website hit counter May 2006 - Posts - Chris Lanier

May 2006 - Posts

S1Digital Launches Media Center Mini Edition (The Mighty Mini)

S1Digital, builder of premium digital home entertainment systems, today announced the launch of the Media Center Mini Edition, a new generation of Media Center that strikes a balance between portability, space and power to deliver a digital theater experience anytime, anywhere.

About the size of a book, the Media Center Mini Edition is a full featured Media Center and PC designed to meet all of your home entertainment needs.  Powered by an Intel Core Duo processor, the Mini runs Microsoft Media Center Edition 2005 and is Intel Viiv Technology compliant.  Why settle for less when the Mini Edition is the perfect way to extend content around the home or as an on-the go digital media solution.

Mini Edition uses include:

  • Play back all of your primary Media Center content in another room, including recorded TV, movies, videos and music.  Great for the kitchen, bedroom or any room where space is limited.
  • Add a touch screen interface for simple control without a keyboard, mouse or remote control.  Using S1Digital’s soon to be released home automation solution, control your lights, A/C, security and other home theater equipment.
  • Load your movies, music and recorded TV and take it with you.  Don't forget the Mini Edition is a powerful PC as well so you can surf the Internet, play games and do your work (although we don't recommend you do your work while on vacation).

“We’ve had customers put the Mini Edition on a yacht, in their kitchens, even in the bathroom,” said Paul Heitlinger, S1Digital founder and CEO.  “With a Media Center this small, the possibilities are up to you.”

Media Center Mini Edition Specifications:

  • Windows Media Center Edition 2005 with Rollup 2
  • Intel Core Duo T2300 (1.66GHz) Dual Core (Yonah) CPU
  • 945GM + ICH7M-DH With Intel Viiv Technology
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 80GB SATA Hard Drive with Native Command Queuing (NCQ)
  • 5.1 Channel High Definition Audio - with digital optical or analog outputs
  • 10/100/1000 MB/s wired network connection and internal 802.11b/g wireless option
  • DVD+/-RW drive
  • Intel GMA950 video with DVI, Component Video and RGB output
  • Internal speaker, IEEE1394 Firewire
  • 6.49" W x 1.96" H x 6.49" L
  • Only 2.4 pounds

For further information on the Media Center Mini Edition or any of our other

Media Centers and digital entertainment solutions please visit, email or call (888) 632-6897.  Coming very soon, The S1Digital Experience showroom, New York City!

Press Contact
Risa L Arin
116 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
(888) 632-6897

AMD Cranks Up The Volume On Digital Entertainment With The AMD LIVE! PC

AMD announced today the next milestone in digital entertainment with the AMD LIVE! PC — a full-featured, easy-to-use media center PC, designed to enable consumers to organize, distribute, share, and enjoy their content collection throughout the home and on the go. Leading OEMs including Acer, Alienware, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Gateway, HP, Sahara, and Tsinghua Tongfang, as well as system builders in North America, Western Europe, and China, will have AMD LIVE! PCs, powered by the award-winning AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor, starting in June. The AMD LIVE! Entertainment Suite, a collection of services and applications designed to enhance the PC experience, is also available today at

“The AMD LIVE! PC and AMD LIVE! Entertainment Suite represent the culmination of industry-leading companies collaborating around open standards to deliver compelling entertainment solutions,” said Bob Brewer, corporate vice president, Desktop Business, AMD. “With the AMD LIVE! PC, AMD begins delivering on its vision for merging broadcast TV content with interactive, personalized broadband applications and services, all without disrupting the devices already accepted and used by consumers in their homes today.”

The AMD LIVE! PC is designed to help consumers get more enjoyment out of their digital media by consolidating their content in a central location and delivering the tools to help them easily and seamlessly access that content through the devices they already have.

“Today customers are looking for PCs that will allow them to view, interact and play new content from broadcast television to music to games,” said Tom Anderson, vice president of marketing, global consumer PCs, Personal Systems Group, HP. “By offering AMD LIVE! branded PCs, our customers will have the ability to buy a PC that will meet their evolving entertainment needs.”

“We’ve seen remarkable enthusiasm for Windows XP Media Center Edition PCs, which enable consumers to enjoy their photos, music, TV shows and movies throughout the home,” said Mike Sievert, corporate vice president, Windows Client Marketing at Microsoft. “By collaborating with AMD to deliver a powerful combination of digital entertainment software on a strong media platform, Microsoft is helping to provide consumers with rich, engaging experiences.”

The first solutions to be offered in the AMD LIVE! Entertainment Suite include AMD LIVE! On Demand powered by Orb Networks: a service that streams live or pre-recorded television programs, photos, music and movies to many common Web-connected devices; AMD LIVE! Compress: a tool that optimizes recorded television content in order to save space and time, enabling customers to save up to 10 times as many TV shows on their PC; AMD LIVE! Network Magic: an easy to use service that allows users to set up, manage and secure their home network; AMD LIVE! LogMeIn: a service providing users the ability to remotely control their AMD LIVE! PC to obtain access to content, files and programs from anywhere; and AMD LIVE! Media Vault™: a service that can automatically back-up users’ digital content collection to a secure online server. Once registered and activated, AMD LIVE! PC users will receive 25GB of free storage to safely store their personal photos, home movies and music collections.

Many of these applications and services are available for free download beginning today from AMD at Over time, the website will evolve into a repository of tips and tools to help consumers build out their entertainment world. With home networks, and using technology such as Microsoft Media Center Extender, the site will be available both in a “two-foot” Internet in the study and “10-foot” television experience in the living room.

Read Full Press Release

Community Server 2.0

Blogs have been updated to Community Server 2.0!  If you notice any bugs, please contact me.

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Vista To Not Require NTSC Tuner!

AVS Forum | Vista Beta 2 Discussion | Jay P. Kapur of the Media Center TV Team confirmed at AVS Forum that Vista will not need an NTSC Tuner!  This means you can use ATSC Tuners and/or CableCARD’s without needing a separate NTSC Tuner installed.  Vista Beta 2 still needs the NTSC Tuner, but the final will not.  Previously, Media Center has keyed the ATSC EPG Data off of the selected NTSC Lineup.

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Jupiter Research To Release New DVR Forecast

Who Will Win the DVR Wars? (Jupiter Research) | Andrea Wood posted today that Jupiter Research will be releasing a DVR Forecast “very shortly”.  It will include cable, satellite and standalone DVRs and PC-based DVRs.

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The Media Center Show #59

The Media Center Show #59 | 25th May 2006 (47mins 08secs) MP3 - 16.2MB (Download Here)

This week Ian Dixon talked with Steven Hughes of about mobile devices and how to take your content out with you on the go on such devices like Portable Media Center, Pocket PC’s and the new Ultra Mobile Devices.

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Microsoft Demos SideShow Remote from Exceptional Innovation

[WinHEC] Microsoft Demos SideShow Remote from Exceptional Innovation (CE Pro) | Julie over at CE Pro took a trip up to WinHEC and among the other Windows Vista and Media Center announcements she looked at another example of Windows SideShow this time highlighting universal remote from Exceptional Innovation.  Julie has posted a host of photos of the devices, including the example remote from below.

(Photo Courtesy of CE Pro)

If you are interested in other Media Center developments, be sure to check out Media Center Pro, the first publication focused on Media Center and other related technologies.

Introducing Media Center Pro, a New Publication Focused on MCE

Introducing Media Center Pro, a New Publication Focused on MCE | The guys (and gals) at CE Pro have introduced Media Center Pro at new published that is focused on Media Center.  This is the magazine for “people who build, sell, install, integrate and support Media Center PCs.”  Just a bit of what’s lined up for the first issue in June is a Q&A with Microsoft's Todd Rutherford, information about extending Media Center throughout your Home, optimizing A/V with Media Center, and more.

I’m positive this will be the magazine for everyone reading this blog right now!  Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to subscribe to CE Pro and then Media Center Pro (site coming soon).

What's New In Media Center on Windows Vista?

OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR) CableCARD Support
atch and record premium and HD cable content without the need for a set-top box. CableCARD–enabled PCs are specially certified PCs that will be available from most computer manufacturers when Windows Vista is released.

Microsoft (Err Sonic/Roxio?) "MyTV ToGo"
Launching with Windows Vista this fee-based application will allow syncing content to portable devices such as Portable Media Centers,  iPod with video capability, PocketPC, or PlayStation Portable (PSP).

Native DVD/MPEG-2 Codec Support
Media Center now includes DVD codec support natively.  You no longer need to purchase a decoder from NVIDIA, InterVideo, or Cyberlink.

Support for two dual-tuners
I'm assuming this means Media Center now officially supports recording four channels at once.

Allows OEM to configure the PC to start up like a CE device.  Also allows Media Center session to be locked, not allowing users to exit.

Cycle through the EPG using the directional buttons on your remote.  No need to actually change channels or view the Guide fullscreen.

And More!  Get the
Windows Vista Beta 2 Product Guide to see more about these features and what else Windows Vista will offer.
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Updated: Xbox 360 Only Vista Compatible Extender (Hope for Linksys/HP?)

Well, following an amazing pattern of not supporting devices and services in Media Center upgrades the Xbox v1 Extender and HP/Linksys will not be compatible with Windows Vista.  Newer Extender models will appear with the Windows Vista release.

"Except for Xbox 360, earlier versions of Windows Media Extenders are not compatible with Windows Vista. However, new Extender devices will be available with the release of Window Vista." -Microsoft

Update: It appears their might be a slight hope for Linksys/HP Extenders as we go on.  Xbox v1 Extenders still appear to be non-supported.

Update 2: People seem to be misinterpreting information here, which lead to the update above.  No go for anything but Xbox 360 support in Vista

Niveus Media Chosen To Showcase CableCARD With Windows Vista at WinHEC 2006

Niveus Media, Inc., an award-winning manufacturer of media hardware and software entertainment solutions, will showcase their Niveus Media Center - Denali Edition at the 2006 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle, WA. Niveus was chosen by Microsoft as the Media Center manufacturer to showcase CableCARD technology with their highly-anticipated Windows Vista operating system. The Denali featuring Windows Vista and CableCARD will be on display in WinHEC’s Pavilion showcase area.

Having established itself as the must-attend event for industry professionals seeking to stay aligned with Microsoft’s ever-evolving platforms, industry standards and technology advancements, Niveus Media is honored to be selected by Microsoft to demonstrate one of the first Media Center products featuring CableCARD technology and Windows Vista. “We pride ourselves in our constant quest to incorporate cutting-edge hardware and software in our product line. Our inclusion of Windows Vista and CableCARD technology is a testament to our commitment to providing only the finest digital media entertainment solutions,” stated Brian Paper, VP Marketing and co-Founder of Niveus Media.

CableCARD technology and Windows Vista enables consumers to enjoy one-way cable programming on Media Center PCs; allowing consumers to view and record premium digital HD content without the use of a set-top box, while protecting cable operators’ investments in high value content. Featuring a sleek design, unique software and patent-pending passive cooling technology along with A/V style rear panels, the Denali is a powerful and flexible media center; allowing convenient and immediate access to digital media (DVD, Music, Photos, TV) anywhere in the home.

Microsoft Windows Media Center delivers advanced computing plus easy-to-use integrated digital entertainment, including live and recorded television, movies, music, photos and radio, that consumers can enjoy when and how they want. It provides a central hub for productivity and digital entertainment using a single remote control.

Niveus plans to ship its Niveus Media Center line of products with integrated CableCARD technology concurrent with the expected launch of the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system.

For more information on Niveus Media, Inc., please visit

Microsoft Launches Consumer HD DVD Homepage

Microsoft HD DVD Consumer Homepage | Microsoft has launched their consumer HD DVD homepage (Via HD DVD / Randomness...).  Watch the website for new HD DVD releases and other consumer-oriented HD DVD information such as new HD DVD hardware and software.

For those interested in developing with iHD or HD DVD authoring, you will want to see Microsoft’s HD DVD Authoring Site on the Windows Media for Professionals Homepage.

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Hardware and Software Vendors Rally Behind HD DVD at WinHEC 2006

Today at the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2006, Microsoft Corp. announced various PC manufacturers, independent hardware vendors (IHVs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) that are committed to supporting HD DVD in their respective products. Industry leaders showcased plans to ramp up support for HD DVD playback in PCs and on PC hardware and software in 2006 and early 2007. With a growing list of top movies available and favorable reviews of the latest HD DVD consumer electronics player already at retail, the community of hardware and software supporters for HD DVD continues to grow.

Innovative PC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including HP, Niveus Media and Toshiba Corp. are supporting the HD DVD format through a variety of activities in connection with the HD DVD Promotion Group. Specifically, Niveus and Toshiba have announced HD DVD support in desktop, notebook and Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition-based PCs, allowing for stunning high-definition playback. A full line of IHV components from leading manufacturers such as Broadcom Corp. and Intel Corporation will also support HD DVD on PCs, and a new line of software players from CyberLink Corp., InterVideo Inc. and both software playback and professional authoring and encoding solutions from Sonic Solutions and Roxio will ensure seamless playback on Windows Vista-based PCs and provide the professional production community with the tools they need to create HD DVD titles.

At the conference, Microsoft reiterated that Windows Vista will be shipped with the drivers, file system and other components necessary to support HD DVD playback. The company also gave a positive progress report on the state of third-party software players, and announced a new initiative designed to help ISVs implement VC-1 and iHD and create the best HD DVD playback solutions possible. This program will also provide iHD test vectors, sample code and more — all of which will enhance third-party iHD implementations for Windows Vista.

“Windows Vista is an exciting platform with the right infrastructure for our cinematic-quality HD DVD authoring and playback solutions,” said Rolf Hartley, senior vice president and general manager of the Professional Products Group at Sonic Solutions. “At the same time, Microsoft’s support for our efforts with VC-1 and iHD implementations will ensure that the HD DVD authoring and playback experience on Windows Vista-based PCs is the best available for the complete range of Sonic’s customers, from Hollywood to home.”

“Eight months ago, Microsoft announced support for HD DVD with Intel, with the shared belief that the format met important criteria and would deliver unique advantages to the PC ecosystem and to consumers,” said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “Today, we’re seeing those benefits come together: affordable hardware and excellent replication yields, along with amazing levels of interactivity, more capacity and incredible quality. At WinHEC we’re committing to help our hardware and software partners achieve a great playback experience for consumers.”

Four New WMV HD Trailers

Adrenaline Rush

Total Run Time 1:54 min
720p (127 MB)

Fighter Pilot

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Run Time 2:25 min
720p (165 MB)

Mystery of the Nile

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Run Time 1:26 min
720p (105 MB)

Super Speedway

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Total Run Time 2:00 min
720p (135 MB)

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What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Some of you might have noticed the slowness of my postings lately.  I’ve had a lot going on over the past few weeks.  First of all I graduated with honors from Texas State Technical.  It’s the first time that I graduated “with honors” from anything, so I’m pretty proud about that.  My girlfriend who I’m now 500 miles away played a large role in getting me to actually play attention and thus graduate with honors.  Now I just have to figure out how to live without here after spending nearly 6 months with her 24 hours a day.

Last week I was officially accepted to the University of Houston.  I start in the fall and will be continuing my education majoring in Information Technology.  Of course I’ve already picked up a few IT Certifications including A+, Network+, MCP, and MCSA.  I also passed Microsoft’s 70-214: Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network.  I’m planning on taking Security+ within the next month or so giving me MCSA: Security certification.

So, by the time I start at the University of Houston, I hope to have A+, Network+, Security+, MCP, MCSA, and MSCA: Security.

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The Green Button Continues To Grow

Just a few things new from The Green Button.  Anyone reading who would like to advertise on The Green Button and reach the largest community based around Windows Media Center, please see here to advertise on TGB.

In addition, please welcome Bryan Socha (accident) to the moderation team.  Bryan is also a Media Center MVP and a blog located here.  Thanks for all the great work Bryan!

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Embedded Automation Releases New Media Center PC's Optimized for Home Automation and HDTV

Embedded Automation Releases Two New Media Center PC's Optimized for Home Automation and HDTV | mbedded Automation announced today that it has released two new Media Center PC’s as part of their mHome product line, mTheater HD and mTheater MC. Both mTheater models have been designed to fit nicely in the living room alongside other home theater components, manage all forms of digital media in the home, and are “home automation ready”.

mTheater HD and mTheater MC come in the same, sleek, A/V style case to give the appearance of a conventional home theater component (e.g. DVD player, receiver). However, on the inside mTheater is loaded with the latest technology for the management of digital pictures, music, movies, and more. mTheater also provides tremendous flexibility for how and when TV is enjoyed with the ability to pause and record live TV, and easily set recording schedules so favourite shows will never be missed.

Both mTheater models also ship “home automation ready” with Embedded Automation’s leading home management software, mControl, and a starter kit for lighting control 2. mControl manages whole house lighting, security, IP camera, HVAC, and IR communication, in addition to a host of other features for increased convenience and accessibility. For more detailed information on mControl, its features and benefits please visit:

mTheater HD has been optimized for HDTV. This is accomplished with Intel’s latest chip design, the Pentium D (Dual Core processor), an over-the-air HD tuner card, antenna, and 500GBs of hard disk space. Hard disk space is very important for HDTV as it requires over 10GBs of space per hour of programming. mTheater HD is also an Intel Viiv compatible device.

“HDTV awareness and enjoyment have increased significantly with the penetration of HDTV-Ready displays and the increased availability of HDTV programming” says Maury Lum, Sales and Marketing Manager for Embedded Automation. “Major cities in the US can have a number stations being broadcast over-the-air digitally, with an increasing amount of the content in HD quality. This, in combination with the advances in home automation technology and reductions in price was the impetus for Embedded Automation to provide a single platform to service both needs” says Lum.

For complete specifications and additional information on mTheater HD and mTheater MC please visit:

  • mTheater is available in custom configurations, contact Embedded Automation
  • For information on authorized dealer programs, dealer pricing, and availability, contact Embedded Automation at the information below

1  The mTheater HD model has been optimized for HDTV
2 Choice of starter kits are available, contact Embedded Automation for more information

Interested in mTheater?
mTheater is currently available in limited quantities directly from Embedded Automation. Embedded Automation can be contacted through their website, by email, or by telephone (604) 596-4999.

About Embedded Automation
Embedded Automation was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Surrey, BC Canada. Specializing in the areas of home automation, media centers, and embedded systems, Embedded Automation designs, manufactures, and markets a range of products and services in these areas.

Contact Information
Embedded Automation Inc.
(604) 596-4999

The Media Center Show #58

The Media Center Show #58 | 18th May 2006 (47mins 08secs) MP3 - 16.2MB (Download Here)

This week Ian Dixon talked with Kevin Hartin from Altech Computers in Australia about there new Blu-ray Media Center PC, the state of Media Center in Australia and the HD format war.

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MTV Networks Unveils URGE on Windows Media Player 11 Platform

MTV Networks Unveils URGE Digital Music Service on Microsoft’s New Windows Media Player 11 Platform | MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc., and Microsoft Corp. today unveiled the public beta of URGE and the new Windows Media Player 11 beta. URGE, MTV Networks’ new digital music service, is seamlessly integrated with the new Microsoft Windows Media Player 11, and builds upon MTV Networks’ renowned music heritage, offering rich, handcrafted programming, first-rate editorial and innovative music discovery features to create a truly immersive entertainment experience. URGE is the recommended digital music service in Windows Media Player 11 beta, which offers enhanced search and media management capabilities, a visually driven user interface and optimized portable music player support. MTV Networks and Microsoft collaborated closely on the development of URGE and Windows Media Player 11, creating a unified and integrated user experience.

Just as MTV, VH1 and CMT are recognized for their ability to curate music, URGE offers unparalleled context to all styles of music, as well as rich music programming to guide users through a world of virtually infinite music choices. Innovative features also bring music discovery to the fore, exposing users to new artists and genres they might not otherwise encounter.

“When we first set out to design URGE, our goal was to create an immersive experience that surrounded fans in all things music,” said Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks Music/Logo/Films Group. “URGE distinguishes itself through handcrafted programming, innovative music discovery features and unique integration with Windows Media Player 11. It’s an important pillar of MTV Networks’ overall digital strategy, and as our audience continues to embrace digital music delivery, URGE will serve as a vital vehicle to connect fans with all the music they love.”

“We wanted to create a media player that delivers the most powerful features in a program that is intuitive and fun to use,” said Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Client Marketing at Microsoft. “So in designing Windows Media Player 11, we incorporated a significant amount of feedback from music fans and worked hand in hand with MTV Networks. As a result, Windows Media Player 11 truly revolutionizes the way we enjoy music and provides a test drive of the breakthrough entertainment capabilities people will experience in the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system.” 

Read Full Press Release

Windows Media Player 11 Beta Released

Windows Media Player 11 Beta | Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP offers you unmatched choice and flexibility for your digital media. Easily manage your libraries of digital music, photos, and videos on your computer, and then sync with a variety of portable devices so you can enjoy it all wherever you want.

PLEASE NOTE: If you use Windows Media Player to access a favorite online store, some are not available for this beta release. The following stores are available in the Windows Media Player 11 beta release: Audible, f.y.e., Live365, Movielink, MSN Music, Napster, Passalong, Puretracks, URGE, Wal-Mart and XM Radio. For more information, see the Readme.

Quick Details
File Name:        wmp11-windowsxp-x86-enu.exe
Version:            11
Date Published: 5/15/2006
Language:         English
Download Size:            23.0 MB

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