The Media Center Show #26

The Media Center Show #26 | 21st September 2005 (50mins 27secs) MP3 – 17.3MB (Download Here)


 


This week Ian Dixon talked with Declan Fitzgerald from Microsoft Ireland about job opportunities at the new development center in Ireland.


 


In addition, Ted Singh from Embedded Automation talks about trends from the CEDEA trade shows, and then Geoff Twibell about tagging your music collection and fixing album art!


 


Vote for The Media Center show on Podcast Alley!  If you have any questions regarding DRM, Ian is planning to do a DRM show soon so please send your questions in!

New Directory of Media Center Hardware and Software Partners


The Windows XP Media Center Edition team at Microsoft is creating an international partner directory for the Media Center website. The directory will feature companies creating software services, applications, and hardware that work with Media Center; it is intended as a tool for businesses looking for inspiration or resources for their own Media Center projects. To submit a listing to the partner directory, visit http://www.mediacenterpartners.com and fill out the partner directory form. Be sure to go back and update your listing if you change product versions or add functionality. You may add as many products as you’d like under your company listing.

 

The partner directory will go live on the Media Center website on Microsoft.com in mid-October. There is no charge to appear in the directory, but Microsoft reserves the right to review all submissions before posting. The partner form will support multiple languages.

 

If you have questions, please email mceapps@microsoft.com



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Thoughts and Answers on Managed Copies


I’ve been talking about the ability to legally “rip” HD-DVD’s to your hard drive for some time now, and of course today Microsoft finally made their announcement that they will pair with Intel to provide support for HD-DVD in Windows and with Intel’s Viiv-based PC’s.  I have seen many questions pop-up about some of the features and about your ability to do certain actions with the media.

 

Thomas Hawk had questions about the quality and file size of a “Managed Copy” over the original HD-DVD.  Ed Bott speculates that better compression will cut down the file size which is kind of true, but I’m not sure if Ed is thinking of the compression used in the correct manner.  While we do have much more advanced and efficient video and audio codec’s, it doesn’t always mean file sizes will be drastically cut.  There isn’t much stopping “studio x” from encoding their video using MPEG-2.  For a feature length movie at 1920x1080p, you’re looking at 30GB cutting it close!  You will have to add audio and extras too!  Most studios will be encoding video with either MPEG-4 AVC HP or VC-1.  This will cut down file size of the overall disc, but you as a consumer should really want that disc to be as full as possible.  Greater bitrates (in turn larger file sizes) means better video and audio quality to start with.  Oh, 30GB HD-DVD’s might be available at launch, but that doesn’t mean the all studios will play the price for them.  Think about it!

 

If I remember correctly, you will be able to make at least a single “Managed Copy” at full resolution.  Look for a host of other information on this near the end of October or start of November.  This is where that crazy AACS content protection system I’m always talking about starts to come into play.  =)

 

Sean Alexander had also posted this news and his views on “Managed Copies” and Kenn left a comment about the type of “reactivation” that will be needed to keep the content secure.  This is true, and you will need an active Internet connection to take advantage of “Managed Copies” for HD-DVD.

 

Ian Dixon asked if the process will be easy to get your copy, and you can bet the answer is yes!  It will be extremely simple to copy an HD-DVD to our hard drive.  =)

 

Windows Vista will of course play into this in many ways.  I would very much assume that Vista will be needed to take advantage of “Managed Copies“.  There are some downfalls to the “Managed Copy” feature with HD-DVD that will play out in the upcoming months.  To try and kill a bit of what might pop-up in the feature, while it is a “guaranteed feature”, it doesn’t mean that you purchased the right to make a copy when you bought the HD-DVD.

 

My single question about all of this is where is the HDMI output on the Xbox 360!  There will be a secure path with WMRM to get content TO the Xbox 360, so there must be a path OUT to also keep it secure.  I still hold my thoughts that Microsoft has the best chance to win your Living Room, the rest of the pieces just need to start falling.  This mainly comes with Vista and the framework that is being built to allow the consumer to get this media on their PC!



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Microsoft and Intel Back HD DVD


Microsoft and Intel Back HD DVD as Next-Generation High-Definition DVD Format of Choice | Intel Corporation and Microsoft Corp. today announced that they will join major consumer electronics manufacturers, content providers and other companies as members of the HD DVD Promotion Group. After extensive review, both companies determined that the HD DVD format developed by the DVD Forum meets important criteria and delivers unique advantages, including PC and connected device interoperability and an easy, affordable transition to high definition for consumers. HD DVD can bring the excitement of HD video to the consumer faster than competing formats, with the potential for more affordable hardware and more interactive experiences.

 

Intel and Microsoft are the two most recent additions to the HD DVD Promotion Group, joining such companies as NEC Corp., SANYO Electric Co. Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. and content providers such as Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures Corp. A complete list of over 100 companies is available.

 

“There are both challenges and opportunities in the transition to high-definition experiences throughout the home,” said Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group at Microsoft. “And after looking at the core advantages to the PC ecosystem and how it would benefit the consumer, it is clear that HD DVD offers the highest quality, and is the most affordable and highly flexible solution available.”

 

“Our vision with Intel Viiv technology is that digital media content can be enjoyed on these Intel-based PCs and consumer electronics devices in and around the home in an easy and affordable manner,” said Brendan Traw, Intel Fellow and chief technology officer of Intel’s Digital Home Group. “Intel has determined that HD DVD best meets the needs of consumers and the requirements for the respective consumer electronics, computer and entertainment industries for delivering a high-definition, interactive experience to the home on optical media.”

 

Microsoft and Intel cited the following consumer and industry requirements of any successful next-generation optical format for high definition, which is reflected by what HD DVD delivers today:

 

  • Managed Copy: A first for DVDs. Managed Copy is a guaranteed feature within HD DVD that gives consumers the freedom to make copies of their discs to a hard drive or home server, including Media Center PCs using Intel Viiv technology, and enjoy them in every room of the house over their home networks. HD DVD discs also will allow copies of the movie to be played on portable devices.
  • “Future-proof” compatibility. Using proven HD DVD “hybrid disc” technology, a single disc can store both high-definition and standard-definition versions of a film, allowing consumers to immediately enjoy the standard-definition movies stored on these discs on today’s DVD players, while HD movies can be replayed later on the HD DVD platform. This is an opportunity for consumers to buy discs at launch that future proof their collections — in other words, helping assure customers that the discs they buy will remain viewable in the future.
  • Proven low-cost, high-volume manufacturing. HD DVD discs use essentially the same manufacturing equipment as existing DVDs, meaning that production of HD DVD can ramp up easily and with lower costs.
  • Superior capacity. HD DVD-ROM discs will offer dual-layer 30GB discs at launch, compared with BD-ROM discs, which will be limited to 25GB.
  • Superior interactivity. HD DVD discs will offer greater interactivity using iHD technology, allowing for enhanced content, navigation and value-added functionality for high-definition films. For example, HD DVDs can offer advanced picture-in-picture capability so that other video, such as a director’s commentary, could play on top of the movie.
  • Superior format for notebook PCs. The compatibility of HD DVD with standard DVD facilitates and simplifies development of slim disc drives for integration in notebook PCs, one of the fastest-growing segments of the PC market.

As longtime leaders in the development of new industry specifications, Intel and Microsoft believe a single optical disc format is an ideal solution that would drive rapid consumer adoption. Although the companies have determined that HD DVD is the only viable solution at this time, each remains committed to working toward one format that meets consumer and industry requirements.



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AVerMedia To Launch MCE Media Expansion Card (PCIExpress!)


AVerMedia Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of digital multimedia and presentation technology announced today that the AVerMedia AVerTVTM MCE Media Expansion Card won the Intel Technology Innovation Accelerated (TIA) Award for the Digital Home Category. The Intel TIA award is presented each year at the semi annual Intel Developers Forum (IDF) to recognize technological advancements and innovation while building off of Intel’s new platform strategy.

 

The AVerTV MCE Media Expansion Card is an x16 PCIExpress dual analog TV tuner featuring hardware MPEG2 compression. The Media Expansion Card has been designed around the Intel 945G platform SDVO interface technology in order to support its onboard DVI output capability. This concept allows users or systems integrators to build mainstream Media Center PCs with Dual TV tuners on an Intel 945G motherboard (featuring integrated graphics capabilities). AVerTV MCE Media Expansion Card designed specifically for use with the Intel motherboard.

 

Previously, the MCE platform required a high end and costly graphics card to actually process the video on the screen. These high-end cards also provided DVI output option for users using higher resolution LCD or Plasma monitor, however the combination of Intel’s integrated motherboard and the Media Expansion card eliminates the need for the additional high-end graphics card since the graphics and DVI output are included.

 

“Winning this award is a great honor for AVerMedia and a tribute to our technical and development expertise,” says Dominic Wong, Technical Marketing Manager for AVerMedia Technologies, Inc., USA. “Between our own internal innovation and relationships with such highly regarded organizations as Intel, AVerMedia will continue to be on the leading edge of multimedia technology.”

 

“Promoting technology leadership efforts driving Intel’s evolution to a platform strategy, the Technology Innovation Accelerated Awards recognize companies and individuals who take a creative approach in creating exciting new products through technologies that promise to exceed customer expectations,” said IDF General Manager Rob Chapman.

 

Pricing and Availability

 

The AVerMedia AVerTV MCE Media Expansion Card will be available in early Q4, 2005 at an MSRP of $199.99. For more information about any of AVerMedia’s other digital multimedia products, visit www.avermedia-usa.com or call AVerMedia at (408) 263-3828.



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This Is How It Should Work! Thank You


Thomas Hawk has been going on about his issues with Media Center (keep it going Thomas!!) and I would like to thank him for it.  I would also like to thank Matt Goyer, Charlie Owen, and the rest of the eHome division.

 

This is how it is supposed to work everyone.  Media Center has a community built around it that I have watched grow for years and years, while trying to help the growth by highly contributing my views on this blog, trying to keep The Green Button going, helping the higher end market accept Media Center and help them with their issues, contributing as much as I can to The Media Center Show podcast by Ian Dixon, and more!

 

Seeing any member of the eHome division step-up shows a lot about the team, and the product.  Media Center as a product is very much a roller coaster of broken features and shattered dreams for some.  Not being able to ship a feature that many want seems so much better to the community when the people making the product get a word in about it to the people that matter the most; the users, the consumer, the community!

 

Keep it up Matt and Charlie (et al.)!  Thomas, do the same (and I’m planning on replying to your views in another post soon).



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The Media Center Show #25


The Media Center Show #25 | 21st September 2005 (54mins 15secs) MP3 – 18.6MB (Download Here)

 

This week Ian Dixon talked with Ian McCarthy, VP of Product Development at Orb about the Orb services, the new API for developers wanting to create add-ins for Orb and more!

 

Remember, Vote for The Media Center show on Podcast Alley!

 

If you have any questions regarding DRM, Ian is planning to do a DRM show soon so please send your questions in!



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NVIDIA’s Next Gen Dual PVR Card


NVIDIA Next Gen Dual PVR Card | HTPCnews posted a bit about NVIDIA’s plans to offer a new dual tuner PVR card.  According to the PowerPoint slides it will feature the following…

  • PureVideo™ 3D Comb Filter (No Chroma Artifacts)
  • PureVideo™ 3D Noise Reduction
  • In-line TV Amp
  • Hardware MPEG Encoder
  • ISF Certification
  • MediaSqueeze™
  • And more!


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