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 I’m being to hard, maybe
I’m asking for too much, maybe it is time for me to back out and accpet Microsoft is going to do what they are going to do.

On a different subject, I’ll have a review of a Slingbox SOLO in a few
days.  I’ve got a review unit, and I’ve
been playing with it for a week.  It
works great, I’m just trying to find time to write the review.  Instead I have been putting it off studying for
a mountain of tests and replay to Charlie’s post above.

There was something else that was supposed to go into this post, but I forget
what it was.

12 thoughts on “Short Bits: Media Center Future, Slingbox

  1. was really, really sad when I read this blog post, Chris. It would be a really big loss for both Microsoft and the community if you decided to throw in the towel on Media Center. I would hope that our ‘great thread’ would at least show we do listen, and are willing to engage you and the community on our features, even if we don’t agree on everything.

    Don’t give up — in many ways, Media Center and the connected home are just getting started — you know you *want* to be on this ride. 🙂

  2. Had read Charlie’s blog post earlier, along with the discussion between Charlie and yourself in the comments section, and came away feeling along the same lines as you.

    Media Center is not the centerpiece of my entertainment center, when it should be. Though, I have to admit, this isn’t entirely Microsoft’s fault. Alot of the blame rests squarely with the entertainment industry and the content providers. Having built my own Media Center (all my own systems are homebuilt) then inability to add cablecard without buying a OEM system is just insane.

    My Media Center hardly ever gets turned on anymore. Which is real disappointing as I’ve got such a kick-ass system.

  3. Exactly Bill! I have spent thousands, although not willing to spend thousands more for OEM OCUR, and still rarely use it.

    Without HD, WAF, reliablity, and support this is never gonna work in the consumer marketplace.

    If a geek like Charlie cant get it to work than how is my mom ever gonna have this in her living room?

    MCE since 2003 and tired of the whole thing…

  4. it’s ridiculous how little MS understands your gripes.

    but now what?

    home brewed solutions? just forget it all?

  5. Chris, perhaps you can create a “Connected Media Review Guide” of sorts. I really don’t understand what critera you are judging Media Center and Microsoft by and I think it would be a great way to both share what your inner connected needs are as well as offer the ability to gauge your future trails with other products. A connected scorecard so to speak.

    I used to be a SageTV user, then looked at Tivo and also Dish’s DVR and none of them really have all the features that I’m getting from Media Center. From average guys using MCE, you know, the ones that don’t know what OCUR is, I don’t hear any complaints so it would be interesting to see what your higher end scorecard would include.

    Personally I just want a way to record TV and stream video from a nice interface that my wife doesn’t hate. For music I have a Sonos system which pretty much beats the pants off of any other music streaming product out there, hands down.

    Anyway, a review guide would be great not only to help share your reviews of products but also keep it in perspective with the feature parity of Media Center. For example Sonos is awesome and blows away the music streaming aspect of Media Center but they are two totally different products and can’t be compared.

  6. Shawn, why in the world would you need a guide to show that products from the same company, let alone same division, should work together? If you can’t understand the concept, I can’t help you. The products should work together, plain and simple. You want someones else’s idea of what that means, read the comments on Charlie’s post.

    If you don’t see any non-OCUR owners have complaints, you should read _any_ post at TGB or the comments I get daily on my blog. 90% of these people don’t own OCURs. Again, I can’t help you understand this, it is right in front of you in plain English.

    A better question might be, why do you consider there to be no need to connect that products that come out of a single division that’s mission is to focus on “Connect Entertainment?”

  7. so again: now what?

    are you just tired of MS way of doing things? maybe investigate diy? i.e.: CQC or something like that?

    I just can’t forsee MS actually making things any better in the next few years. so I’m going to look elsewhere. but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

  8. I really don’t know. There is no other PC-based package that can really provide anything better at a competitive cost (IMHO). I’ve been wanting to play with CQC, but it really isn’t the same kind of front end as Media Center. It is more for integrated HA and offering better control scenarios.

    TiVo has the best thing going for TV, but I don’t want to switch to cable in the first place and it still can’t compare to Media Center for media management and playback. Apple has products that work together, but no HD and no way to use my existing D* service nicely. Sage TV, Beyond TV, etc are great, but offer no way for protected content to work.

    There really isn’t a good solution IMHO, including both the PC as a platform as standard CE devices.

  9. “If you don’t see any non-OCUR owners have complaints, you should read _any_ post at TGB or the comments I get daily on my blog. 90% of these people don’t own OCURs. Again, I can’t help you understand this, it is right in front of you in plain English.”

    Not to be an ass, but perhaps you should re-read the “plain English” that Shawn had left. He was talking about the people who do not even know what OCUR is, not the non-OCUR owners. I’m sure you’re correct that 90% of the people who are posting on your blog and on TGB do not own an OCUR system. But, I cannot agree that they do not know what it is or haven’t at least heard about it. I would bet that the average consumer, even the average VMC consumer, hasn’t heard of OCUR. For that matter, the average consumer doesn’t even seem to get HD TV. They seem to think just because they have an HD TV that all of the broadcast are now HD (or at least if they say “Available in HD” in the corner of the program). So, my point is, before you start jumping to conclusions you should perhaps practice a little reading comprehension yourself.

  10. My apologies to Shawn, except this changes nothing. To answer your question, yes there are tons of people who have no idea what OCUR is who are upset with the integration of Microsoft’s product. Still, go to TGB and search for about two seconds. Best thing to do to get results is search for Softseld. You will get thousands of posts from registered members of TGB who have no interest in being a geek. All they want is a simple way to use their PCs are Extenders for the product that came stock on their PCs.

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