website hit counter August 2005 - Posts - Chris Lanier

August 2005 - Posts

CNET on PVP-OPM In Vista, and Cory Doctorow on PVP-OPM

Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows (CNET) | CNET has a piece of PVP-OPM (aka Protected Video Path) Also they have an FAQ on what it actually means to you.

 

Cory Doctorow (EFF) adds his opinion, and thinks PVP-OPM limits what you can do with your music and movies.  As usual, Cory is looking at this from the fact that DRM doesn’t work and is not needed (He’s generally right about that).  Microsoft, on the hand is looking at it the smart way from a business standpoint.

 

People don’t want to be limited on what they can do with their media, and without PVP-OPM in Vista, they don’t get to play the media at all!  How’s that for a limit, Cory?  Playing the media needs a system that fits what the copy protection system deemed secure, without it, the media can’t be played.  We just saw that Media Center PC’s have accounted for 43% of all desktop PC sales since July 9th, 2005.  As soon as Intel launches their Viiv-based PC’s, this number will jump even more.  When people buy a PC they want to be able to play what they have purchased.  This includes next-gen DVD’s like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, along with capturing current content from something like a CableCARD.  None of which can happen without PVP-OPM.  Too bad Viiv-based PC’s will not be able to do this upon launch.

 

Other people keep telling me Vista will drive them to Linux and other “open” OS's, it's going to suck when they can't play the content they have purchased and they can't capture the content they might already pay for!

Media Center PC Sales Skyrocket in U.S. Retail Market

Sales of Media Center PCs have skyrocketed since July 9, according to a recent study by Current Analysis. For the week ending August 20, 2005, Media Center PCs accounted for 43% of all desktop personal computers sold in the U.S. retail market, based on data from a sampling of U.S. retailers.

 

Accounting for this phenomenon was a decline in pricing for Media Center systems, with the average price dropping below $900 for the first time ever. In addition to the more affordable price points, Microsoft has lead the charge to promote Media Center PCs at select retailers in an attempt to generate a higher level of interest for the platform.

 

Senior Director of Research, Matt Sargent states “The desktop market is in dire need of anything that will differentiate it from laptops, which have been stealing sales over the last year. Media Center, with its focus on performance-centric tasks, such as manipulating pictures, video and audio content, is one key differentiator. The continued success of the desktop form factor is reliant upon the success of Media Center--this is the reason we are seeing leading manufacturers such as HP rapidly shift their desktop offerings to Media Center.”

 

Additional results of the study:

 

71% of the Media Centers sold in the week ending August 20 did not have a TV tuner.

53% of the Media Centers sold in the week ending August 20 utilized AMD’s Athlon 64 processor.

67% of the Media Centers sold in the week ending August 20 used a 250-GB hard drive.

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Vista Media Center SKU? Again

Doesn’t look like anyone is actually sure if there will be a separate Media Center SKU or not!  We have quotes from Steve Ballmer implying it will be a separate SKU, and now we have something from HEXUS.net saying “The biggest news which we have heard is that when Windows Vista ships it will be Media Centre enabled as standard.”

 

Of course, Media Center in every Vista PC would be a great thing!  The question is still out on if that will actually happen.  Bring on the official Press Releases!

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The Media Center Show #22

The Media Center Show #22 | 25th August 2005 (38 mins 53sec) MP3 - 13.3MB (Download Here)

 

This week Ian Dixon talked with Doug Berrett, developer of WebGuide3 the remote scheduler for Media Center.  They talked about what is does, how it does it and future developments.

 

Remember, Vote for The Media Center show on Podcast Alley!

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Thoughts on Intel Viiv Technology

Today, Intel publicly announced there new Viiv Technology that will bring further move along the PC as a home entertainment device.  Here’s some of my thoughts on what Viiv means to Media Center, the PC in your home, and what it actually means to you!

 

Viiv is the start of making the PC the center of home entertainment, and it allows this to happen in several form factors.  For the person will wants a PC in the living, there will be form factors for you that are “similar to a stereo component or DVD player” and also traditional desktop and tower form factors for the person who would rather not have a PC in there living room, but instead use more traditional Consumer Electronics (CE) devices thought-out their homes.

 

All PC’s based around Viiv will ship with a remote control, dual-core processors, platform specific software and of course wired (wireless option) networking built in.  You can compare Viiv Technology to Intel’s Centrino Technology.  At its most basic marketing form, it’s a collection of different technologies all wrapped together to provide the consumer with the proper functionally for their tasks.  With Centrino its wireless network adaptors, Pentium M processors and everything else needed to provide the consumer with the best mobile experience.  With Viiv, it’s a remote, dual-core processor, and everything else needed to provide the consumer with the best home entertainment experience.

 

Intel also said that all PC’s that ship with Viiv Technology will include Windows XP Media Center Edition.  This will surely be a boost in sales for Microsoft for the MCE platform, plus consumers will get to bring a new world of growing opportunities with Media Center Extenders, much like the built-in Extender that will ship with the Xbox 360.

 

Viiv Technology is the start of making the PC act and look like a CE device.  While Intel has announced to technology now, it will take time before the average consumer is ready to accept it as a CE device.  This is a good reason why they are making several form factors as I talked about above.  According to Intel, after the initial boot-up of the PC, Intel Quick Resume Technology is going to allow the PC to instantly be turned on or off with the touch of the button.  It is my guess that this ability will extend to the included remote with the machine, giving the consumer a CE-like experience with a PC.  5.1 or 7.1 audio will also ship with all Viiv PC’s, most likely using Intel’s HD Audio platform.

 

Much like Media Center PC’s currently, a TV tuner will be an optional device to be included on Viiv-based PC’s.  It’s my guess that after the first 6 months or so of the Viiv platform being on sale that most machines will ship with at least a single TV tuner.  The space saved with interested components will most likely free up expansion slots for TV tuners.

 

Intel also said that Viiv-based PC’s will “connect easily to the latest online entertainment services, enabling movie and music downloads, as well as access to the latest games -- all viewed and played from the comfort of the couch.”  I’m assuming that this functionally comes from Media Center, not so much Intel’s side.  The current Online Spotlight in Media Center offers much of this functionally.

 

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting bits from Intel today is that Viiv Technology will include an “integrated media server engine”.  According to Intel this means Viiv-based PC’s will be able to “reformat various digital content files so they can be viewed on a selection of devices verified by Intel to work with Intel Viiv Technology-based system.”  Update:  It's supposed to be “reformated” to be DLNA Compliant. (EDIT: Media Center Extenders are DLNA Compliant)  Very little information is available on this specifically, my guess is that this means Viiv-based PC’s will ship with a hardware encoder onboard, most likely encoding to WMV9.  This will likely be software assisted (dual-core, a bit extra to burn for transcoding digital content), and would play into Microsoft’s PlaysForSure digital content strategy.  This is backed up by Intel saying “Additionally, we [Intel] worked with the PC, CE and content industries to set interoperability specifications so that consumers can easily move a variety of online media from room to room and between various devices in the home network.”  This is the exact idea behind PlaysForSure.  This would also be the perfect match for Microsoft's current batch of Media Center Extenders, which don't support decode of DivX, XviD, MPEG-4, etc.  This content would be transcoded in real-time (or near real-time) to WMV9, then spit out to the network for playback on the device. 

Xbox 360 Media Center Extender Demo

Xbox 360 Media Center Extender Demo (Via Media Center PC World) | “Microsoft has been showing off the Media Center Extender functionality of Xbox 360 at IDF…”

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Intel Unveils New Platform Brand for Digital Entertainment in the Home

A new kind of personal computer (PC) will premiere in homes early next year when Intel Corporation introduces Intel Viiv technology designed to enrich consumers' enjoyment of digital entertainment.

 

Working together with a variety of Intel-verified consumer electronics devices, online services and software -- including movies, music, photos and games -- Intel Viiv (rhymes with "five") technology, disclosed for the first time at the Intel Developer Forum today, will help usher in a new era of entertainment choices for consumers. PCs based on Intel Viiv technology will be easy to use with a remote control and will be powered by a suite of Intel technologies, including a dual-core processor, chipset, platform software and wired networking capabilities.

 

"Intel Viiv technology is our first platform designed from the ground up for the digital home, where consumers are passionate about the idea of accessing their content anytime, anywhere in their home on a number of devices," said Don MacDonald, vice president and general manager, Intel Digital Home Group. "Following the success of Intel Centrino mobile technology, we are applying a similar branding strategy to our new digital home platform composed of Intel's latest PC technologies. Intel Viiv technology marks the intersection point where innovation, a multitude of digital devices, first-class entertainment and state of the art technology converge to put consumers in more control of experiencing digital entertainment on their own terms."

 

The Intel Viiv technology brand name communicates the excitement, vibrancy and vividness of the latest technologies that enable people to have a great entertainment experience in the home.

 

Consumers will be able to get Intel Viiv technology-based systems in a variety of form factors -- from small, sleek consumer electronic-type designs (similar to a stereo component or DVD player), to more traditional desktop or tower designs.

 

Intel also integrated consumer electronic features into the Intel Viiv technology platform to make it easier to use and contribute to the overall entertainment experience. All PCs based on Intel Viiv technology will ship with a remote control, the Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition operating system and media software that lets consumers interact with their PC in the same way they operate a TV. Consumers are enabled to watch a movie or play a game while also downloading the latest music, all from one integrated system using a remote control.

 

Read Full Press Release

Posted by chrisl | 3 comment(s)

The Latest and The Best of Media Center PC's

The Latest and The Best of Media Center PC's | Robb Report Home Entertainment Magazine has an interesting article about the “Rise of Machine's”, or what you can also consider The Latest and The Best of Windows XP Media Center Edition PC’s.  Featured systems include Okoro Media Systems, Niveus Media, Alienware, and VoodooPC.  [Thanks Isidore!]

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Interview with Josh Goldman (CEO of Akimbo Systems)

Interview with Josh Goldman (CEO of Akimbo Systems) | “Akimbo CEO, Josh Goldman, recently spoke to [itvt]'s Tracy Swedlow about the company's plans to distribute its programming on Microsoft's Windows Media Center and other platforms; about announcements it expects to make over the coming months; about its strategy to differentiate itself from emerging competitors in the broadband programming space, such as TiVo; about how a videoblog called Rocketboom is proving to be one of the most popular offerings on its service; and more.”

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Meedio Releases DVR Application to Record HD ATSC, DVB-S, and DVB-T Digital TV Broadcasts

Meedio Releases First Commercial DVR Application to Record High Definition ATSC, DVB-S, and DVB-T Digital TV Broadcasts | Meedio LLC, a leading provider of software for digital lifestyles released a free update to the Meedio TV digital video recorder (DVR) software today which adds support for viewing, time-shifting and recording standard and high definition digital TV broadcasts from ATSC and DVB sources. Meedio TV is the first commercial Windows® DVR to record digital TV from ATSC Over The Air (OTA), DVB-S, and DVB-T sources. Meedio TV includes a free electronic program guide (EPG) and is available at www.meedio.com for only $39.99 with no monthly service fees.

 

Until now, consumers who wanted to take advantage of their existing Windows PCs to watch and record ATSC and DVB broadcasts were forced to have a commercial system builder replace their entire operating system with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE). With Meedio TV, however, users of Windows XP Home, Pro, or MCE can download and install a standalone application on their existing PC in just a few minutes.

 

Meedio supports a number of analog TV tuner devices and expects to support additional devices with each new release. Today's release adds to this growing list with support for the following digital TV tuner devices:

  • ATI HDTV Wonder
  • AVerMedia AVerTVHD MCE A180
  • DVICO FusionHDTV 5
  • Hauppauge WinTV Nova-T
  • Hauppauge WinTV Nova-T USB2
  • TechnoTrend DVB-S and DVB-T
  • VBox DTA 151

Meedio TV is also available as part of the Meedio Pro bundle for only $79.99. Meedio Pro is a complete digital media center that enables users to enjoy digital photos, music, movies, TV, news, weather, and games through a customizable full-screen interface displayed on a TV and navigated with a remote control. Meedio Pro also includes free access to the Meedio Add-Ins Directory which contains over 200 third-party themes and plugins.

Posted by chrisl | 1 comment(s)

Media Pack for Windows XP N (KB886540)

Update for Windows XP (KB886540) | Installation of the Media Pack will ensure that software programs and Web sites that rely on Windows Media Player, as defined by the European Commission, work properly. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. Once you have installed this item, it cannot be removed.

 

Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP Service Pack 2 (Windows XP Home Edition N & Windows XP Professional N)

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Why New “Interoperable DRM” Doesn’t Work

The concept of Interoperable DRM is great!  Access all your protected anywhere, on any device.  Licensing fees are generally cut for makers/users of the devices and thus everyone wins, right?  Wrong.

 

If an Interoperable DRM standard had been set 5 years before the big boom (if you can call it that) happened with online music and video, Interoperable DRM would have worked.  The problem now is rather simple, unless the entire market adopts these Interoperable DRM standards, the market doesn’t change.  If Apple doesn’t adopt Interoperable DRM for their iTunes Music Store, Interoperable DRM has failed to accomplish its goal.  If Microsoft doesn’t adopt Interoperable DRM to be included in WMRM, Interoperable DRM has failed to accomplish its goal.  If the content owners selling this content online don’t adopt Interoperable DRM, it has yet again to accomplish its goal.  The content owners generally side with either Apple or Microsoft (or both in some cases) to license solutions that have already been highly developed and are supported in devices already.  If the whole market doesn’t adopt the Interoperable DRM standard, we just get back to the problem that Interoperable DRM was supposed to fix!

 

Interoperable DRM was a great idea, but the market didn’t accept it, when it mattered the most.  Even if Apple were to take up Interoperable DRM now, are we to think that their iPods would all be updatable to actually work with this Interoperable DRM?  Are we to think that all the PlaysForSure devices out there can also magically be updated?  The fact of the matter is they can’t always be updated, and they won’t be by enough of the market to make a difference. Again, killing what Interoperable DRM was supposed to fix!

 

Apple and Microsoft rule the online music world, they get the power to pick what happens.  Neither company is doing the job they should have, but that’s to be expected with Apple and Microsoft trying to complete again one-and-another.  Apple has the market share with iTMS and the iPod locking you into FairPlay.  After this became clear, Microsoft went to creating this PlaysForSure campaign so they could market the closest thing we have to Interoperable DRM.  Neither idea/strategy works as a win for the consumer, but Interoperable DRM doesn’t fix that unless all companies currently involved adopt it.

 

Microsoft rules most of the online video world, and Apple has yet to make a formal announcement about entering the market.  WMRM and PlaysForSure fits into the online video distribution market, and a change in this means all devices must be updated and that’s not going (and can’t) happen.

 

However, neither company benefits from adopting it, which is why in the end, they will not adopt it.  If Microsoft adopts it and Apple doesn’t, this doesn’t help people buying from the iTMS and being able to play it on their device that isn’t made by Apple.  If Apple adopts it and Microsoft doesn’t, this doesn’t unlock me from playing tracks purchased from Apple on non-iPod devices.  The device market can add support for these Interoperable DRM standards, but if there aren’t any big names in the online content game selling content protected with it, it’s just an additional cost to the user that isn’t needed.  No matter how small the cost is, it’s still too much if you can’t take advantage of it.  Then you run into the fact again that current devices can’t necessary be updated to allow the Interoperable DRM standards to actually be used.

 

There are two cases in which the consumer can get an Interoperable DRM-type of system.  This means Microsoft and Apple (and all other players) coming together and making a single shop where you can purchase all the media with the exact same rights, using the different DRM standards.  You can mix FairPlay, WMRM, and whatever new Interoperable DRM standard makes its way into the market.  In my opinion, this isn’t going to happen anytime soon, so don’t get your hopes up.  The other case that would work is for the market to adopt these new Interoperable DRM standards, and mix them with what they have now.   Again, not likely happen.

 

Yet another case where the consumer loses, but new Interoperable DRM are not what is going to fix it.  If anyone has ideas about how adding another completing DRM standard to the mix will help consumers, please post exactly how it would work.

Posted by chrisl | with no comments

CyberLink Launches Media Center MPEG-2 Software Encoder

CyberLink Corp., a leading developer in providing integrated solutions for the Digital Home, announced today the development of an MPEG-2 software encoder plug-in for the Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (MCE) and its upcoming update Rollup 2 version.  This plug-in drastically reduces costs for tuner card manufacturers by avoiding reliance on hardware chipsets when recording TV content with  MPEG-2 video and audio quality.

 

The major trend in the consumer PC market is the ability to record live TV content. Previously, TV tuner cards utilized hardware encoding due to insufficient chipset speed and computing power, which curtailed demand and lowered margins for manufacturers and system integrators. However, CyberLink has developed an alternative and cost-effective solution for hardware manufacturers and system integrators the MPEG-2 video and audio software encoder plug-in for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. This software solution drastically reduces the dependency on costly hardware encoding chipsets.

 

"As computing power increases, reliance on powerful, quality, but yet inexpensive software applications and encoders, such as CyberLink’s MPEG-2 encoding solution will exponentially increase," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. “CyberLink’s expertise and specialization in digital video software technology puts us at the forefront of digital TV recording and playback technology, ensuring our OEM partners have the most cost-effective yet quality solutions for adapting to the industry’s current and foreseeable demands. End users will also greatly benefit from the superb reliability and performance of CyberLink’s MPEG-2 software encoder.”

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PlaysForSure Portable Device and Service Test Kits

PlaysForSure Portable Device Test Kit | Microsoft has established the PlaysForSure program to establish compatibility between music or video device and online stores that sell digital music and video using Windows Media technologies. If you are designing or manufacturing a portable media player device, you can use the PlaysForSure Portable Device Test Kit to verify that your device is compliant with the requirements of the PlaysForSure logo program. Please note that you must have a fully executed PlaysForSure Logo License Agreement in place with Microsoft prior to using the logo on your products or marketing materials.

 

PlaysForSure Service Test Kit | Microsoft has established the PlaysForSure program to establish compatibility between music or video devices and online stores that sell digital music and video using Windows Media technologies. If you have a music or video store that utilized Windows Media Technologies, you can use the PlaysForSure Service Test Kit to verify that your service is compliant with the requirements of the PlaysForSure logo program. Please note that you must have a fully executed PlaysForSure Logo License Agreement in place with Microsoft prior to using the logo on your products or marketing materials.

The Media Center Show #21

The Media Center Show #21 | 17th August 2005 (1 Hour 37sec) MP3 - 20.8MB (Download Here)

 

This week Ian Dixon talked with Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group about the TV industry, the Movie industry, the music industry, Vista, extenders and oh we just fit in Media Center :)

 

Also winners of mNewsCenter, a tip from Jason Hinchliffe, and of course some Media Center news.

 

Remember, Vote for The Media Center show on Podcast Alley!

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Niveus Media Denali Edition First To Pass ISF RL Certification

The Niveus Media Center – Denali Edition receives official notice as the first Media Center PC to pass Imaging Science Foundation Research Labs Testing | Niveus Media, Inc., manufacturer of media entertainment devices for the high-end audio/video market, has received Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) certification that the Niveus Media Center - Denali Edition meets the metrics and specifications that define the best video performance available for consumers. Since 1994, ISF has provided comprehensive testing and certification of performance quality, and a publicly recognized logo program for high-end consumer electronics products that consumers identify with superior quality.

ISF RL certification guides consumers to the very best hardware for home entertainment systems running Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. These products are designed for artifact-free film and sports viewing, superb color fidelity, quiet operation and other home-entertainment-based quality parameters. ISF RL services include detailed measurement of video processing for TV, DVD, and high-definition content to ensure it meets the highest customer expectations.

While several PC components have received ISF RL certification, this is the first instance of an entire media center PC receiving the ISF’s stamp of approval. “We are very proud to have our Denali Edition be the first system to successfully complete this rigorous certification,” said Tim Cutting, President & CEO of Niveus Media. “Media Centers are continuing to infiltrate the living room and with the number of High-Definition displays continuing to grow, it’s important that the video quality meets and exceeds a user’s expectations.”

“We are very excited that Niveus Media has designed its Windows XP Media Center Edition PC to meet the high-quality benchmarks set forth by ISF,” said Dave Mendlen, Director of Windows Consumer Marketing at Microsoft Corp. “By doing so, Niveus is demonstrating its commitment to delivering high-quality digital media to customers.”

“We have multiple high-end clients that have been anxiously awaiting the first ISF RL certified Media Center,” said Joel Silver, ISF RL President. “At CEDIA Expo 2005 (Indianapolis, Sept 9-11, www.cedia.net), they will get that opportunity, as the Denali Edition will be driving the most prestigious HDTV systems on the planet in front of the top installers in the world. This upcoming show will be a tour de force for Niveus Media, Imaging Science Research Labs and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.”

The Denali Edition combines high-end audio/video styling with Niveus Passive Cooling technology, making this fanless system the quietest Windows XP Media Center Edition system on the market.

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Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Price for Europe and North America

Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Price for Europe and North America: Starts at $299.99 U.S./€299.99/£209.99 | Ending weeks of speculation about which upcoming video game platform will give gamers the most bang for their buck, today at the German Games Convention, Microsoft Corp. revealed that consumers can get their hands on Xbox 360™ — the most powerful and feature-packed next-generation video game and entertainment system — for as little as $299.99 U.S./€299.99/£209.99 starting this holiday season. For gamers who want to experience the ultimate digital entertainment thrill ride, Microsoft also announced a model with hundreds of dollars worth of accessories for $399.99 U.S./€399.99/£279.99, giving consumers the definitive entertainment experience at an unbelievable value right out of the box.

The Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Core System — along with an impressive lineup of high-definition game titles from the world’s best publishers and developers — will make their debut in North America, Europe and Japan in time for this Christmas holiday, several months ahead of the competition. Although details for the Japan launch will be addressed at the Tokyo Game Show in September, the unprecedented three-region launch signifies an industry first. The Xbox 360 platform will deliver the most powerful console, the best games, the next generation of the Xbox Live® service, and amazing digital entertainment experiences never seen in console entertainment.

“The sheer entertainment value of Xbox 360 cannot be overstated,” said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer for Microsoft. “While the system has the muscle to power awe-inspiring graphics, audio and online play, it’s also got the intelligence to serve as a one-of-a-kind entertainment device that plays CDs, DVDs, MP3s and digital content from an array of devices, including portable music players and digital cameras.”

With its built-in Ethernet port and free Silver level of service right out of the box, Xbox 360 also connects players to Xbox Live, the premier global online console games and entertainment network. With Xbox Live, gamers can chat with friends online, build and share gamer profiles, send and receive text and voice messages, and access Xbox Live Marketplace for new content such as game demos, trailers and casual games from Xbox Live Arcade. Subscribers to the Gold level of service will also enjoy access to online multiplayer gaming in their favorite games, as well as great promotional programs such as worldwide tournaments, the chance to play online with their favorite celebrities, and opportunities to win big prizes.

Read Full Press Release

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Vista Media Center SKU?

There will be a Media Center SKU (Ian Dixon) | Ian Dixon points to an IT Weekly article with some points from Steve Ballmer including the articling saying…“Other editions for home users, tablet PCs and media center entertainment PCs would join the premium editions of the upgrades.”

Posted by chrisl | 1 comment(s)

Disable Most Recently Used Media In MCE 2005 (Or Add Functionality!)

Some people might like how Media Center remembers your most recently played media on the Start Page.  I however, hate it!  Here's how you can disable it, and Matt you can add this to your pile of suggestions for the next version of TweakMCE.  I know it can be done now. ;-)

 

  • Start | Run | Type “regedit”
  • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\MRU
  • Delete the current MRU objects for PicturesMRU, VideosMRU
  • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\Audio\MRU
  • Delete the current objects
  • Right click on HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\Audio\MRU and choose Permissions
  • Click on Advancted
  • Highlight your Username and click Edit
  • Check “Deny” for Set Vaule
  • Right click on HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\MRU\PicturesMRU and do the same
  • Right click on HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\MRU\VideosMRU and do the same.

While this will disable it, the same techniques can be used to create static entries.  So, say there is a playlist or album you want to always have easy access to on the Start Page, use the exact same method.  The only difference will be to first delete the MRU objects, but then go into Media Center and play the media you wish to have static, and then Deny the Permissions.

 

These apply on a per-user basis.  Meaning, if you have many user accounts on your Media Center system, you need to do the process above in all accounts.

 

Notes:  This is clearly not supported by Microsoft and is given “AS IS” for you to possibly screw over your system.  Always backup your system before making any registry changes.  Don't blame me if something gets screw up, you should of had a backup.  :-)  Having said that, you should be fine, just don't Deny Permissions to anything else you see!  Not allowing yourself to make other registry changes means other settings would not be saved.

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