Sony XL1 200-Disc Changer/Recorder on Sale – $99

Get it while they are hot.  My guess is Sony is getting rid of their stock, and this will most likely be a discounted product in the upcoming months.  At $99, there is no question that there is no money to be made selling PC-based DVD changers to such a small market, especially when use is limited to the local PC and not over Media Center Extenders.  The only other possibility is a Blu-ray version replacing this in the future, since it is Sony you can’t count that out.

Microsoft Announces Availability of New Zune Accessories at Retail

Zune unveils an expanded list of accessory partners to offer existing and new Zune users a wider selection. REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 30, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the retail availability of new accessories for its innovative digital media player, Zune. The new first- and third-party accessories will usher in the next generation of Zune digital media players, which will be on shelves Nov. 13. “Zune is committed to providing customers with choice,” said Scott Erickson, senior director of product management for Zune. “In addition to offering choice among Zune media players, we have also enhanced our accessories program … Continue reading Microsoft Announces Availability of New Zune Accessories at Retail

AVerMedia Does QAM in Vista Media Center

AVerMedia has released a beta plug-in to allow unencrypted QAM (aka Clear QAM) support in Vista Media Center.  AVerMedia Product Manger Felix Kolotinsky posted about it last week on The Green Button as well as offered a link to the beta plug-in on their FTP.  The only card supported is the AVerTV Combo PCIe x1 M780 tuner, and it will support both Vista x86 and x64.  There is no Media Center 2005 support. You can download the plug-in at using the user name: beta and password: betatest. Reading through the thread when they say this is a beta, they … Continue reading AVerMedia Does QAM in Vista Media Center

Sony Selling Standalone Digital Cable Tuners

Everyone is shocked to see this morning that Sony is selling Digital Cable Tuners by themselves (Via Engadget) for the low price of $300.  Now, OEMs are only supposed to sell you a DCT (OCUR) if you have purchased a PC from them, and as Sony notes you will still need a “Unit already shipping with ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner.” It will be interesting to see how long this lasts.  If you are interesting in picking one up, remember you still have to have a CableCARD-ready PC for it to work.  Just because you can buy the tuner … Continue reading Sony Selling Standalone Digital Cable Tuners

Short Bits: Media Center Future, Slingbox

I think I might finally have decided that Media Center isn’t going to get to the point it should.  It isn’t going to be integrated to the point it should, and I really don’t think Microsoft gets the whole “Connected Entertainment” concept.  They have so many parts there, yet they are so far from it.  Anyone wondering what tipped this off?  Well a great thread with Charlie Owen at his blog.  I respect everyone at Microsoft and I know they all work hard on the products, but I’m so losing my trust in them delivering products that work together.  Maybe … Continue reading Short Bits: Media Center Future, Slingbox

Two Digital Cable Tuner Updates Released

Error message when you try to watch live TV in Windows Media Center on a Windows Vista-based computer: “Restricted Content – Display Driver” – Full KB Article Consider the following scenario: You are using an OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR) device that is connected to a Windows Vista-based computer. You put the computer in standby or hibernate, and then you resume the computer. In this scenario, when you try to watch live TV in Windows Media Center, you receive the following error message: Restricted Content – Display Driver If you wait for 30 seconds after you resume the computer from standby … Continue reading Two Digital Cable Tuner Updates Released

Update: Dell Launches XPS 420 to Replace XPS 410

Dell just updated their website to include the new XPS 420 in-place of the XPS 410.  So far, it is hard to say it CableCARD is even offered, as the “Ultimate Entertainment” package can’t be configured on their website.  I imagine this will change in the next few hours, but other than a redesigned case I don’t see much different between the currently available 420 and the 410. So far CableCARD is not available on two cheaper configurations at all, even when you select their DellCare program.  That leaves the XPS 420 “Ultimate Entertainment” with Blu-ray as the only option … Continue reading Update: Dell Launches XPS 420 to Replace XPS 410

Microsoft Launches New Xbox 360 Console for Families

New console includes five games, wireless controller and storage to save games — all for the incredible value of $279.99 REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 22, 2007 — Just in time for holiday, Microsoft Corp. today released a new Xbox 360® console that delivers games and content to everyone in the family for an incredible value of $279.99 (U.S. estimated retail price)*. Available in stores beginning today, Xbox 360 Arcade console is the first Xbox 360 console to include five family-friendly games, a wireless controller, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connection to enable high-definition output if desired and 256 MB of … Continue reading Microsoft Launches New Xbox 360 Console for Families

Ricavision Ships First Vista Media Center Remotes

Ricavision might have delayed their SideShow-based remotes, but they are pushing out their regular redesigned Vista Media Center remote controls.  So far it looks like they are only shipping the regular remote, the universal and multifunction remote appear to be no-shows. The price seems to be right, with the standalone remote going for only $7 and the remote/receiver combo going for $30.  Most interesting about the combo is that the receiver appears to be RC6 and Bluetooth.  RC6 is the standard protocol for every other Media Center remote that you might already have, so the addition of Bluetooth is nice … Continue reading Ricavision Ships First Vista Media Center Remotes

Final Zune v2 Thoughts

I got last weekend and reviewed the rest of the comments on my Zune posts from the week before and realized that I needed to clarify a few things. First of all, I still believe that the Zune is no iPod competitor. Why?  It really doesn’t matter what features are there for the Zune, it is not an iPod.  As I have said in the past, the iPod is 25% a great digital audio player and 75% a product of Apple marketing.  The sales of the iPod didn’t come from the features.  Sure, they helped but overall that is not … Continue reading Final Zune v2 Thoughts