website hit counter February 2005 - Posts - Chris Lanier

February 2005 - Posts

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Zoom Update (KB890629)

The third mode of zoom does not always work as expected when watching live or recorded TV.

 

Quick Info

File Name: KB890629.exe

Download Size: 414 KB

Date Published: 2/28/2005

Version: 1

 

Overview

The third mode of zoom does not always work as expected when watching live or recorded TV. To enable zoom to work as expected, install the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Zoom Update and also install the KB891220 update.

 

Update Rollup 1 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is required prior to installing this update. You can install the update from Windows Update in the custom install area.

 

You will also need to install KB891220

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Help TGB Redesign MCE.TGB (10-foot Interface)

Help us design the new MCE.TGB!  If you don't already know, TGB has a 10-foot, MCE interface which can be accessed through the Help (?) button when you move your mouse in the Media Center window.  If you have any suggestions about what should be changed, added, or fixed please comment on the thread link above.

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Automate Your Home, From Your Couch With mHome!

I wish I had a setup where I could put this to the test!  There have been a number of home automation plug-ins for Media Center that have been announced/released over the past few months.  I really need to do a little round up of what all of them offer. :-)

 

Embedded Automation announced the introduction of its new mHome product line. The mHome product line is a set of products set at the intersection of the rapidly growing home automation and digital media center markets. Built around Microsoft's popular Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, mHome is the simplest way to enjoy digital media and control your home from one convenient location -- your couch.

 

Initially, Embedded Automation is offering two products as part of the mHome brand, but plans to expand this offering significantly over the next few months. The initial products are:

  • mControl is a home automation solution developed for use with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. mControl provides the easiest entry point for users interested in home automation.
  • mTheater provides a comprehensive platform for experiencing mControl and media center applications. Designed to fit into your entertainment center, mTheater is powerful, quiet and has plenty of storage room. mTheater has all the necessary software loaded and is tuned for an optimal home experience.
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Thomas Hawk Interviews Microsoft’s Media Center Bloggers - Part I

Thomas Hawk scored an interview session with Charlie Owen, Matt Goyer, and Sean Alexander!  Check out the first part of his interview at his blog.

 

Update:  Also check out the mirror now featured on The Green Button!

 

Part II

Part III

Part IV

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MCE Customizer Just About Done....

Olcay and Danee have put more work into there joint project of creating an MCE Interface for MCE Customizer.  Just like last time I posted about this the screenshots tell the story...

 

You can find more screenshots at mcesoft!

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The Niveus Media MCE Advantage!

I think it’s about time for me to blog about Niveus Media and what they bring to the table for Windows XP Media Center.  Niveus Media has been around for a few years, I first heard of them over at The Green Button and since then they have been putting out some great products featuring Windows XP Media Center Edition.  The reason I have really said much about Niveus is because there machines are a bit out of my current price range.  There is no doubt that the fact that Niveus is shooting for the high end market and the looks and price of there machines prove this.  However, just because I can’t afford one doesn’t mean that anyone looking to build or buy a Media Center machine should not take a look at them, hints this post.  Niveus Media is currently shipping two different editions of there Media Center machines.  They have the Rainier Edition and the Denali Edition.

 

The Rainier Edition has a silent, fanless construction and a nice black, small form factor that would look perfect in a AV cabinet or stack.  Starting at $3000 you get a HT P4 @ 2.8Ghz, 512MB RAM, 250GB HDD, DVD Recorder, Dual TV Tuner, and an ATI 9600XT.  Now, you can get an HP machine for much less then that with specs that are a bit better, however even HP’s Z500 series Media Center machines don’t look or sound like what Niveus ships out.

 

The Denali Edition is the top-of-the-line, best as they come Media Center PC that features the ability to tune and record HDTV through MCE 2005.  Not only is this the most top-of-the-line that Niveus Media produces, but it’s the most top-of-the-line from any OEM that I have ever seen!  You get the same a silent, fanless construction that the Rainier Edition offers, but forget about small form factor.  This thing is a beast!  With a shipping wait of 60lbs this thing is still ready to go into your AV cabinet.  Starting at $4000 you can get a HT P4 @ 3.2Ghz, 1GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Slot Load Dual Layer DVD Recorder, Dual TV Tuner, Single HDTV, NVIDIA GF6600GT PCI Express, with 24-bit/192Khz High Definition 8-Channel Audio.  Again, with all of that this thing is still slient, there are no fans in this system.

 

 

Both the Rainier Edition and the Denali Edition included Niveus Pocket Remote.  This was just released a few days ago and allows you to control your Media Center PC with your PocketPC.  They also include that standard Media Center Learning Remote Control if you don’t have a PocketPC or don’t want to use your PocketPC to control it.

 

If you are looking to build or a buy a high-end Media Center PC then I would suggest checking out what Niveus Media offers.  The company has won a number of awards and there systems just keep getting better.

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Xbox 360 + MCE = Media Bliss?

I haven’t yet talked about what has been deemed “Xbox 360”, but Jeremy Allaire has an interesting post about what it might mean for media distribution.  For those who have not heard anything about Xbox 360 here’s a quick overview for you.  Xbox 360 is the supposed name for the next Xbox, what most of us would think of as Xbox 2.  The problem is that Sony is soon be pushing Playstation 3.  It’s not hard to imagine that the uninformed consumer during the holiday season is going to go: Hmm  Playstation 3 vs Xbox 2?  Which is better?  Well, 3 is up on 2 so I must be better!  Okay, maybe or maybe not.

 

In terms of Xbox 360 and Media Center, Jeremy suggests a few things that would make it killer for media distribution is the home.  According to the post it will be a powerful HD-capable DVD player, networked Internet media device, a networked PVR, when used as a Media Center Extender, an unbelievable gaming platform, inexpensive, and NOT a PC or even attempting to be a PC.

 

All of this sounds great to me, the one thing I would be interested in is the “a powerful HD-capable DVD player”.  It has been suggested that the Xbox 360 will feature a standard DVD drive and not a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray drive, to (among other things) to keep the price down.  Maybe this might mean it will output HD over the network Extender, or maybe they will be smart enough to make this box upgradeable!  Upgrade the DVD drive to a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?  That’s a huge selling point in my opinion, however I don’t think I need any other reasons to purchase the Xbox 360.

Update for Conflict Management in Windows MCE 2005

The Update for Conflict Management in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 enables improved conflict management for users who schedule TV recordings through Media Center partner applications.

Overview
The Update for Conflict Management in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 enables improved conflict management for users who schedule TV recordings through Media Center partner applications.

Quick Info
File Name:
Q890760_xpmce_sp2_x86_us.exe
Download Size: 439 KB
Date Published: 2/25/2005
Version: 1

Update Rollup 1 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is required prior to installing this update.

Update for Conflict Management in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9b2d0cd3-24bd-4396-afcf-1590f18987a7&displaylang=en

Warning:  Just about everyone who has installed this has had problems with MCE after the fact.  It is suggested by me and those who have installed it that you hold off until the issue is resloved.  This is rather interesting when you think about it.  There must have been a conflict on how Conflict Management was handled, thus Microsoft released a fix that should of fixed the conflict with the Conflict Management system, which in turn, caused a conflict with Media Center.  ;-)

Update: Download pulled.  02/28/05

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Developers: Start Developing For MCE 2005!

With the recent Channel9 interview with Charlie and John, I'm hoping we will see even more people developing for MCE and here is a great offer for anyone looking to start!  It is clear that not everyone wants to purchase a new PC to get MCE 2005, especially if you intent is to develop.  This problem has now been sloved!  Xtras.Net along with MSDNSource have a deal that when you purchase an MSDN Universal Subscription you will get a TV Tuner card, Remote and IR Blaster, and AGP Video Card with your MSDN Universal Subscription.  You can also just purchase the Hardware Kit if you already have an MSDN Subscription or already have MCE 2005.

If you have never had or purchase an MSDN Subscription the price at first might shock you, but trust me it is well worth the price!  You get 10 licenses for development use for just about everything you could want from Microsoft.  Including Windows XP Professsional/Home/Tablet/MCE, Windows Server, Office, every SDK and DDK you could want and so much more.  The price is per-year and you can renew it at the end of the year if you would like.  The best is that the liceses don't expire after the year/subscription end, so you can kee using them.

If you are developing something for MCE 2005, let me know about it!

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MSN Remote Record for MCE2005 Released!

This will allow you to schedule TV recordings for your MCE over the web!  Check it out.

MSN Remote Record
http://tv.msn.com/tv/guide

MSN Remote Record FAQ
http://tv.msn.com/help/tv/rrfaq?

Thomas Hawk has a review up at http://thomashawk.com/2005/02/msn-remote-record-service-for-media.html

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eBay Plug-Ins for MCE On The Way!

Thanks to Danee for posting on the upcoming eBay plug-ins for Media Center! (Okay, I already knew about them, but...)  MCeBAY and mceAuction are both being developed right now.  Below is a screenshot from mceAuction, looks rather nice, doesn't it!

Related TGB Forum Thread - MCeBAY & mceAuction
http://www.thegreenbutton.com/community/shwmessage.aspx?ForumID=26&MessageID=93653

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Channel 9 MSDN Video Interview Media Center

Overview
Channel 9 interviews Charlie Owen and John Canning about Media Center and putting a computer in your living room.

Part 1 - 76MB

Part 2 - 115MB

Channel 9 MSDN Video Interview Media Center
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=a69c6b55-dda0-4e0d-b334-e2fb809c94a1&displaylang=en

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New Digital Media Blogger: Marc Policani

Marc is an ex-Microsoft employee who is now blogging!  His blog is featured around Digital Media, from news to research and everything in between.  Check it out below!

 

Marc Policani's Blog

http://spaces.msn.com/members/policani/

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Update Rollup 1 for Xbox Extender

You will be promoted to get the update if you have Xbox Live! upon your next login. If you don't have Xbox Live! follow the link below.  Thanks Michael!

Update Rollup 1 for Windows MCE Extender for Xbox
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=39479

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EXCLUSIVE: Windows Media DRM 10 Crack Updates. It's Real!

Follow up to Windows Media DRM10 Cracked? And Update For DRM-Enabled Media Players (KB891122)

 

Many news sites are now reporting that “Japanese hackers discovered a potential weakness in its copy protection technology”.  In case anyone would like to know a bit more about the issue here it is.  =)   The below statement was obtained though contacts at BuyDRM and explains the issue more in-depth.

 

“In the rapid expanding global content marketplace, DRM systems are becoming more and more crucial in the successful deployment of online digital media.  As the technology that powers an overwhelming majority of online pay-media, Microsoft’s DRM platform is an obvious target of criminals the world-wide. The “drmdbg” and “drm2wmv” tools represent the right of human expression however their release was a careless event having unfortunate implications for users the worldwide. Like many industries the paid content marketplace must adapt and heal and move on with the understanding that products like iTunes and DirectTV suffer from complete breaches of their security mechanisms to this day and they are still large revenue centers and jobs for many people the world-wide.”  -BuyDRM

 

The folks at BuyDRM have been kind enough to provide me with a screenshot that they have obtained through there research over the past few weeks.  This screenshot is from a magazine in Japan where this news first broke.  It is believed that there was also a CD to go along with this that housed DrmDbg.exe and drm2wmv.exe.  Distribution of these tools has ceased completely.  Do not expect to find links to them anywhere, the chances of this are very slim and you will not be finding them searching Google.

 

--Screenshot Removed--

 

Update: Windows Media DRM 10 has been cracked, however it appears that Microsoft is still trying to keep this semi-under wraps.  I have gotten word that they might not be big fans of the image that I had posted here yesterday.  So, I have decided to take it down.  In my honest opinion Microsoft is not handling this in the correct fashion.  Content owners, distributors, and customers all need to know about this.  I can't tell you have many people have asked about deplying content post DRM crack.  Hiding from what happened will not help Microsoft in any way, shape, or form.  If I’m thinking of distributing content with Windows Media Rights Management 10 I would want to know everything I could about this, not just that it might have happened and know nothing else about it!  Deploying content is not cheap, and content owners need to know that what they are paying for works as advertised!  Not only does this hurt Microsoft, but it hurts the many third party companies that deal with off-site DRM with Microsoft's Technologies.  What would I be able to tell a customer if this subject comes up?  Microsoft has no public information on it, do you think someone that is getting ready to drop hundards or thousands of dollors into a product or company would want to know?  Hell yes.

 

Needless to say, I’m rather disappointed how Microsoft is choosing to handle this, as are a number of people in the industry.  The least they could do is put out a Press Release about how it was cracked, and the steps they took to ensure there system is now secure.

 

Note: Any posts asking for the files will be deleted without notice.

Media Center Edition 2005 Reviewers Guide

CharlieO (New blog link) has an interesting post today about the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Reviewers Guide that is a 95 page PDF all about MCE 2005.  As Charile says “It's chock full of screenshots, illustrations and information.  If you want to know all about Media Center before buying OR have already bought and want to know what you've got this is the resource to have.“

 

Media Center Edition 2005 Reviewers Guide (Adobe PDF)
http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/0/A/90ACFD62-B5C5-4823-A18A-7C83374AA825/mce2005RG.pdf

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Intel Barebones HTPC

This was posted on AVSForum today and looks rather cool  It's a barebones system for Intel processors, includes some good spec's already and a might fine looking case.  Price is a bit high at $830.

Intel Entertainment PC Bare-bone System for Intel Processor
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=56-122-001&depa=1

Posted by chrisl | 3 comment(s)

Beyond Media/TV Getting an MSN Messenger Plug-in!

I just saw this over at HTPCNewsBrett, our resident BTV expert, sends word that he is cranking away on a new BM plugin. If you are addicted to MSN messenger like so many people are his new plugin is for you. So far it looks to be on par with the MCE plugin, which is high quality indeed!

Float Like a Butterfly Sting Like A Bee
http://htpcnews.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11008

Posted by chrisl | 2 comment(s)

New WMP 10 Release Updates To 10.0.0.3802

Microsoft has also released a new build of Windows Media Player with the build number of 10.0.0.3802.  The gold release a few months ago was 10.0.0.3646.  This release no doubt would fix the issues with Windows Media DRM, no word on what else might or might not fixed.  It would be nice if they have fixed a few of the large problems with WMP 10 that were also in WMP 9 and some of the ones left from WMP 8.

Windows Media Player 10
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=b446ae53-3759-40cf-80d5-cde4bbe07999&displaylang=en

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