Sideshow Comes Back Into the Spotlight

Windows Sideshow is back in the spotlight today at CE Pro with the news that Sideshow remotes and devices will officially support control of Media Center Extenders.  I’ve briefly talked about that before, but it’s good to hear it again.  Sadly, the most visible (yet still not shipping) Sideshow remote from Ricavision now costs $350 which puts it way out of my range. DnC Multimedia is also out with news today that they have an upcoming portable media player that will include Sideshow support.  No price or release date yet, but I’m now more interested in devices like this.  What … Continue reading Sideshow Comes Back Into the Spotlight

Short Bits: Softsled, Windows 7, Native HD DVD/Blu-ray

Mike at Missing Remote wrote a great article on why Softsled, as a software Extender will never happen.  Foucsing on Mike’s last point in the article, the reason Softsled will never exist is because it doesn’t need to.  Instead, since every copy of Vista Home Premium and Ulitmate includes Media Center the real future is in media/resource sharing as I’ve talked about before.  So, a separate Software Extender will never be released.  However, Microsoft needs to focus on making Media Center work together on different machines.  Automatic media discovery for music, photos, and recorded TV, sharing of a central EPG, … Continue reading Short Bits: Softsled, Windows 7, Native HD DVD/Blu-ray

Linksys DMA2200 Now Shipping

Users are reporting that Dell is now shipping the Linksys DMA2200 for $300, despite their website still saying 3-5 weeks. The DMA2200 should support the exact same formats as the DMA2100, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 ASP (officially Xivd only), MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), and VC-1/WMV9 but adds an integrated DVD player to the mix.  The one key difference other than the integrated DVD player is the addition of optical SPDIF. Unless Linksys fixed the issue, be ready to change the FourCCs of your DivX files if you want them to play on this Extender. Update: Fry’s has them too.

Getting DivX Working on Linksys Extenders

When the Linksys DMA2100 first starting shipping I said that it would decode DivX (in addition to the listed Xvid support), just to have to put my foot in my mouth because no one could get it work.  As I’ve said time and time again, DivX and Xvid are just MPEG-4 ASP.  DivX is a brand, Xvid is a brand.  The video still complies with a standard and can thus be decoded by any MPEG-4 ASP decoder. Sadly, Linksys screwed this up by blocking playback of DivX files.  They are doing this blocking certain FourCC’s (an identifier) in AVI files.  … Continue reading Getting DivX Working on Linksys Extenders

Apple TV Gets Upgraded

Apple finally upgraded their Apple TV yesterday at MacWorld making it worthy of a look.  Overall, I’m impressed with the upgrade, but still not touching it.  I’m sure a lot of people out there are not impressed, but I’m trying to see it from Apple’s angle.  No PVR and no DVD player is exactly what they want in this product.  As soon as they give you the ability to playback “legacy” formats you have no reason to buy/rent the same content from them. The big draw of the new Apple TV is being able to make purchases/rentals directly from the … Continue reading Apple TV Gets Upgraded

Red Zune 80GB and New Collection of Artwork Debut on Zune Originals

Customizable gift options and themed playlists from Zune Marketplace help consumers share the love this Valentine’s Day. REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 15, 2008 — Responding to consumer excitement for the Zune 80GB, Microsoft Corp. is making the popular wireless digital media player available in red with Zune Originals, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Inspired by the themes of love and sharing, an exclusive collection of 20 new laser-engraved designs will be available to consumers for a limited time at http://www.zuneoriginals.net; in addition, Zune Marketplace will feature Valentine’s Day playlists that can be shared with friends or loved ones Zune … Continue reading Red Zune 80GB and New Collection of Artwork Debut on Zune Originals

Short Bits: Extender Ads, Broswers, Netflix, More

Microsoft has launched their v2 Extender ad campaign on several websites include The New York Times, Gizmodo (I think CNET and so others are in there too).  Assuming you don’t block ads in your web browser, check them out. Not too much Media Center related in the past few days, but the few things out there seem to be web browser related.  Missing Remote has a post about a new 10-foot browser for Media Center, VMCBrowser as well as a review of MCE Browser. Ian Dixon continues his adventures from CES from FUZE Media Systems, Surface, and a CES photo … Continue reading Short Bits: Extender Ads, Broswers, Netflix, More

Media Center Finally Gets Live Messenger Plug-in

It isn’t coming from Microsoft, but Vista Media Center is finally going to get a Windows Live Messenger plug-in.  Damien Bain-Thouverez, developer of the Media Control Plug-in (ffdshow) has added functionality in the same plug-in to act as a Windows Live Messenger frontend. This is the first attempt for a Messenger plug-in in Vista Media Center.  Media Center 2005 had a built-in Windows Messenger plug-in, but with the release of Windows Vista this was kicked to the side as was Windows Messenger all together.  Last year Microsoft announced a beta of Windows Live for TV which promised Live Spaces and … Continue reading Media Center Finally Gets Live Messenger Plug-in

CES Wrap-up Part 2

So it looks like CES provided us with a little bit more excitement in the form of Extenders and DIRECTV. Starting with Extenders, Niveus Media made their EDGE official at the price of $1,500.  I know a lot of people will complain about that, but when you look at Niveus’ market it is really a steal.  Instead of purchasing a number of $3000 Rainer PC’s, you now just need one and then stock up on the EDGE to cover your home.  The Niveus EDGE is basically supposed to be an Xbox 360 that has been repacked, gaming disabled, and made … Continue reading CES Wrap-up Part 2