CableCARD Opens Up, but Does the Marketplace?

The news at CEDIA that CableCARD will now be open to all has got everyone worked up about Microsoft getting things right and that the platform is back where it needs to be.  However, while the news of CableCARD getting unlocked from OEM only machines is fantastic I’m not sure it chances much in the marketplace. First of all, AMD appears to be out of the marketplace which is actually a much bigger deal than people might think.  While this hasn’t been confirmed, reports out of CEDIA showed that AMD didn’t have a lot to say about CableCARD in general.  … Continue reading CableCARD Opens Up, but Does the Marketplace?

Microsoft Enhances the Digital Cable Experience and Names 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Winner

Customers get new capabilities, more options, and a better digital cable experience in Windows Media Center. ATLANTA, Sept. 9 — Today at CEDIA EXPO 2009, Microsoft Corp. discussed key Windows Media Center features for Windows 7 and announced a series of initiatives that enhance the digital cable experience in Windows Media Center. With the addition of native support for additional international broadcast TV standards, including QAM and ATSC, there will now be support for switched digital video (SDV), a new tool that will make it possible for end customers to add a digital cable tuner with CableCARD to their PC, … Continue reading Microsoft Enhances the Digital Cable Experience and Names 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Winner

Going Beyond The Enthusiast Market

Charlie Owen, a former Media Center team member wrote a post this week about Media Center expanding its marketplace, specifically going from the current enthusiast market to a more mainstream market.  Charlie analysis comes to the pretty simple answer of “It’s possible, but highly unlikely at this point.” I had previously come to this conclusion, but to me the real question is “will Microsoft attempt to develop for the enthusiast market?”  Lucky for me, Charlie replied to my comment with exactly what I was expecting Charlie: “No. That’s because they have never done so. The enthusiast market is always a … Continue reading Going Beyond The Enthusiast Market

What Do You Think of Windows 7 Media Center?

This weekend I installed Windows 7 on my Media Center and thought about writing a review.  However, I think Ben successfully did that already so rather than try and recreate it I’d rather know what you think. Looking through Ben’s list of new features and changes, the one thing I noticed was that the vast majority of them are visual changes to the UI or straight up eye candy.  Sure, they add additional functionality but channel logos, TV show images, colored coded EPG, and fancy fading in/out only goes so far when there are dozens of useful features still needed … Continue reading What Do You Think of Windows 7 Media Center?

Is Hulu Coming to Media Center?

I don’t believe that Hulu has a large interest in Media Center, but those very same mockup’s that show Media Center’s “PCTV” marketing also show Hulu as a key experience.  My guess is that the material Microsoft provided to Lippincott said Media Center provides an Internet TV experience, and the designers took that as Media Center providing access to the most popular service for online TV shows. I don’t believe that the content providers are interested in seeing Hulu on the big screen as it would jeopardize traditional content delivery.  Hulu’s entry into the 10-foot UI marketplace is heavily designed … Continue reading Is Hulu Coming to Media Center?

Media Center Gets "PCTV" Marketing in Microsoft Store Mockups

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. Gizmodo got … Continue reading Media Center Gets "PCTV" Marketing in Microsoft Store Mockups

Microsoft Focuses Media Center Marketing, Platform to Follow

The first sign of a business in trouble is when you must reinvent yourself to stay alive.  Microsoft might not actually be reinventing Media Center, mostly becasue you can’t reinvent something that you never actually defined a market for in the first place, but they are finally attempting to delineate where they see Media Center competing in such a growing marketplace (and that’s not a good thing for most reading this). Media Center started as a method to watch TV on the PC.  Essentially it was marketed to college students to cut down the number of devices in their dorm.  … Continue reading Microsoft Focuses Media Center Marketing, Platform to Follow

Microsoft Loses the Online Content Fight

I shouldn’t actually call it a fight because that implies one actually gave effort, but CES 2009 has shown that Microsoft is effectively out of the race to provide a platform for streaming and downloadable content via the PC.  I say via the PC because the Xbox is still alive and actually putting up somewhat of a fight. With every major display company now pushing integrated online content embedded or easily attachable to their displays the PC is now becoming irrelevant.  No longer is the concept PC-to-TV, it is Web-to-TV and Microsoft fails to offer compelling products that work under … Continue reading Microsoft Loses the Online Content Fight

Media Center Gets Blu-ray, Just Not From Microsoft

I’ve talk about Microsoft and Blu-ray more times than I can count and it never fails I end up saying they will not be the ones to build Blu-ray support in Windows.  My thoughts have officially come true with yesterday’s announcement that Microsoft is outsourcing Blu-ray support in Windows 7 to Cyberlink. According to the press release, PowerDVD “automatically integrate with Windows Media Center to enable full Blu-ray playback capability on PC equipped with the appropriate hardware.”  The extent of that integration remains to be seen, but I’m hoping for full integration using Media Foundation and PVP (aka real integration).  … Continue reading Media Center Gets Blu-ray, Just Not From Microsoft

CyberLink to Demonstrate PowerDVD with Microsoft at CES 2009

TAIPEI, Taiwan – CyberLink Corporation is pleased to announce that PowerDVD will be utilized by Microsoft Corp. in a demonstration of their newest version of Windows Media Center, for Windows 7. This demo will be shown in the Microsoft booth (7144), in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Additional demonstrations of the forthcoming version of PowerDVD will be available to PC and Consumer Electronic manufacturers and members of the press by appointment, in CyberLink’s private suite in the Hilton Hotel. CyberLink has been working closely with Microsoft to support many of the advanced capabilities of Windows 7. … Continue reading CyberLink to Demonstrate PowerDVD with Microsoft at CES 2009