Two Media Center Updates? Don’t Count on It

Ben at Engadget HD is being told that there might
be a second Media Center release coming this year
.  This is based on his source which has been leaking
stuff directly from the beta
(except this rumor, which has no meaningful info
to back it up).  Based on various things
I would be rather shocked if Microsoft pulled out a second Media Center release
this year.

The concept behind the said release would be to add DIRECTV
and H.264 support, the two main features said to be absent from Fiji’s final
release.  I can’t comment too much on
what is included and what’s not, but Ben’s source doesn’t have anything that
would tell him/her that Microsoft has even thought about a second release this

There are several reasons I wouldn’t expect such a release,
from the beta timeline to other major implications that I’ll cover later.  While I would love to see another release no
matter what it adds, I wouldn’t get your hopes up about this rumor.

7 thoughts on “Two Media Center Updates? Don’t Count on It

  1. My thoughts exactly, when I read that post; there were no facts to back up a possible second release.

    Although, I am not convinced that the beta and screenshots floating around tell the full picture of what the release could be. From what I can see Microsoft has been doing a lot of work around Media Center (buying out webguide and now thegreenbutton). It seems to me they are preparing for a big release, ofcourse that might be part of Windows 7.

    I downloaded the beta though and the changes seemed so insignificant to me that it can barely be called a release. I am hoping that they have just released different versions/functionality to different groups.

  2. It should be “sources,” not source.

    I agree it is a stretch, but I’d rather believe there are two update then to believe we have to wait until 2010 (Windows 7) for DirecTV support.

    So yeah, it’s wishful thinking based on something someone at MS said.

  3. I would love to see Microsoft develop their own version of WebGuide for the next release as it’s a great piece of software (although a little buggy). Unfortunately all they have done is employ the author and left it on the shelf.

  4. If by on the shelf you meant they have not been updating the current release of webguide, then sure.

    But there is no reason to believe that they aren’t actively working on integrating it with Fiji or windows 7.

  5. Is it because this work would imply a significant infrastructural change from the existing MPEG-2/DVRMS to MPEG4/H.264 plumbing? Doesn’t make sense to necessarily to support both as the base TV recording/playback containers/codecs. How would this change affect DRM, IPTV, ATSC, cable, etc.? What about complimentary hardware/software (tuner cards, drivers)? What about licensing costs, if there were any?

    To me, all these things considered, might necessitate a delay to get it right. But I don’t know enough about this – I’m just guestimating that the work and the supporting coordination/testing would not be a minor event.


  6. So Chris, what’s your oppinion on if DirecTV will see support in the next release?
    I personally think Microsoft needs to come out and re-set expectations if it’s not going to be supported. I know they’ve never officially announced support, but they know everyone “thinks” it’s going to be in the next version. They at least bother to come out and deny the Bluray Xbox rummors, why is this any different? Maybe if I start a blog and “officially” announce MS support for DirecTV we’ll get a response. I’ll also officially announce they’re supporting DVD streaming, softsled, robotic mowing of my lawn and a few other features to see what’s going to make it.

  7. Platup, unfortunately I think it is looking more likely the official announcement will defocus on DirecTV’s ‘s HDPC-20. According to TGB, MS will make its announcement about the MS-DirecTV partnership around the Cedia event (in late August early September).

    I Google’d to the Cedia exhibition layout and the booth 410 is labelled with
    “ExceptionalInnovation/DSC/Microsoft”, DirecTV’s has it’s own booth 809.

    The Life|ware DSC Media Centre focus is on ‘control your home’s lighting system, thermostats and security systems, distribute music throughout the house, enact homeowner-defined Life|scenes™ and share media across your entire network’.

    One should not read too much into advance bookings, but this does not encourage a positive DirecTV-Microsoft message when Microsoft has associated their announcement with this event, and hence why I think this is more in tune with a defocus message.

    Let’s hope Microsoft’s announcement at least includes plans to support H.264.

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