Archive for the ‘Vista MediaCenter’ Category
Now that some pricing has been leaked on the Extenders (looking at being around ~US$350 for the basic Dlink and Linksys models) – I’m a little disappointed so far with what I’ve heard (and maybe used the word ‘goodness’ a little prematurely).
I think I mostly agree with Chris Laniers comments in his post ‘v2 Extenders Let Down Big in Price Points’ – and hopefully tonight we are going to get some much better/accurate+confirmed news (there’s still some more extender products to be announced/outlined tonight).
If what we hear so far is true - I think the big issue is that they (Linksys, DLink) really need to compete head on with at least (one of) price, functionality or sex appeal – and none of these appear to have been met.
I perceive one major problem is the initial base cost of getting the required embedded o/s and decoder chips that are up to spec to run the v2 extender platform – and unless produced in extremely large quantities – this is always going to push the price up. (so the price point is maybe a large untouchable area). The very fact that they are more expensive than XBox360′s (which are infinitely more powerful beasts) – is going to put a lot of people off simply ‘out of principal’.
So instead they need to either make it look really uniquely sexy and market it well (the apple approach – they can charge what they like and they do) – or add desirable additional features that allow it to solve a lot of different similar problems (that all require similar cpu grunt, hardware and decoding abilities and share the same internals). We see this latter approach in many areas – most notably in network gear (ie a single cheap device will function as a router/switch, ADSL Modem, firewall, print server, wireless access point and VOIP hub) – but also things like mobile phones (Camera, mp3 player, gps etc on top of being a phone).
For extenders – that similar/complimentary functionality includes things like BluRay, HDDVD, DVD, MemoryCard support, Inbuilt Digital Tuners, VideoConferencing, VOiP etc. LinkSys are sort of on the right track with the DVD Player – except that a standalone dvd player is a cheap $20 item these days – so it’s got to be more about the newer devices which a user can’t normally get cheaply as a standalone product – and ones they are likely to buy in the future already.
Anyhow I’m with Chris that there’s a chance these couple of Extenders in their current form/price are not going to be hugely popular – and will instead push it into the corner as a ‘specialist device’ (low volumes produced resulting in high price points).
The Niveus Media Center extender (which we have only seen pictures of so far – no pricing or specs yet) – appears to know at least what market it wants to be in (and how to dress the part) – so I have much higher confidence for this one being successful.
From Engadget (ahem.. yes I do link to my sources….)
Hot on the heels of the Linksys Media Center Extender – details have emerged on the offering being announced tonight from D-Link – the DSM 750 Media Center Extender which includes (quoted from engadget) :
"high-speed, uninterrupted wireless (or wired) streaming and sharing of HD / SD video, movies, digital photos and music," regardless of where your PC is located. The device features dual-band draft Wireless N technology, silent operation, a wireless remote, USB 2.0 port for accessing external storage, and a 10 / 100 Ethernet jack. Catch it this November for $349.99, and check out a bevy of photos (including a few hands-on) in the gallery below.
Like with the Linksys Extender – it’s got a lot of nice features – but looks like it got hit with the ‘ugly stick’ – and definitely a device you’ll want well out of visibility in your lounge-room. (these guys really have to get some italian/french designers in to make it look sexy).
It sounds just a little bit pricey however at US$349 (was really expecting these to be cheaper than a XBox360 – not more expensive).
A picture is included below (more at the engadget photo gallery) .
There’s also some other extender device info floating around on a reference design from Digion (based on Sigma designs decoding chips) – and although it has the Windows Media Center Extender Logo plastered all over it – it’s possible this is just a v1 extender. Whats nice about this one is the inclusion of a Web Browser and support for a quite a fair few codecs (dvr-ms is not mentioned – but has H.264, Divx/Xvid, M4v and others out of the box). It’s even possible this is just a straight UPMP and not really an extender at all.
You might have heard the buzz around the Media Center scene that at least four of the long awaited "PIKA" Media Center extenders are being launched this week (Thurs 27th) at the "Digital Life" expo in the US..
Anyhow you can tune in to a live webcast of the event at (thanks Mike for the info!) – or catch it afterwards on demand at : http://wm.istreamplanet.com/customers/ms/09272007_100k.asx
NYC 11:15 > 12:15 US EDT – THURSDAY – SEP 27 (thats 1:15am AUST EST FRIDAY for Australians)
I’m really hoping they are going to be able to bring these in at nice cheap prices – ideally sub AUD$200 – (which allow just enough WAF for me to have a few around the house).
I also caught a post on www.xpmediacentre.com.au (see picture/blurb below for more info) where someone had located some info/pics of the Linksys DMA -2100/2200 extenders (one with a DVD player and one basic model) – there’s also some links to hi-res pics down the bottom.
(Please note that this may not actually be one of the new extenders – but it’s looking likely)..
The DVD version has upscaling to HDMI - and it makes me think that if they had a BluRay or HDDVD model – they could potentially get a lot of extra sales from people wanting to upgrade to these new formats (in same manner Sony PS3 is also being bought by some for it’s BluRay player and not the gaming) – although there’s of course still plenty of people who will be pleased with the DVD inclusion.
Bring your digital music, movies and photos
to your TV or Home Theater
It’s great to store photos, music and movies on your computer. But it’s hard to share them with friends and family. What if you could view digital photos, movies and high definition programs on your TV, and listen to downloaded music on your home theater sound system? With the Linksys Media Center Extender you can!
Access digital content and Internet services from your Microsoft Windows Vista Premium or Ultimate Media Center PC and wirelessly stream it to your home entertainment system.
- Easily navigate menus with a single learning remote
- Built-in upscaling DVD player with the DMA2200
- Uses existing high-speed Wireless-N home network
Things are (maybe) starting to look good in media center land… can’t wait for Friday…
Over the past few weeks in Australia – 3 of the 5 FTA networks have announced that they will be making new Digital (DVB-T) channels available to viewers (via their additional dvb-t channels) – which will offer original/unique content to what they offer on their primary channel.
In the past – FTA networks were only only allowed to use their additional HD/SD channels to show the same content (and if on the HD channel – generally upconverted from SD or worse) – or for showing a basic information service (ie. EPG Channel or Sports Scoreboard). The restrictions around what FTA channels could do were lifted a couple of months ago I tihnk – /or/ are to be lifted soon (which have been in place since 2000 to protect the paytv industry).
The exception to this rule was the two government owned stations ABC + SBS which were allowed to use it to show content which catered for various minorities (SBS News shows news broadcasts from about 30 non english speaking countries – but doesn’t have any english subtitles) – and ABC used it to show some additional screenings of existing content (at different times).
So thanks to changes in the laws/restrictions + the increase in LCD/Plasma Widescreen/Digital uptake by the Australian public (it’s gone pretty ballistic over last 12-18 months – and you can get STB’s as low as AUD$35 in places like supermarkets) – things are going to get a lot better for Australian viewers.
The details on what will be on these new channels is still a little shakey – with the following details emerging so far :
- TEN HD. The new TEN HD channel (not sure if it will replace or compliment their existing HD channel) – will be offering at least 50 hours a week of unique 1080i programming (and promises to be shows not screening on the SD channel). Apart from the focus on 1080i HD content – they have indicated this additional shows will include things like live sports, shows and movies etc (not timeshifted) – and ‘theme’ marathons (ie. "SciFi Saturday" was one that was mentioned).
In TEN HD’s press release (which has some more information) – they have claimed that it’s the ‘first brand new channel in over 40 years for Australian TV‘. The service is due to start in December.
- Seven "Multichannel" HD. Similarly to what TEN HD are doing - Seven plan to offer some unique content via their HD channel. They haven’t yet announced any specifics yet of what/how much content will be shown (and the press release sortof indicates there may be more than one HD channel?). This one is also due in a similar timeframe to TEN HD. (sometime in December). Seven also recently announced plans to introduce TIVO to Australia so part of this new offering may be tied in with that.
- ABC 3. This one isn’t HD (AFIK) – but will be a channel setup specially for kids content (i guess an evolution of the ‘ABC Kids’ content shown on paytv and during the day on ABC2). Hopefully this will mean that schedules/timeslots on ABC2 + ABC will be freed up to get used for ‘non kids’ content. This channel also ties in with the election campaign (being announced/promoted by the PM) – so it’s possible it could disappear just as quickly as it appeared.
Hopefully there will be some more interactive/datacasting style services on offer soon too!
Olcay Buyan at MCEDev has just launched a beta version of TV-Toolbox (this app was previously known as MCEDEV’s MCE-Cutter for Vista Media Center and previewed on this blog a while ago). This new MCPL app allows you to edit/convert your Recorded TV from a 10 foot UI.
An excerpt from the news release (on the MCEDev site) –
Ever wanted to edit and convert your recording right from your couch? Now you can! TV Toolbox is the youngest member in our gang. It allows you to edit recordings, convert recordings and define rules to automatically convert just recorded TV shows to a specific format.
Olcay’s done a really nice job on the UI – so go check out the news release to get a downloadable version and see some screenshots too.
While I was on holidays o/s (and away from my blog) – Olcay also released some news about MCE-Cookbook - an application designed for kitchen based MediaCenter machines (designed by Ad Notam) – and allows you to view recipies from a 10 foot UI. This one is worth checking out too (not downloadable yet) – and the kitchen mounted displays look really nice in the photos.
"make their program listings information available to manufacturers of set top boxes, personal video recorders (PVRs) and other service providers provided the equipment displaying the EPG complies with some base level requirements designed to protect copyright, protect the integrity of the program information and facilitate collection of ratings information."
What these "base level requirements" are exactly – and when the actual EPG might appear – are some details I’m a little dubious of – given there’s been a few official announcements around an EPG over past few years (from FreeTV an DBA) – and very little action. However it seems like a positive step forward in the journey towards having an EPG – as a basic outline of some requirements was at least given this time (in the past it was just announcements of everyone ‘agreeing’ to talk).
I’m also a little unclear if this means MediaCenter may eventually get an ‘official’ EPG for Australia – as there was no real mention computer based PVR’s – and it’s a big unknown still if MediaCenter will be able to comply with these ‘base level requirements" out of the box. (very unlikely)
Going by the past history of government regulated tech rollouts in Australia however (DVB-T "AU")- there’s a high chance it’s not going to use any ‘common’ standards and specific "Australia Only" features may need to be implemented by a PVR maker before it can work.
Hence a likely outcome of this – is that we won’t actually get an official MediaCenter EPG. Instead, companies such as IceTV will continue to offer a service where this official EPG data is massaged into a format that is MediaCenter ready – and provide the additional components for gathering ratings data etc as needed for compliance. I’m sure that once these rules are decided upon – many other companies (now underground) may also offer similar commercial EPG services to IceTV, and make the market a little more competative (without risk of being sued).
In any case – this announcement *hopefully* means good things are coming for PVR users at some point – rather than later (or never).
Update : Some more articles have appeared in the press this morning - one from news.com.au indicating a "3 month time frame" for rollout of these services. The bad news is that it’s very much looking like something not digestible for MediaCenter owners – as even Foxtel’s IQ has been flagged as being ‘not compliant’ with the requirements/conditions being set out. (and hence Foxtel users will not receive this free to air EPG either).
From what I understand of the yet to be activated DRM functionality in MediaCenter/DVB-T/DVR-MS – available functions are mainly based around not being able to copy the recorded tv file to other machines /and/ observing a ‘Do Not Record’ flag set by the broadcaster (similar to how it works on DRM protected music) – and not around supressing the 30 sec ad-skips (which appears to be one of "basic requirements" for using the Australian EPG Service). Although with a fair amount of hacking / patching (and breaching of the Microsoft EULA) – it’s possible some 3rd party may be able to provide a fix which removes the 30 second skip feature on MediaCenter – but you can be assured it won’t be an elegant solution at all. Same could be said about ratings/tracking of tv usage - there’s some basic stuff built in to MediaCenter – but unlikely it’s the exact solution required for compliance.
So it’s again looking like whats going to come out of this will be (yet another system) which requires companies to spend large amounts of $$ making their PVR systems complaint with an "Australian Only" set of restrictions. (which in MOST cases means it ‘wont’ happen – as the Australian marketplace is far to small by world standards to ever justify this sort of investment). We do know however that have already missed out on a lot of the features of Digital TV on MediaCenter in the past (Teletex, Subtitles, ITV etc) – due to our version of "DVB-T" being somewhat different to how DVB-T is implemented in the UK and other big markets. So it’s again not looking like the solution we were waiting for - and likely any "compliant" system will carry a hefty price premium at the cash register.
A new "Media Center Show" Podcast appeared on TPN (the podcast network) this week – with a new host Michael Wolf from ABI Research. On this show Michael interviews Joe Belfiore - VP of eHome division at Microsoft.
Michael does a pretty good job interviewing Joe (which is quite an impressive effort given it’s his very first show) – and I look forward to hearing Michael’s interviews/shows in the future. (and encourage readers to check it out).
However, I do need to have a little bit of a grumble about some ‘issues’ regarding this new Podcast (and without knowledge of what transpired behind the scenes – I am not sure if these came about via direction from TPN or Michael’s own accord).
People know and respect ‘The Media Center Show’ due to the incredible work Ian Dixon has done with it (not because it’s listed on TPN) – and his associated blog, site and other things that all add to the shows reputation. Ian also won over listeners due to having a really good understanding of both the hardware and software side of things - ie one week he’d be talking to a system builder about hw related issues – and the following week discussing SDK issues with a developer from the MediaCenter team – without missing a beat. From what I can tell – the new host Michael seems pretty clued up about hardware stuff – but maybe isn’t so strong on the software or dev side of things (which will ultimately take the show in a different direction). Michael even mentions that he’s not yet running Vista MediaCenter.
So my more specific points I was a little disappointed with –
First off – It’s pretty weird (and confusing for the public) that the podcast is also named ‘The Media Center Show’. Yes - I caught the v2.01 bit at the end – but this actually indicates that v1 is obselete/redundant (not – hey the original creator decided to move his show). It would have been a better idea if the podcast had been called something different (given a new host/new direction etc) – no matter who actually ‘legally’ owned the name (it just would have been the ‘right’ thing to do).
Secondly – there was pretty much no indication/mention of Ian’s involvement with the show in this podcast I listened to (i didn’t catch all of it – but if it was there it wasn’t prominently placed). I really would have expected/liked that at the start of the show – a few moments could have been spent thanking/acknowledging everything Ian has done with the show (and how you are following in his footsteps) – and clearly explaining to the public about the existence of the two shows. (and repeating this in the associated blog entry).
The other thing I noticed was that the format/length/feel of the show (another bit that Ian defined/created – not TPN) was very much the same as before. I though that maybe some steps could have been taken to looking at a new format and finding some other original way to really differentiate this new podcast over Ian’s one. (as it comes accross as more of a ‘copy’ of what Ian’s creation - rather than something that is fresh and original).
Putting these points aside – I do wish Michael luck with his new podcast (and I’ll be a future listener). There’s definitely room for two of these shows in the marketplace (and more so if they diversify into different areas) – and many I’m sure will listen to both (rather than chosing one or the other). I also think Michael will also gain a lot more kudos/respect/trust from the community doing the ‘right’ thing in relation to these points I mentioned.
Microsoft released a very (hugely) important hotfix for Australian Vista MediaCenter users yesterday - fixing a ’localized’ issue that caused channels to completely disappear from the EPG/lineup at unpredictable times. For me this would occur every 1-2 weeks – and was normally only fixable by reinstalling the tuner card drivers , rerunning the entire EPG setup process from scratch and then rescheduling all the series recordings – a very unwelcome event. (although a small ‘trick’ using the miniguide occasionally worked). On quite a few occasions WAF dropped considerably – and MCE2005 was booted instead to restore peace (god forbid should we fail to record desperate housewives - even if the channel disappeared 10 minutes into the recording).
It’s not 100% clear who was at fault for this (or if it was even a ‘bug’) – as a couple of the Australian TV Stations (Channel Seven and SBS) were regularly changing around their subchannel lineup – which even seemed to affect many non Vista MediaCenter DVB-T viewers (ie even those with Set top boxes) . Australia also has a pretty weird/different implementation and set of laws regarding use of DVB-T – so this also makes it much harder for o/s based companies to handle all the subtleties of our systems (ie Commercial stations aren’t allowed to run any additional decent content with their subchannels – so use it for more random things like creating a ‘scoreboard channel’ while televising some live sport – and hence reconfigure them regularly.).
The ‘unreliability’ factor caused by this issue meant that the only real way to ensure you didn’t miss recordings was to doublecheck your system when the show started (so you could actually make sure it was recording) – and you simply couldn’t trust it not to happen if you were away on holidays. This also caused considerable headaches for OEM System Builders wishing to sell Vista Media Center PC’s – as helping a customer re-setup their tuners every couple of weeks would quite quickly drain their profit margin and might have made selling a machine a liability (and a guaranteed way to get an unhappy customer).
So as you can see – this hotfix brings a great deal of joy to us Aussies. Just to give you an idea – the thread discussing this on xpmediacentre.com.au had a whopping 25956 views (with 579 replies across 58 pages).
There’s a couple of people who stepped out well and beyond the call of duty to make this hotfix available- and I thought I’d pay homage to them here –
First off is Keith Chambers (a well-know/respected guy in the MediaCenter community) – who initially raised the issue with Microsoft – and then tirelessly monitored machines, kept logs, ran tests and did everything necessary to make this fix a reality (keep in mind this problem could not be readily reproduced locally – as it might have taken up to 7-14 days or so to occur – and AFIK could not be reproduced in the US at all due to different tv standards/systems). Keith did all this in his own time/expense – and showed considerable patience on this – thanks heaps!!
Also on the Microsoft side of things – ex-patriot Mike Hayton – championed the cause well and truely beyond what was considered part of his job. (he’s actually from New Zealand – but generally Australians like to claim any famous kiwis as their own – ie. Rusell Crowe, Mel Gibson, etc). Not only did Mike get the fix created, tested + released - but he also made a huge effort to keep everyone in the loop via the forums – no matter whether it was on the weekend or middle of the night over there. (and this too made a big difference to the community – as many would have switched to other platforms if there had been no light at the end of the tunnel!).. (Update : Mike Hayton tells me Mel Gibson is not a New Zealander… Seems noone wants to claim Mel these days..)
So anyhow thanks guys (and I’m sure a bunch of additional people were working behind the scenes on this too – like the Australian beta testers and devs at Microsoft) – and fingers crossed it brings an end to the problems.
Disclaimer : the author of this article also has a vested interest in having as many Aussies as possible using Vista Media Center (as they won’t be able to run his software – and might end up buying an AppleTv – ouch). 8)
I was quite stunned to hear the announcements this week that TIVO is (finally) coming to Australia + New Zealand.
It’s not that TIVO isn’t a great product - it’s that along with these announcements is news of a partnership with Channel 7 – and both Channel 7 and Channel Nine saying that they ‘support’ implementation of an industry wide EPG.
If you’ve been a user of the multitude of other ‘EPG’ ready PVR options such as Vista Media Center/MCE2005 or the various Hardware based PVR’s (ie Topfield etc) – you’ll know that the very reason we don’t have any proper EPG’s is that these abovementioned companies (Channel Nine + Channel 7 – the two main culprits) have gone to great lengths to actively prevent this from happening.
The EPG data is already there (has been in place for a long time), it’s in the appropriate formats – but the reality is that anyone who wants to make this data available to the public (for PVR usage) faces the threat of legal action from these companies. These companies have also blatantly refused to negotiate access to this data – with the numerous companies that have approached them.
The only company brave enough to challenge this has been IceTV – a Sydney based company who have stuck their necks out to make XML compliant EPG Data available to the public for a number of different PVR’s – and as a result is now fighting for their survival after being sued by HWW. HWW is a Channel 9 owned company who aggregates a print form EPG to newspapers/media. HWW of course went for maximum damage – and waited until the eve of IceTV’s IPO to decide they were going to sue. Their ground’s for suing IceTV – that they ‘owned the IP on the schedule of programs’. It should also be mentioned here that Channel 7 were also quite keen on suing IceTV as well – and am quite sure if HWW hadn’t done it first it would have been them instead.
So in light of this recent announcement – I’m really starting to get annoyed when I see these statements from the TV Stations (as quoted from the related news item in Fairfax Press) :
Bridget Godwin, head of policy and regulatory at the Seven Network, said the free-to-air TV industry supported the idea of an industry-wide EPG, and she was confident that one was "on the way".
and the absolute clicher from Nine (Channel 9) –
A spokeswoman for Nine said: "We support the concept of an industry-wide EPG and we look forward to working with other participants in the industry to develop this further."
Err… there’s nothing to ‘develop’ further here guys… (yes I’m sure they are aware of this)… the only thing needing ‘development’ is the actual TV Stations commiting not to sue+destroy anyone who actually tries to make this happen.
So really if these stations are really not opposed to have EPG’s or PVR’s available to the public – the whole situation really starts to stink of anti-competative behaviour and abuse of power from the TV Stations.
In fact the only valid reasoning I can see for the current situation to be the way it is – is that in the past – the TV Stations simply hadn’t got their Digital Media strategy together – and are using their monopoly to prevent any new players from entering the PVR and Digital Media market - without offering any equivelent product themselves.
It’s not that the EPG Data is valuable IP to the TV Stations - or they seriously think it being available will alter the piracy situation. It’s that any new PVR player/maker essentially relies on an EPG for it to be a ‘killer’ appliance for the mass market. (otherwise it just remains a ‘specialist’ product used only by those with tech knowhow). Cleverly (and deviously) – by drawing the line in the sand on the EPG access - the TV Networks can then cripple any company wanting to enter this space. It’s really crazy behaviour – as they can’t/won’t get away with it forever – and they are also missing valuable opportunities to obtain realtime/accurate viewing habits/ratings/statistics from users. (not to mention the ability to do historical AND future ratings simply by looking at the user’s schedule).
It’s also been clearly documented/observered in the US that the majority of TIVO users don’t skip ads (in fact a study a couple of years ago found that 80% of users didn’t want to touch their remote control while something was on) – and in fact provides a larger potential audience (as users are no have to chose between shows/stations).
I’m no lawyer – but I’m pretty certain anti-competative behaviour like this classed as a serious offence by the ACCC (Australian Consumer/Corporate Watchdog) – and I’m really quite surprised that they haven’t been pulled up on this. (or maybe it’s simply due to the new players not having enough clout to instigate an investigation). This really is a classic case of the 100 kg gorilla that noone will do anything about.
It’s going to be interesting to see what pans out with this TIVO announcement and if a ‘industry wide EPG’ actually becomes a reality.
And of course the outcome of the IceTV vs HWW/Nine legal battle has yet to be decided – and could really go either way at this stage (however I’m sure Nine’s announcements indicating that they wanted to people to have an EPG isn’t going to be a great closing point).
Unfortunately on this front – it’s unlikely any actual legal precedent will be set over the main question - ’is a program guide / schedule of events considered to be IP – or is it the IP actually just in the products they are advertising?‘. IceTVvsHWW instead seems to be simply a bunfight over who created the data being published.
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone being sued for publishing a list of ‘whats on’ at local clubs/nightspots, nor any local rags being sued for mentioning what time a Movie or TV Show is being screened. In fact like with an EPG – noone will go to the theatre or pub – if they aren’t able to find out anything about the event - or when it’s on – so it’s no wonder Channel BitTorrent seems to be winning all the ratings of late down under.
Its really good to see a few new MCML addins starting to emerge over the past few weeks from the enthusiast community. Many are still in early beta/alpha versions - but worth a look, and the authors would all appreciate any testing/feedback (and most can be seen frequenting Media Center Sandbox forums).
Some of the ones I’ve caught recently are :
Audiophile (Steven Hattinger) – an album playlist addin for Vista media Center. This addin hooks into the ‘More with This’ function in My Music – and provides extended information on Albums such as viewing large artwork and other provided metadata not normally shown in Media Center.
This program also allows for some basic actions to be performed such as removing the album from WMP library and copying it into another directory. Please see the information page for download link and more details/screenshots.
(Audiophile screenshots below)
Squirrel Stash (Avaxa) : taken from the website. "Password protect your private media files and view them seamlessly in Vista Media Center. Fully functional version allows you to securely protect your pictures, videos and audio files in a seamless Vista Media Center experience. Media files are stored in a reliable and highly-secure encrypted stash and can only be accessed if a valid password is entered.".
This program is still a work in progess (although I think they might be looking for testers) – and it’s looking very Z’ish right now. The free version will allow up to 1gb of storage – and the full version of the software (AUD$34.97) will provide unlimited storage.
(Squirrel Stash screenshots below)
MoreWithMyMusic 0.2.0 (Steven Harding) - an updated version of this addin with a couple of ‘Library Processing’ features for listening to music – such as Normalize/Denormalize feature and Ultrastar Karaoke support. See Steven Hardings post on Sandbox about this or download the installer.
VMCMusicListener (Gordon Moore) : A description from the author : "VMCMusicArtistLister is a Vista Media Center (VMC) foreground addin application that allows you to display in a list every music artist in your [WMP] library. You can press OK on the remote for any artist and get a list of all the songs for that artist. You can then use the right arrow button and select a song. If you press OK it will give you two option: 1) Play the currently selected song. 2) Add all the listed songs to a playlist that will be labelled VMC-Artistname. The entry is also recorded in a wpl file in your Usename|Music|Playlists folder. Please remember that to remove a playlist you should do it from the library of WMP. if you simply delete the file, the entries remain in the Library. If you repeat the operation for the same artist the original playlist will be replaced." You can download the app installer from www.gfmapps.co.uk
Go check them out…