Another Day, Another Unsupported Product | v2 Extenders To Be Vista Only

Jason points to
the documentation that v2
Extenders will not be supported in MCE 2005
.  This is just what we all needed, for
those are not
to move to Vista
will be to stuck using the Xbox 360 as the only HD-compatible

“The Media
Center Extender Platform Adaptation
Kit enables partners to build Extenders for use with Windows Vista.
Because Extender technology is a superset of the PlaysForSure device program,
these devices will also be able to connect to Windows Media Connect/Windows
Media Player Network Sharing running on Media Center 2005 PCs. They will not, however, connect to Media
Center 2005 as Extenders

So now that new Extender
that so many of you like will only able to connect to Vista.  Will this
change your purchase, or are you moving to Vista
once released?  CableCARD
driving anyone?

So many questions, so many upgrades with unsupported
products afterwards.  When will Microsoft
get the point?  I’ll gladly beta test
this hardware that is likely be to garbage two years after, but at least send
it to me for free instead of having me drop hundreds of dollars on all of
it.  If you want me to purchase the
hardware, and build me home around it (which I want to) then make it worth my

16 thoughts on “Another Day, Another Unsupported Product | v2 Extenders To Be Vista Only

  1. Well, this is definately my fear of purchasing a new v2 extender. Once Vista v.Next comes around will they be supported then? I’m sure the decision was made to not support MCE 2005 due to testing, but that really bites. I was hoping to be able to add an additional extender (I already have an Xbox 360 connecting to my MCE 2005) and migrate to Vista when I’ve had time to pay for it plus upgrade my MCE 2005 system. It needs a little speed boost and a better graphics card to push the new Media Center. Oh well, I guess I’ll wait and see how this turns out before I purchase an additional extender now.


  2. I am planning to move to Vista for CableCard support and am planning to keep my four Xbox 360 extenders, so perhaps this colors my view, BUT…

    I can’t really understand the aggreived tone of your post. Do you have reason to believe that a v2 extender would work perfectly well with MCE 2005 absent an artificial limitation? If not presumably getting the v2 extender to work with MCE 2005 would entail extra work and/or design compromises that would take resources away from other features or compromise functionality.

    Is it really that unexpected that new peripherals tied in closely with the operating system might not work with older operating systems?

  3. I agree with DWAnderson on this on, I just don’t see it as a big deal. New extenders work with the new OS while old extenders work with the old OS. I also don’t really understand the stand-alone hardware extender, unless of course it’s below the $149 price-point.

    To me the *ONLY* issue with the current state of MCE is that you can’t roll your own CableCARD-ready HD MCE machine.

  4. I’m mainly interested in the design consideration and how the technology for Extenders work.

    In my mind I see it like this.

    a) v1 Extender use RDP to draw the UI, and stream video using an independent protocol. If this is the case, why not allow Vista to connect to these? Sure, they don’t support HD, but I can Remote Desktop into Vista and bring up Media Center, it displays fine. Why doesn’t it work with v1 Extenders?

    b) v2 Extenders are going to be great, but I really don’t see a need to move to Vista. I’ve got Vista installed in a dual boot on my machine now, I’ve booted into it twice. There are just no new features that make me want to use it (CableCARD would, but I’ve got DIRECTV now).

    c) Discontinuing support for hardware/software has been a problem for Microsoft in the four years Media Center has been around. First it was only providing an MCE 2004 upgrade through OEM’s, despite the fact that several OEM’s choose not to go through the trouble, leaving users stuck until a year later when Service Pack 2 was released. There have been several other hardware/software/drivers issues around Media Center that have left people spending loads of money on the platform, just to be out of luck next upgrade.

    Yes, I think it’s unreasonable to sell Media Center as a platform for the home, and then cut off support for people who have already adopted it. I know people who have spend >$1,000 on v1 Extenders, just to now not be able to use them at all. That’s ridiculous. This isn’t a $30 webcam that is trash once a software update happen, it’s a whole home.

    The point is, Microsoft is sitting on a gold mine with Media Center, yet they don’t understand how to take advantage of it. You don’t sell more units by scraping support for expensive hardware, you sell more units by providing a solution to connect my home. This includes supporting technologies have older installs.

    v1 Extenders were more than $300 a piece, and Microsoft advertised being able to connect up to 5 of them per Media Center PC. When you do the math, that’s over $1500 gone. I don’t know about all of you, but when you add in the Media Center PC (which likely needs a few upgrades to run Vista nicely) that’s a loss of ~$2500. I can’t afford to do that every 2 years, nor will I continue to support a product that takes that mentality.

    Media Center is a great product, but the execution is all wrong. Microsoft needs to do something now, or the whole concept of having a PC as the center piece of a home is going to be gone. Microsoft has spent millions on the PC in the home, this is not what I would have expected those millions to be going to.


  5. I guess I look at it this way…

    I will be going to Vista simply for Cable Card support. I am upset that my v1 extenders will not work but I have a glimer of hope that with v2 extenders like the Linksys that is being released and is also a DVD player that support for more media types like VOB will be supported.

    Xbox extenders are simply not an option they are just too loud for places like a bedroom.

    I don’t mund switching to new extenders unless the functionality is just the same as the v1 versions. Then it just seemd pointless that they don’t have upgrades for the v1.

  6. I really don’t mind paying for new technology if it gives me new features and functionality. Besides, even if it didn’t work with the next release of Windows OS, how long is that going to be? Five years? I don’t mind paying $200 for an extender now that I know will be obsolete in a minimum of 5 years time…

  7. New feautures or not, Chris is right. Its ridiculous to rebuy all of this, AV is not PC. If I want the new features I can buy the new hardware, but I want the features of the old hardware with a new OS. Why can’t I? I should be able to update my OS to keep it secure without having pay for a house full of new devices.

    Goodbye media center, anyone who wants v1 extenders watch ebay for mine to go up.

    I can’t do it anymore.

  8. I suppose, on its own, this isn’t too much to get excited about. But when you add them all up, it’s pretty aggravating. M$ knows that its Media Center base want 2 things (well ok they want lots of things, but 2 things are squarely at the top of the list); HD via cable or satellite and Divx/Xvid support on Extenders.

    M$ has said ok, you can have useable HD but … you have to buy our new OS … and an entirely new machine to run it on … and you can’t share any of the content with any device, except your extenders … oh and by the way … you have to buy all new extenders too. And if all this isn’t enough to entice you to buy, then here is the vague promise that an OEM, like Linksys, has the option to give an extender Divx/Xvid support … maybe … if the content providers don’t get to them first. You should just trust us on that because we have such a good track record of keeping our promises.

    If that isn’t enough to be totally frustrating, look around at the other HTPC front ends out there. None of them start to approximate the potential of Media Center. I suppose it’s like having a child with a 160 IQ that flips burgers at McDonalds. Yeah he has a job. Yeah he is a productive member of society. But Jesus! He could be so much more.

  9. The only reason i’m stuck with MCE2005 is because in France the ONLY extender with live TV (or not) available is through modded xbox.
    And, the only reason i would switch to Vista is for the satellite cards functionality.

    My big concern like everybody here is that I would have to buy new extenders to use Vista. Why is that? In France we don’t care about HD (yet) as it just starts to take off on air and the prices for the screens are still expensive.

    The switch to Vista + v2 extender would just means no improvements at all…. just the ability to connect to the back end server. I wish M$ would have thought harder before wiping off an entire house of v1 extenders and for once include backward compatibility with this techno as they always do with the applications running on their OSs.

    Maybe they’re planning a v1 to v2 exchange??? No, just dreaming there!

  10. How is the hardware in the XBox-360 able to connect to MCE 2005 PC’s to act as an extender perfectly, and then with only a software update, that same hardware is able to connect to a Vista MC PC and act as an extender perfectly.

    There is obviously no hardware limitation for the v2 extenders to work with MCE 2005. Microsoft just needs to build a “dumbed-down” XBox-360 with only the digital media parts to market as extender.

  11. If you don’t like it, DON’T BUY IT.

    Why should v2 extenders work with XP? Use v1 extenders with XP. Microsoft is done investing in XP. They will support the products already released and move on to the next generation. XP support, testing, introducing all that extra variation for the whole new range of v2 extenders just doesn’t seem worth it.

    You people act like Microsoft should be paying you to use it’s products.

  12. “There is obviously no hardware limitation for the v2 extenders to work with MCE 2005.”

    Maybe no limitation for the XBox since it’s so powerful to begin with. But v2 extender, software embedded in something like a DVD player, is probably much more difficult?

  13. The SoC’s are more then powerful enough to do just as much as the Xbox 360 can minus the gaming. The fact that the Xbox 360 was built for gaming, most likely makes it harder to get smooth multimedia playback. Just because the underlying hardware is “powerful” doesn’t mean much if the software can’t take advantage of it.

    Anonymous, also, say you purchase these v2 Extenders for use with Vista. Say you purchase over $500 worth of them, which is not uncommon for a product like Extenders. Now say Microsoft decides to go a different way in two years and redesign the architecture in Vista Media Center Update Rollup 2 which means you need new Extenders. All that money gone, right? You don’t see a little problem with it?

    Microsoft sales Media Center as a solution to connect homes, this means people interested are going to be spending large amounts of money to connect there home, and most people aren’t interested in throwing money away for products that could technically be made to work. It’s not like Microsoft is rushing out v2 Extenders. Considering Sigma has had the chips shipping for–umm–over a year it also doesn’t seem like much of an issue there. The OEM’s don’t seem to be pushing them out quickly. Why not add a month to “development” and test connecting them to MCE 2005?

  14. The only thing I can say about the v2 extender not supporting MCE05 is what a joke!! If Vista media center offered anything worth upgrading then maybe. I just don’t see it, so I guess I’m stuck with using the little jet engines that could have been oh wait I mean Xbox 360’s for extenders, because I’m not going anywhere near vista anytime soon. And you say Cable cards is a reason to upgrade?? Ya right; Only if you want to pay a serious premium price for an OEM box that contains proprietary hardware. Please oh pretty please put me at the mercy of yet another manufacturer for updates. No thanks I guess will just keep my Usenet subscription. It’s not because I want to, it’s because I’m left with no other choice.

    I have been using some sort of media center solution in my houses for as long as I can remember and every year I hope for a solution that will get it right. I have tried all of them from time to time, and well It hasn’t happened yet. MCE05 was getting closer and I had hoped Vista would be the first generation of a realistic solution that could be sold to the majority of end users. As far as I can tell, that isn’t going to happen. Windows Vista’s media center out of the box adds absolutely nothing that is worth upgrading. They fixed nothing, They added nothing. 100% completely missed the train. I would rather use MediaPortal or MythTV again. Maybe after Windows Vista 2.0 oh wait I mean service pack 2 will I then be enticed to upgrade. Someone please make a flexible whole house media center because it doesn’t exist yet!! I would be happy with a Softsled type solution for now. Atleast it would give me the option to build my own extenders. (It has to be doable because Webguide 4 has a option to stream live tv)

    I have two 360’s that I was hoping to replace with the Linksys extenders, but now that I read that they will not be supported in MCE 05 that’s out of the question. As for the 360, the thing has a sluggish interface, is too restricted on video play back and is as loud as a jet engine. It is easily 10 times louder than my MCE machine that sits in the same room with 4 Hard Drives and 6 tuners in it.

    Dreaming of the day that everything is integrated into a single interface that consistently works and is supported!

  15. Agreed, I am a long time user of MCE and there has to be a better answer. CableCard is great and it’s about time but it is just too limited. I would jump to CableCard if I could use my current assets instead of throwing away another PC.

    I am going to wait for awhile to make the final decision on this but with the facts in front of me right now, it’s a hard sell.


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