Why I Don’t Cover Zune

Several people have asked me why I have not covered any of
the Zune leaks and stuff.  The main
reason that I don’t cover it is because their isn’t much to say and the last
thing Microsoft needs is yet another device over-hyped (read: UMPC) and then it
doesn’t sale well.

I’ve always been under the impression that Zune is more like
Portable Media Center
v2.5.  This has been showing more and
more by the latest news.  It’s made by Toshiba
who currently makes a Portable Media Center (Gigabeat), it’s UI mockups look
like Portable Media Center that I have in my hands right now (Creative PMC),
and so on.  It’s just a PMC with what
Microsoft considers a “catchy name” and a few new cool features (social networking,
WiFi, etc).

I’m not saying it’s not going to be a cool player, but don’t
over-hype another product just to see it fail or not live up to what it once was considered to be.

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Home Automation and mControl Post Coming Soon

For those of you who had interest in mControl and Home Automation I’ll have a good post about setting up INSTEON switches/dimmers with mControl later this week.  I got a dimmer and controller in yesterday, and setup it up with mControl.  It’s working great and I’ll have a full review and helpful getting started information to follow.  If anyone has questions about mControl, feel free to post and I’ll try and field them in the post or comments.  Now, back to learning Pre-cal (I hate calculus/algebra, give me some geometry or something to do already).  =)

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Schedule Recordings And Get Recommendations From Your Cell with UGuide

UGuide has launched in
beta for Media Center users to try out.  UGuide can be used to view your program
guides directly from Media
Center on your cell phone
(Java-enabled only).  Not only can you
view it, but UGuide also can send daily personalized recommendations to you and
allow you to remotely schedule recordings!

Search: Find
exactly what you want to watch or record
Receive daily recommendations for programs that closely match your TV viewing
Remote PVR Recording:
Schedule recordings on your Windows Media Center PVR… from another room or
another city
TV List: Quick
and easy navigation that helps you find out what’s on at a specific time, on a
specific channel
TV Grid: A
standard program guide, tailored to your mobile phone
Favorite Channels: Store your favorite channels and
personalize your program guide

out the forum thread on The Green Button for more

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Yougle: YouTube Meets Google Video

Yougle | Google
Video and YouTube Via Media Center
| You should already know that you can
search and browse YouTube
via Media Center,
but the developer is not stopping there. 
Currently in beta, Yougle from Push-A-Button Software combines YouTube and Google Video into a
single Media Center interface.  Free software, but please donate if
you like it

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Slickest Media Center Plug-In Yet; HeatWave!

Nearly a year ago I blogged about a James @
tapping into a whole new style of Media Center
development.  No Hosted HTML here, James
was using undocumented features in a few of Media
Center’s dynamic link libraries that
allowed him to integrate the plug-in directly using the true Media Center
interface/rendered.  The project died out
only a few weeks later after James had talks with Charlie Owen about the downsides of
using his new development methods.

Anyway, HeatWave is now
back and just as cool as ever.  This
weather plug-in uses Managed DirectX to present it’s UI and looks and performs nicer
then HTML.  Looks great, although doesn’t
work on Extenders just yet.  Check out the forum
thread at The Green Button for more

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S1Digital and Autonomic Controls Partner to Provide A/V Integration Support for Media Center

S1Digital LLC, a
leading manufacturer of Media Servers based on Windows Media Center Edition,
and Autonomic Controls, Inc., the exclusive provider of AV integration software
for Windows Media Center Edition, have entered into an OEM agreement to provide
custom installers with a two way control protocol for S1Digital Media Centers.

New York,
NY. June 30, 2006. S1Digital LLC
and Autonomic Controls’ have partnered to provide custom integrators with
two-way, IP based control of S1Digital Media Centers. The control protocol is
now available as a pre-installed option across the range of S1Digital’s Media
Centers and is designed to ease the integration efforts for custom A/V

Residential and commercial A/V installers can utilize
S1Digital Media Centers with Autonomic Controls’ technology to provide a cost
effective yet hyper-functional whole house Media Server for use in multi-zone audio
and video applications while providing a robust touch panel interface for
browsing and managing the Media
Center’s content library.

Pre-built modules and touch panel interfaces for Crestron control
systems is available for download on S1Digital’s website, and an AMX module will
be available by September.  The companies
will also be demonstrating a UMPC interface to S1Digital’s Media Centers in the
Intel booth at CEDIA this September.  After
the show, installers and customers can see a demonstration of the touch panel interface
at S1Digital’s new showroom in New
York City.

S1Digital’s Media Centers provide users with the ability to
maintain and enjoy a large media collection of music, movies, pictures, and
recorded TV, in a single box. The diverse functionality far exceeds any other
media hardware and software currently available, and now S1Digital and
Autonomic Controls’ announcement eliminates a major barrier when installing
S1Digital’s Media Centers with 3rd party home control solutions.

“Media Center PCs optimized to run as a hub of a home entertainment
center–for storing, managing and distributing digital files–can cost $2,000
to more than $7,000, depending on the configuration, whereas [dedicated] music servers
typically range from about $5,000 to more than $25,000.”, said Jeff O’Heir, a
columnist for Computer Reseller News. “And while those systems are strictly
designed for audio, media-oriented PCs can handle music, photos, video games
and other files. “

Autonomic Controls’ OEM product, Media Center Edition
Control Server (MCECS) acts as a bi-directional communications gateway between
the Media Center software and touch panel remote control devices such as those made
by Crestron, AMX, and Control 4, or other systems capable of IP communication.
The technology will also be used with web tablets, ultra mobile touch screen
PCs, and Windows SideShow devices.

Company Information
is a
premier builder of high-end, digital entertainment solutions. S1Digita’s Media
Centers, based on Microsoft Media Center Edition, capture, store and distribute
content including HDTV, movies, music and photos. Optional home automation
add-ons enable seamless integration with A/V equipment, lights, HVAC and
security systems. The company offers complete digital media solutions and works
closely with custom installers to make available the most complete digital
entertainment technology to customers. The S1Digital Experience showroom
located in New York City
showcases the latest digital media technology platforms and their applications
in the home. For additional information, visit www.s1digital.com , email sales@s1digital.com or call (888) 632-6897.

Autonomic Controls,
creates software to help computer and device OEMs, software developers
and custom installers integrate Media Center PC’s into today’s automated home
and business. The company is focused on extending the functionality of
Microsoft Media Center hardware and software to provide real time interaction
with control systems and remote controls that integrate with audio/video,
security, environmental, and lighting devices. 
In addition to MCE control technology, the company provides consulting
and software development services to its partners in the A/V and computer
industries. Autonomic, Inc. is based in North
Salem, NY. For more
information on MCE Server, the Autonomic Control System or other inquiries
visit www.autonomichome.com or send
e mail to information@autonomic.com.

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