Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP Released

Media Player 11 for Windows XP
| Windows Media Player 11 offers great new
ways to store and enjoy all of your digital media. It’s easier than ever to
access all of your music, video, pictures, and recorded TV on your computer.
Play it, view it, organize it, and sync it to a portable device for enjoying on
the go, or share with devices around your home – all from one place. Windows
Media Player 11 is designed to work with all versions of Windows XP with
Service Pack 2, including Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional

PLEASE NOTE: Many of the great stores you know in Windows Media Player 10 are
available in this version of the Player. Check out a list of online stores at
the Online Stores page.

For more information, see the Readme.

NOTE: Please read Installing
the Player on Windows XP Media Center Edition
for directions on installing
Windows Media Player 11 on Windows XP Media Center Edition.

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Happy Birthday, Windows XP Media Center Edition!

While Windows XP might be celebrating its 5th
, Windows XP Media Center Edition is celebrating its 4th Birthday
today!  It’s been a long ride, but it all
started on October 29, 2002 when HP started shipping their first Media Center


It launched with the help of this goofball (pictured below)
and sported features such as use of a single analog tuner and DVD recording
only on high end machines (which you couldn’t do from within the MCE UI).  Price points on the very few machines offered
with Media Center at the time ranged from $1300 to
$2000.  Single tuner, no HD anything, no
widescreen anything, nothin.

A few images courtesy of Paul
(or some equal person with the name “Paul” as their Windows User

Sorry Paul, there is your link back.  However, I find it a bit ironic you are
looking for link backs.  I think this
story about you published by Ed
might be interesting reading. 


I’ve compiled a screenshot history of Media
Center below including a screenshot of
the upcoming Vista
Media Center
release.  Interesting to see where the UI
design has been and where it’s going now. 



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MCE Tunes Completely Bridges iTunes Gap With Media Center

Last week I wrote about a new plug-in for Media
Center called MCE Tunes
that allows you to sync iTunes with Media Center
and even play purchased music from the iTMS from within the Media
Center UI.

They do offer a free trial, but it doesn’t
support protected content from the iTMS so I thought I would give everyone out
there a mini-review of the protect playing back protected content before you
spend money on the product just for a letdown.

Well, I’m here to say this product is no letdown.  I’ve been playing around with a full version
of the plug-in for the past week and it works great!  Now, I should note that I am not an iTunes
user, nor do I generally purchase music from the iTMS.  However, I do have a very small amount of
content which I used to test with.

Setup is very simple using MCE Tunes.  You can import your entire iTunes Library, only
selected tracks with a certain star rating (say three stars or better), or you
can select a specific playlist to import. 
MCE Tunes will share your settings on a daily basis so that your
selected content is always available in Media Center
(think Watched Folders).

After you import your select content that is just about
it.  Open
Media Center
(or Windows Media Player) and you will see your music listed in Media Center.  Tags are transferred over, so you can still
browse by Artist, Album, Song, etc.  Currently
Album Art isn’t transfer, but I’m told that they are working on trying to get
that working.

Playback occurs just as mp3 and wma files are in Media Center.  Just select it with your remote and you will
not even be aware that it’s being controlled via a third party plug-in.

This application really does “just works”, and if you are a
iTunes user I would give it a try.  The free trial supports playback of
unprotected files (m4a) and the paid versions adds support for protected music
from the iTMS (m4p).

Give it a shot, I don’t
think you will be disappointed.

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My Movies 2.10 Pre-Release with Transcode 360 Integration!

Movies 2.10 Pre-Release 3 (My Movies Forums)
| Brian has released My Movies
2.10 Pre-Release 3!  It includes the much
anticipated Transcode 360 integration
as-well as better Vista
Media Center
support.  Pay close attention to the
Brian’s forum for updates.

Note: Brian adds “I suggest for the general user to wait for the final version very soon – there can be some issues in these pre-releases.”  In other words, don’t install this pre-release and except it to be 100% working.  And as always, backup before installing any beta, pre-release, etc software.

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DVDxml Makes Using "My DVDs" Simple
– Over 15,000 dvdid.xml files!
just launched allowing simple use of the “My DVDs” feature that is included in
Update Rollup 2.  You have been able to
manually enable “My DVDs” without the use of a DVD Changer since Update Rollup
2 launched, however you needed to create a dvdid.xml for each DVD you have
manually.  Not anymore though, just go on
over to and download the file
for free.  Right now there are over
15,000 Region 1 DVD’s in the database. 
The site also has information on how to enable “My DVDs” for those who
don’t know.

Here is their Basic FAQ for those just
getting started.

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Life|ware Finds Its First Retail Home At Magnolia

Homeowners in CA will
be the first to glimpse what the future of digital living looks like.

Columbus, OH – October 26, 2006 – The
new Magnolia stores opening TOMORROW, October 27, in Santa Monica and Santa
Clara, CA will be the first consumer retail showcase for the Life|ware™ digital
entertainment and automation solution. Inside the state-of-the-art store will
be a fully integrated home designed with Life|ware to create an entertainment
experience that allows consumers to control how they enjoy their digital
content, wherever and whenever they want, as well as control their lighting,
HVAC, security and other subsystems through a single interface using Media

The age of proprietary technology is fading, and systems
like Life|ware, which do not tie homeowners into a single-branded solution but
enable control of home subsystems from a wide variety of manufacturers, are the
future. Life|ware is bringing digital entertainment and refined home control
together into one seamless package. What Life|ware represents is a glimpse into
a homes’ all-digital future, one in which all content can be enjoyed over a
network in a variety of ways.

“Magnolia represents a truly unique market segment that
includes high end retail A/V sales, combined with design and installation
services. The presence of Life|ware in the retail locations provides an
opportunity for homeowners to test drive home automation and distributed
digital entertainment in the perfect environment. Magnolia’s commitment to
Life|ware has offered us a great platform for the retail launch of our
products,” said Steve Cashman, Exceptional Innovation’s vice president of

At the new Magnolia stores, consumers will have the
opportunity to interact in a number of different Life|ware experiences
representing multiple zones throughout the home. Life|ware will be controlling
the stores’ Media Room, Media Bar, Home Office, Equipment Closet and Front Door
experiences. The integration centers around HP Digital Entertainment products,
including the new Life|ware Ready HP z565 digital entertainment center, as well
as Life|ware Connected partners such as Lutron, B&K, SpeakerCraft,
Aprilaire, GE Security, and Panasonic. The stores are the first to sell and
display the new Life|point™ family of all-digital, 16:9 widescreen touchpanels,
capable of 720p high definition display and used in Life|ware home automation
networks. Life|point is available in both 12.1” and 8.9” in-wall models.

Whether a homeowner is looking to update a single room,
remodel an existing floor plan or build their dream home, or whether they are
simply searching for a home automation solution that simply makes more sense,
the new Magnolia stores will offer good, better, best packaged Life|ware
automation solutions.  In addition, Magnolia will provide customized solutions
to meet the size and scope of any home installation.

“Studies have shown more and more homeowners are
looking for home automation solutions on varying levels. Here at Magnolia, we
strive to deliver the products and services customers are looking to integrate
into their homes. We are evolving our retail and installation business model to
incorporate the next phase of digital living. Together with new industry
partners like Life|ware and HP complementing our existing supplier group, we
intend to be a full-service retailer that offers homeowners an entirely new
array of solutions and services,” said Lou Kings, Magnolia’s convergence solutions

The two Magnolia stores are located at:
2800 Wilshire
                                      52 North Winchester Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA
Santa Clara, CA 95050

For more information on Exceptional Innovation, please visit

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The Media Center Show #80

Media Center Show #80
| 26th October 2006 (44mins 55secs) MP3
– 15.4MB (Download Here)

This week Ian
talked with Aaron Stebner
from the eHome team at Microsoft about Media Center Markup Language,
the new way of developing applications for Media Center.
If you thinking of or are developing for Media Center
this is going to be a great interview (Part 2 or 2)

Remember, The
Media Center Show Award nominations
are up for your vote.

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October 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition

2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition (KB925766)
| Microsoft
has released the October 2006 Update Rollup for Microsoft Windows XP Media
Center Edition 2005. This update rollup is intended for computers that are
running Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. For more
information about Update Rollup 2, click the following article number to view
the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

900325 | Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2005

Hotfix replacement

This is a cumulative update rollup. This update rollup
replaces the following updates:

| July 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2005

914548 |
April 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2005

| Update Rollup 908250 is available for computers that are running Update

912067 | January 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2005

913437 | HTML programs do not support non-English keyboard characters
on a computer that is running the Korean version of Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2005

Issues that are
resolved by this update

In addition to the fixes that are contained in the updates
that are listed in the “Hotfix replacement information” section, this
update resolves the following issues:

  • When
    you scan for services in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, a connected
    Italian (Rome)
    810 megahertz (MHz) version of MUX is not found.
  • Windows
    XP Media Center may not be compatible with certain third-party audio
    stream plug-ins.
  • A race
    condition may occur after you install Microsoft Windows Media Player 11.
    Because of this problem, licenses are not saved for TV programs that are
    recorded and protected. For example, TV programs that are recorded from a
    provider such as HBO or Showtime will only play for up to three days.

Information for Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center Extenders, such as the Microsoft Xbox
360, use network ports to communicate over the network with computers that are
running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. This update rollup contains
updates to Media Center programs that may have been
previously configured as “approved” or “allowed” by a
third-party firewall. If you use a third-party firewall, you may have to
manually update your firewall to let the new versions of these programs access
the ports. If you do not perform these firewall updates, you may experience
failures when you try to connect the Windows Media Center Extender to the Media Center

For more information about how to configure a firewall for a
Windows Media Center Extender, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Read Full
KB Article
| Download

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MCE Tunes Supports iTunes DRM Playback

I got an e-mail last night from the folks at Proxure, Inc.
about MCE Tunes, a new plug-in to let
you play your purchased iTunes tracks
through Media Center. 
It can also be used to sync your iTunes library with Media Center.  Check out the free trial which only plays
unprotected (m4a) songs.  The full
version ($29.99)
will enable playback of protected ones.  I’ll try and get a copy to play with and see
how well it works next week for playback of protected content.

Proxure, Inc developed
and sold MyTV ToGo to Roxio
a while back for anyone wondering other projects the company has done with Media Center.

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"Big Screen Headlines" RSS Reader for Vista Media Center

points to another new application from Mobilewares, this one
being  Big Screen Headlines.  Native for Vista Media
Center, in Media Center
Presentation Layer (MCPL) which means it’s rendered using the same technology
as the Vista UI itself.  Full list of
features is below, but I think it’s great that this application can sync with
IE7’s “Subscribed Feeds”.  Very cool!  Also support OPML for those who use other
desktop/web RSS readers.  More
screenshots here.

  • Read/Monitor
    RSS News Headlines directly from the Internet.
  • Listen/Watch/View
    enclosed RSS Media such as Web Video, Podcast Audio, Images and more.
    Translates HTML based RSS content on the fly for 10 foot viewing. Audio
    and Video will be played via Media Center’s ‘Now Playing’ window – and can
    be zoomed to full screen.
  • Integrates
    with your ‘Subscribed Feeds’ from Internet Explorer 7 – add, locate and
    synchronize your feeds via Vista’s inbuilt feed management system. (Nb:
    access to Subscribed feeds is not available when running under XBox360).
  • Access
    over 500 ‘Best of’ preset RSS feeds with special focus on Media Center related content.
  • Supports
    external OPML Files for easy integration with desktop RSS Readers.
  • Bookmark
    your favorite feeds for quick access from the Big Screen Headlines Main

Be sure to check out the rest of the growing “Big Screen” suite
including  Big Screen Contacts,  Big Screen Weather, Big Screen Business, and Big Screen Photos.

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