Defining The Fight
There has been a bit of hub bub in the Media Center world with Chris Lanier lashing out against Microsoft for lack of online content and the apparent lack of market focus Media Center has. Posts can be found on his blog here . With that came a number of response from various other ehome blogs such as Ian Dixon and Brent Evans and even had Charlie Owen from Microsoft commenting.
I am not really here to rebuke or provide agreement with articles, rather I would like to try and define the fight and provide perspective. As always, I would like to encourage everyone not to worry to much about marketing. Ultimately the software will be what you make of it.
Regarding the online content to the TV. I am trying in my mind to define the battle that has been raging but from where I am sitting I am a few days early to a skirmish that has yet to take place and the main battle is still a couple of years away. It is easy to get excited when we see websites like Hulu pop up and alpha versions of software pop up to take advantage of it. As of right now, there are no commercially available software that enables online content. Its easy to compare XBMC to Media Center but they are two different animals. One with licensing agreements, one with out. Without a doubt online media is in its infancy (maybe toddler) years.
On the flipside, its easy to get frustrated when a gaming platform gets alot more love. Media Center should be a part of the Xbox experience not in addition to it. The marketing opportunities are far greater.
The battle for HD content from a TV source provider is roughly a tie between Windows 7 and SageTV. One has CableCards and the other has the HD PVR. I fully expect to see HD PVR support as it is only a matter of driver support at this time. Hauppauge would be silly do let this market go. It certainly isn't the cheapest or best option in the world but it certainly works.
The extender front basically became a non-issue with Windows 7 support of many mroe CODECs. The 360 is a very viable extender and should support most anything you throw at it.
There are many ways Microsoft can improve the Media Center product and I will outline my thoughts as I spend more time with Windows 7 and what it has to offer. Do keep in mind that we are in beta mode :).
What do I think of TV on the PC marketing? Eh? The marketing people fell asleep. Why would I use a 10' UI to navigate anything on a desktop when I can do it much more efficiently via the Zune software or another 3rd party product.
I don't believe the battle has even started and I am looking at throwing a few swings in the coming months ;)
Random suggestion for the day. Microsoft buying Netflix.