Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP Released


Windows 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 N.

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 Birthday, 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 PC.

 

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 Thurrott (or some equal person with the name “Paul” as their Windows User Name).

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 Bott might be interesting reading.  Peace!


image
 

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.  Enjoy!

 

image


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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!


My 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


DVDxml.com – Over 15,000 dvdid.xml files! | DVDxml.com 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 DVDxml.com 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 Center.

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 sales.

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 manager.

The two Magnolia stores are located at:
2800 Wilshire Blvd.                                        52 North Winchester Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403                                Santa Clara, CA 95050
310.309.5000                                                 408.423.5100

For more information on Exceptional Innovation, please visit www.exceptionalinnovation.com.



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The Media Center Show #80


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

This week Ian Dixon 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


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

919803 | July 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

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

908250 | 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 Extenders
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 computer.

For more information about how to configure a firewall for a Windows Media Center Extender, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://g.msn.com/0HEA1ENUS9/48015

Read Full KB Article | Download Here 



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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


Ian Dixon 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 Menu.

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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