Pcalchemy Introduces MiniMCE Mini Media Centers


Pcalchemy introduces their new line of MiniMCE™ Media Centers! Pcalchemy has combined the power of Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005 with the latest mobile on the desktop technology (MODT) to provide a full featured digital entertainment experience in an extremely small package.

September 25, 2006 — Pcalchemy introduces their new line of MiniMCE™ Media Centers! Pcalchemy has combined the power of Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005 with the latest mobile on the desktop technology (MODT) to provide a full featured digital entertainment experience in an extremely small package.

The line currently consists of 3 models, M1B, M1S and M2B, all under the size of your typical dictionary. The smallest one is a mere 6.5″square and 2″ high and literally fits in the palm of your hand! With such a tiny footprint, and a great combination of built-in and bundled components and capabilities, this unit is ready to slide into entertainment centers anywhere.

Pcalchemy’s CEO, Greg Messner, said,” Our goal was to design an extremely small line of media centers without giving up the performance of your typical full sized media center. This was accomplished by utilizing the latest mobile on the desktop technologies, such as, the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo mobile processor and Hitachi’s notebook hard drives designed for 24/7 use. The end result surpassed our expectations.”

“You can put a MiniMCE media center in places limited only by your imagination, in the bedroom, on the bookshelf next to the TV, strapped on to the back of your plasma TV, the list is virtually endless”, said Messner.

The MiniMCE™ Mini Media Centers are available now. Pcalchemy ships each MiniMCE™ system within 2 business days of order. This is extremely fast compared to the industry norm of 5-10 business days.

About Pcalchemy, Inc.
Pcalchemy is a leading retailer and system builder specializing in multimedia systems and hardware components and is dedicated to bringing quality media center and HTPC products to the consumer. To learn more, please visit http://www.pcalchemy.com/



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Microsoft to Put Zune Experience in Consumers’ Hands on Nov. 14


REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 28, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. is putting the social into digital music, starting this holiday. Today the company announced that the Zune™ digital media player and online service will be available to consumers in the U.S. on Nov. 14, 2006, just in time for the holidays. The Zune device will retail for $249.99 U.S. (ERP) and will create new ways for entertainment fans to connect and share media experiences device-to-device through the use of wireless technology and new software scenarios.

For $249.99, consumers will get an incredible entertainment experience right out of the box:

  • 30GB digital media player will come equipped with wireless functionality for Zune-to-Zune sharing of music, pictures and home recordings; a bright, three-inch LCD video screen that works in portrait or landscape mode to view pictures and videos; and a built-in FM tuner. The device will be available in three colors: black, brown and white.
  • A selection of preloaded content including songs, music videos and film shorts are installed on the device’s hard drive to help consumers discover new artists and entertainment.

Zune makes it easy to find music you love — whether it’s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace:

  • Its dynamic music service will be continually updated with new content and experiences so there is always something to discover. The Zune Marketplace lets users browse and purchase songs individually.
  • A Zune Pass subscription gives consumers access to millions of songs for $14.99 per month.
  • Users can purchase songs individually using Microsoft® Points for 79 points per track. Similar to a pre-paid phone card, Microsoft Points is a stored value system that can be redeemed at a growing number of online stores, including the Xbox Live® Marketplace.

Read Full Press Release



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Media Center 2005 Walkthrough


William George over at Puget Custom Computers has written a nice Windows Media Center 2005 Walkthough. (Via PVR Wire)  It’s a nice nine page article that goes through just about everything including different hardware recommendations, a basic look at the feature of Media Center including My Videos, My Music, etc.  Includes nice high quality photos also.  Take a look at it if you are new to Media Center.



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The Green Button Down


Yes, I know.  The problem for me is that our e-mail seems to have some issues too.  Trying to get in contact with admin’s.  Sorry.

Update: We are back up! 



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Deal Of The Day: HP Digital Entertainment Center $435 (Refurb)


HP Debranded P4 3.0GHz 200GB Digital Entertainment Center (Geeks.com) | Just got an e-mail about Geeks.com selling Refurbished and “Debranded” Digital Entertainment Centers (z Series) for just $435.50!  Not a bad deal at all.  It doesn’t include the OS, but does have nice specs.

  • Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz (530) w/Hyper Threading
  • 512 MB DDR RAM (PC3200)
  • 200 GB SATA Hard Drive
  • Dual Layer DVD+/-R/RW Drive with LightScribe
  • Memory Card Reader
  • ATI Radeon X370 SE PCI-E Video Card
  • TV Tuner Card with FM tuner (NTSC and ATSC)
  • Integrated Intel High Definition audio
  • Realtek ALC 880 chipset
  • Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
  • Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
  • Media Center Remote

They are rated pretty high on Reseller Ratings, so if you are looking for a very cheap Media Center PC this might be your ticket.

Thanks Douglas!



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Microsoft Showcases 110 High-Definition Xbox 360 Games; Xbox 360 HD DVD Player and 1080p Support


TOKYO — Sept. 20, 2006 — Today at the Tokyo Game Show 2006, Microsoft Corp. delivered information on new and improved entertainment experiences for Japanese gamers, including details of the Xbox 360™ library of nearly 110 high-definition games available this holiday season in Japan, which will include the highly anticipated “Blue Dragon” from Microsoft Game Studios. Microsoft also paid tribute to NAMCO BANDAI Games and “Pac-Man,” announcing that the first “Pac-Man” World Championship will be held in early 2007 using Xbox 360 and Xbox Live® Arcade. Microsoft also revealed details of other entertainment offerings enabled through Xbox 360, with availability date and pricing provided for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player in Japan, as well as news of an update that will allow the Xbox 360 console to output full 1080p games and video.

At the best-attended gaming convention in the world, Microsoft showcased games that will boost the Xbox 360 software library in Japan to nearly 110 titles by holiday season 2006 as well as more titles coming well into 2007. The Xbox 360 games showcased include “Blue Dragon” (Microsoft Game Studios), “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition” (Capcom), “Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2” (Tecmo Inc.) and the newly announced “Trusty Bell” (NAMCO BANDAI Games), and a host of anticipated Xbox Live Arcade titles. For 2007, Microsoft also announced a pipeline of great games that include the epic role-playing game (RPG) “Infinite Undiscovery” (Microsoft Game Studios).

“The key to winning the hearts and minds of the Japanese market is great games, and this great lineup demonstrates that Xbox 360 has those games in spades,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “Our lineup of role-playing games from the acknowledged masters of the genre is proof positive that there has never been a better time for Japanese gamers to jump in and pick up an Xbox 360 system.”

Many game titles, including the much-anticipated epic RPG “Blue Dragon,” will be playable for the first time in the Microsoft® booth at the Tokyo Game Show. Other playable titles include “Lost Odyssey™” (Microsoft Game Studios) and “Viva Piñata™” (Microsoft Game Studios).

Xbox Live Arcade and the “Pac-Man” World Championship

With the creator of “Pac-Man,” Toru Iwatani, onstage, Peter Moore announced that Microsoft and NAMCO BANDAI Games will host the first “Pac-Man” World Championship in early 2007. The top 10 players in the world for “Pac-Man” on Xbox Live Arcade will compete for the title in New York City. More details, including how to qualify for the championship, will be made available in the coming months.

Continuing its tremendous momentum, Xbox Live Arcade has also announced in Tokyo a host of exciting new games, including some that will be exclusive to the Japanese market. Gamers will have the opportunity to try a host of new games on the show floor, including the classic side-scroller “Contra” (Konami Corp.), the space-shooter “Gyruss” (Konami), the enemy-popping classic “Dig Dug” (NAMCO BANDAI Games), arcade favorite “Track & Field” (Konami), “New Rally-X” (NAMCO BANDAI Games) “Rush’n Attack” (Konami), a favorite 1980s side-scroller, and the inimitable “Ms. Pac-Man” (NAMCO BANDAI Games). In addition, the Japan-exclusive Xbox Live Arcade game “Yie Ar Kung Fu” (Konami), one of the very first fighting games, was announced for release in 2007.

Xbox 360 HD DVD Player and 1080p Support

Microsoft announced pricing and availability details for the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player in Japan. The accessory will launch on Nov. 17, 2006, priced at ¥19,800 (estimated retail price), and will come with an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.

“Xbox 360 and the HD DVD Player together deliver the most powerful and affordable games and movie system for Japanese consumers,” Moore said. “The freedom to choose their entertainment experiences is extremely important for consumers as they enter the next generation.”

In addition, Microsoft announced that its fall software update, scheduled for release later this year, will allow all Xbox 360 consoles around the world to output game and movie content in 1080p resolution.

XNA

Demonstrating its pledge to democratize game development for tomorrow’s game developers, Microsoft announced that four Japanese universities will use its XNA™ Game Studio Express software in educational material and research within their course offerings. The XNA software allows hobbyists, students and independent game developers to create games for Windows® and, for the first time, Xbox 360 with the goal that user-generated games made with XNA will arrive on Xbox Live Marketplace. Tokyo University, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Ritsumeikan University and Osaka Electro-Communication University join the dozens of universities worldwide that have pledged support for Microsoft’s XNA vision and are recognizing the potential of XNA Game Studio Express as an educational tool. As a result, these four schools will integrate XNA software into their game development curricula, labs and games-related research.

“As I turn my attention and passion toward teaching the next generation of game developers, I am thrilled with XNA Game Studio Express and related products,” said Toru Iwatani, a lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University and original creator of “Pac-Man.” “I believe that these products are attractive and effective because they create a development environment that matches the skill level and area of expertise, widening the entry of future developers into game development.”

XNA Game Studio Express beta was made available to users worldwide on Aug. 30, 2006. The final version of XNA Game Studio Express will be made available this holiday season.

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 is expected to have a catalog of 160 high-definition games by the end of 2006 and to be available in nearly 40 countries by the end of 2007. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.



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/mobileRecord – MSN Messenger Scheduling Bot




/mobileRecord from Casey Chestnut is a new plug-in that I have been playing with and meant to blog about over a week ago and then got tied up.  /mobileRecord uses Messenger to allow you to browse both what you have set to record currently on your Media Center PC and will actually allow you to search, browse, and schedule recordings too from any device that has access to Messenger (examples: MSN Mobile on a SmartPhone, MSN Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, etc)

Casey helped me get it setup and going when he was still working a few major bugs out, and it has turned out to be yet another great program and concept from Casey.



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Give Plug-In Developers Some Feedback!!


So, here’s the deal.  Media Center developers are often looking for comments and bug reports for their programs.  For whatever reason, this doesn’t always happen and it can lead to a few things.  The largest being that developers of great Media Center plug-ins just stop developing when their contributions are ignored!  I’m not saying that you have to be an active user of every plug-in released, but I encourage everyone reading this to check out The Green Button at least once-a-week and just read through what’s new in the 3rd Party Applications Forum.  Developers need feedback.

The Green Button forum member and Media Center plug-in developer, IgnoranceIsBliss, has released several plug-in over the past few weeks.  The most notable being Yougle, a 10 foot Google Video/YouTube plug-in.  But check out what else is cookin

My Games 0.2.0 Alpha Released (The Green Button Community)

GrooveThang 0.2.0 Alpha Released (The Green Button Community)

Check them out.  If you are interested, leave some feedback so the developer knows it’s worth spending time on.

This goes for all developers.  I’ve watched several Media Center plug-in developers basically get fed up with the market and stop developing.  This isn’t good for the community, and someone doesn’t always pick up where the first dev left off.

What would we be doing if Brian Binnerup had not picked up where Bill left off with DVD Jukebox?

Spend just a few minutes on the 3rd Party Applications Forum and provide some feedback!



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