The Windows Media Center Show – The Microsoft Home

This week I have a special edition of the show, I had the opportunity to visit the Microsoft Home in London.

The idea of the home is to showcase what Microsoft technologies can do for the home now. So rather than show of products coming in years from now they are showing products you can go out and buy now.

It was an early start and a 600 mile round trip but it was good fun.
So here is how I got on and I talked to Cynthia Crossley (Director of Windows Client Group, Microsoft Limited) about the Home

The whole show was recorded on a iRiver IFP 899 (and then edited when I got home with the PC)

To listen to the show or subscribe to the feed go to http://www.thepodcastnetwork.com/mediacenter/

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My Trip to the Microsoft Home

On Monday I got an email from Microsoft giving me the chance to visit the Microsoft Home in London. So at 7am I left home (near Manchester) and took the train to London then a tube across London to the Microsoft Home.

The idea of the home is to show case what Microsoft technologies can do for the home now. So rather than show of products coming in years from now they are showing products you can go out and buy now.

In the living room there was a Media Center PC, XBOX and Pocket PC’s (and Portable Media Centers).  In the kitchen there was a tablet PC and a touch screen Media Center PC.

The kids rooms had a secured tablet pc and mp3 player. The bedroom had a very nice mirror that was actually a PC (with Media Center of course!)

There was voice controlled pocket pc’s and streaming media all around the house.

It really showcased how integrated and easy to use Microsoft’s products and Media Center in particular is to use. We were taken around the house by a friendly (but non IT guy) and he had only a couple of days training on the products and could navigate round them with no problems

I think it’s a really great idea showing off what these products can do, Microsoft should do more like this to show what is out there now and what can be done.

I also got to talk to Cynthia Crossley (Director of Windows Client Group, Microsoft Limited) who was very helpful and we did a podcast for the Media Center Show from the house (so look out for that soon), she was great to talk to and very keen on podcasting.

So thanks to Nicola Spear (from Red Consultancy) , Paul Randle and Jonathan Hutchinson (from Microsoft) for the chance to visit the house and Joel Davies for the chance to talk about Online Spotlight

UPDATE:More details on the Podcast (at www.thepodcastnetwork.com/mediacenter) have a listen and let me know what you think

TapiRex and Skype

Last night I managed to get time to install TapixRex from Christoph Buenger.

I don’t use my Media Center PC for calls via a the phone line but I do use it for Skype and TapiRex has a Skype Add on.

So I installed it, picked Skype as my service and installed the Media Center add on. Now when a Call comes in to Skype it displays the details on the screen via the Media Center UI, Just what I wanted

I did have to change some of the setting in Skype to stop Skype poping up in front of the Media Center UI.

It’s in Beta at the moment and can be dowloaded from here. Nice work, now how can I make calls from MCE?

Windows Media Center RSS Reader – Ready for download

You may have seen I have been working on my RSS reader for a while, well its now available for download.

The product called mNewsCenter is being launched by Embedded Automation, makers of mHome Home Automation for Windows Media Center (Ted Sighn founder of Embedded Automation was a guest on the first Media Center Podcast)

So if you want to check it out you can download free trial here

I am going to blog about some of the issues in writing a application for MCE in the future

Here are some details:
mNewsCenter provides the opportunity to quickly and conveniently read blogs, listen to and/or view podcasts, or view any other news site that supports the increasing popular RSS protocol. Having been designed for Windows XP Media Center 2005, mNewsCenter is also able to be enjoyed on your TV from the comfort of your sofa. In addition, mNewsCenter also provides a very intuitive and easy-to-use interface which is fully controllable with any media center remote control.

The Windows Media Center Show – Show 5

Show #5
This week I talked to Dean Weber CEO of One Voice Technologies makers of Media Center Communicator a very cool voice control system for Windows Media Center ( I talked about it in my blog)
We talked about Communicator, Media Center, Voice control systems and Harry Potter DVD’s!

I played some comments in to the Skype line and read out some email

I also have a competition to give away some free software (thanks to www.myremotemouse.com) and played out with some more of my music.

Please keep the comments coming in to the skype line (mediacentershow) or via email to isdixon@gmail.com

Fix for MCE burning TV files

Chris Lanier has a post about an update for creating DVD’s from recorded TV files

The fix is mainly for PAL users but its recomended for all users.

Note: You still need the correct the encoders for this to work e.g. Sonicecoders

Details from Chris:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=327035e8-5494-4a26-ba8a-24c1296d70bb&displaylang=en

File Name: Q894553_xpmce_sp2_x86_us.exe
Download Size: 2163 KB
Date Published: 4/20/2005
Version: 1

 

Overview
The Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Create DVD Update enables increased reliability when creating a video DVD using recorded TV files (.dvr-ms).

This update has the greatest impact for users who create DVDs using TV recorded from a PAL broadcast but is also recommended for users with an NTSC broadcast.

 

System Requirements

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP Media Center Edition

Note: This update is only needed for Media Center PCs that support Create CD/DVD. If the Create CD/DVD option is not available in Media Center, please contact your computer hardware manufacturer for more information

Orb and Media Center

Thomas Hawk posted a tip from F-stop blues about using Orb as an alternative extender for Windows Media Center.

Well I have the exact same idea J

For my Show on the podcast network “The Windows Media Center Show” I Interviewed Joe Harris from Orb Networks about Orb and so I have been playing with Orb for some time

 

I have been using Orb as an extender on my Pocket PC, which has WMP 9 on it so it can’t play the MS TV file format files with out converting them to WMV which can take ages even on a fast PC

 

But using Orb means that I can stream my content directly to my Pocket PC. Last night I watched a Divx file and recorded TV without going through any of the hassle of converting files.

Plus I can watch my content anywhere I have wifi access.

 

The only thing lacking is a 10 foot interface so a PC extender could make use of it. I did ask the question about a native MCE UI for Orb but there isn’t one at the moment.

 

So my next project maybe to look at something like that.

Look out for my interview with Joe Harris on a future podcast

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