Category Archives: 1685

Short Bits: Zune Mobile, Home Servers, TV Pack, More

Remember when I said you would hear more
about Zune on mobile phones before the years end
?  Well, now you
have
.  “Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just
with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc.,”
said
Steve Ballmer.

Missing Remote has had a few great articles over the past few
weeks including a Battle
of the Windows Home Server Systems
and a letter to Microsoft about what
is going on with Media Center
.  The
article ends with a note to Microsoft asking for them to “go back to the drawing board and re-think the Media Center product:
its future as a product, the viability of the strategy of having
it tossed into random Windows versions, and goals for
the technologies that make up Windows Media Center.”

Last month Ed Bott wrote the best article ever on the
Media Center platform
.  He covered
several issues but mainly focused on the TV Pack and all of the issues that
happened behind the scenes.  I didn’t get
to post about it when he first published it, but I have to get it out there
because Ed really did a fantastic
job with the article.

PC Mag has an “unofficial” Guide
to the TV Pack
including installation instructions just in case you happen
to find it online somewhere.

I’ll be a guest on The Media Center Show before year’s end,
but that shouldn’t stop you from waiting until then to listen to Ian’s other weekly
podcasts.  Hear about Open
Media Library (OML) from David Shulitz
and CEA
Mark Of Excellence Awards
with Roland Graham.

Short Bits: CableCARD, Media Center Show

Ed Bott has a great post on why CableCARD will never be
mainstream
.   Not only is the process
of getting a CableCARD and having it paired a problem, but the lack of
troubleshooting information (or rather the need for troubleshooting at all) on
the PC side of things means CableCARD is likely to never to mainstream.  Ed’s suggestion to fix this is transition
Media Center to a standalone STB type system (which is everyones solution to
everything).  I’m not sure that would fix
the issues with CableCARD, but the transition away from the standard PC is a
whole different topic.

On this week’s Media Center Show Ian
Dixon has Microsoft’s Kevin Collins talking about all the news from CEDIA
,
and Intel’s Greg Schlechter who serves as a director of the newly announced
Media Center Integrators Alliance.

Hurricane on the way!

Short Bits: Storage Pack, CE Pro, Media Center Show, More

Microsoft is planning to release a Storage Feature Pack for
Windows that will
include Blu-ray mastering support among other things
.  Sadly this is
still very far from Blu-ray
Playback support which has its own set of issues
.

CE Pro has had a number of Media Center posts gearing up for
CEDIA.  Julie says that Microsoft’s
focus at CEDIA will be the custom integrator channel
and not so much on the
OEM only TV Pack.  I know a lot of people are waiting for CEDIA because
they think Microsoft is going to drop some big news about DIRECTV being
included or something like that, but that is not going to happen.  Everyone
knows what is in the TV Pack
, and there are not going to be any
surprises.  On the same topic it looks like Microsoft and partners might
be planning
a “Media Center Integrator Alliance
,” which I’m sure we will hear about in
the next two weeks.

Ian Dixon has
had Ed Bott
and Scott
Bahneman, CEO of MusicGiants
on The Media Center Show.  I was able to
catch a few minutes of the Ed Bott interview when it was on live and agree with
a lot of the concepts that he was talking about.  After CEDIA I will have
more posts on the TV Pack.

Not sure how much I’ve highlighted some of the newer Media
Center blogs that have popped up over the past few months, so here are a few
that everyone might be interested in (sorry if I missed any).  Olcay
Buyan’s Blog
, My Network Project, and Entertainment 2.0.

Short Bits: Fiji, Media Center Show, Olympics

Mary Jo
Foley covers the mess that has been Fiji
. 
I’ll have more soon, but Fiji will go down in history as one of the
worst coordinated projects to come out of Microsoft in a long time.

On this week’s Media
Center Show Ian Dixon has Automated Home’s Mark McCall
talking Home Sever,
Media Center, and of course, home automation.

This is the first time the Olympics is making a big splash
online, and if you have followed any of the press around it there are a lot of
players involved this year.  Microsoft is
clearly one of the top partners showing they
have Olympics coverage on Media Center, Xbox, Zune, and more.
  I find it odd that you are going to have to
pay for access on Xbox and Zune content on a per episode basis.  Why not just give it away like you are on
Media Center and other Microsoft/NBC web properties?

Short Bits: SDV, HP TocuhSmart, Media Center Show

Missing Remote has had several great articles and review
this week including an article
on SDV and what it means to your CableCARD PC
.  In addition to that Mike reviewed
TVTonic for Media Center
and D-Link’s
DSM-330 DivX Connected Extender
(non Media Center Extender).

Ian Dixon got one of the new HP TouchSmart panels to play
with and
gives his first impressions
and an
unboxing video
.  If you haven’t had a
chance to use one of these new panels yet I’d run out and try and find one
locally setup in-store.   It is a great
PC and the fact that it doubles as a touchpanel makes it even more worth the already
cheap $1200 price tag.

On this week’s Media Center Show Ian had on newcomer
to the Media Center scene Ben Drawbaugh of Engadget HD fame
.  Covered in the show are various topics on
home automation and Media Center Extenders.

I’m on The Media Center Show

Last month I did a special live
edition
of The Media Center Show with Ian Dixon, and today
the podcast is ready for download
. 
It was great to finally get back with Ian, so I hope everyone gives it a
listen.  Just ignore me stumbling over
the word “Blu-ray” every five seconds. 
My apparent inability to talk mixed with some horrible allergies that I
was trying to get over led to some interesting fumbles.

Anyway, be
sure to listen to The Media Center Show #154
for the whole thing.

Short Bits: DVR-MStoWMV, Media Center Show, DSM-750

Public release of DVRMStoWMVHD
is up, very cool simple program to convert DVR-MS files to WMV.

Ian Dixon has the latest Media Center Show out today,
this week it features Dave Evans talking about home theater
.

Amazon
has the D-Link DSM-750
finally available, although it is a bit pricey at
$315.  In contrast Buy.com
has it for $270
(though sold out). 
Now Direct (who I have never heard of) has
it for $250
.  Also check Reseller Ratings
before making a purchase from an online retailer that you wouldn’t heard of.

Looks like Blockbuster
might be doing a stream set-top box too
. 
I hope that it’s not true, because the last thing people want to buy is
another STB.  Why don’t companies
understand this?  With a stack full of
components, many of which can be updated to serve such functionality (like the
PS3 or Xbox 360) the last thing I’m buying is another STB. Other platforms, like Media Center (and Extenders) and TiVo are others to look at that. (Via Engadget)

Short Bits: On10, Media Center Show, More

On10 has video interviews with Autonomic
Controls
as well as Cannon PC that
were posted this week.  Cannon PC has even
stepped up and now is a Microsoft OEM so they can offer CableCARD.

Ian Dixon has a new
Media Center Show with Charlie Owen and special guest Ted Singh
of Embedded
Automation.  Ted is on with a short interview
about their new
in-wall touchscreen
, and Charlie as always is on with development news and platform
highlights.

I’m trying out some new things in regards to authoring HD
DVD and Blu-ray Discs that I hope to post on later.  For instance, did you know that you don’t
need an HD DVD or Blu-ray Burner to burn HD content?  You can actually use standard DVD+R or DVD-R and
get HD DVD or Blu-ray compliant video that will playback on standalone players.

Short Bits: $150 Extenders, Media Center Show

Just a few reminders, Amazon is
still selling Linksys Extenders at $100 off
.  Some are getting that the code has expired,
but most others are not.  If you are
getting that it is expired, register for a new account and give it a shot.  The DMA2100 is $150 after the discount and
the DMA2200 is $200 (both have free shipping options).  This is really a fantastic deal, and while
you might not want to replace your Xbox 360 in your living room just yet the
Linksys Extenders are perfect for the bedroom (my review
of the DMA 2200 is here
).

Also, remember that I will be live on
The Media Center Show with Ian on Monday at 1pm PDT
.  I realized today that I’ve only got a slow DSL
connection for my Spring Break vacation, so I’m hoping everything works with Skype.  I did a test today and it seemed to be fine
so fingers are crossed!