Dell Drops Prices on CableCARD Tuners

A few weeks ago Dell ended their special pricing on Digital Cable Tuners, taking them from $180 for a single tuner to $255 for a single tuner. That didn’t last for too long though.  Now Dell has lowered the price to $199 for a single tuner and $379 for dual tuners.  This move puts an entry level XPS 420 with a single CableCARD at $1,248 and dual CableCARD at $1,428. There is still a bit of a price war going on between Dell and HP, but this move puts Dell back into the mix.  Dell is still the only top … Continue reading Dell Drops Prices on CableCARD Tuners

D-Link Addresses DSM-750 Extender Issues

Turns out many D-Link DSM-750s are “defective” and will need to be sent back to D-Link to be fixed by a “factory-trained technician” because of an “issue with a corrupted security certificate” (and possibility because the firmware they shipped was from 6-months ago). If you have a DSM-750 and your attempts to connect it as an Extender to a PC running Vista Home Premium or Ultimate result in a “Communication Error” then you can call 888-900-3939(Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm PST) to get in direct touch with D-Link CSR.

Short Bits: Managed Copy, Media Center University, Sideshow

The dream of legally copying a Blu-ray Disc to your hard drive and streaming it to other devices might be over before it starts.  Managed Copy, the cornerstone of the AACS content protection system might never actually get off the ground, reports Consumer Electronics Daily (CED). While the finalized AACS specifications could be done as early as summer (well over a year late), it is not likely to include Managed Copy according to the report.  The issue appears to be content licensing, with studios having not always having the content rights to allow for a Managed Copy.  Such a good … Continue reading Short Bits: Managed Copy, Media Center University, Sideshow

HP Releases MediaSmart HDTV Extender Update

HP has released the Media Center Extender firmware update for MediaSmart HDTV owners.  If yours hasn’t checked for updates automatically, you might want to force an update check to see if it is available. HP also has their MediaSmart HDTV Extender webpage up for troubleshooting and instructions.   Remember that you need Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate to take advantage of this feature.  In addition you need Windows Vista SP1 or KB938126 (x64).  Vista SP1 highly suggested instead of just the update patch as it has been known to improve Extender performance. Update: Press Release was issued today, read it … Continue reading HP Releases MediaSmart HDTV Extender Update

Movie Browser Does Cover Flow in Media Center

Another day, another movie cataloging plug-in for Media Center!  This time, it’s a beta Flash-based plug-in that uses a Cover Flow type display to cataloged DVDs.  Dubbed Movie Browser, it runs on Media Center 2005 and Vista Media Center, and is available for download now (beta).  The source code is also available. On that topic, things are looking good for a mega-DVD library plug-in for Media Center.  Over the weekend Open Media Library was put up on Google Code, and since then things have expanded quite a bit. Other developers, including Treas0n (the developer behind the above Movie Browser) and … Continue reading Movie Browser Does Cover Flow in Media Center

Microsoft at NAB Show 2008

Microsoft Announces New Support for Silverlight by Content Companies Worldwide Today at the NAB Show 2008, Microsoft Corp. announced significant momentum for Microsoft Silverlight resulting from new customers adopting Silverlight to deliver richer, more interactive media experiences on the Web. Building on recent support from major content providers such as AOL and NBC Olympics.com on MSN, Microsoft announced new adoption of Silverlight by media and content companies worldwide, including Madison Square Garden (MSG) Interactive, Tencent, Abertis Telecom, Terra Networks Operations, SBSi, MNet and Yahoo! JAPAN. “It’s exciting to see broad industry recognition and rapid adoption of Silverlight across the world,” … Continue reading Microsoft at NAB Show 2008

HP Winning CableCARD Price Battle

With Dell’s ending of their Digital Cable Tuner sale, HP has taken the lead in the mainstream CableCARD desktop price battle.  You can now pickup an HP m9200t that includes a single CableCARD tuner for as low as $1,099.  Dell on the other hand will cost you $1,304 for the lowest spec’ed XPS 420 with a single CableCARD tuner (an equal spec’ed HP m9200t is $1,189). Of course the main problem with HP has been CableCARD support, which for the most part is non-existent.  Pair that with HP still only offering single CableCARD and the on again off again availability … Continue reading HP Winning CableCARD Price Battle

Sigma Designs and Microsoft Collaborate on Advanced IPTV System-on-a-Chip for Microsoft Mediaroom

Powerful Sigma Designs SMP8654 Media Processor improves cost/performance range for Microsoft Mediaroom deployments. LAS VEGAS — April 14, 2008 — Sigma Designs (Nasdaq “SIGM”), a leader in digital media processing system-on-a-chips (SoCs) for consumer electronics, and Microsoft Corp. today announced a collaboration to enable the Microsoft Mediaroom Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and multimedia platform to operate on next-generation set-top boxes using the new Sigma SMP8654 SoC. The solution will provide a high-performance, cost-effective design that will give service providers the ability to offer innovative connected TV services, such as PC-to-TV photo and music sharing and also DVR Anywhere, which gives … Continue reading Sigma Designs and Microsoft Collaborate on Advanced IPTV System-on-a-Chip for Microsoft Mediaroom

Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

Interactive advertising is something that I’ve always imagined would come to Media Center and frankly I’m amazed that it has taken so long.  There have been a few examples in the past, but nothing major.  This is changing however with Media Center getting its first taste of interactive advertising via the Internet TV plug-in  Amazingly, I want to congratulate Microsoft for getting it right. Internet TV is a US only plug-in that is supported by 15-second or so video advertising prior to the featured video starting.  This has worked nicely and over the past few months Microsoft has gained more … Continue reading Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

Movie Library Clone Goes Open Source

The third party clone of Niveus Media’s Movie Library has now gone open source.  Currently know as Open Media Library, the project is up on Google Code now. The one major change that I’d like to see is for Open Media Library to take more of its own path, rather than trying to be a 1:1 copy of Niveus’ plug-in.  While the cover display is hardly a new idea, it would be nice to see what other display techniques people can come up with.  Even at its early stages, I think this plug-in has great potential and being open sources … Continue reading Movie Library Clone Goes Open Source