Category Archives: 7726

Short Bits: Power DVD, Sage TV, Updates

HD got some shots of PowerDVD 9,
or rather what we now know is the extent
of the “native”
Media Center Blu-ray integration announced CES
.  Native is a bit of a stretch as I figured it
might be.  Instead of native playback we
now have a native MCML UI that launches PowerDVD (a la Play Movie, TotalMedia,
etc).  It’s a start, I guess.  I’m not really that impressed with what is
being offered.  On the plus side, word is
video decoding is pretty top notch which is good to hear.

If I can ever find time I’ve got to do an in-depth Sage TV
review.  Why?  Because not only have I been impressed with
them more and more over the past year but they have also just
added Blu-ray streaming to their Extenders
That’s a huge step forward that a lot of people are looking for.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Media
is one of my favorite new plug-ins. 
I don’t do a lot with ripped DVDs, but an add-in that automatically
finds cover art and metadata about my ripped content without me doing a single
thing is a beautiful thing (did it just based on folder names).

Microsoft released the February update for Media Center a
few weeks ago.  Big item here is a fix
for CableCARD machines that was introduced way back in October.

2009 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista

2009 Cumulative Update for Media Center TV Pack for Windows Vista

Short Bits: SideShow Remote, Big Screen Savings, Video Testimonial Program, More

Ricavision is officially dead now, but Phillips
is sort-of taking their place with the SRM7500 SideShow Remote

Hardly the eye candy that the Ricavision was, but at least it is shipping with
a much lower price tag.  Clear downside here is the screen which will
limit functionality.

The Holidays are here and that means deals for you on Media
Center plug-ins.  Up
until January 15 you can save up to 40% off on Big Screen applications.

Speaking of deals, how about getting a free DV cam? 
Microsoft has launched their Media Center
Consumer Video Testimonial Program at The Green Button
(you need to be logged into your TGB account to see this).  Microsoft
will send you a $140 Flip Camera (not sure about model, but my guess is this one)
for you to make a quick 2 minute video about your life using Media
Center.  You send them the video on CD/DVD along with the camera back, and
they send you a brand new Flip Camera for you to keep!

NCTA says there are officially 374,000 CableCARDs deployed
in third party devices (eg. TiVo, Media Center, HDTVs, etc).  You can
compare that to the 9.76 million CableCARDs deployed in the boxes leased by
Cable Providers.

Microsoft Launches MSNBC News Beta

Today Microsoft officially launched their MSNBC News beta in
Media Center to the world (err, I mean US and Canada).  This was actually something that popped up on
one of my beta machines a few months ago, but when I asked about it Microsoft
said I wasn’t even supposed to have it, and thus I didn’t blog about it.  Much like the Internet TV Beta, access the
new application can be found on the TV + Movies strip.

and Brandon
have some screenshots up on their respective blogs.  These out-of-band “feature” plug-ins might be
Microsoft’s hope to keep the Media Center platform moving between Windows
releases, so I’m hoping this isn’t the last one that we will see.

  • Access the latest U.S. Election 08 videos
  • Editor Picks and Most Popular videos, as selected by viewers
  • Five-day weather forecast for any zip code in the U.S.
  • Customize your own news video playlists
  • Ability to browse by category, such as Business, Sports, and
  •  Search for stories
    using keywords
  • Related videos for each story

Niveus Brings Unified Search To Windows Media Center

Easily search through
entire media catalogues and select Internet content utilizing the unified
Niveus Search tool, now available for download.

Milpitas, CA –
September 26, 2008 –
Niveus Media, Inc. announces beta availability of the
new unified Niveus Search, which enables easy retrieval of content accessible
across the local network and Internet. The patent-pending Niveus Search offers
Windows Vista ® Media Center users an easy-to-use, 10’ interface that provides
an all encompassing scan of both the Media Center and Internet sources.

No longer do Media Center users have to scroll through
lengthy catalogues trying to locate a certain movie, TV program, song, etc.
Utilizing the unified Niveus Search yields visual results of the electronic
program guide, recorded TV, music, photos, videos, and web-based content, from sources
such as Netflix, Flickr, and Live365 Internet radio.
Additionally, for the less decisive that aren’t sure what to watch or listen
to, by entering keywords of interest, Search will return a number of related
results from across its sources.

Accessing and using the Niveus Search tool is simple and can
be easily accomplished with the use of only a remote control. By selecting “New
Search” via the Search icon on the Windows Media Center strip, users can enter
keywords with the remote control (T9) or the onscreen keypad. Search then
reveals results in a compelling gallery, with cover art, movie posters, icons,
pictures, or other supported visual formats. The user can then click play,
slideshow, or schedule a recording based on the type of result(s) returned.
Previous searches can be found through a Previous Searches icon on the Media
Center menu.

Now available via the Niveus Software Labs
, Niveus Search is being released as beta for all Windows Vista
Media Center users for an undetermined amount of time to gather feedback, field
results, and suggestions. Niveus will continue to release improvements to
Niveus Search beta via the Niveus Software Labs and intends to release a
production version of Niveus Search to the Windows Media Center community when
ready. Niveus Search will be supported by the user community in the new Niveus Software
Labs Forum
. A gallery of screenshots can be viewed through the Niveus
Software Labs by selecting the screenshots tab.

For more information, please visit

About Niveus Media

Founded in 2003, Silicon Valley based Niveus Media, Inc.
manufactures award-winning media server hardware and software solutions,
optimized to manage all HD entertainment in multi-zone applications. With the
most advanced media servers, storage servers, proprietary software and service
technologies, Niveus revolutionizes the aggregation, distribution, and
enjoyment of today’s digital media.

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

“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.”

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.” 

Full Press Release

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

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.”

Full Press Release

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.

Full Press Release

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.”

In a 3U chassis designed for a/v rack-mount installation,
the new Niveus Storage Server – Cargo Edition is capable of storing thousands
of movies, in multiple formats. For the serious movie buffs, additional Cargo
storage servers can be easily added to enable a modular upgrade path to the
most flexible and powerful movie management system on the market.

Rather than having separate catalogues for multiple movie
sources, Niveus sought to create a single, artful solution to engage movie
enthusiasts and viewers. The slick style of Movie Library offers an
encompassing display, rich cover art, and even a recommended movie feature; when
one movie is selected a “You may also like” scrollbar at the bottom of the
screen is enabled, displaying similar movies within the user’s collection.

Niveus Movie Library supports all possible movie formats
including DVDs, Blu-ray Disc, recorded TV movies, WMV, VideoGiants, Amazon
Unbox, and more.

With the combination of the latest Niveus Movie Library
software and Cargo Edition, Niveus customers are offered the most encompassing
movie experience.

Niveus Movie Library Version 1.5 is now available for
download in the Niveus Software Labs, the hub for exclusive Niveus software

For more information on Niveus Media, Inc., please visit

VidaBox’s vAutomation Platform Tightly Integrates Media Center & Automation Technologies

VidaBox Partners with
Charmed Quark Systems to create vAutomation™: Complete Media Management &
Automation Solutions for the Mid-to-High-End AV Market

Westbury, NY – September 2nd – VidaBox LLC proudly presents its new line of
automation and media management packaged solutions called vAutomation™, powered
by Charmed Quark Controller (CQC), the popular control and automation system
from Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd.  As an
extremely powerful, professional-level software package, CQC allows
mid-to-high-end custom integrators to offer automation solutions with the
features, flexibility, and extensibility formerly found only on more expensive
and proprietary systems.

“One of our goals has always been to simplify every AV
project as much as possible for the custom installer & integrator,”
says Steven Cheung, President of VidaBox. 
“By preinstalling CQC with our VidaBox systems, our dealers can now
offer complete solutions where users can access their entire AV media library
while controlling any automatable system in the home – right at their
fingertips – through a single, easy-to-use, customized touch screen
interface.  CQC can control or accept
feedback from devices via TCP/IP, RS-232, IR, and other standard communication
protocols, making it compatible with a myriad of AV and automation hardware –
not just VidaBox equipment.”

CQC can come preinstalled on VidaBox hardware, and includes
a set of pre-defined templates that can be used as-is to control music, pictures, videos,
movies, and TV playback on any VidaBox server or extender.  Very powerful solutions can be created in a
purely point-and-click environment starting with these pre-defined templates,
without the need to do any coding. 
However, a trained integrator can customize these templates and add
control of other equipment by using a WYSIWYG interface editor to add/remove
buttons, change graphics, backgrounds, what each press action does, etc.  Completely customized solutions can be
created and designed using CQC’s extensive customization capabilities.

“We are very happy to join forces with VidaBox,”
said Dean Roddey, Chairman and CTO of Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd. “Their
experience with delivering solid media systems and high quality hardware,
combined with the powerful automation and media management capabilities of CQC,
will make for a very robust, cost-effective, and flexible solution for custom
installers and their clients.”

“By choosing our pre-designed vAutomation packages with
CQC,” Cheung continues, “dealers can take advantage and offer
comprehensive AV solutions from a single manufacturer.  Every standard package we offer can be
tailored slightly and customized for each individual job to cover any unique
needs, providing tremendous time savings by eliminating tons of design work,
compatibility problems, and other potential headaches.”

For more details on Charmed Quark Controller, please visit
Charmed Quark Systems website at  For more details on VidaBox’s vAutomation™
and their comprehensive line of media servers and extenders, please visit the
company website at, or visit them in Sound Room 17 at CEDIA Expo

About VidaBox LLC

VidaBox LLC is a digital entertainment and control systems
integration company focused on manufacturing premium Media Center systems &
complete home control solutions.  VidaBox
is on a mission to create user-friendly, stable high-performance entertainment
that work right out of the box.  For more
information, visit or call

About Charmed Quark

Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd was founded to address looming
changes in the automation industry, a move towards the use of standard
computing hardware and a greater emphasis on software as the differentiating
factor in automation solutions. The massive economies of scale of the computer
industry, the ubiquity of home networks, and the fast growing power of PCs,
operating systems, and hand-held computing products, allows CQC to provide very
powerful, robust and scalable automation solutions for a reasonable price.

Short Bits: Life|ware & Niveus at CEDIA

This edition ripped straight from CE Pro…It seems Niveus Media is done with pushing their
recently developed Niveus EDGE Extender.  The might have been Xbox 360-based Extender (sans gaming) is out and the HP MediaSmart
Connect is in
.  Interesting turn of
events for something that must have taken a lot of time and money to complete.

Niveus is also updating their Movie Gallery adding support
for better metabase, higher resolution cover art, and a 10-foot disc ripping
client which
seem popular these days

is also set to make a splash at CEDIA with
a new iPhone control application
that can be programmed directly using
Life|ware’s programming tools.  Exceptional
Innovation will also be launching a new media server
that integrated Media
Center (CableCARD as an option), a 5.1 surround-sound amplifier, and ZigBee controller
all into a single server.  Models with
dual CableCARD will likely run just under $4,000.

Embedded Automation Announces mHome Power Management Module

New Module Makes Power Monitoring and Control Within Reach of all Homeowners

Surrey, BC – August 20, 2008

Today, Embedded Automation announced its mHome Power Management Module. The
mHome Power Management Module, which provides real-time energy usage
information and control functionality, is available as an add-in to Embedded
Automation’s mHome products, including the award-winning mControl Digital Home
Software and soon to be released mPanel Digital Home Portal. Initially
supporting the TED (The Energy Detective) energy monitor, the mHome Power
Management Module will scale to support other power measuring devices and
future technologies such as “Smart Meter” solutions.

The mHome Power Management Module offers the following

  • Available as an mControl plug-in module – no user
    programming is required.
  • Real-time status display, allowing users to view current
    energy consumption and historical usage from any mControl user interface.
  • User-configurable power management conditions for use with
    mControl macros based on any of the following properties: current power usage
    (kW), peak power usage today (kW), total power today (kWh), total power
    month-to-date (kWh) and others.
  • Live view on mPanel for view-at-glance status information.

“The mHome Power Management Module represents a big
step towards conserving energy. The solution is affordable and easy to install.
All a user needs to do is enter where the device is located on the network and
the information is automatically presented in a easy to understand format on a
variety of user interfaces – including on their Vista Media Center, from any
Internet Explorer browser session, on their cell phone or on any mPanel
connected to the home network,” said Ted Singh, C.E.O. of Embedded Automation.
“Not only have we given our users the key first step of having a live reading
on their energy usage with which they can use to localize energy waste, but via
mControl’s automation engine, users can also create energy-saving macros.”

The mHome Power Management Module will be available in
August 2008.


Inteset Movie Collection Module Now Supports Blu-ray

Hanover MA, Aug 13,
2008, Inteset, has updated its Movie Collection server module to fully support
Blu-ray movies.

One of the major selling features of the Inteset media
server has been its ability to store, search, and play back movies seamlessly
within the Windows Media Center interface using the proprietary Movie
Collection module. Inteset has offered this feature to its dealers for years
and has now improved the capabilities by adding full Blu-ray support. In
addition, movie profile lookups are simpler than ever. The system will scan the
inserted DVD or Blu-ray disc to identify it, and then retrieve full profile information
from Inteset’s all-new movie database. Lookups can also be performed based on
UPC code and movie title.

“We’re happy to make available this exciting new
upgrade of our Movie Collection module,” states David Hirsh, Inteset’s
Director of Business Development. “The module with additional Blu-ray
support works perfectly with our new 15 terabyte A/V NAS storage server and
Vana advanced extender systems as well,” explains Hirsh.

The Inteset Movie Collection module is available on all
Inteset media servers. Blu-ray playback is now standard on the Inteset Maximus
media server and optional on the Denzel and Vana media servers. The module
upgrade is free on all prior and new Inteset servers running Vista Media

To learn more about how to obtain the latest Inteset Movie
Collection module and other Inteset products and services, visit Get a live demonstration by visiting Inteset at CEDIA 2008,
Denver, CO, booth 452.

About Inteset

Inteset, LLC has been creating high-end home entertainment
products since 2003. Inteset offers four categories of products: media servers,
media extenders, high-capacity storage devices, and exclusive software for its
systems. The near silent media servers come with up to 8TB of internal, 15TB
external, protected storage. The advanced media extenders are independent
systems as well as A/V distribution clients. All systems are shipped with an
enriched Microsoft Windows Media Center interface that includes a movie
management module and a multi-zone music module among other exclusive software
offerings. These systems appeal to A/V dealers and integrators domestically and
internationally for their high-integrity construction, reliability,
ease-of-use, unique entertainment modules and services, price point, and interoperability
with advanced control systems.