website hit counter September 2007 - Posts - Chris Lanier

September 2007 - Posts

Embedded Automation mControl v2 Mini-Review

Embedded Automation released mControl v2 last week and I’ve been playing around with it since using my small INSTEON setup and I’ve got to say this is a great upgrade!  The biggest change from my view is the new UI.  Now an MCML application it fits right in with Media Center and replaces the old HTML UI with great results.

In Windows XP mControl worked great, but it was a bit sluggish for me at times.  I could never put a finger on what the exact issue was, and I’m not sure if it was mControl or my INSTEON modules (running without “required” signal enhancers) but right now I could less.  The slight delay that was there before is almost non-existent now, and the status seems to be updating much quicker than it did in Windows XP too.  Very happy with it from a control standpoint.

The new UI looks great and because it is MCML it is super smooth and integrates right in with Media Center.  Transitions are smooth as well, and they have kept the UI design consistent with the rest of Vista Media Center.  As you can tell by the screenshot below, Embedded Automation has been their homework on what a nice UI should look like.  Very intuitive, and again smooth on the PC as well as an Extender.


There are also a number of new conditional macros that have been added, a very welcome addition.  I’ve yet to dive into playing with the new ones, but it is on my list for later.

There are a few things that could be better.  I need to play with it a bit, but the status of the lights isn’t always correct when you load up mControl.  That can be a pain, but again I’m not sure if it is mControl or the fact that I’m not using the SignalLinc’s in my small setup.  Also, while the UI is beautiful the icons for various devices could have used an update. I plan on making my own just because I’m anal about UI design.

I didn’t see a way to add devices to mControl through the MCML UI, so you do have to drop back to the HTML UI.  Not a huge deal since I don’t add devices that often.  You can also add them through the 2-foot mControl Editor on the PC which I personally prefer because it is so much quicker to input several devices without using the remote.

mControl would also benefit from a Sidebar Gadget.  I would love to have the Sidebar running on my Vista PCs and be able to see the status and control all the lights in the house.  Right now I have to open the web based control page which is kind of a pain, especially since I have to use IETab in Firefox to do it.  A Gadget would be perfect for when more SideShow remotes ship too.  I believe this is on Embedded Automations list of things to do, and I hope it comes sooner than later.

Overall I’m very happy with this upgrade and as far as I know it is the only MCML home control application for Vista Media Center.  MCML applications are one of the few reasons that I personally have for upgrading to Vista and this one sure didn't disappoint me.

Short Bits: Random Stuff Edition

This is one of the best things I’ve read on the Internet in a long time.  While it might have involved some illegal activities it is funny to see a company’s attempts to con everyone into uploading/downloading pirating content.

Apparently the Product Manager for Zune quit a few weeks ago, doesn’t sound like a good thing to me.  In related news, the new iPod touch get a great review at PC Mag.  “No portable media player has ever done this much so easily, or looked so good doing it.”

For anyone who don't watch SportsCenter, you surely want to check out our beloved Houston Cougar (aka Shasta) get beat down by Oregon’s Duck last week.  I guess we showed them....or not.  We lost 48-27.

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Five Minute Automatic Commercial Skip Crash Course

I’ve talked about DVRMSToolbox for Commercial Skipping before, but I just did this for a thread over at AVS so I figured I’d go around and repost it here to.  This is a 5 minute DVRMSToolbox automatic commercial skipping crash course....

  1. Install DVRMSToolbox
  2. Make sure ComSkip is checked to be installed. It can also install Show Analyzer, but remember that it is only a trial. You would need to purchase Show Analyzer if you want to keep using it ($10).
  3. Not sure what the newest version does in XP, but make sure that ComSkip is registered. To do this there is a batch file that is linked to in the Start Menu.  If you don’t see that, consider it registered for right now.
  4. You must reboot before any of this will actually work.
  5. Open DVRMSToolboxSettings from Start Menu
  6. Change "Preferred Analyzer" to ComSkip on the DVRMSToolbox tab
  7. Switch to the File Watcher tab
  8. Make sure the "Watched Directory" has your Recorded TV in it. Make sure the Output Directory is set the way you want it.
  9. Check "Log Create" just because
  10. Switch to the Commercial Skip tab
  11. Check "Write Events"
  12. Change "Scan Choice" to Auto.
  13. Switch to the Processing tab
  14. Make sure it says "Find Commercials" in both

Newly recorded files will be run through ComSkip without any user intervention after they finish recording.  While you are playing them back, the commercials should be automatically skipped.  Happy skipping, but remember it will not work with protected files (CGMS-A or CableCARD).

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Short Bits: Sean loves Media Center, Live for TV, mControl

Sean Alexander is back on the Media Center side of things with a recent post about how Falling back in love with Vista Media Center.  I think everyone knows how much cable STBs generally suck, and apparently Sean wasn’t happy with a TiVo Series 3 either.  Too bad his CableCARD setup experience in Media Center is not reflected by other CableCARD PC owners.

Ian Dixon wonders what happened to that Windows Live for TV plug-in for Media Center that was announced a long time ago.  While I never used it, I would suggest that Microsoft scraps it and instead just spends time developing a Windows Live Messenger plug-in for Media Center.  Personally, I have no interest in access to Windows Live Spaces within Media Center.

I’m planning on doing a mini-review of mControl v2 for later today or tomorrow.  I’ve got it running in Vista right now and I’ve got to say that it is a huge upgrade over v1.  UI is crazy fast and beautiful too boot.

Also, can anyone guess how long Microsoft had been working to get Digital Cable into the PC before they released CableCARD with Vista?  The answer might surprise you.

The Media Center Show #122

The Media Center Show #122 | 13th September 2007 (41mins 36sec) MP3 - 14.3MB (Download Here)

This week Ian Dixon covers news from CEDIA and loads of e-mails.  With details of the V2 Extenders coming out it is exciting times for Media Center enthusiasts.

Embedded Automation Releases mControl v2 (Home Edition)

Surrey, BC – September 12, 2007 -  Today, Embedded Automation announced general availability of mControl v2 (Home Edition). mControl v2 (Home Edition) is immediately available from the Embedded Automation web store and through the Authorized mHome Dealer Network. mControl v2 (Home Edition) is a free upgrade for users of mControl v1 (Home Edition).

mControl v2 (Home Edition) includes the following new enhancements:

  • New high-fidelity user interface for Microsoft Vista Media Center
  • Many new and/or enhanced drivers for controlling security systems, climate control, cameras, lighting systems and other home control technologies
  • Driver Development Kit (DDK) to allow developers to write their own drivers
  • Enhanced macro functionality, which permits automation of home devices
  • New diagnostics, more documentation and many performance improvements

"mControl is the first widely available home control solution which supports Vista's Media Center. In addition to the ton of new features, we added the new user interface written in the native language of Vista's Media Center. Just like the Media Center platform, within which it seamlessly fits, has brought digital media integration to the average household, this spectacular graphical interface is opening the door to the digital home for everyone, not just the elite few. You can view and control your home from your TV through a Vista Media Center, through your networked XBox 360, any of the soon-to-be-released Media Center v2 Extenders, or even via a secure connection from a remote location," said Ted Singh, Business Development Manager of Embedded Automation.

"We have had thousands of customers download our mControl v2 betas and we've been extremely encouraged with their feedback," added Ted Singh. "But while this is a big milestone for us, with the v2 foundation solidly in place, we're very excited about bringing more of the digital home to our customers."

About Embedded Automation

Founded in 1998, Embedded Automation designs, manufactures, and markets solutions for “Digital Home” under the mHome product family. mHome products allow consumers to easily and affordably add control and media management capabilities to their homes. mHome products are available from Embedded Automation and through the mHome Authorized Dealer Network.

Contact Information
(604) 596-4999

Short Bits: Lifehacker, Niveus Service Pack, Home Server Pre-order

According to Lifehacker building a cheap Media Center PC is some sort of “hack attack”, not sure why that is but anyway they have a beginners guide to a cheap Media Center and then an Xbox 360 Extender for remote viewing.  Hat tip to Kevin for mentioning me in the comments of the post.  As usually, most of the commenter’s know little about Media Center and provide incorrect information about Media Center and related products.  Good news though, more press (lets just make sure people know where to get correct information!)

I’m a big fan of Niveus Media’s products, despite the fact that there is no way I could afford any of them.  Yet another reason that I’m impressed with them is that they are now planning an SDK and even better a “Niveus Service Pack” that will have a number of updates not currently available though regular Microsoft channels.  Providing updates might not be ground breaking, but a per-Vista SP1 Service Pack is a great idea.

Microsoft launched an updated Windows Home Server website, and one better We Got Served reports that is taking pre-orders for Windows Home Server now.  The bad, the price is $178.  That’s about $78 more than it should be.

Missing Remote also has some good stuff, QAM in Media Center with the HDHomeRun and Adding HD DVD/Blu-ray to your PC.

Microsoft Rejuvenates Media Center at CEDIA

It is no secret that I don’t agree with all the choices Microsoft makes with regards to Media Center, however I still believe that it is a fantastic product.  Microsoft doesn’t seem to see the potential that it has though.  Despite this and with a few exceptions, CEDIA has shown me that Microsoft still has a great interest in Media Center.  The products and announcements that have come out in last week finally have Media Center heading back in the right direction (well, unless you don’t live in the US).

Just one side note, CEDIA is an expo for custom installers, products, and services.  Therefore the prices of many of the new products represent that market and not the perspective of the average consumer.

Starting off with Media Center Extenders, Microsoft announced with their partners that they will indeed support DivX and Xvid (MPEG-4 ASP, H.264 should also be supported)I have noted that they should be able to for over a year now, and I’m very glad that it both came to life and that Microsoft to clearly pushing the fact that they do support third party codecs.  The only problem I have with the announcement was nothing was said about DVD streaming, so right now it appears that didn’t make the cut.  This is really the last piece of the puzzle for the Media Center ecosystem, but all in all I’m excited about the new offerings from Linksys, D-Link, and Niveus Media.  DVD streaming would be a key feature to put Media Center over the top of any other solution out there.  It still needs to happen, and at the least we need a public statement from Microsoft on why it hasn’t yet.  I will continue to blog about and push for the addition of DVD streaming, which always could happen via a software update. 

CableCARD was the next big topic at CEDIA, with Microsoft announcing support for up to four CableCARD tuners in Vista Media Center.  I criticized Microsoft for only launching this for the custom installer market, mainly because it is another slap in the face to everyone who has been supporting Media Center for the last five years.  So many non-supported upgrades and products as time has passed, this one really pissed me off.  I’ve been trying to justify the reasoning in my mind, and I can understand why Microsoft started here, but it’s just unfortunate that they have failed at so many other Media Center related upgrades this is just icing on the cake.  The only good part about this is that it can be changed in the future, and maybe when it is the cost of four tuners will not be ~$1,200 as it is today.  Once again, bad decision on Microsoft part but I’ll give them a year to fix it as prices drop on Digital Cable Tuners.  Now, I don’t own a CableCARD PC so I understand that those who do might have different feelings.  Let me know what you think.  If you could get them added to your machine, would you right now with the cost of tuners so high?  At $1,200 for the tuners alone I can understand why they wanted to start with the custom installer market.  Most important out of this whole situation, Microsoft officially supports four tuners within Media Center after five years.  Just them finally deciding it was needed was a relief.  For Media Center to be considered a whole home solution (in other words, for people to feel like they should spend money for Extenders), it needs to support these four tuners.

There were plenty of hardware announcements at CEDIA too, led by Niveus Media and Exceptional Innovation.  Both of these companies are really showing the power of the Media Center platform with custom hardware and software solutions.  Russound, Crestron, Alienware, and ACE Computers also announced new Media Center products geared toward custom installers.

Lastly, Microsoft is making an effort to provide additional content and value to enhance Media Center.  Among the top pickups is WebGuide, which Microsoft will now be providing for free.  It will be interested now that Doug works for Microsoft what becomes of WebGuide.  Will Microsoft kill it off, or is there something else in the picture?

Internet TV is also coming to Media Center with an upcoming plug-in that Microsoft will launch this month at DigitalLife in New York.  A very interesting idea that, I assume, will include ad supported content from major providers (in the US).  I personally like this concept more than a paid service, most of which have failed at this point.  Stay tuned for more around September 27.

The new features and hardware upgrades where not actually why I feel that this year’s CEDIA has revived Media Center.  The reason is because of the press.  I have never seen more coverage of Media Center, ever.  CE Pro covered CEDIA fantastically, the large blogs had multiple posts about the related announcements with people actually commenting and providing feedback.  The Extender announcement made it on to the frontpage of Digg and got great feedback there to.  Microsoft has failed to advertise Media Center, but getting people excited on the web is very important.  Millions learned about Media Center and Extenders through this coverage and getting positive feedback both excites and encourages people to research the product and give it a chance.  Microsoft still has some work to do, but I think CEDIA is the best showing that Microsoft has ever been able to pull off.

Do you think that the events this past week at CEDIA have rejuvenated Media Center?  Please vote in the poll and leave a comment if you have something to say.

Polls requires JavaScript.  Problems voting?  Trying using Firefox or vote here instead. RSS readers click here if you don’t see the poll.

The Xbox 360 Extender MPEG-4 Question

How many times have I talked about this one.   Now that v2 Extenders will ship with MPEG-4 support, when/if the Xbox 360 Extender will get the same in the question (and when will the Dashboard get ASP support)?  This really isn’t that hard of a concept; give the people what they want.

If Microsoft doesn’t want to fit the bill for the licensing, allow people to buy them via the Xbox Live Marketplace.  I’m tired of having to keep bringing this up.

Details on the New Internet TV Plug-in for Media Center

Engadget got some additional details on the new Internet TV plug-in that Microsoft will launch later this month.  This is a great move for Microsoft.  One of the advantages of Media Center is the ability to bring video content from different sources.  The problem has been that several of the companies currently providing on demand content are charging for it and most have been less than successful in my view.

The Internet TV plug-in will provide ad supported content (from major providers I assume), but will only be available in the US. The categories shown on the beta plug-in include Sports, Entertainment, News, Top Picks, Music and Movies.  See the gallery at Engadget for a few more photos.

Stick around because later this month more details will be announced at DigitalLife in New York City.


Short Bits: Friday, September 7, 2007

Other than initially getting Niveus Media’s new Extender not uploaded with the rest of their pictures, Engadget has covered the Media Center aspect of CEDIA very nicely.  Here are some of the more Media Center specific posts they have had.  Booth Tour: FUZE Media Systems, Hands-on: Alienware's Hangar18:HD, Hands-on: Niveus' Media Center Extender, Hands-on: Exceptional Innovation Quad CableCARD 754 Life|Media Server

CE Pro also has a post on that Niveus Extender that I have been talking about today.  It looks exactly like their Rainer Edition PC.  Very nice.

Moneual was showing off a Media Center that was shaped like a Boom Box, including a 7-inch built-in touchscreen.  Neat idea, but I can’t imaine putting something like that around the house.

Updated: What Niveus Media’s Extender is Not (and is)

Note: Please read Update 2 for information on Niveus' actual Extender.

Engdaget posted pictures of what they are calling Niveus Media’s Extender, but I think they are getting a bit confused with all the CEDIA news they are covering.  This is not an Extender.  If you remember in the past I’ve talked about Niveus’ Companion software, and that is exactly what Engadget is attempting to report on.  In this case, it’s running on a Vantage touchscreen just like it was when CE Pro first reported on it.

In addition to taking pictures of the wrong product, reporting it under the title, they also grabbed some pictures of the Niveus Rainer Edition PC, so don’t expect their Extender to look like that on the back just yet.

Of course Niveus’ Extender will “offers users a full fidelity experience, uncompromised 1080p video, digital audio, and the same amazing 3D user interface found on the award-winning Niveus Media Center.”  You can read the full press release from yesterday here.

Additional details on their Extender will be published later this month. 

Note: To reiterate, Engadget’s post shows existing Niveus products (Companion software that runs on touchscreens, and an existing Rainer Edition PC), not their Extender.

Update: Engadget has taken down the post.  Just to be clear, what anyone saw in that post is not Niveus' upcoming Extender.

Update 2: Engadget re-posted the story and now has pictures of what looks like Niveus' Extender up.  Based on the photos, their Media Center Extender will look just like their current Rainer Edition PC.  If you look at the back of the unit, you can see it only has selected outputs which should mean it is the Extender.  The software that you see however, is not the Extender.

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Microsoft at IBC2007 | VC-1 Encoder, New Partners, Mediaroom

First Microsoft VC-1 Encoder Tools Now Available From Leading Solution Providers

Today at IBC2007, Microsoft Corp. announced broad industry support for the Microsoft® VC-1 Encoder software development kit (SDK), a commercial offering first announced at the 2007 National Association of Broadcasters conference in April. Leading companies in digital delivery services and compression tools have taken advantage of the substantial quality and performance improvements delivered through the new SDK and are building next-generation offerings that efficiently produce pristine video imagery for a variety of distribution and consumption scenarios. Additionally recognizing the benefits of faster encoding and the value of delivering best-of-breed video quality to their customers, leading content providers have adopted the new VC-1 Encoder technology through the use of new products and tools.

Read Full Press Release

Microsoft Announces New Partners, Customers and Programs at IBC2007 to Further Its Digital Media Strategy

This week at IBC2007, Microsoft Corp. is announcing new customers, partners and programs that further underscore the value Microsoft provides to organizations in the media and entertainment industry. Through its broad range of solutions, Microsoft enables media and entertainment companies to create and manage nearly endless varieties of media and deliver stunning entertainment experiences to their customers.

Microsoft is highlighting updates, including new customers and partners, for two solutions launched in April at NAB2007: Microsoft® Silverlight™ and Microsoft Interactive Media Manager (IMM). In addition, Microsoft is detailing new customer and partner adoption of the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder software developer kit (SDK) and is announcing the Microsoft Mediaroom™ Interoperability and Qualification Lab (IQ Lab) for digital video encoders. Microsoft is also outlining collaborative efforts with KT Corp. and SBSi, a subsidiary of SBS Media Group, to create a digital content and syndication hub for suppliers and distributors of content.

Read Full Press Release

Microsoft TV to Accelerate Microsoft Mediaroom Deployments With New Interoperability and Qualification Lab

Today at IBC2007 Microsoft Corp. announced the Microsoft® Mediaroom™ Interoperability and Qualification Lab (IQ Lab) for digital video encoders. This program will help enable the ongoing interoperability and compliance of encoders used in deployments of the award-winning Microsoft Mediaroom multimedia and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) software platform. IQ Lab-compliant encoding vendors will become recommended Microsoft Mediaroom ecosystem partners. As the Microsoft Mediaroom software platform continues to gain momentum around the world, encoding partners will be able to capitalize on this growth by enabling their solutions to seamlessly integrate with the platform to deliver fast and smooth service provider deployments.

Read Full Press Release

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Short Bits: Thursday, September 6, 2007

Still a ton of news coming out of CEDIA today.  As I’ve talked about in the past and posted today, Alienware is bringing CableCARD to their Media Center offerings.  The new HD Media Server has four terabytes of hot-swappable hard drive storage, supports internal CableCARD tuners, and a Dolby Digital 7.1 preamp output.  They have also added Blu-ray to the original Hanger 18.  You can read about both at CE Pro.

Exceptional Innovation is back with more news that they have created a turnkey system geared towards the “entry level” market.  They also showed a wireless control system that is designed for retrofits and a hardwired system designed for new homes.

Russound is also making their entry into the Media Center market, just be sure to read the press release carefully because they seem to be trying pretty hard to make sure it’s not seen as a “PC”.  Pricing will range from $5499 to $10,999.

ACE Computers has just become a Microsoft Direct OEM and will be adding CableCARD to their lineup because of this.  Their new lineup will also include a Media Center with an integrated amp, a hybrid Media Server/LCD HDTV, and a Windows Home Server product.

This one outside of CEDIA, Casey posted a great article on his latest Media Center project dubbed /umpcFrame.  While it is a proof of concept and not a consumer application, if someone will run with this then UMPCs just got a lot more interesting when mixed with Media Center.  Think of it as a Sideshow/External display for Media Center with control over just about everything.

The Media Center Show #121

The Media Center Show #121 | 6th September 2007 (1 hour 11mins 42sec) MP3 - 16.9MB (Download Here)

This week Ian Dixon talked with Mark McCall from about Home Automation, the type of devices you can control, security and how you can add intelligence to you home with the power of the PC and Windows Media Center.

Niveus Media at CEDIA | Extenders, CableCARD, Upgrades

Niveus Media Gets Hard Core In Whole-Home Entertainment

Niveus Media, the leaders in high-end digital entertainment solutions for the connected home, introduces the 2008 line of Media Server products. As consumers and installers continue to embrace Niveus’ Windows Vista-based Media Servers, launched in January 2007, Niveus is now focused on optimizing these systems to be the ultimate server for whole-home entertainment. Both the Summit Series and Pro Series Media Server models will be integral parts of Niveus’ multi-zone audio video and digital cable demonstration at CEDIA Expo 2007.

With the custom integrator in mind, Niveus will demo the updated rack mountable Pro Series Media Servers, featuring the Intel® Core™ 2 Quad processor; now available on all Pro Series models including the n7, n9, and all new n4. The Pro Series n4 enters the line-up as the baselevel offering, boasting the same well-designed form-factor and impressive Pro Series performance capabilities.

Intel’s Core 2 Quad processor provides four independent cores with dedicated threads, to efficiently off-load tasks and more readily serve up media including HD video to multiple rooms of the home. The new Pro Series based on the Intel Core 2 Quad processor is capable of streaming HD media to 5 additional, independent zones while providing the power, compatibility, and connectivity to perform as the hard-core central media hub.

Read Full Press Release

Niveus Media Announces Support For Four Digital Cable Tuners

Niveus Media, Inc, the leader in high-end digital entertainment for the connected home, is taking DVR functionality to the next level with their announcement to support up to four digital cable tuners leveraging CableCARD technology. Due to popular demand, Niveus also announces their plans to roll out an intensive CableCARD training and certification program early this Fall; a first for the industry.

Through a Windows® Vista™ Ultimate-based Niveus Media Server and the Niveus Digital Cable Receiver, customers will now be offered robust DVR functionality for the enjoyment of four different premium HD programs accessible from anywhere in the home. Optimized for HDTV recording, the Niveus Digital Cable Receiver enables users to watch one premium HD program while simultaneously watching or recording up to three others.

Read Full Press Release

Niveus Media Introduces First Windows Media Center Extender Designed For The Custom Install Channel

Niveus Media, the leader in high-end digital entertainment for the connected home, proudly introduces the Niveus Media Extender, a hardware device that gives users the ability to enjoy the Niveus Media Center experience throughout the whole home. While dealers and consumers continue to embrace the robust functionality of Niveus’ 2007 Windows Vista Ultimate-based Media Servers, Niveus has shifted focus to create a superior solution for distributing the Niveus Entertainment Experience through the entire home. Welcome the Niveus Media Extender.

By connecting the Niveus Media Extender to any TV throughout the home, users are granted access to live and recorded TV, digital photos, digital music, home video, and exclusive online multi-media content, including downloadable music and local weather – all accessed through and stored on the Niveus Media Server. The Niveus Media Extender offers users a full fidelity experience, uncompromised 1080p video, digital audio, and the same amazing 3D user interface found on the award-winning Niveus Media Center.

Read Full Press Release

Mirage Touch Panel Software For Home Theater / Whole-House Audio Demonstrated at CEDIA

Denver, CO – September 6, 2007. Autonomic Controls, the leading provider of integration software for Microsoft Media Center has announced a new product that enables remote access to music and video media using UMPC’s and touch panels.

Autonomic Controls has announced the release of Mirage, which can turn UMPCs, Web-Tablets, other devices into a sophisticated two way touch panel remote control for Media Center and Windows Media Player. Mirage allows remote management and playback of digital media stored on a Media Center PC or network.

Listeners can browse their digital music CD covers while outside on the Patio, for example, and playback their selections on the whole house audio system.

Used in a home theater, customers can browse their entire movie collection on a touch panel, flipping though digital DVD covers and then send it to the big screen for viewing.

Mirage also provides a way to browse digital photographs, videos, and recorded TV without being tied to a computer.

Autonomic Controls’ is known in the custom electronics industry for producing modules to control Media Center using sophisticated control systems such as those made by AMX, Crestron and HAI (Home Automation, Inc). Consumers and custom electronics installers have been asking for the same functionality using widely accessible web tablets, Windows CE touch panels, and PDAs. Mirage was designed to answer that demand. It can be used as a standalone touch panel solution, or as an feature in a complete automation install.

This week at CEDIA, Mirage is being demonstrated in Microsoft’s Booth #320. Autonomic Control’s automation system modules can be seen in their booth #3806, at AMX’s booth #501, and Niveus Media’s booth #294.

For pricing, OEM licensing, and dealer information, visit

Autonomic Controls, Inc. is known in the custom A/V community as the premier provider of IP and RS-232 control software for Windows Media Center and Media Player. Custom Integrators use their products to command and control PC based Media using AMX, Crestron, HAI, RTI, and similar control systems. For more information visit or send e-mail to

Alienware Unveils Breakthrough High Definition Media Server at CEDIA EXPO 2007

Alienware's Cutting-Edge New HD Media Server Showcased at Life|ware Booth Along with the Hangar18: HD Entertainment Center, Now with Blu-ray Disc

Triggering the latest evolution in digital entertainment, Alienware® - the leading manufacturer of high-performance desktop, notebook and professional systems - is introducing the new Alienware HD Media Server to system integrators at CEDIA EXPO 2007 in the Life|ware booth (#320). Alienware's award-winning Hangar18: HD Entertainment Center, now featuring Blu-ray Disc, will also be showcased at CEDIA EXPO. The event runs from September 5-9 in Denver, CO at the Colorado Convention Center.

"CEDIA attendees have the privilege of witnessing firsthand the newest entry to Alienware's digital home line: the HD Media Server, which fulfills the demand for an easy-to-use, high definition content storage and distribution device in next-generation digital homes," said Marc Diana, Product Marketing Manager for Alienware. "In addition, the event provides a chance to see how the addition of Blu-ray Disc further elevates our acclaimed Hangar18 system."

The ultimate media server for the digital home of tomorrow, Alienware's new HD Media Server comes loaded with up to four terabytes of hot-swappable hard drive storage. The system enables the recording and playing back of high definition content at up to 1080p via an HDMI output, supports internal cable card (OCUR), and features a Dolby Digital 7.1 preamp output.

Read Full Press Release

v2 Extenders Make Digg Frontpage

I’m very happy to see that the v2 Media Center Extender announcement made it onto the frontpage of Digg and so far it’s getting good comments.  This is exactly what Extenders need, press and user support.  Most people don’t know what Media Center is, or that they can already use their Xbox 360 as an Extender.  When Microsoft drops the ball on advertising (as they have done the past five years) then getting good feedback on Digg is a very nice start to make up for it.

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