Media Center Programs

Feb 07 2007

News - OS X and Linux: CableCARD, DIRECTV, Dish, HD DVD, Blu-ray?

To sum up Chris' post, he is basically saying that Windows is the only OS supported by CableCard etc because they got their ass in gear and found out what the content providers wanted for protection and gave it to them. Microsoft saw market potential and went after it, that is all there is to it. The situation will not get any prettier until the major studios can figure out what sort of business model they want now that TV/VCR combo isn't the only player in the market.

Blog Post:

Since OS X is more closed by nature, it will not be as hard to develop a playback solution for.  Apple basically handles all of its own drivers (since it controls the hardware), so that takes a little off of development.  Since QuickTime (or whatever DVD application they ship) really doesn’t work in a DirectShow-like fashion, they could get Blu-ray (or HD DVD) playback gong using the same sort of protected sandbox as InterVideo and Cyberlink do.  Part of the reason for PMP in Windows is to open up playback of this media to other applications, notably Windows Media Player and Media Center.  This way, it’s all integrated and it flows.  I hate the sight of PowerDVD opening on top of my Media Center UI just to play back an HD DVD.

No matter how they do, they will be forced to the same restrictions any other AACS-certified playback device/application.  They will have to respect ICT, they will have to respect HDCP (which brings up a good point, do they have any HDCP enabled components shipping?), etc.

 

Feb 06 2007

News - Is Meedio Dead?

It was a great disappointment to many HTPC builders when Yahoo bought the intellectual property from Meedio. However, by not actually buying the program and not shutting down the forums, a glimmer of hope was left for the Meedio crowd. Meedio clicked along on cruise control but with no active support and people starting to look else where for a Media Center solution it was only a matter of time before the shrrt was pulled over. Not content to let a powerful program go the way of the Dodo, an open source community was formed for a couple of reasons

  1. Support Meedio and continue to develop plugins
  2. Start work on a replacement core for Meedio called MeediOS

As work progresses on MeediOS, several plugins have been released on the Meedio site. Click the read more at the botton of the post of all the links to the recent modules that have been released for Meedio. However, many of the new plugins only work with a couple of the themes that are routinely updated.

If you are looking for a copy of Meedio, I am sure if you ask nicely we can find one for you. After the break you can find a few of the recent meedio plugins and screen caps.

 

MeediOS home page:

 

MeediOS is a new open-source project which is will recapture the magic of Meedio with sizeable improvements such as a WPF based UI built on the .NET Framework 2.0. See MeediOS plans/roadmap.

On this website, we also support the old Meedio product (not the Yahoo one), via our forums and wiki. Please take care to post in the correct Meedio and MeediOS forums. Our add-in repository, OpenMAID (v1) currently only hosts Meedio add-ins.

Feb 05 2007

News - Windows Home Server Blog

If you are interested in knowing more about Windows Home Server, head on over to their newly formed blog and see what it is all about. They already have quite a bit of data at the blog including several videos talking about WHS.

One of their most recent posts have to do with why they decided not to put exchange in WHS? Kudos to MS for opening up to the commumity and avoiding canned PR responses.

WHS (Windows Home Server) Blog:

"Why don't you put Exchange in Windows Home Server?"

There are a lot of reasons why the first version of Windows Home Server will not provide any e-mail functionality for a family:

  1. 86% of consumers in broadband homes with 2 or more computers are ""very satisfied" with their hosted e-mail solution.   
    • Interestingly, consumers usually have 2 or more "e-mail" accounts, one for communicating with friends and one for all of that other stuff (e.g. site registrations, e-commerce shipping information, etc.).
    • They often use the free e-mail accounts from their broadband provider and they also have a free e-mail account from 1 or more of the Big 4 (MSN Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, or Yahoo).
    • They like the convenience of a hosted e-mail solution.

 

Feb 02 2007

News - One Voice Announces Industry's First Xbox 360 Voice Control for Digital Media Access

One Voice Technologies, Inc., developer of 4th Generation voice solutions for the Telecom and Interactive Multimedia markets, today announced that the upcoming release of their Media Center Communicator™ v3 for Windows Vista will allow users to simply speak to play music, videos, watch recorded TV or play photo slideshows on Xbox 360 gaming consoles. One Voice's Media Center Communicator can control up to five Xbox 360 game consoles connected to a Windows Vista computer. This exciting feature enables users to easily share digital media throughout the home to an Xbox 360 game console using simple and powerful voice commands. Pricing and availability to be announced. For more information on Xbox 360, visit www.xbox.com or for connecting your Xbox 360 to Windows Vista, visit www.xbox.com/pcsetup.

"Imagine walking into your entertainment room and simply saying, for example; Xbox Play U2 or Xbox Play American Idol, and your Xbox immediately starts playing that content," said Dean Weber, president and CEO at One Voice Technologies. "With our technology you can control both the main Windows Vista computer along with controlling up to five Xbox 360 game consoles using voice commands. We allow the user to uniquely name each Xbox 360 in their home; for instance one might be named Family Room while another named Game Room. This allows the user to say - Family Room Play U2 or Game Room Play CSI Miami. This creates the ultimate digital home experience combining the power of today's PC's running Windows Vista with the flexibility of having up to five Xbox 360 game consoles in your home offering a complete networked digital media distribution and gaming environment. Now with the launch of Windows Vista and millions of existing Xbox 360 game consoles already in the market, this creates a very large opportunity for our company."

About Media Center Communicator

 

Imagine walking into your home and using your voice to tell your Media Center to play MP3 or iTunes music, call to order a pizza(1), set the thermostat or home theater lighting, play a photo slideshow, watch and record live TV, read and send E-mail or video chat with a friend. Media Center Communicator delivers on this vision today! For more information, please visit www.onev.com/mcc or for an online demonstration go to www.onev.com/videos/mccoverview.wmv

Feb 01 2007

News - BTV Support Coming Soon To Vista

Per the Snapstream Blog, A Vista compatible version will be coming down the pipe. Soon to be released Version 4.6 will containt a lot of fixes that will make it work within Vista. They hint at a few other fixes but give no details. In the mean time, check out our Version 4.5 review.

Beyond TV 4.6, the successor to Beyond TV 4.5, will begin shipping very soon now and, among other things, it will contain a broad set of fixes that make Beyond TV fully compatible with Microsoft Vista. And like other point releases, it will be a free upgrade for existing Beyond TV 4.x users. Keep checking back here for a more definitive Beyond TV 4.6 schedule!

BTV-060 BTVDVD-012

Jan 31 2007

News - Edit recorded TV shows in Vista Movie Maker

Microsoft makes MCE. Microsoft uses DVR-MS. Microsoft makes Movie Maker. All should work well, right? Well, FINALLY it does. On XP's movie creator, you had to change formats to edit it with the app. With Vista, it's finally included by default, so edit away! Keep in mind though, if all you want to do is edit out commercials, a program like DVRMSToolbox makes your life a LOT easier.

movie_maker
That's because Movie Maker now supports the proprietary DVR-MS format Windows uses for TV recordings. To edit a show, press Ctrl-I to import media, navigate to your Recorded TV folder and choose the one you want. Then drag the show down to the timeline and have at it. When you're done editing, use the Publish Movie option to save it in the desired format. This is great way to cut out commercials before archiving shows to DVD or copying them to, say, an iPod or Zune.

Read the rest here

Jan 31 2007

News - Everything You Wanted to Know About Vista's SideShow

Everything you needed to know might be a somewhat ambitous title. Not to take anything away from blogs as I am an avid reader, but sometimes blog posts tend to fall short in information. Even I am guilty of it from time to time. Just in case you have been living under a rock for the past few months, SideShow eneabled devices will allow you to pull information from Vista enabled computers whether they be on or off.

I think most of us are looking forward to SideShow enabled remotes.

From the article:

Or you could use a Sideshow-enabled laptop like Asus' W5Fe. Sure, you may think that color external display will zap away your battery life, but in reality it'll actually do the opposite cause rather than have to boot up your entire system to grab a small bit of info (like an address or phone number), all you need to do is drill through the controls on the external display and find the info you need in seconds rather than minutes.

 

sidehsow

 

Jan 30 2007

News - Vista "upgrade" drops compliance checking, requires old OS to install

This news is all over the web by now, I though I would post it just in case a few of you have not seen it. It looks like you are going to have to supply a complete OS install to upgrade to Vista. The times are over of anyone grabbing Grandma Bett's XP disc and getting a cheaper upgrade. I dunno, when I installed Vista, there was no way I was going to upgrade my XP install. There was so much crap in there my boot times were longer than my wife's period.

From the article:

Microsoft has been adamant in recent years that Windows is licensed per device and not per person. One practical ramification of this viewpoint is that the company typically does not allow users to install one copy of Windows across multiple machines, even if only one machine is in use at a time. According to Microsoft, only the full retail license of Windows Vista can be transferred to new devices (retail pricing here). OEM versions are ostensibly tied to motherboards, and upgrade versions are now technically tied to previous installations.

Jan 29 2007

News - Vista DRM Cracked?

I am always skeptical of DRM cracked claims until verfied more then a few times. Given all the fluff about Vista DRM over the last few weeks, its interesting to see it get another shot in the ole family jewels. The hack in question bypasses the PMP, which is designed to degrade the quality of playback without the proper hardware.

From the article:

Unfortunately, with almost 0% use for the open source community (which can use test signing mode for their drivers), documenting my method and/or releasing a sample might be viewed as an anti-DRM tool, and defintely a DMCA violation. Although used on its own, this POC doesn’t do anything or go anywhere near the PMP (I don’t even have Protected Media, HDMI, HD-DVD, nor do I know where PMP lives or how someone can intercept decrypted steams), a particularly nasty group of lawyers could still somehow associate the DMCA to it, so I’m not going to take any chances.

 

Jan 26 2007

News - Time Warner Runs Out Of HD DVRs

Wow, thank god we have so many alternatives to the cable co's own boxes....oh....what's that? The only alternative is an $800 TiVo? Really...hrmmm.....interesting. 

NewsChannel 9 in Syracuse (New York) posted a story that said Time Warner had no more HD DVR boxes for customers. Apparently, there’s a shortage of HD DVRs because the company that makes the boxes have been “overwhelmed by requests for them”. Time Warner says that new boxes should arrive in two to three weeks.

Read the rest here

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