website hit counter October 2006 - Posts - Chris Lanier

October 2006 - Posts

Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP Released

Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP | Windows Media Player 11 offers great new ways to store and enjoy all of your digital media. It's easier than ever to access all of your music, video, pictures, and recorded TV on your computer. Play it, view it, organize it, and sync it to a portable device for enjoying on the go, or share with devices around your home - all from one place. Windows Media Player 11 is designed to work with all versions of Windows XP with Service Pack 2, including Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional N.

PLEASE NOTE: Many of the great stores you know in Windows Media Player 10 are available in this version of the Player. Check out a list of online stores at the Online Stores page.

For more information, see the Readme.

NOTE: Please read Installing the Player on Windows XP Media Center Edition for directions on installing Windows Media Player 11 on Windows XP Media Center Edition.

Happy Birthday, Windows XP Media Center Edition!

While Windows XP might be celebrating its 5th Birthday, Windows XP Media Center Edition is celebrating its 4th Birthday today!  It’s been a long ride, but it all started on October 29, 2002 when HP started shipping their first Media Center PC.

 

It launched with the help of this goofball (pictured below) and sported features such as use of a single analog tuner and DVD recording only on high end machines (which you couldn’t do from within the MCE UI).  Price points on the very few machines offered with Media Center at the time ranged from $1300 to $2000.  Single tuner, no HD anything, no widescreen anything, nothin.

A few images courtesy of Paul Thurrott (or some equal person with the name “Paul” as their Windows User Name).

Sorry Paul, there is your link back.  However, I find it a bit ironic you are looking for link backs.  I think this story about you published by Ed Bott might be interesting reading.  Peace!


image
 

I’ve compiled a screenshot history of Media Center below including a screenshot of the upcoming Vista Media Center release.  Interesting to see where the UI design has been and where it’s going now.  Enjoy!

 

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Posted by chrisl | 13 comment(s)

MCE Tunes Completely Bridges iTunes Gap With Media Center

Last week I wrote about a new plug-in for Media Center called MCE Tunes that allows you to sync iTunes with Media Center and even play purchased music from the iTMS from within the Media Center UI.

They do offer a free trial, but it doesn’t support protected content from the iTMS so I thought I would give everyone out there a mini-review of the protect playing back protected content before you spend money on the product just for a letdown.

Well, I’m here to say this product is no letdown.  I’ve been playing around with a full version of the plug-in for the past week and it works great!  Now, I should note that I am not an iTunes user, nor do I generally purchase music from the iTMS.  However, I do have a very small amount of content which I used to test with.

Setup is very simple using MCE Tunes.  You can import your entire iTunes Library, only selected tracks with a certain star rating (say three stars or better), or you can select a specific playlist to import.  MCE Tunes will share your settings on a daily basis so that your selected content is always available in Media Center (think Watched Folders).

After you import your select content that is just about it.  Open Media Center (or Windows Media Player) and you will see your music listed in Media Center.  Tags are transferred over, so you can still browse by Artist, Album, Song, etc.  Currently Album Art isn’t transfer, but I’m told that they are working on trying to get that working.

Playback occurs just as mp3 and wma files are in Media Center.  Just select it with your remote and you will not even be aware that it’s being controlled via a third party plug-in.

This application really does “just works”, and if you are a iTunes user I would give it a try.  The free trial supports playback of unprotected files (m4a) and the paid versions adds support for protected music from the iTMS (m4p).

Give it a shot, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Posted by chrisl | with no comments

My Movies 2.10 Pre-Release with Transcode 360 Integration!

My Movies 2.10 Pre-Release 3 (My Movies Forums) | Brian has released My Movies 2.10 Pre-Release 3!  It includes the much anticipated Transcode 360 integration as-well as better Vista Media Center support.  Pay close attention to the Brian’s forum for updates.

Note: Brian adds "I suggest for the general user to wait for the final version very soon - there can be some issues in these pre-releases."  In other words, don't install this pre-release and except it to be 100% working.  And as always, backup before installing any beta, pre-release, etc software.

DVDxml Makes Using "My DVDs" Simple

DVDxml.com - Over 15,000 dvdid.xml files! | DVDxml.com just launched allowing simple use of the “My DVDs” feature that is included in Update Rollup 2.  You have been able to manually enable “My DVDs” without the use of a DVD Changer since Update Rollup 2 launched, however you needed to create a dvdid.xml for each DVD you have manually.  Not anymore though, just go on over to DVDxml.com and download the file for free.  Right now there are over 15,000 Region 1 DVD’s in the database.  The site also has information on how to enable “My DVDs” for those who don’t know.

Here is their Basic FAQ for those just getting started.

Posted by chrisl | 3 comment(s)
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Life|ware Finds Its First Retail Home At Magnolia

Homeowners in CA will be the first to glimpse what the future of digital living looks like.

Columbus, OH – October 26, 2006 – The new Magnolia stores opening TOMORROW, October 27, in Santa Monica and Santa Clara, CA will be the first consumer retail showcase for the Life|ware™ digital entertainment and automation solution. Inside the state-of-the-art store will be a fully integrated home designed with Life|ware to create an entertainment experience that allows consumers to control how they enjoy their digital content, wherever and whenever they want, as well as control their lighting, HVAC, security and other subsystems through a single interface using Media Center.

The age of proprietary technology is fading, and systems like Life|ware, which do not tie homeowners into a single-branded solution but enable control of home subsystems from a wide variety of manufacturers, are the future. Life|ware is bringing digital entertainment and refined home control together into one seamless package. What Life|ware represents is a glimpse into a homes’ all-digital future, one in which all content can be enjoyed over a network in a variety of ways.

“Magnolia represents a truly unique market segment that includes high end retail A/V sales, combined with design and installation services. The presence of Life|ware in the retail locations provides an opportunity for homeowners to test drive home automation and distributed digital entertainment in the perfect environment. Magnolia’s commitment to Life|ware has offered us a great platform for the retail launch of our products,” said Steve Cashman, Exceptional Innovation’s vice president of sales.

At the new Magnolia stores, consumers will have the opportunity to interact in a number of different Life|ware experiences representing multiple zones throughout the home. Life|ware will be controlling the stores’ Media Room, Media Bar, Home Office, Equipment Closet and Front Door experiences. The integration centers around HP Digital Entertainment products, including the new Life|ware Ready HP z565 digital entertainment center, as well as Life|ware Connected partners such as Lutron, B&K, SpeakerCraft, Aprilaire, GE Security, and Panasonic. The stores are the first to sell and display the new Life|point™ family of all-digital, 16:9 widescreen touchpanels, capable of 720p high definition display and used in Life|ware home automation networks. Life|point is available in both 12.1” and 8.9” in-wall models.

Whether a homeowner is looking to update a single room, remodel an existing floor plan or build their dream home, or whether they are simply searching for a home automation solution that simply makes more sense, the new Magnolia stores will offer good, better, best packaged Life|ware automation solutions.  In addition, Magnolia will provide customized solutions to meet the size and scope of any home installation.

"Studies have shown more and more homeowners are looking for home automation solutions on varying levels. Here at Magnolia, we strive to deliver the products and services customers are looking to integrate into their homes. We are evolving our retail and installation business model to incorporate the next phase of digital living. Together with new industry partners like Life|ware and HP complementing our existing supplier group, we intend to be a full-service retailer that offers homeowners an entirely new array of solutions and services,” said Lou Kings, Magnolia’s convergence solutions manager.

The two Magnolia stores are located at:
2800 Wilshire Blvd.                                        52 North Winchester Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403                                Santa Clara, CA 95050
310.309.5000                                                 408.423.5100

For more information on Exceptional Innovation, please visit www.exceptionalinnovation.com.

Posted by chrisl | with no comments

The Media Center Show #80

The Media Center Show #80 | 26th October 2006 (44mins 55secs) MP3 - 15.4MB (Download Here)

This week Ian Dixon talked with Aaron Stebner from the eHome team at Microsoft about Media Center Markup Language, the new way of developing applications for Media Center. If you thinking of or are developing for Media Center this is going to be a great interview (Part 2 or 2)

Remember, The Media Center Show Award nominations are up for your vote.

Posted by chrisl | with no comments

October 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition

October 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition (KB925766) | Microsoft has released the October 2006 Update Rollup for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. This update rollup is intended for computers that are running Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. For more information about Update Rollup 2, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

900325 | Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Hotfix replacement information
This is a cumulative update rollup. This update rollup replaces the following updates:

919803 | July 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

914548 | April 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

908250 | Update Rollup 908250 is available for computers that are running Update

912067 | January 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

913437 | HTML programs do not support non-English keyboard characters on a computer that is running the Korean version of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Issues that are resolved by this update
In addition to the fixes that are contained in the updates that are listed in the "Hotfix replacement information" section, this update resolves the following issues:

  • When you scan for services in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, a connected Italian (Rome) 810 megahertz (MHz) version of MUX is not found.
  • Windows XP Media Center may not be compatible with certain third-party audio stream plug-ins.
  • A race condition may occur after you install Microsoft Windows Media Player 11. Because of this problem, licenses are not saved for TV programs that are recorded and protected. For example, TV programs that are recorded from a provider such as HBO or Showtime will only play for up to three days.

Information for Windows Media Center Extenders
Windows Media Center Extenders, such as the Microsoft Xbox 360, use network ports to communicate over the network with computers that are running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. This update rollup contains updates to Media Center programs that may have been previously configured as "approved" or "allowed" by a third-party firewall. If you use a third-party firewall, you may have to manually update your firewall to let the new versions of these programs access the ports. If you do not perform these firewall updates, you may experience failures when you try to connect the Windows Media Center Extender to the Media Center computer.

For more information about how to configure a firewall for a Windows Media Center Extender, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://g.msn.com/0HEA1ENUS9/48015

Read Full KB Article | Download Here 

Posted by chrisl | 6 comment(s)
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MCE Tunes Supports iTunes DRM Playback

I got an e-mail last night from the folks at Proxure, Inc. about MCE Tunes, a new plug-in to let you play your purchased iTunes tracks through Media Center.  It can also be used to sync your iTunes library with Media Center.  Check out the free trial which only plays unprotected (m4a) songs.  The full version ($29.99) will enable playback of protected ones.  I’ll try and get a copy to play with and see how well it works next week for playback of protected content.

Proxure, Inc developed and sold MyTV ToGo to Roxio a while back for anyone wondering other projects the company has done with Media Center.

Posted by chrisl | 12 comment(s)
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"Big Screen Headlines" RSS Reader for Vista Media Center

Ian Dixon points to another new application from Mobilewares, this one being  Big Screen Headlines.  Native for Vista Media Center, in Media Center Presentation Layer (MCPL) which means it’s rendered using the same technology as the Vista UI itself.  Full list of features is below, but I think it’s great that this application can sync with IE7’s “Subscribed Feeds”.  Very cool!  Also support OPML for those who use other desktop/web RSS readers.  More screenshots here.

  • Read/Monitor RSS News Headlines directly from the Internet.
  • Listen/Watch/View enclosed RSS Media such as Web Video, Podcast Audio, Images and more. Translates HTML based RSS content on the fly for 10 foot viewing. Audio and Video will be played via Media Center's 'Now Playing' window - and can be zoomed to full screen.
  • Integrates with your 'Subscribed Feeds' from Internet Explorer 7 - add, locate and synchronize your feeds via Vista's inbuilt feed management system. (Nb: access to Subscribed feeds is not available when running under XBox360).
  • Access over 500 'Best of' preset RSS feeds with special focus on Media Center related content.
  • Supports external OPML Files for easy integration with desktop RSS Readers.
  • Bookmark your favorite feeds for quick access from the Big Screen Headlines Main Menu.

Be sure to check out the rest of the growing “Big Screen” suite including  Big Screen Contacts,  Big Screen Weather, Big Screen Business, and Big Screen Photos.

Posted by chrisl | 3 comment(s)

The Media Center Show #79

The Media Center Show #79 | 19th October 2006 (57mins 69secs) MP3 - 19.9MB (Download Here)

This week Ian Dixon talked with Aaron Stebner from the eHome team at Microsoft about Media Center Markup Language, the new way of developing applications for Media Center. If you thinking of or are developing for Media Center this is going to be a great interview.

Also, a new video accompaniment to the show called The Media Center Show Extra #2, showing off mceAuction the ebay application for Media Center as well as Media Center Markup Language samples and the Q application that Aaron Stebner talked about on the Media Center Show this week.

Lastly, The Media Center Show Award nominations are up for your vote.

Posted by chrisl | with no comments

Media Centers From Three Different Manufacturers Earn Life|Ware Ready Certification

Ace, Inteset and Niveus Media Centers now meet criteria for Exceptional Innovation’s “Life|ware Ready” logo program.

Columbus, OH – October 10, 2006 - Exceptional Innovation (EI), producers of Life|ware™ home control software for Media Center, announce three more leading Media Center manufacturers have achieved Life|ware Ready certification. Life|ware software operates on the Media Center platform to create a hardware-neutral control system that allows integrators the flexibility to choose from the lighting, climate, audio, security, and camera systems that best meet customers’ needs.

After undergoing a formal qualification process that includes stringent testing to ensure each unit can meet benchmark criteria and handle all of Life|ware’s applications, Media Centers from Ace, Inteset and Niveus all earned the right to bear a Life|ware Ready certification logo. Each Media Center offers something different in the way of functionality, performance and pricing providing integrators yet another measure of flexibility when setting up a Life|ware home control network.

“Life|ware Ready is something our dealers have been asking for to make their lives easier in identifying the best hardware for each job,” said Mike Seamons, EI’s vice president of marketing. “These are great Media Centers that can meet the usage and functionality demands of end-users in different ways and our Life|ware Ready logo certifies that steps have been taken to ensure a smooth Life|ware integration.”

AceComputers LHD Limited II and II Pro are award-winning Media Centers that feature a unique touch screen interface on their front panel. Inteset's new 3TB Maximus and award winning Denzel media servers are optimized for home theaters with advanced controllability; media stored on the server can extend the other rooms in the home via the Vana advanced extender system or the Julia All-in-one Touch Screen Advanced Extender. Niveus Media Centers include the Denali, Denali Limited, and K2 Limited Edition which have won multiple awards and are praised for their audio/video performance and silent, fanless design.

Media Centers from all three companies will join HP in displaying the Life|ware Ready logo on their front panel hardware to provide at-a-glance assurance to integrators designing and implementing a Life|ware home automation system.

Unlike other home automation solutions that tie the homeowner into a single-branded, proprietary solution, Life|ware by Exceptional Innovation is hardware-neutral giving dealers more choices and flexibility to seamlessly integrate with Windows Media Center. Life|ware can be run on any Life|ware Ready Media Center, Xbox 360 or other Media Center extenders, or EI’s own Life|point™ all-digital high definition touch panel. Exceptional Innovation’s certification and logo programs ensure that dealers have the foundation to successfully implement the Life|ware solution.

Logos and images available at www.exceptionalinnovation.com.

About Exceptional Innovation
Based in the Westerville suburb of Columbus, Ohio, Exceptional Innovation produces Life|ware™ home control software and hardware for digital living. Life|ware creates a lifestyle experience that allows consumers to enjoy their digital entertainment, wherever and whenever they want, as well as manage their lighting, HVAC, security, appliances and other subsystems, such as distributed audio systems, through a single interface by integrating the digital entertainment functionality of Media Center with whole-house automation and control. Led by software industry professionals with extensive experience with distributed computing based on open standards and open architecture, Exceptional Innovation combines Microsoft development expertise with years of home control experience to deliver simple, seamless, life-enhancing solutions for the digital home.

The Green Button Down....Again

I didn't want to say it, but it looks as if TGB is down again.  E-mail's have been sent off about an hour ago, I hope to know something later today (hope).  Not sure what the problem is.
 

Update: Back up

Posted by chrisl | 6 comment(s)
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David Fleischman and Matt Goyer Add Their Thoughts

Still getting lots of great feedback from everyone, and even better thanks to everyone out there we have got David Fleischman asking Why Aren’t People More Excited About Media Center?  In addition, Matt Goyer (who I remind you no longer works for Microsoft) replied with a great post about Why Media Center does not stream DVDs (citing core functionalities development) and another great post about eHome blogging (of course, now post-Goyer) titled Does eHome get blogging?

All great reads, so check them out.  I’d also like to thank David and all other members of the eHome team.  Even though some of us (including me!) are somewhat criticizing the product you work so hard on, it’s only because we want it to be the best solution out there.  Keep up the great work!  And then of course thanks to Matt, he might have moved on from Microsoft but his thoughts and opinions are still appreciated by all.

Posted by chrisl | 2 comment(s)

Updated: Here It Is: My Thoughts on Vista Media Center

Over the past week I have got a great amount of feedback (more feedback) from my question about switch to Vista Media Center.  First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has commented.  Reactions are all over the board to this question.  From people who will switch right out of the gate, to those waiting for the dust to settle, to those who see no point in an upgrade, and those who think it’s time to move on to another product.

I have mixed views about Vista Media Center, keep reading to see what they are!

PVR/CableCARD:  CableCARD is--without a doubt--the reason to upgrade to Vista Media Center.  Native digital cable support, native HDTV support.  However, a common problem however is that CableCARD’s are a technology only available within the United States.  Those outside of the states have yet to see any additional advances for Media Center being used as a PVR.  There is no addition DVB support, no MHEG support, no DAB support.  Those in the US don’t have to worry about these, but basically broadcasts outside of the US use different technologies then those inside of the US.  We can all thank the FCC for wanting another “standard” for the US to use.

We all know that only OEM systems are getting CableCARD, which is a real drag.  Not much to say about this though, I’ve said before it’s CableLabs way or the Highway.  I would much rather see CableCARD support then not.

EPG/Guide:  There are several enhancements in the EPG, the one everyone wants to the “mini-guide” which has been common to STB’s for years now.  Most people however, do not see this as something that they are dieing to have.

Extenders:  This is one of the biggest reasons not to upgrade to Vista Media Center.  v1 Extenders including the Linksys WMCE54AG, HP x5400, and Xbox v1 title are no longer supported under Vista.  This is a huge problem for people who have spent $300 a-pop on either the Linksys or HP Extenders.  It’s going to be very costly to upgrade Extenders.

v2 Extenders are on the way, codenamed Pika, and these better support additional formats like DivX and XviD or I’m going to feel even worse about not being able to use v1 Extenders.  If you are going to take away something, the second offering better provide what was lacking in the first-generation, along with a lower price tag (which, I believe they will).

UI:  I’m getting used to the UI more-and-more, but you just don’t mess with success like this.  Let’s not forget about the Media Center 2005 UI was actually an “award winning” design.  The UI is ok, but nothing special.  I like the MCE 2005 UI over the Vista UI, plain-and-simple.

Lack of Features:  Vista Media Center just doesn’t seem like its being enough to the table, to make up for what it dropped.  Windows Messenger support has been dropped, Caller ID support has been dropped, v1 Extenders have been dropped, the UI we all love has been dropped, even with RC2 stability is not what it should be, and the list keeps going.

Microsoft had a big chance with Vista to bring together all of the features it has lacked for the past four years.  I can’t say that they have done this.  First up, DVD Streaming something that I have talked about several times here.  I have said that Microsoft has the technology to do it, but for whatever reason Vista Media Center doesn’t support it.  While I don’t know everything about it, there is an public interview posted that talks about it.  With Sony's DVD Changer selling for $300 Microsoft missed the whole idea here.  If DVD Streaming to Extenders can’t be done, I can surely understand that.  However, one thing that everyone would like to know from Microsoft is why.

This brings me to another point which has nothing to do with Vista, but Microsoft needs more transparency with its Media Center team. Since Matt Goyer has left Micosoft, it’s been very quite from the other Media Center bloggers.  Of course, working on Vista should be Microsoft’s top priority, but anyone from the Media Center team reading this I would like to see you start blogging.  Media Center has a growing community behind it, we need transparency with some of the issues and features that we (the community) feel you should be providing.

Back to Vista Media Center, Windows Messenger support being dropped kind of sucked.  We all know that Windows Messenger itself was dropped from Vista, but wasn’t the implied use of that fancy Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition for Messenger?  It might have just been me, but it was a perfect thing.

Called ID support has been dropped, which I can kind of understand—except—why drop it?  Even if it’s not used by many did the system change so much that it would have taken a ton of work to get it going again?  Somehow, I doubt.  Those who need Caller ID should now check out mceTapiRex which also support Skype.

“Softsled”:   On December 4, 2004, Paul Thurrott let the world know that Microsoft had a software-based Extender for PC’s.  Yet to see the light of day, there are several conspiracy theories why it has not be released.  Frankly, I don’t care what Microsoft reasons are they need to release it or open up development for the platform so it could be done by a third party.  Beyond TV Link does this for SnapStream’s product, I believe Myth TV has a like solution, and Sage TV Placeshifter does it for Sage products.  Those are all of Microsoft’s main competitors.  There isn’t much to say about this, but Microsoft needs to do something here.  I have seen many people dump Media Center for this very feature.

Overall:  Anyway, Keep bring your reasons for upgrade or not upgrading!  I know I left out some things above, and I’ll add too it below this when I think of other reasons why I will be upgrading (or not upgrading).

Right now, I’m sticking with MCE 2005.  I’m waiting to see what DIRECTV Support is going to look like.  If it’s not above what cable can offer, I will be buying a new PC with Vista and CableCARD.  I’m going to wait for that to play out, and by then maybe we can find out more about “Softsled” and DVD Streaming and I will be sold 100% on Vista Media Center again.  I’m still locked on Media Center, other packages just can not compete from my point of view until they either support CableCARD or DIRECTV.

Media Center still has the most potential, and at the same time is still very far behind.  Anyone want to get me a job at Microsoft and I’ll be the transparency for the team??  Just kidding.

Additions: Ian pointed out that Media Center Markup Language (MCML) could allow development of a Windows Messenger Live plug-in.  One thing I didn’t bring up above is that Media Center development for third parties has been much improved in Vista.  Plug-ins can now be much richer then the HTML ones from past versions of Media Center.

Peter points out that photo viewing and browsing though Media Center is much improved.  With tags, EXIF data, and more.  My Pictures in MCE 2005 is rather limited, just allowing folder browsing.  Big upgrade in Vista Media Center.

Brian adds that no matter what the difference in the MCE 2005 UI vs. Vista Media Center UI, it's still one of the top UI designs in any CE-type device.  Anyone who has ever seen a cable DVR knows this (minus those using TiVo) 

Update: David Fleischman asks: Why Aren’t People More Excited About Media Center?

Update 2: Matt Goyer has replied to some of my points with two great posts...

Matt Goyer: Why Media Center does not stream DVDs

Matt Goyer: Does eHome get blogging?

Posted by chrisl | 28 comment(s)

The Media Center Show Extra #1

The Media Center Show Extra #1 | To go along with The Media Center Show this week Ian’s got a cool new feature, sort of a video blog.  FlickrMCE and Big Screen Weather are both demoed by Ian.

The video is just over 3 minutes long, so you have no excuse for not giving it a view!

Watch on YouTube

Download WMV

Posted by chrisl | with no comments

The Media Center Show #78

The Media Center Show #78 | 12th October 2006 (39mins 11secs) MP3 - 13.4MB (Download Here)

This week Ian Dixon talked with Ian McCarthy of Orb and Embedded Automation’s Ted Singh about Home Automation.

Also, a new video accompaniment to the show called The Media Center Show Extra, showing off two of the new applications talked about on the show this week.  Be sure to send Ian your feedback afterwards.

Lastly, The Media Center Show Award nominations are up for your vote.

Posted by chrisl | with no comments

"Mission 360" Brings DivX and XviD Decode to the Xbox 360?

XviD & DivX Coming to Xbox 360? | Everyone is a-buzz over an article published at 360-HQ.com that is saying Microsoft has a new project called “Mission 360” which aims to support some of the currently unsupported video formats such as DivX and XviD.

Here’s to hoping this one comes true!  Transcode 360 is a great application/hack to get these formats to play on the Xbox 360, but native support is of course what everyone is looking for.

Before the Xbox 360 launched, I suggested that Microsoft should take advantage of Xbox Live! In order to have third parties sell their decoders online.  Of course, giving it away in a firmware update as 360-HQ.com reports would be much better. If “Mission 360” doesn't come true, Microsoft needs to reconsider putting the infrastructure in place to have users purchase and download third party decoders from Xbox Live!

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Consumer Alert: Power Compress | Deceptive Marketing, Support Issues, and More!

Over a year ago I posted about a new piece of Media Center called Power Compress which aimed to provide DVR-MS to WMV conversation.  It looked to me like a perfect product, it has a nice clean MCE style UI that can be controlled with your remote.  That’s key for many people, and the main two products that do this were not in constant development at the time (these being DVR2WMV and dCut).  Both DVR2WMV and dCut use the same DVR-MS to WMV engine and some people have had problems with it, that was the reason I thought Power Compress would be a welcome addition.

Power Compress also promised DVR-MS to AVI conversation using their “Pro” version, which as of today is still not available for purchase but they make sure you know it’s “Coming Soon”.

Well, after some deceptive marketing and consumer support issues we have the final nail in the coffin for Power Compress in the form of this thread on The Green Button.

Power Compress has been getting more attention lately due to AMD Live! Campaign where they give away a free—in mean—trail version of Power Compress which is clear meant to have so few features that you have to purchase the software from Power Compress, from “Market Engines Inc”.

Here’s a few excerpts of the post from merwin on The Green Button.

“So, one of the things that led me to PowerCompress was their 24/7 support and promise that all issues would be resolved within 24 hours.

I had an issue immediately after purchasing where it wasn't working. I tried calling them and found out that their customer support is only Monday through Friday 9am - 5pm EST. Great 24/7 support.”

“Oh, they also limit you to three installs of the software (it checks over the internet during installation), so during the troubleshooting process that they sent me, I got locked out of installing the software that I legitimately bought.”

“I asked him if there was any way I could report the bug so it would be fixed in a later version. He said that they don't accept any type of bug reports.”

Not only I’m I upset that people have purchased the software to end up with this, but I’m very upset that a company like AMD could select such software to be part of their adverting campaign called, AMD Live!

It’s recommend by all that you don’t purchase Power Compress.  I’m going to attempt to send this to AMD in an attempt to have Power Compress pulled from AMD Live!

If you have been “had” by Power Compress (or anything else “Market Engines Inc” is involved in) please let me know.

Posted by chrisl | 11 comment(s)

Will You Switch to Vista Media Center?

I’ve yet to really ask ya’ll out there the biggest question of the year.  So here it goes. . .

Do you like Vista Media Center over Media Center 2005?  Why or why not?

Simple question for some, but I’d be interested to know what everyone out there thinks.  Will you be upgrading?  Yes/No?  Upon release or wait it out a few months?

Posted by chrisl | 63 comment(s)
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