Category Archives: 2196

Going Beyond The Enthusiast Market

Charlie Owen, a former Media Center team member wrote a post this
week about Media Center expanding its marketplace, specifically
going from
the current enthusiast market to a more mainstream market
.  Charlie analysis comes to the pretty simple
answer of It’s
possible, but highly unlikely at this point.”

I had previously come to this conclusion, but to me
the real question is “
will Microsoft attempt to develop for the
enthusiast market?”  Lucky for me,
Charlie replied to my comment with exactly what I was expecting

Charlie: “No. That’s because they have never done so. The enthusiast market is
always a subset of the overall market any product targets. Put another way:
Where the goal is making a profit you wouldn’t sacrifice a broad market
opportunity of 100 for the narrow enthusiast market of 10. Making a
Microsoft-sized profit is different than making a profit if you were a much
smaller company.”

In other words the future for Media Center is one or two
options.  Option 1: Microsoft stops
development of Media Center (very unlikely).  Option 2:
Microsoft transitions Media Center to a market which has the possibility to
create a “Microsoft-sized profit.” (Hint: TV on your PC)  Re-quoting
myself
from early this year, the days of Media Center being billed as the
do-it-all center of your home are over.

My opinion continues to be that Microsoft will focus more
and more on the Xbox
360 as the center of the home
.  The
benefits of the Xbox 360 over Media Center are almost endless from a business
perspective.  The massive amount of end
users (an unquestionable 30 million, with 20 million of them being Xbox Live
subscribers) means content providers are going to flock to the platform.  Microsoft can sit back and rake in yearly
recurring revenue from these 20 million Xbox Live subscribers along with the
massive amounts of licensing accessories and the Xbox 360 brand.  Media Center on the other hard makes
Microsoft absolutely no money as it is a part of the standard Windows SKU (eg.
No one except members of The Green Button ever purchased a Windows license just
to get Media Center).

There are still people holding out hope for Media Center to
become a platform for the home.  The
recent announcement that Dish
Network will not be shipping
their tuner anytime soon didn’t
surprise me one bit
.  Why would Dish
bother to continue with Media Center when it is pretty clear Microsoft is
moving away from the consumer they thought they were buying into?  This same concept is at play with Media
Center Extender’s.  There is still some
hope that Toshiba
will be releasing an Extender, but I think the concept
that most people miss is that whether it gets released or not means little in
the grand scheme of things.  If
Microsoft’s heart is not in providing a platform for the home, you can really
know going into your purchase that you’re going to end up disappointed at some
point.

The biggest question mark might be Windows Home Server.  For years I have said the concept of
including Media Center in Windows Home Server is pointless
and does nothing to expand the current market
.  If HP ditched Extender’s and CableCARD due to
poor sales, why exactly would they have the least bit of interest in shipping a
Media Center+Home Server box?  If OEMs
are not interested, why is Microsoft going to develop it?

Most people underestimate the OEMs when talking about Media
Center.  OEMs are really responsible for
Media Center from start to finish from a customer’s perspective.  HP and Dell have shown they have little
interest in Media Center by either discounting CableCARD PCs, killing off
Extender’s, and even in HPs case killing off their HT-styled z-series Media
Centers.  Dish
Network
and DIRECTV
are just as important and have shown that they are increasing less interested.

Microsoft’s latest attempt to make a market for Media Center
has been the custom integrator channel, and some have big
expectations
for what Microsoft might have in store.  Sadly most of the possibilities have already
been proven false, and based on what I’ve been told from those in the industry
interest in Media Center in the custom channel is dropping fast.  I’m interest to see how much longer Microsoft
attempts to push into the market.  With
their partner OEMs such as HP, Linksys, Dish Network pulling out these leaves
the custom OEMs like Niveus Media and Life|ware to pick up the slack.  Unfortunately there is only such much they
can do.  If Microsoft’s commitment in the
channel falls it might be the end of the custom market experiment.

So once again the question is what’s next.  Recently there have been some great new
bloggers
show up in the Media Center community with some great
suggestions.  I’m done with
suggestions.  Microsoft knows exactly
what we want, let’s not pretend they don’t. 
The issue is it is no longer in their best interest to pursue most of
it.  What’s next?  Who knows. 
All I want at this point is for Microsoft to publicly provide a roadmap
for what Media Center is to become.

Media Center Gets "PCTV" Marketing in Microsoft Store Mockups

It has been
my theory
that Microsoft is slowly ditching the concept of using and
promoting Media Center as a whole home entertainment experience and moving to
the “TV on your PC” concept which they have been actively promoting over the
past 6 months.  This concept is something
that most Media Center enthusiasts don’t want to believe as it turns Media
Center into a product that most current users have no interest in.  What better way to find out the future of
Media Center than looking at how it could be presented in the upcoming
Microsoft retail stores.

Gizmodo
got their hands on some leaked mockups
of the retail experience, and while
Microsoft’s PR is pushing the leaked images as “early
prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans” I think it will further key
us in on the future of Windows Media Center.

The images, which are presented in on
Gizmodo show Media Center being marketed
as “PCTV” with such usage scenarios as “watching the Today Show while checking
emails during breakfast” and “watching American Idol while on the blog.”  Other key features in the mockup include PC
as a PVR, watching Internet TV, and managing all media in one place.



The mockup of the retail experience is
driven by what look to be PC monitors or small screen HDTVs.  A theater setting or living room with Media
Center as the center piece doesn’t look to be in the picture if this mockup is
to be trusted.  Also missing in the
mockup is any mention of Media Center Extender’s.


I have no doubt will we see things that are not clearly
outlined in the leaked images, however I do believe the marketing material for
Media Center is what we will end up seeing. 
Notably missing from the mockups are large displays for Xbox 360, Zune,
and even Home Server.  I’m not sure Home
Server will get a large amount of square-footage designated to it, but I do expect
Zune and Xbox to have their place (both Zune and Xbox are outlined
in the product offerings mockup image
). 

What’s your opinion, will the marketing for Media Center be
focused on whatever PCTV is, or can we expect Media Center being pushed as the
10-foot experience that we really want?

Does Home Server & Media Center Mean a Connected Future?

Preface: Before you read
this please try and get in the right mindset. 
Microsoft doesn’t care about what anyone reading this blog wants.  They don’t care what I want either.  It is a hard truth to take, but that’s a
fact.  They will say that they listen to
all requests, and that’s true, they do. 
What they don’t do is make any sort of business decision (translation,
features) based on my ramblings, The Green Button, Engadget, or anyone else.  They don’t make Media Center for “us”,
and before anyone can start to understand the points I try and make about
Windows Home Server you have to realize this. 
You also have to understand that Media Center has not taken the market
by storm, and that six years into it the vision simply isn’t working to achieve
the goal Microsoft originally set out achieve (hints shift in marketing).  Knowing this, please continue.

Note: I don’t work for
Microsoft, this post reflects my personal opinion.

Ben
Drawbaugh has an excellent post on what he perceives to be the future of
Windows Media Center
, and that’s its integration with Windows Home
Server.  Ben’s post is excellent, running
down a logical path of what Microsoft should do with the assets they currently
have.  You take Windows Media Center and
integrate it with Windows Home Server, sell it for $500 and users can add
tuners later.  Add in Live Mesh, Zune HD
syncing, and really connect the dots for a truly logical integrated product.

Now, maybe it is because I’ve been following Media Center a
bit longer than Ben, but why all the sudden is Microsoft going to “get it” and
integrate everything in the logical manor it should be?  Why does the introduction of Windows Home
Server mean everything will “just work?”

Here’s the deal.  It
is clear to me that Microsoft’s shift in customer marketing means the concept
of a whole home connected device with Media Center as its core isn’t
working.  Why else would Microsoft shift
to pushing “TV
on your PC?”
 It just doesn’t make
sense to me that Microsoft would shift the culture and marketing of Media
Center, and then turn around and integrate everything the way it should be.  You can see the shift in their marketing as well.

  • 2007/early 2008: “Windows Media Center turns the home PC into the ultimate connected entertainment hub and is available in every copy of Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate.”
  • Today: “…builds on Microsoft’s goal to create a consistent experience on the PC for consumers to easily enjoy the entertainment of greatest interest to them.”

I’ve said for years that I
don’t see the market value in Home Server mixed with Media Center
.  I consistently get crap for this, but that’s
because everyone reading this wants exactly what I say doesn’t make sense to
produce, or rather what will not help Media Center in the marketplace. How many
people here are not using Media Center strictly because it requires them to run
two separate PCs in their home?  How many
sales are lost because of the current infrastructure?  How many sales do you gain by integrating the
two?  Have you opened up a significantly
new market by doing so?  I can’t come up
with any answers that benefit Media Center from these questions.

If Microsoft is having trouble pushing Media Center in homes
for whole home connected entertainment, the solution is not to integrate it
with a product that even fewer people understand (a “Home Server”).  The solution is actually to change paths and
try something completely different.  Sometimes
redefining a product is needed to keep it alive.

So does this mean I don’t think Microsoft will integrate
Media Center with Home Server?  No, I
think the opposite.  Last year I got a
tip that something
is coming as a “headless” device
, and I haven’t heard anything to say that
has gone away.  It would be perfectly
fine to suggest anything “headless” that comes out of Microsoft would be based
on Home Server.

So I’ve established that I think a Home Server with Media
Center integration will happen, and at the same time that the product will not
have a significant amount of mass market value over that of the current model.  Microsoft’s future for connected platforms
does include exactly what they say it will. 
The “3 screens,” which spans the PC, the phone, and the TV.  The way I see it PC = Windows 7, Phone =
Windows Phone (aka Windows Mobile), TV = Xbox 360.  I don’t see any need for Media Center as a
whole home device in their grand vision, which is why I’m questioning the concept of Microsoft getting things right just by the
inclusion of Media Center into Home Server
.

Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong.  I’m hoping I’m wrong, but given the way
things have been going, especially with Extenders (which in the case of a
headless device are key), I don’t see such a product making any impact in the
marketplace.  More so, I don’t see
Microsoft investing the time to use Media Center as the core for the home.  Media Center isn’t dying, it isn’t coming out
of Windows, but I continue to think the focus will shift.  Microsoft will still work with partners on
Extenders (I’ve been assured of this), but they will still release products and
features that forget these Extender’s even existed.  They will connect your life, but they will
not connect your life using Media Center.

What is your opinion?

The Story Behind Netflix for Windows Media Center

Today Microsoft released their native
Netflix application for Windows Media Center
to much fanfare.  The release comes with a catch, but let’s
back up a bit before we get to that.

I’ve talked about the need for Microsoft to get Netflix
within the Media Center ecosystem, and ever since Reed Hastings joined
Microsoft’s board I
knew it was coming
.  A year ago
Microsoft announced Netflix would be coming to the Xbox 360 Dashboard and that
rekindled my thoughts about the Xbox
360 being Media Center biggest enemy in the marketplace
.  Today those thoughts are confirmed once again
by the Netflix application for Media Center not supporting Media Center
Extenders.

I’ve been testing the Netflix application for a few weeks
now.  Upon downloading the first beta I
read  the release notes which talked
about Extender’s not being supported.  I
figured this was something that would change. 
Sadly, it didn’t and was planned at all. 
I didn’t think I’d get to post this part because it was told to me under
NDA, but TechFlash
actually posted it so I’m in the clear. 
Part of the reason Extender’s are not supported is because Microsoft
wants to make sure they don’t compete with the Xbox 360 Dashboard.

 Leaving the technical
aspects of getting Silverlight to an Extender aside, this represents a huge
problem and once again confirms to me that Microsoft will continue to push and
promote the Xbox 360 Dashboard over that of the Extender platform.

Fellow MVP Richard Miller asked if
I would rather Microsoft have not released the Netflix application
, and it
isn’t so much that I think Microsoft shouldn’t have released, but what I really
want is Microsoft to define who Media Center is for (do I sound like a broken
record yet?) and the future of some basic items like Extenders (I’ll have
another post on this later, but Microsoft keeps assuring me Extender’s are not “dead”).

A few months ago I
suggested that Microsoft was changing directions with Media Center
to the
more customer friendly “TV on your PC” concept. 
I took a bit of flack from Microsoft on the post who suggested that
wasn’t the case.  Maybe is it and maybe
it isn’t.  Correct or not, I’ll stick to
my story because it seems like everything that comes out confirms my
suspicions.

Back to the Netflix application, the delivery of this is the
future of Media Center.  Just like
Internet TV, the Netflix application was automatically pushed to Media Center
without any initial user interaction.  If
they can just improve the installation it will be much more beneficial to end
users.  While the interface is very
intuitive I don’t have my Media Center connected to a TV.  Given this, I find Netflix’s website more
convenient.  Moving forward, if the whole
“TV on your PC” thing catches on this will be a huge issue of mine.  Media Center was designed as a 10-foot
interface, using it as a 2-foot interface is kind of tricky and it’s not as intuitive
as it could be.  This has improved with Windows 7, but I
would still rather use a website to find such basic content and leave the
10-foot UI where it belongs.

Toshiba Introduces Network Devices Designed for The Connected Home, Including Extenders.

New TV, LCD TV/DVD Combo and Standalone Player Utilize
Widget Channel, Developed by Intel® and Yahoo!®, and Microsoft’s Windows
Extender for Media Center Platform to Deliver an Exciting Content Solution for
the Home

CES, LAS VEGAS – January 7, 2009 – Toshiba America
Consumer Products, L.L.C. (“Toshiba”), announced its new audio/video (A/V)
devices with Network Player capabilities, which deliver on the promise of
digital convergence in the home. Toshiba is launching this initiative across
three product categories – REGZA® LCD TVs, LCD TV/DVD Combos and standalone
players – in an effort to meet individual consumer needs.

Toshiba’s new A/V devices offer consumers access to a
diverse range of rich content over the Internet. With an extensive library of TV
shows and movies, music, sports, and information services such as stock prices
and weather forecasts at their fingertips, consumers will be provided with
greater flexibility to easily customize and enhance their entertainment
experience.

“Toshiba took the initiative to bridge the ways consumers
normally access Internet content and entertainment media with the introduction
of network devices that will bring the Internet experience to consumer
electronic products in the home,” said Yoshi Uchiyama, Senior Vice President,
Corporate Planning. “According to a recent study conducted by NPD for Toshiba,
a large majority of consumers cite simplicity as the essential issue for
adoption of Internet content. Therefore, key to Toshiba’s home network strategy
is a focus on simplicity – making it simple to connect, simple to operate and
simple to access content. The new line of Toshiba AV devices with Network
Players will open up an entire new world of content delivery in a way that
consumers will like.”

Getting Connected
Toshiba’s A/V devices with network player capabilities use a combination of two
core components, including the Widget Channel, developed by Intel and Yahoo!
and Microsoft’s Extender for Windows Media Center.

While consumers may be familiar with widgets from the PC
world, TV Widgets, enabled by the Widget Channel framework, now take that
simple to use “dashboard” experience and place it
into the TV allowing consumers direct access to numerous sources of content
simply via their remote control. While some TV Widgets may be pre-installed,
consumers now also have the
flexibility to customize their experience by adding widgets of their own
selection based on their interests or needs. TV Widgets will feature a rich
array of content and as more TV Widgets become available, consumers can add
them to the Network Players to enhance their assortment.

By integrating Extenders for Windows Media Center in
Toshiba’s new A/V products with Network Player capabilities, the devices will
act as “hubs” for delivery of content anywhere in the home. Using a home
network, Extender for Windows Media Center technology allows users to access a
wide range of digital content from Windows Media Center on the PC to their big screen
TV. Windows Media Center also delivers an extensive amount of Internet TV and
movie content, live and recorded TV with the addition of a TV tuner, plus
photos, music, home videos and more.

The combination of the two software platforms in one
hardware device will deliver on the promise of the new digital lifestyle.

Toshiba will approach the market by offering several choices
from which consumers can select the product that best fits their particular
needs.

The Network Player capabilities described above are
scheduled to be built into certain models of Toshiba’s REGZA LCD TVs. This will
provide consumers with easy access to the rich media experience without the
need for an external set top box or device.

As the market leader in the LCD TV/DVD Combo category,
Toshiba will also integrate the Network Player capability to offer flexibility
and simplicity for consumers whether they choose to use it as a primary TV in
the home or in the bedroom, kitchen or children’s room.

Toshiba will also develop a standalone player, which acts as
a hub for content delivery into the entertainment space. The new player can
deliver content directly from the Internet, content from
the PC with Extenders for Windows Media Center or from its built in DVD player
with 1080p upconversion. With an SD card slot and USB port for added flexibility,
the device allows consumers to access their entertainment content in any room
of the house and all at a value that consumers have come to expect.

Toshiba’s A/V devices with Network Player capabilities will
feature picture quality enhancement technologies, allowing viewers to enjoy a
wide range of content upconverted to near HD quality.
The new models are planned to ship in the second half of 2009, and product
pricing and availability will be announced later this year.

Linksys: “No Plans for Models to Replace” DMA2100/DMA2200

Silly me, I figured the fire sale on Linksys
DMA2100 and DMA2200 Extenders
over the past two months might indicate them
getting ready to drop a new hardware revision on us, but sadly that doesn’t
appear to be the case.  Consumer Electronics
Daily is reporting that Cisco (eg. Linksys) “has no immediate plans” to replace
the two Extender SKUs.  Cisco did note
that a firmware update would likely be the next step.  When that update drops or what is included
remains to be seen.

The DMA2100 has sold for a low of $59 at
Dell.com a few week ago.  The average
price now is about $125, which is nothing to turn up your nose at (unless they
drop to $59 again).  Isn’t it amazing how
the drop to a reasonable price seems to get more people on board with Extenders (hint,
hint
)?  How many of you purcahsed an
Extender because of the recent sales?

What issues does Linksys need to focus
on for their (hopefully) upcoming firmware update?

HP Cutting MediaSmart TV Lineup; Exits LCD TV Business

CED is reporting that HP is ending their run in the LCD TV
business and killing off their MediaSmart HDTV lineup.  I can’t confirm the report myself, but if
true this puts another dent in Microsoft’s vision to have Extender technology
built into HDTVs.  Their focus is now
said to be their MediaSmart Receiver which
I reviewed earlier this year
.    Watch for deals, word is the current displays
will be getting a price cut at Costco stores.

In related news, Samsung has shipped their MediaLive
Extender
which only works with Samsung Series 4 and up displays and you can
still get Linksys Extenders for cheap at Newegg
and Amazon
(thanks Harry!).

Microsoft Showcases Windows Media Center Momentum at CEDIA EXPO 2008

From distributed
HD entertainment to automation and control, Windows Media Center is at the
center of an ever-expanding ecosystem within the custom installation channel.

DENVER — Sept. 4, 2008 — At CEDIA EXPO 2008,
Microsoft Corp. announced expansive growth of the Windows Media Center
ecosystem, the formation of an exciting new industry alliance composed of some
of the custom channel’s top brands, the winner of the 2008 Windows Media Center
Ultimate Install Contest, and numerous partner innovations supporting the
Windows Media Center in the custom installation channel. CEDIA EXPO 2008 is an
annual show for the residential electronic systems industry put on by the
Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association.

“In the wake of Microsoft’s increased engagement with the
custom installation channel, a broader ecosystem has developed based on Windows
Media Center,” said Kevin Collins, director of the Custom Installer Channel in
the Connected TV Business, Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “We
are thrilled with the level of innovation on the Windows Media Center platform
that hardware and software companies are showcasing at CEDIA EXPO.”

Hardware Expansion

The merit of Windows Media Center as a custom installation
solution is stronger than ever, as illustrated through announcements from
multiple channel partners highlighting support for up to eight CableCARD tuners
and up to 10 Extender for Windows Media Center devices. This increased capacity
allows Windows Media Center technologies to address the demands of more
sophisticated projects. With the wide range of
products and custom configurations that use standard interfaces, integrators
can delight their customers with unique installations while using familiar
components and subsystems. Adding to the growing demand for centralized home
storage, multiple OEMs are previewing new hardware based on Windows Home Server
that provides integrators with a solid whole-house solution to store and access
their clients’ music, photos and videos from either an entertainment server
running Windows Media Center or Extender for Windows Media Center devices.

“Our channel partners are driving compelling new
entertainment and control solutions to maximize the success of custom
integrators,” Collins said. “The collaboration of some of the most
forward-thinking companies in the consumer electronics category and their
implementations of media center technologies are fulfilling the long-standing vision
of the connected home.”

Among this week’s significant partner announcements are
the following:

  • Autonomic Controls Inc. will introduce new control modules
    enabling two-way integration of Windows Media Center and iTunes into Remote
    Technologies Inc. T4 and K4 remote controls.
  • Fluid
    Digital will promote the integration of Microsoft’s Windows Media Center TV
    Pack to enable an enhanced TV viewing experience, native support for four
    digital cable tuners, an enhanced electronic program guide, and the ability to
    share nonprotected digital cable content across Microsoft PlayReady
    technology-enabled PCs and portable media devices.
  • Exceptional
    Innovation will preview its new High Density TV initiative that introduces
    exciting new ways to distribute entertainment and control around the home. The
    new Life|media 810 digital entertainment server features eight TV tuners and
    supports 10 extenders while providing 12 terabytes of hard disk storage to
    deliver consumers a robust solution for storing, managing and viewing
    high-definition (HD) content throughout their home. Exceptional Innovation will
    preview the new Life|ware Digital Media Manager for simple, seamless content
    sharing from one media center device to another. Exceptional Innovation will
    also announce support for the Windows Media Center TV Pack in several
    Life|media media servers; on-board digital amplification through Advanced Micro
    Devices Inc. (AMD) in the new LMS-170 series; and Blu-ray support on multiple
    LMS units.
  • NiveusMedia
    will unveil the Niveus Storage Server – Cargo Edition. Based on the Windows
    Home Server platform, it offers up to 16 terabytes of scalable storage. In
    addition, Niveus will announce support for up to 10 Extender for Windows Media
    Center devices and eight CableCARDs when using the most powerful Niveus media
    server, the Pro Series n9. Niveus will also introduce upgrades to both the
    Niveus media server line and the Niveus Movie Library movie management tool.
  • S1Digital
    LLC plans to launch its new P500 Media Centers, which include advanced features
    such as up to four digital cable tuners (for use with CableCARD) and a QAM/ATSC
    tuner to give customers the capability of watching and recording up to five
    simultaneous cable TV channels including HDTV and premium content, Blu-ray
    playback with Profile 2 capabilities, and up to 3 terabytes of internal
    storage. All S1Digital media center solutions include the Windows Media Center
    TV Pack to provide customers with an enhanced entertainment experience.
    S1Digital also plans to launch the WHS500, a one-rack Windows Home Server,
    designed specifically for the custom installation channel. The WHS500 is a
    powerful network storage device with 4-terabyte capacity for storing movies,
    music, photos, home videos and other media, providing centralized access of
    content.
  • Inteset
    LLC will unveil its new TeraRAID XV-NAS, which will offer 15 terabytes of
    enterprise-level, A/V-style storage and automatically replicate the Inteset
    Media Library across multiple homes with access from the Web. Inteset will also
    be demonstrating the addition of full Blu-ray to its popular, proprietary Movie
    Collection, which has the ability to store, search and play back movies
    seamlessly within the Windows Media Center interface. The system will scan the
    inserted DVD or Blu-ray disc to identify and retrieve full profile information
    from Inteset’s all-new movie database.
  • Samsung
    Electronics America Inc. will showcase the new Samsung MediaLive Extender for
    Windows Media Center, which delivers digital entertainment including HD
    content, photos, music, feature films, home movies, and live and recorded TV,
    from any hardware running Windows Media Center to the big screen of a Samsung
    HDTV via a wireless or wired home network. With distribution that includes the
    custom installation channel, MediaLive is a powerful solution in the offerings
    for Extender for Windows Media Center devices.
  • Cannon PC
    announced that it will begin shipping the Windows Media Center TV Pack, which
    adds native support for up to four TV tuners (including digital cable tuners),
    ClearQAM (unencrypted digital cable) tuners, sharing of unprotected digital
    content via Microsoft PlayReady technology-enabled PCs and more, with its line
    of Media Center PCs beginning in early September. Cannon PC also announced that
    it will offer integrators two form factors of the popular Windows Home Server
    to provide homeowners with a new solution for centralized storage, remote
    access and much more.

2008 Windows
Media Center Ultimate Install Contest

Microsoft will announce the 2008 Windows Media Center
Ultimate Install Contest winner at a special event on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008,
at 5:30 p.m. MDT. This year’s contest saw a significant increase in the number
of submissions as well as the design quality and level of integration delivered
through the Windows Media Center platform. Now in its second year, the Windows
Media Center Ultimate Install Contest encourages integrators to show off their
talents by presenting their most unique and creative installations that
leverage Windows Media Center technologies. More information on the winning
install will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/ultimateinstall.

Media Center Integrator
Alliance

Announced yesterday, Microsoft has joined Intel
Corporation, HP, Life|ware, NiveusMedia, AMD and Crestron Electronics Inc. in
the foundation of the Media Center Integrator Alliance (MCIA), a nonprofit
organization dedicated to driving the adoption and awareness of the media
center ecosystem in the custom installation channel. MCIA
members will share best practices, establish standards, and develop education
and certification tools
for technologies using Windows Media Center. The new alliance hopes to attract the interest,
acceptance and participation of many more companies
to contribute to a
unified industry-based voice within the ecosystem.

“We’re excited to see how channel awareness has grown and
the implementation of Windows Media Center technologies in product offerings
has expanded over the past 12 months,” Collins said. “We expect the momentum to
continue to drive adoption of the ecosystem and build a network of enthused,
satisfied consumers.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the
worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and
businesses realize their full potential.

Niveus Media @ CEDIA: Movie Library, 8 CableCARD, 10 Extenders, Home Server

Niveus Movie
Library Goes Primetime!

Version 1.5 is
enriched to offer high-res cover art (including Blu-ray) and support for a
wider catalogue of movie sources, such as disc-in-drive… and more!

Denver, CO – CEDIA
Expo 2008 – September 4-7 – Booth #850 –
Designed exclusively for Niveus Media customers, the Niveus Movie
Library is a robust movie management tool that aggregates an entire movie
collection into one distinct and intelligent interface. Upgraded to accommodate
a growing number of movie sources, Niveus Movie Library 1.5 now features:
disc-in-drive support; a 10’ interface for backing up movies to the Niveus
Media Server; and expanded metadata with high resolution cover art (including
Blu-ray!).

“Niveus Movie Library 1.5 represents the original vision of
this product,” states Tim Cutting, CEO and Co-Founder, Niveus Media. “Coupling
our new storage server, Cargo, with the enhanced Niveus Movie Library, our
customers can now back up, download, store, and access their entire movie
collection through the easy-to-use Niveus interface.”

Read
Full Press Release

Niveus Supports Ten
Extenders and Eight CableCARDs From One Niveus Media Server

Simultaneous HDTV
viewing, recording, and distribution in up to eleven zones!

Denver, CO – CEDIA
Expo 2008 – September 4-7 – Booth #850
Niveus Media is invigorating the
whole-home TV viewing experience by announcing that select Niveus media servers
will simultaneously support up to eight digital cable (CableCARD) tuners and
ten Media Center Extenders. Announcing availability concurrently with the
introduction of the 2009 Niveus media server line, boasting impressive
enhancements in processing and performance, Niveus now doubles the capabilities
of the Niveus Entertainment System.

“Niveus has nurtured the digital cable functionality and
compatibility since early 2007 and is proud to be one of the first to support
both eight CableCARDS and ten extenders,” states Tim Cutting, Niveus CEO and
Co-Founder. “By doubling the performance of the Niveus Media Server, we can now
support even the largest installations.” 

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Niveus Media’s
2009 Media Servers Boast Progressive Processing Power and Enhanced Multi-Zone
Capabilities

Featuring HDMI 1.3,
next-generation Intel processing, specialized Seagate hard drives, and upgraded
cooling solutions for impressive multi-zone performance.

Denver, CO – CEDIA
Expo 2008 – September 4-7 – Booth #850 –
Niveus Media unveils its 2009 line of
media servers, enhanced to provide an incredibly robust entertainment
experience in as many as eleven independent zones. All Niveus media servers,
including the passively cooled Summit Series’ Rainier and Denali Limited
Edition and the rack mountable Pro Series, have been upgraded to incorporate
bleeding-edge technologies for the most powerful Media Center performance.

 “To accommodate the
variety of installation applications and performance demands, we’ve upgraded
all of our media servers to offer Niveus Authorized Dealers the preferred range
of configurations,” states Brian Paper, Vice President Operations and
Co-Founder of Niveus Media. “With a selection of form factors, processing
power, audio and video solutions, and storage capacities, Niveus has a superior
solution for today’s multi-zone scenarios.”

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Introducing The
Niveus Storage Server – Cargo Edition,  
Powered By Windows Home Server

Store and protect
unlimited HD content with up to 16TB of scalable storage, remote accessibility,
and seamless integration with the Niveus Movie Library.

Denver, CO – CEDIA
Expo 2008 – September 4-7 – Booth #850 –
Niveus Media introduces the Niveus
Storage Server – Cargo Edition, a powerful storage device based on the
Microsoft Windows Home Server platform, designed for the custom install
channel. Featuring up to 16TB of scalable storage, Cargo provides a seamlessly
integrated and flexible storage solution for the perpetually growing HD digital
content market.

As Niveus continues to enhance movie integration with the
increasing functionality of the Niveus Movie Library movie management interface
and availability of VideoGiants Collections premium movie packages, it has
become essential to offer a robust storage solution that can house a user’s
expansive HD movie collection. Cargo is the ultimate add-on to the Niveus Movie
Library, enabling secure storage of thousands of movies, complete with expanded
metadata and high-resolution cover art.

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