Nov 22 2015

News - Another Copy Once CableCARD Player Dips Toe In

Microsoft WMC is dead, done, dusted. But that doesn't mean that HTPC DVR users have to give up on CableCARD, SiliconDust is trying to build a solution, and now JRiver has started a Kickstarter campaign to see if there's demand for a second Copy Once capable solution.

It's day 27 of 30, and they're looking for $100K (which sounds about right) in funding. If you're looking for a modern solution from an agile company with a proven track record of delivering constant improvement in HTPC software this could be $20 well spent.

Oct 29 2015

News - Wait, You Can Still Buy Windows Media Center Pack?


Frankly, it seems a bit unconscionable that Microsoft was still selling the Windows Media Center Pack after they euthanized the DVR software with the release, and nag-you-to-update, of Windows 10. Well this is coming to an end...

If you want to add Windows Media Center to your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 system via the addon media packs that Microsoft sell you will have to hurry. Microsoft are discontinuing the Media Pack and Pro Pack which includes Media Center on October 30th.


Jan 13 2015

News - Cable Labs Changes OCUR Specification Expanding Copy-Freely Content - MythTV Users Rejoice

CableCARD is the technology that enables HTPC users to build the ultimate DVR. The kind of multi-tuner DVR backed by insane amounts of storage that makes it easy to “meh” when a company proudly proclaims the capabilities of their – not quite as spec’ful – aspirational kit. It has drawback though, especially if you prefer not to use Microsoft Windows Media Center (WMC), because while it is relatively easy to communicate with a Digital Cable Tuner (DCT) using UPnP and get the streams over RTP in applications like MythTV, NextPVR, or SageTV none of these provide support for the bane of CableCARD – DRM. Depending on your cable provider, this is either a huge problem (i.e. Time Warner/Cox) or not that bad (Comcast), at least until recently when the specification changed to allow the card to not provide a CCI flag (the digital indicator which notes Copy-Feely/Once/Never) on for content which should be marked Copy-Freely causing the DCT to fall back to CGMS-A, APS and RC (noted in Annex A above) which in most cases have random or incorrect values assigned. Requiring DRM on a show where it shouldn’t.

Nov 27 2012

News - Ceton Echo Getting Android (ICS)

With retail availability just a few days away it turns out that Ceton still has a few tricks up their sleeves - with an announcement going out tonight that they will be adding the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) rev of  Android to the Echo. Not much is known about what that means exactly with queries around Play access gleaning nothing useful (I'm hoping that we'll get Netflix at the very least). Either way it sounds good.

Adding Android Support

Speaking of new features, one of the big projects we’ve been working on is adding the Android platform to Echo!  As you might imagine, having Android will give us lots of opportunity to extend the Echo in interesting new ways with more capabilities and apps.  Android is not included in this week’s update but we’re working hard to get it out as a Christmas present Smile   Since you’re probably wondering … it’s the Ice Cream Sandwich version.

Sep 28 2012

News - Ceton Companion Available on NOOK Tablets

Ceton Companion NOOK

The Ceton Companion app hasn't been out for that long, but it must have seemed like an eternity for NOOK users watching with envy while everyone else enjoyed managing their Windows Media Center lineups and discovering upcoming premiers from the convenient interface. Fortunately for them the wait is now over (along with some other things like iPhone 5 support) with the $5 app available in the B&N app store.

Now if only Microsoft could get their act together and certify the WP7 version that let's me use a password Smile.

Apr 17 2012

News - Windows Media Center Will Be Optional Add-On in Windows 8 Pro

Well it seems that Microsoft has answered the question that many devoted WMC users have been asking since the initial builds of Win8 were released to the public: "Will Media Center be included?" And the answer from Microsoft, buried deep within a blog post describing the various versions of Windows 8, is no. Instead it will be available as an optional add-on to Windows 8 Pro:

Windows 8 Pro is designed to help tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals obtain a broader set of Windows 8 technologies. It includes all the features in Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Windows Media Center will be available as an economical “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro. If you are an enthusiast or you want to use your PC in a business environment, you will want Windows 8 Pro. 

Windows 8 Team Blog


So now the question becomes will you upgrade to Win8 pro and get the media pack, or will you stay with windows 7? 


Dec 17 2011

News - Be On Time with Media Center Calendars

Media Center Calendars

MadeforMediaCenter.com has added a new Windows Media Center plugin to its catalog: Media Center Calendars. As the name implies, Media Center Calendars brings your calendar into WMC. The free plugin can import your Outlook 2010, Exchange, Windows Live, or Google calendars into WMC and you can even run an optional background app to provide appointment alerts. I've only used the plugin with my Google calendar and it definitely works well. The right side of your screen contains a view of the current month populated with events with more details of the selected event on the left. Unfortunately it seems you can only access your main Google calendar, so functionality might be limited for folks who utilize a number of added calendars as I do, but perhaps a future update will expand support. Current update plans already include weekly and daily views.  If you decide to take this slick new plugin for a spin, be sure to share your thoughts.

Ever wanted to check your Calendar from Media Center? Well you can now using Media Center Calendars, the app enables you to view your Exchange,Windows Live and Googlecalendars from the 10 foot UI. There is also a background service that will alert you with calendar events.

The Digital Lifestyle

Dec 17 2011

News - MPC MediaFile Premium Updated to Version 1.2

MPC MediaFile Premium, an application for organizing media files and metadata, has been updated to version 1.2. I started using MPC MediaFile a couple of months ago for sorting my disorganized TV episodes into a proper folder structure and have been pretty impressed with it. The new version adds several new features including support for VIDEO_TS folders, native Media Center DVD Library metadata, and metadata conversion for WMC DVD Library, Media Browser, and My Movies. The most interesting new feature is the ability to create RSS feeds populated with your media files. To be honest, I have no idea how I would use an RSS feed in my current HTPC setup, but it is definitely a differentiating feature. 

MPC MediaFile

MPC MedaiFile is a tool for organizing your movie and TV series collection. You can automatically create a folder structures, rename files and have them move to the desired location and today version 1.2 has been released.

The Digital Lifestyle

Dec 16 2011

News - Media Browser Store Now Offering Discounts to Repeat Supporters

In the run-up to the "Titan" release of Media Browser, the MB team launched the Media Browser Store where MB users could purchase premium plug-ins and themes. From the beginning, the Media Browser Store allowed developers to bundle together popular plug-ins for a discount. Now, the Media Browser Store has come up with another way to encourage users to buy even more plug-ins with a repeat-supporter discount. If you have previously donated to the project, simply put your supporter key into the appropriate box on the store page and you will receive a discount on your plug-in purchase. I think it might be time to buy Soultaker's sweet new Neo theme to give my Media Browser an Xbox 360/Metro look.

Media Store Supporter Discounts

Get just the features you want while helping further the development of media browser. 

Now with repeat-supporter discounts!

Paste your supporter key into the field on the main store page and receive special pricing on some premium features.

Media Browser

Nov 01 2011

News - Plex Updates Everything: New Server, New Clients, WMC Integration, MyPlex in the Cloud

Plex started life as a media center style program based on XBMC for the Mac. Plex is aiming a bit higher now. Over the last few days, while I was preoccupied with piles of Halloween candy, Plex was rolling out a series of updates to their growing lineup of applications. 

First out of the gate was myPlex. MyPlex is a cloud-based syncing and queuing service. With a myPlex account, Plex users can sign into any client and access any of their servers without any other setup necessary. On top of that, Plex has put together a bookmarklet for queuing up online video that myPlex will sync with servers and clients.

Once you’ve created a Plex account (and if you have a forums account, you already have one), you simply sign in on the Plex Media Server, and on your Plex client (e.g. iOS or Android), and you’re done. Super easy, and super awesome. Even if you have multiple Plex Media Servers in multiple locations, and multiple mobile devices, myPlex keeps track of everything in order to give you a seamless experience.

Plex Blox

Of course, myPlex wouldn't be as exciting without the clients and server to go with it, which is where Laika comes in. Laika, the codename for the new Plex client, has been released with support for Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and at last, Windows. The new client is based on the most recent stable version of XBMC, sports a new default skin, and adds support for myPlex. There is also a new smart queuing system for television shows that sounds promising.

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