website hit counter July 2009 - Posts - Chris Lanier

July 2009 - Posts

Is Hulu Coming to Media Center?

I don't believe that Hulu has a large interest in Media Center, but those very same mockup’s that show Media Center’s “PCTV” marketing also show Hulu as a key experience.  My guess is that the material Microsoft provided to Lippincott said Media Center provides an Internet TV experience, and the designers took that as Media Center providing access to the most popular service for online TV shows.

I don’t believe that the content providers are interested in seeing Hulu on the big screen as it would jeopardize traditional content delivery.  Hulu’s entry into the 10-foot UI marketplace is heavily designed around the desktop PC, and their TOS makes that very clear.

Media Center Gets "PCTV" Marketing in Microsoft Store Mockups

It has been my theory that Microsoft is slowly ditching the concept of using and promoting Media Center as a whole home entertainment experience and moving to the “TV on your PC” concept which they have been actively promoting over the past 6 months.  This concept is something that most Media Center enthusiasts don’t want to believe as it turns Media Center into a product that most current users have no interest in.  What better way to find out the future of Media Center than looking at how it could be presented in the upcoming Microsoft retail stores.

Gizmodo got their hands on some leaked mockups of the retail experience, and while Microsoft’s PR is pushing the leaked images as “early prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans” I think it will further key us in on the future of Windows Media Center.

The images, which are presented in on Gizmodo show Media Center being marketed as “PCTV” with such usage scenarios as “watching the Today Show while checking emails during breakfast” and “watching American Idol while on the blog.”  Other key features in the mockup include PC as a PVR, watching Internet TV, and managing all media in one place.

The mockup of the retail experience is driven by what look to be PC monitors or small screen HDTVs.  A theater setting or living room with Media Center as the center piece doesn’t look to be in the picture if this mockup is to be trusted.  Also missing in the mockup is any mention of Media Center Extender’s.

I have no doubt will we see things that are not clearly outlined in the leaked images, however I do believe the marketing material for Media Center is what we will end up seeing.  Notably missing from the mockups are large displays for Xbox 360, Zune, and even Home Server.  I’m not sure Home Server will get a large amount of square-footage designated to it, but I do expect Zune and Xbox to have their place (both Zune and Xbox are outlined in the product offerings mockup image). 

What’s your opinion, will the marketing for Media Center be focused on whatever PCTV is, or can we expect Media Center being pushed as the 10-foot experience that we really want?