About Me

Chris Lanier is an independent digital media and technology enthusiast (and Microsoft MVP — Media Center) in Katy/Houston, Texas.  His blog covers news, analysis, and personal opinions mainly focusing on Windows Media Center and related digital media technologies.  Press inquiries can be directed through the contact links below.


Opinions expressed on this blog are that of Chris Lanier and do not represent that of Microsoft Corporation.  Chris Lanier is not a Microsoft employee.


Contact Information
E-mail Address: Here
Submit Press Releases/Review Requests: Here
Blog: http://msmvps.com/blogs/chrisl/
Location: Houston, Texas
Occupation: Student


Interests
Digital Media
Networking/Information Security
Music/Movies
Gaming
HDTV
Cable/Sat Industry Tech/IPTV
Custom Electronics
Home Automation
Home Theater
Photography
Sports


CompTIA Certifications
A+, Network+, Security+


Microsoft Certifications
MCP, MCSA (2000/2003), MCSA: Security (2000), MCTS: Connected Home Integrator


Other Accomplishments
Microsoft MVP – Digital Media (2003)


Microsoft MVP — Media Center (2007-Present)


Media Center Show Awards – Best Enthusiasts Media Center Blog


Opinions expressed here are my own personal opinions and do not represent that of Microsoft Corporation

The Media Center Show #10

The Media Center Show #10 – Richard Schwab (MediaMadeEasy) DIY MCE | 30th May 2005 (44min 47sec) – MP3 – 15.4MB (Download Here)


 


This week I (Ian Dixon) talk to Richard Schwab of MediaMadeEasy, where we look at building your own Media Center PC.  I have some messages from the forums and a recap on the Digital TV project at Microsoft.  We have a winner in our competition to win MyRemoteMouse and I talk about a new competition to win mNewsCenter.


 


As always, like the show?  Vote for The Media Center show on Podcast Alley!

WMP 11 to Be Major Release; Beta This November

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of May 30 | According to Paul: Microsoft’s original plans for Windows Media Player (WMP) 11–formerly code-named Aurora–were fairly low-key, with just a few minor new features. That’s all changed: Microsoft has canceled Aurora, and the company is moving the Longhorn media player to XP. Now code-named Polaris, WMP 11 will be a major release. There’s just one problem:


 


Instead of shipping in November, as per the original plan, WMP 11 will now ship in a public beta during that month, coinciding with Longhorn Beta 2. The final release is roughly scheduled for early 2006.

Media Center Plug-Ins and Applications List Updated

Media Center Plug-Ins and Applications (Current List) | I got around to posting my updates to the list.  The whole list got an overhaul, including some much needed hyperlinking and organization.  Applications are now tagged if they are commerical or beta.  Donation links have been added for the developers who do this in their spare time and had viewable donation links on their websites/homepages.

mce addons mce plug-ins mce plugins mce add-ons

Why HDTV Support in MCE Won’t Change Until Longhorn Arrives

A hot topic after the release of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 was when Microsoft would improve HDTV support (Technically it’s still a hot topic).  MCE 2005 brought us OTA HD, but that’s not enough for some people.  We want full Cable/Satellite HDTV support inside of Media Center.  We know that Media Center will support CableCARD’s at some point, you can hear that directly from Bill Gates in The Engadget Interview with GatesIn fact, Gates sounded kind of dumbfounded when asked about CableCARD and Media Center.  CableCARD’s are seen as the way to bring premium content into our PC’s.


 


Here is the problem that everyone is not thinking of.  Part of the reason Media Center doesn’t support anything more than OTA is mainly because of the rights management issues.  Sure, the hardware support isn’t currently shipped, but I don’t see that as the big holdup.  Media Center is not the “closed box” that Hollywood what’s it to be.  The only reason we can purchase a TiVo or other CE device that will record premium content is because it appears to the industry as a “closed box”.  It’s too easy for them to say that Media Center is highly contributing to piracy of TV and films on the Internet because of the PC’s open architecture.  Microsoft must make changes to Media Center, and the underlying Operating System that is Windows XP, to be a “closed box” when it comes to recording and viewing digital content.  Not only does Microsoft have to build this secure system, they have to do it quickly so not to risk Media Center as a failed product.  The public isn’t going to live forever on NTSC and OTA ATSC.


 


You might be asking what the solution to all of this is, and here is were some Media Center users and hopeful future Media Center owners might not be that happy.  I don’t see Windows XP as a system that will ever be the “closed box” it needs to be.  As I see it, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 will not be seeing anything but OTA HDTV support.


 


The solution to this problem of the “closed box” is already being developed, but I don’t think it’s going to fall into place until the Longhorn timeframe.  I’m talking about a developing technology called PVP-OPM (Protected Video Path – Output Protection Management).  Currently due to be shipping with Windows Longhorn, this is the technology that will enable all sorts of premium content to come inside our PC’s.


 


PVP-OPM is the overall key to enabling all sorts of premium content to some inside our Media Center PC’s.  This doesn’t stop with Media Center through, want to pick up a Blu-Ray/HD-DVD** title and play it back in your PC?  It’s likely not going to happen without PVP-OPM.  The idea behind PVP-OPM is simple, in theory.  It’s going to work on a checks-and-balance type of system, but your hardware is going to play the big part in this equation.  Drivers check hardware, Windows checks drivers, and so on.  If a single part of the process reports back as failed, you don’t play the content.  Plain and simple.


 


While we all want premium content with our Media Center PC’s,  I don’t see this happening until Longhorn ships.


 


** CyberLink Supports Microsoft’s Certified Output Protection Protocol (COPP) for DVI-HDCP Transmission.  No direct mention of AACS or anything, but it does state copy-protected Blu-Ray/HD-DVD.  The Press Release is just a few days old, most would assume that would fall into the pre-Longhorn (eg XP) timeframe.  COPP is in place currently in Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Server 2003 SP1, IIRC.

Update to Enable DXVA of WMV Content in Windows Media Player 10

FIX: Update to enable DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) of Windows Media Video content in Windows Media Player 10


 


SUMMARY


This update enables Microsoft DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) of Microsoft Windows Media Video (WMV) content in Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 for video cards when the drivers of those video cards are designed to take advantage of this feature.


 


MORE INFORMATION
Note This fix enables DXVA support after you meet the following prerequisites:


  • The graphics adaptor must support this DXVA update. For more information, contact the driver vendor for the latest driver that supports DXVA.
  • You must install hotfix 891122. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    • 891122 Update for Windows Media Digital Rights Management-enabled players
  • The content must be WMV-HD (Windows Media Video High Definition) clips (720p and 1080p) with a frame rate that is less than or equal to 30 frames per second.

Thanks Marc!

Power Compress: DVR-MS to WMV or AVI

NOTE: Purchasing this software is not recommended.  The company provides zero support and there are other free software choices that do a better job.  Think twice before purchasing, it is not advised.

 

Stand Up Against Power Compress! Deceptive Marketing, Support Issues, and More!

 

Power Compress | Power Compress is the Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) plug-in everyone has been waiting for! Power Compress makes it easy for you to convert your recorded TV shows from DVR-MS to Windows Media format. All your recorded video files can now be converted into a format that is up to 10 times smaller than the regular MCE format! Power Compress Pro is supposed to add the ability to convert DVR-MS files to AVI (no word on what codec’s are supported).


 


The problem?  Right now you have to purchase the program before trying it out.  Not cool in my opinion.  I have e-mailed the company and according to them we should be seeing a trial download without having to charge your credit card first.


 


Could this be the greatest program since DVR 2 WMV?  Not to be left out, there are now several programs for converting DVR-MS to other formats including AutoDVRconvert, DVRMSToolbox, and of course DVR 2 WMV.  The only problem is that only DVR 2 WMV has an MCE interface, the others don’t.

 

NOTE: Purchasing this software is not recommended.  The company provides zero support and there are other free software choices that do a better job.  Think twice before purchasing, it is not advised.



 Stand Up Against Power Compress! Deceptive Marketing, Support Issues, and More!



 



NOTE: Purchasing this software is not recommended.  The company provides zero support and there are other free software choices that do a better job.  Think twice before purchasing, it is not advised.

Stand Up Against Power Compress! Deceptive Marketing, Support Issues, and More!

Xbox 360 HD Videos

Xbox 360 HD Videos | What’s even better than reading about the latest E3 news and games? Seeing it! Here’s your one-stop destination for video coverage of the biggest gaming event of the year—straight from E3 to you.


  • Call of Duty 2 E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Condemned Xbox 360 E3 Video
  • Dead Rising E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Demonik E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • EA Compilation E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Final Fantasy XI E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Frame City Killer E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Full Auto E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Ghost Recon 3 E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Kameo E32005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Madden NFL 2006 E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • NBA 2K6 E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • NHL 2K6 E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Quake 4 E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Saint’s Row E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • Test Drive Unlimted E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video
  • The Darkness E3 2005 Xbox 360 Video

The minimum requirements for viewing high-definition (720p) videos are: Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Media Player 9 Series, a 2.4 GHz processor or equivalent, 384 MB of RAM, a 64 MB video card, 1024×768 screen resolution, and a 16-bit sound card with attached speakers. For more information and to test your system compatibility, visit www.wmvhd.com.

The Media Center Show #9

The Media Center Show #9 – Joe Harris (Orb Networks) | 23rd May 2005 (43min) – MP3 – 15.5MB


 


This week I (Ian Dixon) talk to Joe Harris VP of Marketing from Orb Networks.  Orb is a great product that allows you to stream your digital content around the internet all for free!


 


I played a message in to the Skype Line from James Kendrick (host of the The techADDICTION Show podcast) and read out an email from Niels Hjorhøy Wind.


 


Also I have details about the fantastic opportunity to work on a digital TV project at Microsoft in Ireland, so developers take a listen.  This is probably the biggest recruitment drive at the moment in the interactive TV software space in Europe.


 


Vote for The Media Center show on Podcast Alley!