Life|ware Seamlessly Integrates INSTEON Lighting and Home Control Products

Exceptional Innovation, makers of Life|ware,
hardware-friendly home control software, today announced all
INSTEON™-enabled products are now compatible with a Life|ware home
control solution. INSTEON is the wireless home control technology
developed by SmartLabs Inc., the world’s leading authority in home
automation and control.

“Making INSTEON products compatible with
Life|ware makes perfect sense,” said Mike Seamons, Exceptional
Innovation’s Vice President of Marketing. “They’re very popular with
our dealers and provide another great option for a Life|ware whole-home
control solution.”

Life|ware is seamlessly integrated into
Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. Using the same Media
Center remote they use to access and enjoy their music, movies and
photographs, a Life|ware user can now easily control their entire
INSTEON home control system — including lighting, security, comfort
control, consumer electronics, appliances and safety sensors from all
manufacturers integrating the INSTEON technology. Life|ware integration
includes all INSTEON products from SmartLabs Design including
SwitchLinc, KeypadLinc, SignaLinc, LampLinc ApplianceLinc and
ControLinc as well as its ICON line of dimmers and switches.

are continuing to drive INSTEON home automation and control into the
digital home,” said Rajeev Kapur, president of SmartLabs Inc. “By
partnering with Life|ware, we can now offer any company looking for a
way to manage home control via the Media Center an elegant solution.”

brings a rich control experience together with digital entertainment in
a compelling way, and we’re pleased to have INSTEON products be part of
that experience,” said Seamons.

Life|ware leverages Web Services
for Devices standards to be hardware-neutral, an approach that allows
dealers to offer their customers more choices among available systems,
and gives them the flexibility to create unique new offerings to expand
their business.

At EHX-Spring, Life|ware can be experienced
controlling lighting, audio, security, camera, and climate control
systems from a wide variety of hardware partners in a
fully-functioning, live-wired booth that features six full room
vignettes with seamlessly integrated digital entertainment and control.

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New 17-Inch Media Center Touchscreen from Pelham Sloane

[EHX] First Glimpse of
17-Inch MCE Touchscreen from Pelham Sloane
| CE Pro has
more from EHX, this time from Pelham Sloane in the form of a 17-inch
touchscreen with Media Center!  Just over
2 inches thick, it has four external USB ports, two PCI Express slots, a
Compact Flash slot, up to 500 GB of hard drive, and support for 802.11g,
Bluetooth, Z-Wave and EV-DO/Edge (cellular broadband).

It will sell for $2,200-$3,200 depending on your
configuration, and is set to ship anytime now!

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SideShow Demo on Media Center Remote

[EHX] Microsoft Demos
SideShow for Media Center Remote
| CE Pro has an article
from EHX about a use for SideShow (Aux Displays)
and this use will appeal to all Media
Center users.  At EHX, Todd Rutherford, Microsoft Program
Manager for eHome Control showed off the technology implemented in remote
control.  Check out Julie’s article on CE Pro for more!

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Niveus Media Announces Support for HD-DVD High Definition DVD Format

Niveus Media
Announces Support for HD-DVD High Definition DVD Format
| Niveus Media,
Inc., manufacturer of media entertainment devices for the high-end audio/video
market, has announced that it will support the HD-DVD format and will begin
shipping the technology in its line of Niveus Media Centers which utilize
Intel® Viiv™ technology platform, designed to enhance and help manage the
enjoyment of digital entertainment in the home.

“While we may have additional announcements later this year
regarding the Blu-Ray disc format, we are ready to announce that product
development is well underway to deliver HD-DVD in the award-winning Niveus Media
Center by mid-2006” said
Tim Cutting, CEO & Founder, Niveus Media. “By combining our award winning ISF-certified Niveus Media
Center, with HD-DVD and
Intel Viiv technology, Niveus Authorized Dealers will have a powerful solution
to bring their clients into the high definition DVD era. We’re looking forward
to being one of the first to offer dealers an HD-DVD experience in a Intel Viiv
technology based system. ”

“Niveus Media’s move to incorporate a high definition HD
player into their Intel® Viiv™ technology-based platform demonstrates how the
home entertainment PC continues to evolve and provide consumers with compelling
home entertainment experiences, including breathtaking High Definition video
playback,” said C.J Bruno, director Americas Marketing, Intel.

The Electronic House Expo Spring 2006 is being held in Orlando from March 30 –
April 1. Niveus Media will be demonstrating the Intel Viiv technology-based Niveus Media
Center featuring HD-DVD
in Demo Alley, Room 203A. More information available at:

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Akimbo and HDNet to Deliver High Definition Programming Via the Internet

Akimbo Systems today announced an agreement with HDNet, the leader in
high-definition programming, to make select titles from its vibrant library of
HD content available for download through the Akimbo Service for Windows XP
Media Center Edition. This marks the first time Akimbo has offered
broadband-delivered HD content for viewing on subscribers’ monitors or high
definition televisions.

Akimbo subscribers enjoy the freedom to choose from more than 8,000
on-demand programs available through Akimbo’s impressive library of original,
niche and mainstream content – including travel shows, documentaries, music
videos, full-length films, sporting events, television series and more. Now,
Akimbo subscribers can watch fantastic programming in stunning high definition
through their Media Center PCs.

“Akimbo has certainly advanced television viewing with its
award-winning Internet-delivered on-demand service,” said Jeff Cuban of
HDNet. “The Akimbo Service offers HDNet an ideal opportunity to deliver
our high-quality original HD content to an entirely new audience that has grown
to expect and appreciate distinctive and cutting-edge entertainment.”

According to a recent study from Parks Associates, HDTV sales will surpass
$65 billion by 2009 and it is estimated that nearly half of American households
plan to purchase an HDTV in the next year alone. As a result, the demand for
high-definition content is expected to grow exponentially.

“Consumers are adopting HDTV at a rapid pace. Most of them immediately
seek out new sources of great hi-def content,” said Joshua Goldman,
Akimbo’s CEO. “With the addition of HDNet’s content, Akimbo can offer a
new and innovative way to meet this demand.”

Customers can sign up for a free trial of the Akimbo Service through the
Online Spotlight area of Microsoft Media Center Edition 2005 PCs. A
subscription to the first Internet-delivered on-demand service is $9.99 a
month. To subscribe or find more information about what’s on Akimbo, please

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Exceptional Innovation Brings Distributed Audio Solution to Media Center

[EHX] EI Solves the
Problem of Distributed Audio through Media Center Edition (CE Pro)
| Exceptional
appears to have a big plans to show off at EHX next week.  According to CE Pro, Exceptional Innovation has developed a way
of integrating a “whole-house audio
system with two-way feedback and metadata over regular inexpensive keypads”

Previously, Exceptional Innovation has showed that this could be done using
rather expensive touchscreens.  Now,
using inexpensive
third-party keypads that will also be able to display metadata, users will be
able to control Media
Center from around there
home for little cost.

Photo from CE Pro (Exceptional
Innovation touchscreen model)

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More on Streaming DVD’s To Extenders

Update: Sadly, Windows Vista doesn’t support DVD Streaming.  Maybe one day Microsoft will enable it, however as of RTM Vista will not be supporting DVD Stream from the Extenders.

Matt Goyer posted the bit on Sony’s
Standalone Changer for $799
and of course is now getting questions about
streaming those DVD’s to Extenders. 
Matt, as much as he might want to, can’t talk about Microsoft’s future
products plans.  There is nothing stopping
me however from providing some information on the policy of the issue.

Matt comments “…two
things could happen. We could enable DVD remoting from changers to Xbox’s, or
we could develop DVD Managed Copy where you ‘rip’ your DVDs to your hardware
and stream them to your Xbox. …We haven’t announced plans for either of those

Honestly, both of the issues Matt covers need to
happen.  There should be no “or” about
it.  I want to cover the one that
everyone wants now, which is streaming DVD’s from DVD Changers to
Extenders.  No doubt a killer feature of Media Center
would be to have a single point of distribution to legally send out DVDs all over
your house. 

I’ve said before that Vista
should support streaming of DVDs to Extenders
.  The reason for this is because WMRM-ND (eg
approved streaming of current DVD’s with CSS
.  There is no reason why (come Vista) you shouldn’t be able to stream DVD’s from your
DVD Changer to your Xbox 360.  I will be extremely
disappointed if Microsoft skips this important development.  The good thing is that it should appear, as
WMRM-ND should already be supported on Extenders.  All Microsoft has to be is develop the
middleware to take the DVD from 1394 (the DVD Changer), and wrap WMRM around it
and send that onto the wire.  Some people
might remember that Niveus Media is
developing a solution
that would follow the same type of path

DVD’s Managed Copy with Xbox 360 Extender
shouldn’t be an issue at
all.  I’m sure Matt works on this
everyday with since he currently owns
the Movies (My DVD’s) feature
in Media Center 2005.  I’m not sure if we will see a “Managed Copy” like feature for current DVD’s, although Doherty did say in the article above that Microsoft was “evaluating” ripping DVD’s to their hard drive.  In other words, if Microsoft can get WMRM approved then it might happen.

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On2Share for Microsoft Media Center

for Microsoft Media Center
| On2Share [MCE] is a UPnP Control Point for
Microsoft XP Media Center Edition (MCE). On2Share is running as integrated
add-in enabling seamless home media networking with simple to use UPnP
(Universal Plug and Play). Tap into your digital home network with your MCE
remote control. On2Share [MCE] is enabling easy access to your local UPnP
media server (e.g.On2Share Pro).

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ExDomus Home Automation Software for Media Center

Home Automation Software
| ExDomus is a plug-in for Media Center 2005 that allows you to
control your X10 Devices (via a CM11 Controller) and Video Cameras (Axis 207)
just with your Media Center Remote Control.

You can create your own rooms (Name, Icon), and fill them with devices that
you’ve previously configured.

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