SideShow | Great Media Center Extender Complement

As Bryan pointed out in the comments on my Extender
Concepts post
, Ricavision is making Sideshow Module that will bring better
2’ control to Media Center.  Currently if
you want to start playing music on your Media Center you need to turn on your
display and navigate to My Music.  After
you do that, your display basically needs to stay on in case you want to change
what music is playing.  Considering a
large majority of people are doing other things while listening to music (not
glued to the screen), using a SideShow remote with an LCD screen to control the
PC without having to turn on the display will be very useful.  Windows Vista and SideShow solved this

Below is a picture of what Ricavision’s SideShow module
actually looks like, as well as one of there SideShow remotes that will
hopefully ship soon.  The SideShow module
can give you access to several Music, TV, Pictures, and Video functions.


SideShow modules can have the ability to be loads of
interesting things, including audio and video playback.  As far as I know, the Ricavision SideShow
module is just meant to be a secondary screen for control.  Things like scheduling a show to record, or
browsing through your music library for playback to occur on the PC are just a
few examples of what SideShow will bring to you.

SideShow modules will not replace Media Center Extenders
overall, however there are some applications that SideShow should be more cost
effective then an Extender to implement. 
For example, I suggested that it would be very nice to have an In-wall
Touchscreen Extender
that would allow you to extend Media Center into
another room without having a full setup with a separate display.  However, you might just want control of your
music library, in-effect creating a nice multi-zone audio solution.  A SideShow module could be nicely built as an
in-wall solution and I’m sure we will see a few out there.  In wall keypads are very popular with other
whole home solutions, and SideShow will bring them to Media Center.

In addition to Media Center, SideShow modules can have
access to dozens of other modules including Vista’s Sidebar Gadgets.  This means things like quick e-mail access,
IM, RSS, weather, and much more can also be a part of this.  Clearly, this is a huge advantage and ads a
ton of value to SideShow modules.  And
just as it doesn’t stop with Media Center related products, you might have
already seen other SideShow devices out there like MP3 Players, external laptop
displays, and even digital picture frames. 
Home automation is going to get a huge jump with this too!

Since I haven’t really talked about SideShow, are you
interested in what it could bring?  If
you not running Vista is this one of those things that would make you upgrade?

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7 thoughts on “SideShow | Great Media Center Extender Complement

  1. theres a 50/50 chance I’ll have one of these with me at the tgb get together at s1digital in nyc on thursday.

    Also would make a great case mod for the panel and I think their brochure shows a lot more like the epg, etc etc. its more than just simple mce control and as you point out, works with all other sideshow modules and such.

    and it will be killer when the sideshow extension with home automation systems start to work..

    I also can’t wait for larger sideshow panels like 15 inchers to come out. I’d love to have a picture frame that happens to also be a touch screen remote.

  2. This looks like it could give Sonos a run for their money. Whole home audio has never been done right. I use NetRemote to control my jukebox but it is awkward and does not always work. This could make me want to put Vista on my jukebox computer.

  3. Chris,

    Can sideshow software run on any CE device? If so, and a generic sideshow mce applet would be available i’d have a nice purpose for my old CE devices.

  4. No, it needs specialized hardware to run. I think MSDN has a little more on that. There is an emulator for it however, not sure how useful it would be outside of development though.

  5. I’d love to have one of these if it can also be used as a univeral remote. From what i’ve read there seems to be no mention of that, which i assume means it doesn’t support it. I’m sure someone will produce a nice SideShow remote with universal functionality though. Logitech maybe?

  6. “I also can’t wait for larger sideshow panels like 15 inchers to come out. I’d love to have a picture frame that happens to also be a touch screen remote.”

    I second that! When I first heard about Sideshow I didn’t imagine all of the possibilities but this gets the imagination going!

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