Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

Reports suggest that the Digital TV switch in the US went by
with little confusion or problems.  Of
course, if you rely on Windows Media Center your experience likely wasn’t in line
with those reports.  Ben
said the transition is causing grief for Media Center users
, but for most
that might be an understatement. 

Microsoft seemed to think they were prepared; after all they
deployed a nice Service
Alert tile in Media Center on the 9th that explained the issue
.  What they didn’t do is update their servers
and other online components to reflect the frequency changes that came with the
switch.  Unlike most setups, Media Center
replies on online data instead of communication with the ATSC
broadcasters.  Microsoft is aware of the
issue and seems
to be making progress
in various places, however this is one of those key
updates that Microsoft had loads of time to prepare for and when the switch
came it caused mass confusion among users.

The interim fix for the issue in Windows Media Center is to
edit the atscchannels.xml file in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\EPG\prefs with
the updated frequencies.  You can find
those frequencies at various websites including TV Fool
(just input your zip code) and the FCCs own database.  You can also delete the atscchannels.xml and
manually create the channels within Media Center.  To do this navigate to Settings > TV >
Guide > Add Missing Channels.  The
frequency is the same as the “real” number shown in the TV Fool website.  Doing this manually requires you to assign
the EPG listings to the channel through Settings > TV > Guide > Add
Listings to Channel.

Update: This should now be fixed, re-run your Guide setup.

Xbox Unveils Entertainment Experiences That Put Everyone Center Stage

Microsoft rewrites the rules on fun with controller-free
entertainment, Facebook for your TV, plus instant on 1080p HD streaming video.

LOS ANGELES — June 1, 2009 — The future of home
entertainment has a new name: Xbox 360. Today, Microsoft Corp. opened the
Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) with a historic Xbox 360 briefing that
rocked, tweeted, revved and awakened the world to a new era of fun and
entertainment. In addition to premiering 10 exclusive new games,
revolutionizing the way we watch TV, and making it easier than ever to connect
to friends, Xbox also welcomed visionary filmmaker Steven Spielberg to
introduce “Project Natal” and controller-free gaming.

“Today with cultural visionaries at our side and
controller-free gaming on our horizon, Xbox 360 authored a new page in home
entertainment history,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the
Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “For us, this E3 is about
breaking down barriers — between generations, between games and entertainment,
and most important, between video game players and everyone else — in a way
that only Xbox 360 can.”

During its briefing, Microsoft showed why Xbox 360 continues
to defy industry sales trends. First: A lineup of blockbuster games to ignite
every passion, including “Forza Motorsport 3,” “Alan Wake,” “Halo 3: ODST” and
“The Beatles: Rock Band.” Next? A host of groundbreaking Xbox LIVE services,
from instant on 1080p HD streaming movies and television to Facebook and tailor-made for your TV. And rounding it all out, “Project Natal,” a
whole new way to play, no controller required.

“Project Natal”: No Strings (or Controllers) Attached

Unveiled for the first time to the public was “Project
Natal,” pronounced “nuh-tall” and a code name for a revolutionary new way to
play, no controller required. See a ball? Kick it, hit it, trap it or catch it.
If you know how to move your hands, shake your hips or speak, you and your
friends can jump into the fun. The only experience needed is life experience.

Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the “Project Natal”
sensor is the world’s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array
microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device.
Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, “Project Natal” tracks your full body
movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of
emotion in your voice.

In addition, unlike other devices, the “Project Natal”
sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognize you just by looking at your
face, and it doesn’t just react to key words but understands what you’re
saying. Call a play in a football game, and players will actually respond. Want
to log onto Xbox LIVE? Simply step in front of the sensor.

“The next step in interactive entertainment is to make the
controller disappear,” said Steven Spielberg, visionary director and producer.
“With ‘Project Natal,’ we’ll see games that bring everyone together through
technology that actually recognizes us.”

The Best of the Internet, Custom-Made for Your TV

Groove, party or connect with a friend. Xbox LIVE, the
world’s largest social network on TV, today announced that Facebook and
would be tailor-made for your TV, only on Xbox 360. Microsoft also announced
Xbox LIVE Party for movies, which allows movie experiences to be shared — on
the couch or across the country over Xbox LIVE in supported movies.

“We are always asking ourselves how to make the TV more social,”
said John Schappert, corporate vice president of Interactive Entertainment
LIVE, Software and Studios at Microsoft. “By bringing Facebook, and
Xbox LIVE Party for movies and TV shows to Xbox LIVE, we’re not only extending
the walls of your living room beyond your home to your friends in different
corners of the world, we’re creating the definitive social network, uniting
more than 200 million people to share status updates, pictures, thoughts on
music and the world’s best online gaming experience.”

The addition of Facebook to Xbox LIVE means friends are
always connected, anytime, anywhere — from virtually any couch. But updating
your status and sharing photos won’t be the only things you can do. Using
Facebook Connect, you can share your greatest moments in gaming by posting
updates and screenshots from supported games directly to Facebook. Don’t let
your moment of glory fade away — make sure everyone sees it with Facebook
Connect, starting with the future version of the premier EA SPORTS golf
franchise “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®.”

A first for TV,,1 part of the CBS
Interactive Music Group, will give Xbox LIVE subscribers access to millions of
songs streaming through Xbox 360 to the best speakers in the house. Xbox LIVE
subscribers will be able to create their own free, personalized radio stations
and listen to them with friends in the living room or across the country.

Xbox 360 also solidified its place as one of the leading
social entertainment networks by announcing Xbox LIVE Party for movies. Go to
the cinema with your friends whether you are sitting on the same couch or in
living rooms across the country. Starting this year, you can share a virtual
theater, see your avatar (a virtual you) on the screen, all while you listen to
each other laugh and cry at the movie through voice chat on Xbox LIVE. With
movie parties, the only thing you can’t share is the popcorn.

Full Press Release