Media Center hits the mainstream

more good news on Media Center, Media Center sales have gone through the roof

Ed Bott and Chris Lanier are reporting the a big increase in MCE Sales

For the week ending August 20, 2005, Media Center PCs accounted for 43% of all desktop personal computers sold in the U.S. retail market, based on data from a sampling of U.S. retailers.

Accounting for this phenomenon was a decline in pricing for Media Center systems, with the average price dropping below $900 for the first time ever. In addition to the more affordable price points, Microsoft has lead [sic] the charge to promote Media Center PCs at select retailers in an attempt to generate a higher level of interest for the platform.

More than 70% of the PCs sold had no TV tuner, which suggests that Media Center features are being incorporated into Windows as a basic feature.


really Media Center should be the home version of Windows and maybe this is what it will be in Vista


Ed Bott: Media Center hits the mainstream


mcePhone – a new Skype plugin

Christoph Buenger has told me about his new plug in for Media Center "This is a complete Skype-plugin for MCE. 

you will be able to place calls, pickup calls, see your missed calls, listen to voicemails and much more without leaving the MCE UI just using your remote control"

more info at


it will be in beta soon


John Hodgson plays with the new MS Media Center keyboard


John Hodgson had one of the new Microsoft Media Center keyboards
While he liked the keyboard he didn’t keep it as it had a few shortcomings and the main problem is the mouse, he said " What a beautiful piece of hardware, with a great feel about it that is completely let down by its completely useless mouse pointer. "
He also had these recommendations
  • either Bluetooth or some other form of Radio Frequency (RF) wireless.
  • learning remote capability and programmable, in such a large device and connected to a PC the keybaord can be so much more than just a keyboard.
  • Rechargeable.
  • Keep the child lock; that’s a great feature in the current product.
  • Not sure about this one but I think it could be smaller. I didn’t expect it to be a full sized keyboard but I must admit the keys were easy to use with nice feedback and the keybaord sat on the lap very nicely.
  • More programmable keys than just Media Center keys. I know this keyboard is designed for the average MCE user and to protect the Media Center Experience but as a power user I would love to see more keys.
  • Oh yeah and finally a better pointer device; maybe a roller ball.

more details on John’s blog 


Emerald Release Date?

Seeing as there is not much Media Center news I thought I would throw this one in.
Emerald, the update for Windows Media Center 2005 will not be realised next week as I hoped , but October as Chris Lanier thought it may.
I am very sure of this (although not confirmed by Microsoft). I know a couple of OEM’s are a bit unhappy about the delay (as they thought it would be the end of August) because they have some features that rely on Emerald, which has meant delays in launching products
So my thoughts are October I could be total wrong, but what the hell its Friday
You would not belive the number of google and msn seaches my blog and the podcast blog are getting with people searching for Emerlad details
Update: I was just told it’s out in two weeks on Windows Update LOL who is right!

Vista Media Center SKU (again!)

Chris Laniner has a another post about another a report on Media Center SKU.

This time its from saying “The biggest news which we have heard is that when Windows Vista ships it will be Media Centre enabled as standard.”

This contradicts what Steve Ballmer said about Media Center being part of a premium SKU.

As Chris says "Bring on the official Press Releases" – too right Chris how long are we going to be kept guessing on how it will ship?




The Windows Media Center Show #22 – Webguide

The Media Center Show #22 (MP3 – 13.3MB – 38 mins 53sec)
LISTEN HERE and the RSS feed is over on the Podcast Network site


On this weeks show I have Doug Berrett developer of WebGuide3 the remote scheduler for Media Center, we talk about what is does, how it does it and future developments.
I also look at the Media Center news and read out some emails
Send your questions and feedback to (feel free to send your questions in mp3)
or you can send your questions and comments in to the show Skype Line “MediaCenterShow

The forums are at

Show Times:
00:00 Show ident
00:45 Welcome to show #22
00:53 Coming up this week
01:33 Email from Randy Harris
02:20 Dings in the show – sorry!
02:50 Portable Media Centers
03:10 finding the show in iTunes
03:40 Routing XBOX through MCE
04:45 XBOX 360 will only stream video from Media Center
05:30 DRM issues (eHomeUpgrade)
06:00 Tip of the week – win mNewsCenter
06:34 Break
08:00 What is Webguide 3
08:30 a Guide that works for all locations
10:35 Webguide features
13:11 Developing with Media Center
15:00 Doug’s background
16:00 Guide data source
17:05 EPG format
18:00 ClicktoRecord?
19:00 UI design
20:00 Other UI’s Pocket PC or smart phone interface
22:00 Visual Studio 2005
23:00 Future API’s for Media Center
24:00 Charlie Owen’s request for Platform features
27:00 Getting started with addons
29:05 How to get Webguide3
29:45 Localisation
30:48 New features
32:31 Recommendation service
33:49 Thanks to Doug for coming on the show
34:05 Get in touch see you in TWO weeks
34:20 The next show
34:36 Remixed Show theme – “The 3rd Bell (2005 mix) by Ian Dixon”

The Grand Prix Show #11 – Pitpass

The Grand Prix Show #11 – Pitpass special

August 25th, 2005 by Ian

The Grand Prix Show #011(MP3 – 26.6MB – 1 Hour 17min 29sec)

LISTEN HERE and the show notes and RSS feed are HERE


Welcome to the Grand Prix Show.
This is a special show as Jon is away this week so Chris Balfe from fills in as we talk about the Turkish GP and look back at the drivers and teams performance over the whole season.
This is an extra long show, so sit back and enjoy the show, normal service will be back after Monza

Please keep your comments coming in to the show, we love to get them
You can email us and the forums are at

Don’t forget our show merchandise range


You will need a Media Center PC to stream video to an XBOX 360

Not sure if people have picked up on this already but I was reading J Allard’s interview with XBOX lives Major Nelson
and he was asked if you will be able to stream video from a PC, the answer was yes, but you NEED a Media Center PC
"J Allard (Expert):
Q: Can we stream videos from our PCs?
A: yes.  if you have media center on those pcs.  you will be able to stream standard and high definition video."
So to get the most out of your XBOX360 you will need Media Center, up to now I thought that it would stream with any PC over the network but this is not the case you NEED a Media Center PC.
So this further proves the point that the XBOX360 will not kill Media Center but drive Media Center PC sales

Build a silent Media Center PC

Digital Home magazine have just posted a great guide on how to build a silent Media Center PC


"Media PCs are the most powerful and flexible entertainment systems around. They’ll record and time shift TV shows, play DVDs or high definition video, manage your entire music collection, put on slideshows of digital photos and wirelessly stream just about any of it around your home. With the launch of the Xbox 360 later this year, home networking should become even easier.

Today there are many decent Media PCs for sale, but for the ultimate system you should consider building your own. This way you’ll get exactly the specification you’ve always wanted, without compromise. Totally silent operation? No problem. Huge hard disk? It’s yours. Twin TV tuners? Consider it done.

Read more here

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