HP Cutting MediaSmart TV Lineup; Exits LCD TV Business

CED is reporting that HP is ending their run in the LCD TV business and killing off their MediaSmart HDTV lineup.  I can’t confirm the report myself, but if true this puts another dent in Microsoft’s vision to have Extender technology built into HDTVs.  Their focus is now said to be their MediaSmart Receiver which I reviewed earlier this year.    Watch for deals, word is the current displays will be getting a price cut at Costco stores. In related news, Samsung has shipped their MediaLive Extender which only works with Samsung Series 4 and up displays and you can still … Continue reading HP Cutting MediaSmart TV Lineup; Exits LCD TV Business

Chances Latest Xbox 360 Blu-ray Rumor is True?

I’m a few weeks behind on this one, but those pesky Xbox 360 Blu-ray rumors came back into the spotlight early this month.  Spotlight might actually be the wrong word to use, as the usual tech blogs didn’t even bother to cover the rumor.  I’ve made it quite clear over the past year that I don’t think Blu-ray for the Xbox 360 makes sense for Microsoft, but X-bit Labs hears different.  According to the October 8th article Microsoft is working with Toshiba-Samsung Storage Technology Corp (TSST) to manufacturer external Blu-ray Disc drives for the Xbox 360.  According to the article … Continue reading Chances Latest Xbox 360 Blu-ray Rumor is True?

Review: Vidabox Premium Wireless Keyboard with Laser Trackball

Just about a year ago I reviewed Vidabox’s Premium Wireless Keyboard with Optical Trackball and came to a pretty simple conclusion; great inexpensive wireless keyboard that didn’t have a Green Button for Media Center use.  The fact that it didn’t include a Green Button came as a downer to me as it is the central way to navigate the Media Center experience. The lack of a Green Button has been on Vidabox’s radar and they recently released a newer model using a laser trackball. The Vidabox Premium Wireless HTPC Media Center Keyboard with Laser Trackball includes a 2000dpi laser trackball, … Continue reading Review: Vidabox Premium Wireless Keyboard with Laser Trackball

Vista SP2 Doesn’t Support Blu-ray Playback

Due to a poorly worded article over at CNET I’ve seen a few dozen people getting excited about Vista SP2 bringing “support for Blu-ray drives,” but everyone should take a quick step back and realize Vista SP2 will add “support for burning Blu-ray data discs” but nothing involving Blu-ray Disc movie playback. So far Vista SP2 is basically a collection of previously planned “Feature Packs” including the Storage Feature Pack (where Blu-ray burning comes from), and the Wireless Feature Pack.  My guess is that Microsoft is worried the press behind Windows 7 is going to kick Vista sales to the … Continue reading Vista SP2 Doesn’t Support Blu-ray Playback

Microsoft.com Forgets About Media Center

Long Zheng just posted about a recently updated version of Microsoft.com, so I went to check out the changes and realized a few things.  First, I think it has been well over a year since I actually felt the need to checkout Microsoft’s homepage.  Second, I realized that Media Center is nowhere to be found on Microsoft’s homepage.  About the closest you get is Windows Media Player or Media Center Peripherals which apparently is another wording for “mouse and keyboard.”

Microsoft Releases Media Center SideShow Gadgets

Microsoft has officially released their Media Center SideShow Gadgets for public download.  The Gadgets, previously in beta, allow you to use a SideShow device to browse the EPG, schedule recordings, start playback of content (TV, music, videos, pictures) and more. I’ve yet to test it, but the only thing Microsoft didn’t specifically mention was Extender support which I hope is still present.  Of course, testing the Gadgets is pretty hard to do given the lack of SideShow devices.  Ricavision had promise, until they went out of business (website is now dead).  Other than that, the built-in SideShow display on the … Continue reading Microsoft Releases Media Center SideShow Gadgets

Microsoft Releases October Media Center Updates

October 2008 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista (KB955519) Fixes an issue in which you cannot seek through recorded TV shows on Windows Media Center systems that have digital cable tuners. Additionally, the recorded TV shows display the incorrect length. Fixes an issue in which Windows Media Center Extenders cannot re-connect to a host computer after the host computer resumes from the suspend mode or the sleep mode. Fixes an issue which is introduced by KB950126. In this issue, a video that is paused may resume if you minimize or maximize the Windows Media Center window or if … Continue reading Microsoft Releases October Media Center Updates

Update: Ricavision Misses SideShow Remote Ship Date, Again

It sure has been a long wait to get a SideShow enabled remote control.  The once cool feature of Windows Vista was going to allow inexpensive devices with external displays to grab content from the PC and control it remotely.  This technology still has a lot of potential, but considering we are just a few weeks away from at least a pre-beta of Windows 7, it looks like SideShow for Vista has basically been a flop. This is especially evident with Ricavision’s SideShow remote which still hasn’t shipped even after a nearly two year delay.  They have just missing their … Continue reading Update: Ricavision Misses SideShow Remote Ship Date, Again

Okoro Media Systems Introduces New 2009 Low Profile Media Center

Okoro Media Systems, manufacturer of Digital Entertainment Systems for the high end audio video market, is pleased to announce the availability of the 2009 OMS-SX100 model. The OMS-SX100 is an “Ultra Low Profile” Digital Entertainment Systems based on AMD’s energy efficient Athlon X2 platform. The OMS-SX100 features cool and quiet operation, 7.1 LPCM HDMI support, 1080P Blu-ray playback and low power green operation. The 2009 OMS-SX100 Digital Entertainment System can also handle the needs of customers with limited space with its 2.7 inch ultra low profile frame. Coupled with the OMS Slim Blu-ray drive, the unit is Blu-ray profile 2.0 compliant and can decode 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS along with 7.1 Dolby TrueHD and … Continue reading Okoro Media Systems Introduces New 2009 Low Profile Media Center

RealNetworks Could be Key to Media Center DVD Streaming

A few weeks back RealNetworks unveiled RealDVD, a $30 program designed to legally allow ripping DVDs.  The legal part might be a bit of a stretch seeing as Real has sued the CCA and the MPAA has sued Real back.  While press about the idea of paying to rip your DVDs while keeping them protected has been unanimously poor, people need to keep an open mind about this when it comes to Media Center and other commercial products. Several years ago I posted about the idea of enabling streaming DVDs using Microsoft’s WMDRM to protect the DVDs.  The concept is … Continue reading RealNetworks Could be Key to Media Center DVD Streaming