Media Center Extenders top PCPro’s “Ten techs to watch in 2008”

It that time of year to predict trends for the new year and PC Pro have their predictions for the top techs of 2008. In the list are things like Rich Internet Applications, 10 gigabit Ethernet and commercial P2P, topping the list are Media Center Extenders, which is properly the first time I have seen Media Center related technology top a list like this. Part of the reason why they top this list is the fact that they will be available in the UK for the first time.

HP and Linksys released Media Center Extenders in 2004, but they didn’t take off in the US and never made it across the pond. They’re back for 2008, this time from Linksys, D-Link and Niveus – and they’re coming to the UK.

By streaming the Windows Media Center interface directly to a receiver, you get all the same features as when using the computer locally, but in a small, silent box. This includes access to the PC’s TV tuners to stream live broadcasts, watching or scheduling TV recordings, or viewing music, photos or video

It’s good to see Media Center getting the attention it deserves and with a bit of marketing by Microsoft and it’s partners Media Center could be one of the success stories of 2008, hopefully given a boost by some announcements at CES. Other one other  Microsoft product in (at no8) the list is Windows Home Server

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/146148/1-media-center-extenders.html

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Last Chance to Vote in The Media Center Show Awards

If you haven’t voted in The Media Center Show Awards, now is your last chance. The Vote page will be taken down Jan 2nd so you still have a couple of days. If you leave your email address when you vote you will be entered in the draw to win either mControl v2 from Embedded Automation, Media Center Communicator from One Voice or a Vidabox Remote keyboard from Vidabox

http://thedigitallifestyle.com/awards07/

Ed Bott gets a Media Center Extender and loves it

As the Extenders for Windows Media Center have finally started shipping Ed Bott has got his hands on one.  Ed’s first impressions seem very positive especially for things like startup time and quietness. The unit Ed got is the diskless DMA2100 which looks incredibly small and neat. I am looking forward to seeing the Extenders at CES

Performance on menus is fast, very fast. It takes about 10-12 seconds to go from a cold start to the Media Center interface. By contrast, the Xbox 360 had to first load its own interface, then log me in, and then finally connect to the remote system, a process that could easily take a minute or more. In operation, the system is faster as well. I’m using a Logitech Harmony remote to control the extender, and response to each button press is instantaneous. That wasn’t always the case with the Xbox 360.

http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=1840

The DigitalLifestyle.com Video Show #11 – 10ft Media’s Media Center System

The Digital Lifestyle.com video show is sponsored by Embedded Automation

10ft Media make Media Center systems for consumers and businesses, they even install systems in dentists. A few weeks ago they were on The Media Center Show and we chatted about their systems. In this video I take a look at one of their systems, I hooked it up to my 50" Sony LCD TV and my Denon AV receiver.

So take a look at the video where I look inside and outside the unit

http://images.video.msn.com/flash/soapbox1_1.swf
Video: The DigitalLifestyle.com Video Show – 10ft Media’s Media Center System

DIRECTTV and Sky Media Center hope? – Chris Lanier’s Blog

Chris Lanier has a glimmer of hope that Sky and DIRECTTV maybe coming to Media Center. He found a couple of jobs indicating that development has started.

There is nothing official but like Chris I am hoping that some new will be out at CES

According to the job posting, Microsoft is working with newly developed dual satellite tuners.  Among the basic features will be Pay-Per-View (PPV) access and H.264 HD.  These features aren’t that exciting if you understand how satellite works; you must have two-way communications for it to function so you are not going to run into the one-way OCUR issue and DIRECTV has moved to H.264 for all new HD.  That said, it is now confirmed that it will support both.

In addition, DIRECTV support in Media Center appears to support in-band EPG data.  Instead of using Internet-based EPG listings, it looks as if Media Center will use the EPG data currently delivered by satellite.  This is important for several reasons, but among the top is more accurate data delivered whenever needed.

In a second posting, Microsoft states that they working with satellite TV providers in both the US and in Europe, which could just mean Sky TV users will have something to look forward to next year as well.

 

First DIRECTV Tuner Details? – Chris Lanier’s Blog

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Zepto Helios TV with Media Center?

I reader sent me a link to Zetro’s latest Helios LCD TV and the interesting thing about this TV is that on the web site it say that you can add the option of a built in "Wireless MediaCenter". A flash demo on the site shows the TV displaying Windows Media Center via a wireless connection. It does not say its a Windows Media Center Extender so I don’t think its the same as HP’s MediaSmart TVs with Extender for Windows Media Center built in but it does look to offer the same functionality.

I wonder how they are doing this? My guess is Wireless video sending. Have a look at the site and see what you think.

http://www.zepto.dk/helios/site_com/main.html

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Update on Media Center Health Monitor

I thought I would do an update on the status of Media Center Health Montior. The Windows Client has been updated to fix a number of bugs and the Web service has been significantly updated. All the pages on the web site have been "Ajaxed"  so the main status page now automatically updates when there are any status changes and with it being Ajax there is no unsightly page refresh. I have also added RSS feeds to the application. There is an RSS feed for the status of your Media Center systems and an RSS feed for the events coming from Media Center. This means you don’t have to visit the web site to check the status you can use your favourite RSS reader (I have tested it with Google Reader and IE). With the RSS feed you can use the RSS feed Reader gadget for Windows Sidebar and get the status alerts there.

The 10 Foot Media Center UI only does not work on Extenders due to a security problem but I am re-writing it so that it will work and it will monitor multiple Media Centers

To register for the service go to Health.TheDigitalLifestyle.com, create an account and download the client software

Any feedback go to the forums or email me beta [at] Thedigitallifestyle.com

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Microsoft start big push for Media Center Extenders

I have a conference call today with Microsoft on Windows Media Center Extenders and managed to get some details:

Today Microsoft has started a marketing campaign explaining the benefits of Windows Media Center Extenders, so far the marketing of Extenders has been low key but now with the coming of CES Microsoft appear to be raising their profile. They are going to be advertising Extenders in numerous places on the web and they are even adding a title in Media Center promoting the Extenders.

Some additional details on the Extenders:

  • Dlinks DSm750 supports XP via their own Media Lounge software, so if you have XP you can still make good use of the Extenders (Sadly no availably on UK release but there are hints that the European devices will support 50Hz)
  • HP MediaSmart TVs with 1080p and Media Center Extender functions, built in wireless, again no European rollout plans
  • Linksys will be releasing their models in the UK and with 50hz HD output!!!

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