EMUCenter 0.5.0

Steven Harding has released a new version of EMUCenter. EMUCenter lets you launch your classic games from your Media Center using Arcade emulators such as MAME. So if you like your arcade games download from his new community site

Developers should checkout Steven’s Developer blog for some background on how he developed the application


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New Video Review of Tranquil PC Home Serve Coming Soon

I was impressed with Tranquil PC’s Windows Home Server when I saw it at Microsoft’s Vista After Hours Event a couple of months ago. I was even more impressed when I found out Tranquil are based about 5 minutes down the road from my office in Manchester. Tranquil have kindly lent me an evaluation version of their fan less 1TB Windows Home Server for me to do a video review. The first thing I noticed when I picked up the unit is how small it is. For a 1TB storage unit it is tiny, see this picture below of the unit next to my Xbox. So fitting the Home Server in with your existing equipment should be no problem. All it needs is a network point and power.

More info on the video review which should be out soon and I have an interview with Tranquil on The Media Center Show soon


MVP Developers Impressed with Media Center

Yesterday I attended an open day for MVPs at Microsoft’s Reading Office. As well as having presentations from Microsoft employees on various technologies (Silverlight was a highlight for me) there were presentations by other MVPs. Andrew Cherry (interviewed on show 120) presented an introduction in to developing Media Center applications which attracted a good crowd. I think most where there just to see what this "Media Center thing" can do but after watching the presentation they were very impressed with the potential of the platform and a few left with a real interest in starting Media Center development. I think that the MVPs were amazed at the potential the platform has and thanks to Andrews great presentation how accessible devolvement is. Andrew went from Hello World to a Music browser step by step and it showed that it is possible to product a great looking application in Media Center using your existing .NET skills

The problem seems to be that developers don’t know how extensible Media Center is and by showing the technology off to a handful of developers yesterday Andrew has properly got a few new MCE developers on board, now if presentations like this could reach a wider developer community I think we would have more developers interested in Media Center.

The Media Center Show #128 – mControl 2.0

By Ian Dixon (17mb 49mins 30sec) 
Vote for the show on Podcast Alley

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This week Ted Singh from Embedded Automation returns to the show to talk about mControl 2.0, a home automation package written for Vista Media Center. We talk about what the new MCML user interface, security and other updates to 2.0

I have email, news items and a winner of the One Voice competition

Welcome to the new show sponsor Tech.co.uk

Show Times:
00:55 Coming up this week
01:34 Email – Refresh Rates – see this thread
03:28 Windows Live Listas – The Media Center Show Nominations
04:47 An all in one Xbox 360?
06:06 Xbox 360 Arcade, a low cost extender
07:30 Youtube video of UMPC and Streedeck
08:41 Winner of the One Voice competitor
09:30 A Message from One Voice
10:19 Welcome to Ted Singh
12:40 Who are Embedded Automation
14:00 V1
16:28 HTML applications in V2
20:00 Security
24:00 Using Windows Home Server
25:00 Devices
25:34 Automation
33:00 Driver Device Kit
36:00 Clients
39:53 Wall Mounting
42:50 Download a free trial and discus on the Embedded Automation forums
44:37 See you next week

Music by Ian Dixon

Technorati tags: Windows Media Center, podcasts

£199 Xbox 360 Makes Great Extender

Microsoft have launched the Xbox 360 Arcade pack which makes for the cheapest way to Extender Windows Media Center. The new Xbox pack contains a HDMI equipped Xbox 360, a 256mb memory unit and 5 arcade games. It does not have a hard disk but to be an extender you don’t need it . Just connect the 360 up to your network and then to your TV via HDMI (cable not included) and you have a £199 extender. I know people complain about the fan noise but it is not really noticeable on my 360.

Also you can switch the 360 to boot directly in to Media Center when you switch it on.

From the dashboard, go to System, Console Settings, Startup and there along with Disc and Xbox Dashboard is the new option, Media Center.  Select that and the Xbox 360 will boot directly in to the Media Center extender experience when you turn it on. 

While this pack is aimed at casual games it makes for a low cost entry in to the world of Media Center Extenders and considering that the hardware Extenders have not been announced for the UK yet this may be the cheapest way for some time

Buy it now from TheDigitalLifestyle.com Store Wink

Technorati tags: Xbox 360 Arcade, Wndows Media Center Extender

Toshiba Working With Microsoft On New Entertainment Xbox – Smarthouse

According to Smarthouse Microsoft are working with Toshiba on a new Xbox that will be positioned as a Entertainment hub.  The report says the new devices will include a HD-DVD drive, hard drive and possibly dual TV tuners with EPG. This all in one device would have its own Media Center type software enabling it to compete with a tuner enabled PS3. The post says "a spin off from its struggling media centre offering." (I am not sure where they got struggling from)

The new Xbox device, while allowing for extensive gaming capability, will be positioned as an entertainment hub that includes gaming and extensive wireless networking capability as well as 1080p playback. There is also talk of it including a dual HD TV tuner and EPG capability and a docking port for an MP3 player. For Toshiba, the device is critical if it is to be successful in beating Sony and the Blu-ray promoters.

Would you prefer a all in one Xbox devices with Tuner cards or a centralized Windows Home Server with Media Center Server built in and then user Extender devices to consume the content? I think putting the tuner cards in the Xbox would work for some people but I would prefer my tuner cards in the server and then Extenders, Xbox 360s and other PCs to be able to stream Live and Recorded TV from the server.

What do you think?

Read the article for more details.

Toshiba Working With Microsoft On New Entertainment Xbox – Smarthouse

Via eHomeUpgrade

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The Media Center Show Award Nominations on Listas

I was playing with Windows Live Listas web application. Lista is a list management system in a Web 2.0 style. You can create and share lists and then work with other users on the lists. You could use the list for a shopping list, a todo list or a community list.

So I though would have would have a play with it and create a list. The list I created is for nominations for The Media Center Show Awards, I have started filling in some of the nominations and using Listas you can add nominations yourself.

So head over to the list and get adding your nominations and have a play with Listas. Oh there is a toolbar for Listas too, where you can save list from web sites.


Nominations List

The Media Center Show #127 – MCEDEV.COM

By Ian Dixon (17mb 49mins 30sec) 
Vote for the show on Podcast Alley

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This week German Media Center developer Olcay Buyan from MCEDEV.Com talks about his Media Center applications including TVToolbox a great application for editing and converting Recorded TV files all from Vista Media Center. I have email, news items and an update on The Media Center Show Awards.

Welcome to the new show sponsor Tech.co.uk

Show Times:

00:54 Coming up this week
01:52 Refresh Rates in Windows Media Center
05:20 ZuneTVWatch
06:15 Lifextender
06:52 The Media Center Show Awards
07:40 A Message from One Voice
08:30 Welcome to Olcay
09:16 Starting out with Media Center development
10:42 Developing MCE Customizer
15:57 Developing Vista Media Center applications
17:30 MediaCenterSandbox
17:44 MCEThemes
17:57 Media Center FX
19:08 MCEQuery
23:10 TV Toolbox
29:21 Converting to other formats
34:10 Cookbook application
42:42 Financing development projects
46:00 See you next week

Music by Ian Dixon

Technorati tags: Windows Media Center, podcasts

YouTube – Voice Control on Car PC – One Voice & StreetDeck


I am very tempted to put my Samsung Q1 in my car with and use it as my car entertainment system and now having seen this Youtube video of Streetdeck and One Voice’s voice control software I am really close to doing it.

The video shows Streetdeck being control by voice (the same technology as Media Center Communicator for Windows Media Center). Watch the video then workout where you are going to put that UMPC!

Thanks to Erol for the heads up

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