From Olcay with a little help from Danee comes a preview of MCE Customizer! This time there is something new about it however, and MCE Interface! The screenshots and the name of the program basically tell the story about what this is and does.
Sean Alexander responds to my post entitled “Why Can’t the WMP Team be like the MCE Team?”, and first off I would like to say thanks to Sean! I have enjoyed reading his blog for some time now, much before I came across the chance to have this blog hosted by from Susan Bradley. Maybe “blogging is a bit like speaking on-stage”, as Sean notes. I have never been one to shy away from getting up in front of people and speaking my opinion or just making a complete and total fool of myself. Maybe the WMP team just doesn’t have people that with this type of personality.
Now in the past day the members of the MCE team that blog has been a great job addressing a few issues brought up in the media. Just check out Matt’s posts from yesterday, Michael’s response to Thomas about “My Pictures” and of course Sean’s reply to me, reply to Thomas, reply to Matt and so on. On the flip side, Thomas has brought up a few WMP issues; we can’t get the same type of feedback about those issues as we do from the MCE bloggers! To most consumers having an issues addressed by anyone related to Microsoft is almost better then it getting fixed or changed! The fact that they know someone inside Microsoft knows, even if they are not directly connected to the product, is something people want to see!
Much of my wanting the WMP team to be more open has to do with the major disappointment that was the WMP 10 beta period. Product feedback was not taken from the consumer and limited feedback was taken from MVP’s in the private beta. The release was directly driven by the release of Portable Media Center’s and MSN Music. Fixing bugs from WMP 9 was not really done. There are dozens of bugs from WMP 9 that are still present in WMP 10. Without going into great detail the MCE 2005 beta was much better in comparison to WMP 10. Newsgroups filled with discussion, Chris Hill and others there to reply to posts, suggestions, and more! Getting a reply to a post in the WMP 10 beta Newsgroups was hit or miss. Once again, just the simple addressing of issue counts.
P.S – Zach is most likely the reason I’m an MVP and a large percent of what I have learn about WMP and Microsoft has been through Zach’s Newsgroup posts and e-mails.
Via Thomas Hawk (and eHomeUpgrade) he blogs about what could be done to improve “My Pictures” in Media Center 2005. All of his suggestions seem great! The largest one in my opinion that needs to be fixed is the current issues with random photo process in MCE 2005. The same image will always appear first, that’s not very random! 😉
FIX: “0x8004020D – The buffer is not big enough” error message when you play back or to convert a WAV file that is larger than 2 gigabytes in your client application that uses Microsoft DirectX
FIX: The audio is temporarily lost for some items in the playlist when you play streaming content by using the RTSP protocol
FIX: Starting Windows Media Player with a skin parameter changes the default skin preference
You receive an “Error number 80004005″ error message when you try to copy an audio CD or add a playlist to Windows Media Player
FIX: Windows Media Player 9 Series for Windows frequently accesses the registry and may affect performance
FIX: Windows Media Player does not restore backed up licenses
FIX: Windows Media Player 9 Series for Windows may prompt you for your credentials when submitting the client log
As noted on many different sites by now, Phillip Swann of TVPredictions.com is saying Microsoft’s Windows Media Center Edition 2005 will be the biggest flop of 2005. The first thing I decided to do after reading this guys “Predictions” was to see what he predicted last year in terms of DVR/PVR’s.
Amoung his top Predictions for 2004 was that TiVo would be sold to DirecTV (He also predicted that in 2003 also), that it would be the “Buzz Year” for DVD/DVR’s, ReplayTV would fold or die, and DVR’s would experience “Moderate Growth”.
Now, the TiVo thing didn’t happen, after he “predicted” it would for two years in a row. The ReplyTV thing just about everyone saw coming. We all knew that TiVo would over power it. I guess DVR’s did experience “Moderate Growth”, but that really depends on your definition of “Moderate Growth” and he didn’t give any context. Not sure what he meant by “Buzz Year” for DVD/DVR’s, but how does “Buzz Year” then relate to the “Moderate Growth” of DVR’s that he also predicted? TiVo is the “Name” for PVR’s. You hear it in TV, Radio, Etc. DVD Recorders have yet to hit the big time, and are just now starting to be priced correctly, so they could experience “Moderate Growth” in 2005! BTW, I just purchased a DVD Recorder for my mom from Sony. So far, it’s great!
In terms of 2005 and MCE, I don’t think Phillip has taken all the factors into account. His whole reasoning for MCE big a flop is based on the average American not wanting a PC “as an entertainment device”. Okay?!?
I would call myself an American, let’s see how my PC functions in terms of media.
(1) DVD Player and Jukebox
(2) MP3/WMA Player and Jukebox
(3) TV Viewing and Recording
(4) Editing Home Movies
(5) Internet Radio/Video
(6) DVD Burner
(7) I’m sure there are more.
My PC is my entertainment device. The average American has loads of digital content on their PC. PC’s now ship with 160GB+ hard drives just for the storing of digital media! Music Services offer streams only so you can listen on your PC, is that not “entertainment“?
Screw the MCE angle for a second, what about Windows Media Connect and the half-a-dozen other UPnP type devices and protocols that are specifically meant to send digital content from your PC to set-top devices in your home?
Back to MCE, Media Center Extenders (MCX) get the content off the PC and stream it to your Living Room. You will see new TV’s ship with MCX Technology inside in 2005! (Thanks for the catch, getwired) The average American uses their PC for “entertainment”. MCE 2005 brings Media Center Extenders to stream the content from the PC (Your Digital Media Hub/Server) to a more “Family Friendly” device with a sweet interface. I 100% do not buy the fact that the PC is not an “entertainment device”, do you?
The PC is a Hub for Digital Media content and will continue to grow in 2005. While this might not be the “Year of MCE”, it will be far from the “Year MCE Flops”. That’s my Prediction, we will see who is right.
Microsoft is looking for prospective candidates for an upcoming beta program. The program will introduce you to a set of technologies providing new digital media experiences on Windows consumer PCs.
Please respond to this invitation using the registration instructions below. Eligible beta testers will be selected based on data collected from those who fill out the questionnaire at Microsoft BetaPlace.
The beta testing process is very important because it helps ensure that we release the best possible product. If you are selected to participate in the beta program, you will be asked to install the product and report your testing experiences to Microsoft. Reporting will include installation surveys, bug reports, and other means as required by Microsoft.
To RSVP and become a candidate for this beta program, go to http://beta.microsoft.com and sign in using a Passport account and the Guest ID below.
If you are new to BetaPlace, you will be asked for a beta ID or Guest ID after logging in with Passport. Please log in using the Guest ID below.
If you are a current Microsoft beta tester, you will be taken to your personalized Microsoft beta web site after logging in with Passport. On your personalized site, click on the link “Sign in as a Guest” in the upper right side of the page.
When you are prompted for a Guest ID enter the following:
Guest ID: MS_BetaApp
Please note, if you are currently an active tester on other Microsoft beta programs but have received this mail, you still need to go to the site and RSVP by filling out the entire survey to be considered for this new beta program.
Did you like Web Radio for MCE? Then you are going to love Web Media for MCE 2005! Not only will this plug-in help organize your favorite online radio stations, but will also allow you to organize your favorite video streams from the web! All this is viewable directly inside Media Center and controlable with your MCE Remote.
Web Media Release Candidate 1
While checking out the download above, notice the new website geared towards Media Center plug-ins and applications! Yet another great resource for finding new and interesting things to do with your Media Center!
[PlugIn] Web Media Release Candidate 1 (was Web Radio)
New versions now allowing Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding and DTS looks to have made the way down to us.
NVIDIA DVD Decoder
Update Rollup 1 for Media Center Extender contains various updates for the Windows XP Media Center Extender and includes CGMS-A protected TV content playback support. (HBO and Cinemax)
This update is recommended for all Linksys Media Center Extender and HP Media Center Extender customers.
For a complete list of changes included in this update see KB890924
Update Rollup 1 for Linksys Media Center Extender with CGMS-A Support
Update Rollup 1 for HP Media Center Extender with CGMS-A Support
Description of Update Rollup 1 for Microsoft Media Center Extender for Windows XP Media Center