Windows Vista SP1 and XP SP3 Coming soon

Finally confirmation from Microsoft that there is a service pack for Vista coming and that there is a Service Pack 3 coming for XP

From reading the information from Microsoft the XP Service Pack looks like a roll-up of al the fixes since SP2 and doesn’t contain any features, but that is to be expected. What is more interesting is that Microsoft seem to be playing down the significance of the Vista Service Pack.

In addition to updates we’ve previously released, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues we’ve identified via customer feedback, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards.  SP1 also makes additional improvements to the IT administration experience.  We didn’t design SP1 as a vehicle for releasing new features; however, some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1

So I don’t expect to see any major updates to Windows Media Center in the Service Pack, well nothing like the changes in XP2. I am sure it will have all the Media Center fixes and updates that have shipped since Vista was launched.

There is more information on the Windows Vista Blog and there is a detailed white paper.


The Video Show #6 Sony XL301 / XL302 Bluray Media Center PC

Watch the video in HQ WMV  – The RSS feed for the Video Show is HERE

In this video I take a look at Sony’s XL301 / XL302 (Bluray) Media Center PC complete with Bluray drive. I connected the PC up to my TV via HDMI (the only output avaible) and was impressed by the performce of the box. I rented a Bluray disk to try and while I was impressed by Bluray I am not going to jumping in to the HD market just yet.

In the video I show off the Media Center features, take a look around the device (including a peak inside) and try a Bluray DVD

Watch the video in HQ WMV
Video: The Digital Video Show #6 – Sony XL301 Bluray
Video: The Digital #6 – Sony XL301 Part 2More info from Sony

Retailing around £999 for the non Bluray version and £ 1,799 for the XL302 (Bluray)

New DRM scheme will let consumers stream cable TV over home networks

Thanks to Fieldhouse over in the forums for pointing this out:

Cable subscribers should soon be able to stream cable TV programming over their home networks, as CableLabs has announced its approval of a new streaming protocol. Called DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Copy Protection), the new spec will use DRM to lock down content to ensure that it doesn’t escape the cozy confines of cable subscribers’ homes.

This sounds great, but as ever with things like this i will believe it when i see it and how long would it take Microsoft to implement something like this in Media Center? With the current pace of development it could be some time. Read the article for more details

New DRM scheme will let consumers stream cable TV over home networks

Technorati tags: ,

The Media Center Show #120 – Andrew Cherry

Yes it’s a day early but I am working away and didn’t want you to miss out!

By Ian Dixon (16.9mb 49mins 02sec) 
Vote for the show on Podcast Alley

Direct Download Link – Subscribe via iTunes – Subscribe via RSS

On this week show is Microsoft MVP and Media Center developer Andrew Cherry. Andrew made the trip to my office in Manchester and we talked about his new application "TV Library" (download a free beta), an application that expands the TV library functions of Media Center. We also talked about developing for Windows Media Center and contributing to the MediaCenterSandbox forum. I have email in to the show and news items.

The Media Center Show with Orb Networks, email the show: Show [at]

Show Times:

00:50 Coming up this week
01:50 Email – Update on last weeks email
03:29 Email – Tell us your OEM experience
04:12 Email – Audio output and Extenders
08:05 My Video review of Sony’s UX1 UMPC, more videos coming soon
09:17 My thoughts on Blu-ray v HD-DVD
11:04 S1Digital offer CABLEcard
11:43 Updated TV Toolbox
12:00 Windows Home Server Blog, re-sizing partitions
13:05 One Voice: Media Center CommunicatorDownload a free trial
14:22 Welcome to Andrew
14:58 Getting in to Media Center development
18:54 Media Center box selling
19:00 MoreTV
22:41 What is "TV Library"
26:00 Creating your own meta data
28:12 Viewing Recorded TV
29:54 Recorded TV Manager, DVRMStoolbox
32:00 Developing Media Center applications
34:00 Branding v looking like a Windows Media Center
38:29 Selling applications
38:55 Beta Download, forum links
46:00 The show will be taking a week off, back September 6th!

Music by Ian Dixon

Technorati tags: Windows Media Center, podcasts

Big Screen Headlines 2

Nial has posted an update on Big Screen Headlines 2 an RSS reader for Vista Media Center. It is a great application for reading RSS feeds, listening to Podcast and watching videos. The blog post has some details of the new version and some nice screen shots, Nial will be on The Media Center Show in a few weeks to talk about his applications


A quick summary of (some) of the major enhancements include (see screenshots below for more examples) :

  • Brand new UI system. Most notably – the new 4 way main menu (XBox360 dashboard style) allowing quicker access to content.
  • Enhanced article display /parsing of HTML content – allowing for viewing articles as they were originally intended with new support for embedded images (where various images are contained within the article text.).
  • Enhanced parsing of RSS Feeds and new extensions (ie RSS Media, Atom,  iTunes, iPhotos etc etc) – with display/extraction of things like thumbnails, comments, ratings etc.
  • Enhanced viewing/filtering/sorting/grouping when viewing of Feeds/Lists of feeds – including several sort types, forward/reverse ordering – plus ability to alter text sizes (for low/high res screens) and change the view style (ie change how big items are and whether you just see headlines or they expand to reveal more information when highlighted).
  • Support for dynamic OPML 2.0 includes – which means you can point to OPML files from inside the presets rather than hardcoded RSS URL’s. This feature works a treat for places like who publish an OPML file (containing all the podcasts, blogs and video feeds they have) and regularly add (and remove) their available feeds. (so you don’t need to worry about managing each individual feed). You can also point to a local OPML file (which might be regularly updated from your rss reader on another machine).
  • Direct access to latest Subscribed feed items (as a whole) from main menu (so you can see latest news items from main menu without viewing any feeds)
  • View Comments feeds from News Items
  • Lots of new preset feeds / opml links for better updating of available content.
  • Quick and Easy Export Subscribed Feeds into an OPML file (so it can be used when in Extender mode).

Big Screen Blog: Work In Progress : Big Screen Headlines 2

Vista After Hours – see you there?

Microsoft are touring the UK showing off some of the fun side of Windows Vista to IT professionals by looking at Media Center, Sideshow, Windows Home Server, Xbox 360 and other things. The events are run in the evening and include food and refreshments. One of the locations will be Manchester so I will definitely be going along, hopefully Microsoft’s James Senior will be giving away a copy of my book "Using Microsoft Windows Vista Media Center" so look out for that. If you going let me know and come and say hello, I will have my podcasting kit with me 🙂

According to James this is what will be on:

  • Windows Vista
    • Search – new and improved!
    • Photography – new and improved!
    • Movie and DVD Making
    • SideShow – new devices!
    • Sidebar – new gadgets!
    • Media Center – new apps!
  • Windows Home Server
    • New Add-ins!
  • Xbox 360
    • Xbox Live
    • Media Center Extended
    • Zune integration
    • Windows Vista vs Xbox 360
      • Games for Windows Live
      • James and Matt battle to the death to decide the best gaming platform!
      • Virtual Earth
        • The best mapping platform on the net

        More details on James’ blog

      • The Digital Video Show #5 – Sony UX1 UMPC

        Watch the video in HQ WMV


        It’s been a while since I did any videos, so here is the first of a couple I have coming out.
        This show looks at Sony’s UX1 UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC). All my videos are posted on had the video show has it’s own RSS feed

        It’s a nice device with a 4.5" screen and slide out keyboard running  Windows Vista Business.
        I didn’t have much time to do the video so I shot down to a quite room at the office and captured this video, so the video is a little dark. Have a look at the UX1 in the photo gallery
        Video: The Digital Video Show #5 (Part 1)
        Video: The Digital Video Show #5 Sony UX1 (Part2)

        Windows Vista Business
        32GB Flash Drive
        4.5" Screen
        Fingerprint reader
        Wifi & Bluetooth
        2 x Cameras

        Retailing around £1500

        Technorati tags: Sony, UX1, UMPC


        The Show RSS Feed – Full Post

        TV TOOLBOX Beta 2

        Olcay from MCEDEV sent me an email to let me know that beta 2 of TV Toolbox is out.

        TV Toolbox is a 10 foot application for editing and converting your Recorded TV directly from Media Center

        What did change since the last beta?
        Fixed – Generated file name based on Dvr-ms Metadata was wrong.
        Fixed – Settings: Added new option to dis- / enable TV-Strip Icon.
        Fixed – Metadata migration failed in some cases.
        Fixed – TV Toolbox hanged on start up. Media Center closed TV Toolbox because it wasn’t responding.
        Fixed – List of recordings is created asynchronously to load UI while progressing.
        Update – Windows Service optimized.
        Update – "Recorded TV" like listing of recordings (grouping, thumbnails, etc).
        Update – You can now create rule(s) to convert any recordings created by Media Center when keyword equals *.
        Update – Several UI changes.
        Update – TV Toolbox refreshes list of recordings when grouping changes or application (re-) starts.
        Update – Globalization update done.
        Update – Recordings on main page are now divided and grouped by date if "date recorded" grouping is selected.

        Pictures of the Sony UX1 in the Photo Galleries

        I have a video review of the Sony UX1 I was sent for review out soon, so I have posted some pictures of it in the Photo Galleries. I must admit to taking a liking to the device, at first I couldn’t get used to the small 4.5" screen but after a bit you do get used to it. What is also impressive is the speed of the device, it has a Intel Core Solo U1500 and I found it a lot quicker than the Samsung Q1, would I swap it for the Q1? find out in the video

        I should have the video posted soon

        Sony UX1 Pictures

        Technorati tags:

        Create a free website or blog at

        Up ↑