE
subscribers will be able to create their own free, personalized radio stations
and listen to them with friends in the living room or across the country.

Xbox 360 also solidified its place as one of the leading
social entertainment networks by announcing Xbox LIVE Party for movies. Go to
the cinema with your friends whether you are sitting on the same couch or in
living rooms across the country. Starting this year, you can share a virtual
theater, see your avatar (a virtual you) on the screen, all while you listen to
each other laugh and cry at the movie through voice chat on Xbox LIVE. With
movie parties, the only thing you can’t share is the popcorn.

Full Press Release

Microsoft Connects the Dots with Zune HD, Zune Marketplace, and Xbox

This week Microsoft took the wraps off the next Zune, dubbed
Zune HD
.  It seems to be your basic next-generation touch screen only
media player with the common additions of WiFi and an web browser (IE based). 
There are some other interesting parts such as a HD Radio tuner, an OLED
screen, multitouch, and even HD output at 720p via a dock.

The most interesting part of the announcement is not the
device, but rather the service.  The Zune Marketplace will now integrate
with the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, finally drawing a realistic picture of
Microsoft’s “3 screen” vision of the future. Getting the most press is the HD Radio tuner, the non-HD
resolution of the OLED screen, and the concept of Microsoft competing with the
iPod touch.

HD Radio tuner doesn’t do much for me, it will give people a
chance to explore something they likely have never heard of before, and
apparently the FM radio tuner has been a big selling point among existing Zune
buyers.  The resolution on the OLED screen is only 480×272, which many
have noted is not even close to HD.  I’m not really sure why people think
they need 1080p on a portable player, the lower resolution screen likely
benefits the majority of people who put low-bitrate and resolution content on
the device in the first place.  If you have HD content, the dock now
outputs 720p over HDMI.  The big question
in terms of resolution is actually what codec’s and resolutions it supports
syncing.  If it supports all popular
codecs and HD resolutions, that means I can sync without transcoding.

I have never seen the Zune as a good competitor to the iPod,
I don’t feel much different about this one.  Microsoft is still playing
catch-up here by connecting their services.  This is something Apple has
mostly had for years.  Within the next 2-3 years I can finally see the
landscape start to change a bit, but Microsoft is going to have a very hard
time going after Apple when you compare numbers.

Lacking is any mention of Media Center, which wasn’t a shock
to me personally.  I firmly believe Microsoft has moved on from what most
reading this wanted Media Center to be, and of course for years I’ve said the
Xbox was the real competition to Media Center (this will become much clearer as
we go on).  Connecting the Xbox, Zune, and Windows finally makes all of
the products marketable.  Microsoft also
just announced that Xbox
360 has sold 30 million units and has 20 million on Xbox LIVE

A few have noted that all the details have not been released
and that Media Center integration could still be there.  I don’t
anticipate it, but would welcome it.  I doubt we will see this act as a
Media Center Extender as many have wanted.  If Microsoft could of improved
anywhere in the Zune-Media Center connection I hope it was with syncing
content, mainly TV.  The Zune does support syncing TV, but it doesn’t
support anything copy protected (CableCARD, likely any future premium Cable/Sat
services), and also doesn’t support syncing content with Dolby Digital audio. 
If this stays true just about the only TV content the Zune can sync (in the US)
will be analog cable/satellite captures.  Even OTA content will be purely
Dolby Digital next months, so even your favorite local channels will not sync
unless Microsoft decides to change.

Just another Microsoft MVPs site

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