Windows MCE 2005 Update Coming

June 19, 2005

Neowin is reporting that Microsoft is preparing an update for MCE 2005. The update is expected to go to manufacturing in August, and will include XBox 360 support, plus:

  • Native digital cable
  • Content Protection
  • Improve burning (DRM, network, Hi-def, DVD-RAM)
  • MCX on WinCE clients (Babylon, TV2 as stretch goal)
  • Playback reliability
  • Running 3rd party apps out of proc
  • Address top usability issues
  • Platform Security
  • Additional languages and locales

Some good and bad news there — I’m all for more features and reliability, but I could do without more content protection bumpf…

(via Chris Lanier)

Windows Media Center Overview

June 16, 2005

Tom’s Hardware has just completed part two of a fairly comprehensive overview of Windows Media Center Edition 2005. If you’ve been wondering what all of the fuss is about, here’s your opportunity to take a walk-through of pretty much all of the major features of MCE.

Part One.
Part Two.

Overall, they come off fairly impressed with MCE:

Microsoft has a pretty good chance to make a place for itself in the living rooms of those users who can accept a PC as a reasonable facsimile of a home entertainment center. A strong argument in MCE’s favor is its easy setup and configuration. That’s because the operating system comes pre-installed, and the installation wizard makes life just that much easier. Equally convincing are MCE’s TV handling and friendly EPG.

On the other hand, it’s disappointing that MCSE doesn’t support editing of recorded TV programs or burning them as Video-DVDs – for those jobs, additional third-party software is required. The FM radio functions could also stand improvement, especially to remedy MCE’s inability to record radio programs.

HUSH M Mini-ITX Windows MCE Set-top

June 15, 2005

If you prefer your Media Center set-top boxes the way you like your partners — small, silent and drop-dead sexy — you may want to check out the new HUSH M MCE Mobile. (That’s not mobile as in you put it in a laptop bag, but mobile as in it uses a laptop CPU.)

Powered with a Pentium M (well okay, a Celeron M), the Mini-ITX based HUSH M is tiny, fanless, and wrapped in anodized aluminum, but still comes with all of the good stuff — TV & FM Encoder, DVD, 5.1 Audio, onboard Ethernet, built-in MCE remote receiver, and 160 gig of hard drive to store all of your content on. It also comes preloaded with MCE 2005 (of course), Microsoft Works, and PowerDVD 6.

Prices start at 1400 Euros…

Play Podcast Network on Media Center

June 15, 2005

Ian Dixon and the folks at the Podcast Network have put together a neat little utility to allow you to listen to Podcast Network podcasts from the comfort of your own Windows Media Center.

Today the Podcast Network and I have launched a beta version of the Podcast Network on Media Center.

It’s an addin for Window Media Center that enables you to listen to any of the Podcast Network shows (including the Media Center Show of course) on your Media Center PC with the remote.

MCE – Convert DVR-MS videos to WMV

June 15, 2005

Looking to drop the size of some of your Windows MCE recordings to store them away awhile? The F-Stop Blues has a few notes on getting better results from the WmvTranscoder plug-in, or just junking it all together and using the more nicely integrated DVR2WMV plug-in

If you have a Media Center extender than this is a great way to archive your recorded TV for playback and save some hard drive space. A thirty minute TV show took about an hour to translate at the highest setting available and about 500mb of disk space.

Gary Whittaker Interview – Media Center Show #12

June 13, 2005

On this week’s Media Center Show, Ian Dixon interviews Gary Whittaker, and talks about Portable Media Center Devices.

We look at Windows Mobile 5 and how that impacts Portable Media Centers, the new Samsung phone and Gary watched the XBOX 360 launch.
We also talked about some common questions Garry has been asked, including remote control problems and S3 sleep mode problems.

Listen here.

Acer Aspire L200 Windows Media Center

June 8, 2005

Acer is jumping on the Windows Media Center bandwagon with a low-profile (and relatively low priced) offering, including an Athlon 64 3200 CPU, 160 GB SATA drive, and a dual-layer DVD burner, according to the UK-based PC Advisor.

Acer digital home product manager James Wright describes it as the first “low profile, living room-style home PC”. Other vendors have so far failed to successfully fulfil this remit, claims Wright, producing units that more closely resemble “1980s video recorders”.

The 53mm-high L200 runs Windows Media Center 2005 and is powered by an AMD Athlon 64 3200 processor. It comes with a 160GB Sata (serial ATA) hard disk, dual layer DVD- /-RW drive and includes DVI and Scart connections as well as a combo Freeview and analogue TV tuner. Likely pricing will be around £800 inc VAT.

(via engadget)

Brightcove Inteview – Windows Media Center Show

June 4, 2005

This week on the 11th installment of the Windows Media Center Show, Ian Dixon interviews Jeremy Allaire of Brightcove on Internet TV and the future of television as we know it…

AOpen Media Center Server 400/410

June 2, 2005

For those looking to buy in that ever-growing “give me a PC that looks like a stereo receiver” market, AOpen has introduced a new line of “Digital Home Entertainment PCs” (which translates as “Windows Media Center Edition Home Theater PCs”, apparently.)

The top-of-the-line model is the Media Center Server (server?) 400/410, cunningly disguised as a giant piece of audiophile gear, with room for 7 (!) drives.

bios magazine has the goods

The Media Center Server 400/410 is designed to look like a conventional audio amplifier. The housing of the innovative product is designed with storage space for seven hard drives. The system is developed with the functions to receive video streams from multiple TV channels. For instance, you can record video streams or TV programs of up to three different TV channels with built-in hard drives. You can also manage, edit, browse, or playback the recorded video streams or TV programs recorded on the system’s hard drives.

For those looking for something more svelte, they also offer the “stylish and super slim” XC REC6, apparently with all the important stuff but less heft.

Although AOpen XC REC6 is also designed for providing digital home entertainment, the look and feel of XC REC6 is totally different from that of Media Center Server. The stylish and super slim XC REC6 is only 69mm in height, making it ideal for the sitting room. Despite its compact size, the product features a VFD panel and push buttons which allow you to operate the system and examine its operation status. It also supports nearly all important audio and video interfaces including S-Video, YPbPr, and D4 connectors for displaying video output to HDTVs or LCD screens.

No word yet on prices, but I’m guessing “cheap” won’t be the word when we hear it…

(via Engadget)

How-To: Add External Programs to MCE

June 2, 2005

Looking for a way to get to external programs quickly under Windows Media Center Edition 2005?

Not a problem — just drag a shortcut to whatever you want to be able to launch to your Start button and drop it in Programs | Accessories | Media Center | Media Center Programs.

Your external application will now be available under the “More Programs” section of your Media Center.

Via The F-Stop Blues (with illustrations of how to do this with Firefox)

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