Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of the Entertainment and Devices eHome Division at Microsoft was nice enough to directly address some of my concerns about v2 Extenders. He stressed that they want to make “media available in every room, with support for ALL OF THE CONTENT to work right” and that the Extenders need to be “available at low prices…that don’t make a lot of fan noise or have other issues” which are principle concerns that I have addressed.
Belfiore also notes that third parties are responsible for marketing and pricing decisions on the Extenders which means including high priced features like Wireless-N to be able to market them to a wide audience. Having said that, he says “the software [Extender] we’ve built can run on very inexpensive hardware, has a VERY LOW license cost (and I mean VERY low)” so more companies can enter the market and increase competition with a wider range of devices and pricing. The biggest question is of course, do any companies see our view of an Extender as a profitable product?
In relation to Microsoft’s own products, he said that he can’t comment specifically on the Xbox 360 format support, but added “I will make a principled statement that our top priority is to try to deliver the solutions that end-users want and will benefit from the most.”
Since third parties are really the ones in control for Extenders, Belifore says “I think the best thing you can do here is let the hardware manufacturers know what you want” something that I strongly agree with and promoted in a post looking for your feedback on what OEMs could offer in an Extender that you are interested in purchasing.
He admits that “there’s a lot of work still to do (across the board)” and stresses that your feedback does help in the process. Lastly, Belifore says “I think some of these effects are really the near-term downside and risk of working on an open platform” which we will hopefully find out to be true when other companies release Extenders that might be more to everyone liking.
I would really like to thank Joe for replying to my post and taking time to address the concerns of the users. One of the strengths of the eHome group is that many of them are accessible for take and offer feedback, whether it be here, at The Green Button, or other online blogs. When people start to doubt your platforms, it is nice to see the faces behind it openly reply and address the issues. Now we just have to wait for third parties to try and understand what we are looking for Extenders, and that part of the puzzle might be solved.
Other issues such as the various inconsistencies in related Microsoft platforms is the main thing I would love Microsoft to address. Zune, Home Server, SoftSled, HD DVD, DVD Streaming, Xbox 360 Extender MPEG-4 update, etc really needs to be addressed in a better fashion. Honestly, I’m sick of the classic Microsoft mentality of a “proof of concept” and then building from there. To a point, this is fine however when you leave out many major features and functions it is more like a death warrant.