It has been
my theory that Microsoft is slowly ditching the concept of using and
promoting Media Center as a whole home entertainment experience and moving to
the “TV on your PC” concept which they have been actively promoting over the
past 6 months. This concept is something
that most Media Center enthusiasts don’t want to believe as it turns Media
Center into a product that most current users have no interest in. What better way to find out the future of
Media Center than looking at how it could be presented in the upcoming
Microsoft retail stores.
got their hands on some leaked mockups of the retail experience, and while
Microsoft’s PR is pushing the leaked images as “early
prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans” I think it will further key
us in on the future of Windows Media Center.
The images, which are presented in on
Gizmodo show Media Center being marketed
as “PCTV” with such usage scenarios as “watching the Today Show while checking
emails during breakfast” and “watching American Idol while on the blog.” Other key features in the mockup include PC
as a PVR, watching Internet TV, and managing all media in one place.
The mockup of the retail experience is
driven by what look to be PC monitors or small screen HDTVs. A theater setting or living room with Media
Center as the center piece doesn’t look to be in the picture if this mockup is
to be trusted. Also missing in the
mockup is any mention of Media Center Extender’s.
I have no doubt will we see things that are not clearly
outlined in the leaked images, however I do believe the marketing material for
Media Center is what we will end up seeing.
Notably missing from the mockups are large displays for Xbox 360, Zune,
and even Home Server. I’m not sure Home
Server will get a large amount of square-footage designated to it, but I do expect
Zune and Xbox to have their place (both Zune and Xbox are outlined
in the product offerings mockup image).
What’s your opinion, will the marketing for Media Center be
focused on whatever PCTV is, or can we expect Media Center being pushed as the
10-foot experience that we really want?