website hit counter December 2005 - Posts - Chris Lanier

December 2005 - Posts

PVR Wire Interviews Aaron DeYonker (Media Center Project Manager)

PVR Wire interviews Aaron DeYonker, Media Center Edition Project Manager | “Following his "bring it on" challenge to Apple's Front Row at eHomeUpgrade, Aaron DeYonker, the project manager for Media Center Edition at Microsoft, kindly agreed to answer some questions over email for PVR Wire about his thoughts on Apple, TiVo, MCE and the future of the home media hub.”

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Migration Done!

The Community Server migration has been completed!
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Blog Downtime & Server Migration

Hopefully in the next few days (TOMORROW!), this blog (as well as all others on msmvps.com) will be migrated to Community Server.  This will fix the extremely annoying CAPTCHA (Human Proof) issues that we have had for sometime now, and the recurring “Server Unavailable” and “Runtime Errors”.  It also means that this blog will get a little bit of a facelift.  Please hang in there while all of this is getting fixed up!  Thanks.

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The Media Center Show #36

The Media Center Show #36 | 8th December 2005 (58mins 07secs) MP3 - 19.9MB (Download Here)

 

This week Ian Dixon talked with Justin Derry CEO of Mediapoint about Mediapoint Connect, a new service for transferring and sharing Photo’s and digital media with friends and family.

 

The Media Center Show Awards close next week so get voting!

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Media Center Sandbox

Media Center Sandbox (Via Ian Dixon) | Coming Soon…

 

Edit: Watch Charlie Owen's blog as well for more information about this website.  As far as I can tell, he is heading up the site.

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Device Manufacturer Update for eHome Infrared Receiver (KB905213)

Device Manufacturer Update for eHome Infrared Receiver (KB905213) | This driver update provides support for new device manufacturers of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 infrared receivers. This driver only needs to be installed if instructed to by your device manufacturer.

 

File Name: WindowsXP-KB905213-x86-ENU.exe

Version: 1.0

Date Published: 12/6/2005

Language: English

Download Size: 502 KB

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I'm Now a....

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Blog Downtime & Server Migration

Hopefully in the next few days, this blog (as well as all others on msmvps.com) will be migrated to Community Server. This will fix the extremely annoying CAPTCHA (Human Proof) issues that we have had for sometime now, and the recurring “Server Unavailable” and “Runtime Errors”. It also means that this blog will get a little bit of a facelift. Please hang in there while all of this is getting fixed up! Thanks.

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Why No HD-DVD Drive In Xbox 360?

Why Didn't Microsoft Ship the Xbox 360 with an HD-DVD Drive? | Alexander Grundner wants to know why Microsoft didn’t ship an HD-DVD drive with the Xbox 360.  I would suspect that one of the largest reasons is cost.  It is estimated that Microsoft loses $126 for every Xbox 360 sold, and that’s with a standard dual-layer DVD drive.  It’s not cost-effective at all to ship an Xbox SKU this year with an HD-DVD at a reason price.  The two options for that would be to wait to release the unit, or suffer the financial consequences.  Getting the Xbox 360 out before Sony’s PS3 was clearly a goal, so forget about waiting until it’s more cost-effective.  And at the ~$126 lose per system now, adding an additional components to the Xbox 360 would present too much of a loss.  However, Microsoft and Toshiba signed their “cross-patent license” deal so if cost wasn’t the issue, it was likely the lack of drives that would have been available for this years launch.  And again, they didn’t want to push back the launch until 2006 to match Sony.

 

Another reason for not including an HD-DVD drive is that Microsoft knows you will be able to make a Managed Copy of your HD-DVDs and will likely get those copies to stream to an Xbox 360.  I brought that point up 6 months ago and its re-enforced by the latest CableCARD information.  We know that Microsoft has some sort of plan (HDCP/HDMI Output?) to allow secure output of protected content on the Xbox 360, since it was approved by CableLabs.  I wouldn’t doubt that secure output of HD-DVD titles would be far behind that.

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Xbox 360 Extender FAQ

Xbox 360, Media Center Extender and Media Center PC FAQ | Charlie Owen put together a nice FAQ about Xbox 360 Extender functions.  I covers basic user information as well as developer information.

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The Media Center Show #35

The Media Center Show #35 | 2nd December 2005 (55mins 43secs) MP3 - 19.1MB (Download Here)

 

This week Ian Dixon talked with Joe Harris from DigitalDeck about home entertainment system for the connected home.  In addition, news with Orb Networks and an update on the Media Center Awards.

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Dual-Core Media Center PC Buildup

ExtremeTech's Dual-Core Media Center PC (Via HTPCnews) | Loyd Case at ExtremeTech is doing a Dual-Core Media Center PC build.

 

“While the CPU is certainly important, a lot of the work in a home theater PC is offloaded to other components to a certain degree. If you're using hardware-based TV cards (whether digital or analog) and an audio card with hardware DSP, then the CPU becomes less of an issue. Still, the processor can get pretty busy just managing system chores when you're trying to capture multiple video streams in DVR mode. So we decided we wanted a dual-core processor.”

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BusinessWeek Not Happy With Xbox 360 As Extender

Xbox: A Winner Only at Games | “The heart of Microsoft's vision is a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition, which can dispatch music, photos, live or recorded TV, or other videos to different devices on your home network. The new Xbox fits right in, pulling TV signals from your PC, for example, and showing them on any screen. It's simple to set up, and you can get it connected in less than five minutes. Although video quality suffers a bit from the compression required for moving it on the network, it's not bad, even over wireless -- provided you have a strong signal.

 

There are some shortcomings: The Xbox makes a racket -- especially its cooling fan. This is O.K. during game play but not when you're watching TV or listening to music. Worse, there are some basic flaws in Microsoft's grand vision. Media Center has very limited ability to handle high-definition programming. And if you have the Xbox sitting there next to your HD display and cable or satellite set-top box, you don't need the expensive Media Center setup”

 

I’m confused about the first point, I’m not aware of any “compression” applied to content in order to stream it.  I’m not exactly sure where this bit is coming from, but the files are only compressed in the exact form they are on the Media Center PC.  DVR-MS are MPEG-2 for example.  Yes, it’s compressed, but it’s not compressed for moving it on the network.


The noise the unit makes is subjective, however Charlie Owen says “when running the Media Center Extender software, it's virtually silent with the fans at their lowest setting. From my experience, it's quieter than the VCR in my kids playroom when running MCX.”

 

The article is correct about the shortcoming with HDTV, but I think they might have missed that Microsoft and CableLabs Announce Agreement to Enable High-Definition Digital Cable Programming on Windows-Based PCs.  A quick quote for those who don’t know: “These Media Center PCs, capable of supporting a CableCARD module, will allow consumers to enjoy one-way cable programming, including premium high-definition cable content, on their personal computer and throughout the home on compliant network-connected devices, such as Xbox 360”.  The Xbox 360 will be a device that is built on over the next year.  The functionality of the device, or connected devices, will improve and bring much wanted features to the consumer.

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Sub-$1000 HD Media Center Buildup

Kevin over at HD Beat is doing a buildup of a HD Media Center PCs for under $1,000!

 

“...it's time for us to take the WMCE plunge here at HD Beat. Just to make it really interesting, we're aiming to do this for under $1,000 so you can spend your dough on a nice HDTV set to go with that and your 360. Once we're up and and running we'll marry the WMCE and a 360 as well (if we can get our hands on one!) Sound like a plan? Watch for updates throughout the week on our "HD Beat WMCE project on a budget"!”

 

Intro: HDTV Media Center for Under a Grand?

Part 1: Sub-Grand MCE 1: The Base System

Part 2: Sub-Grand MCE 2: More Memory and Better Graphics

Part 3: Sub-Grand MCE 3: Add the HDTV Tuner Card

Part 4: Sub-Grand MCE 4: Configuring the PC for HDTV

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