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Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Windows Live for TV – Vista Media Center WPF Addin

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The "Orbit" team at Microsoft have just released a beta of their .NETv3 / Vista Media Center application ‘Windows Live for TV’ (originally known as ‘Project Nemo’). This product allows you to access the best of Windows Live Spaces and Windows Live Messenger functionality – with a UI optimized for 10 foot and Remote controls (and in 3D).
If you are in the US (which I’m not) and have a Live account – you can download the beta and try it out. As this app is packaged as an WPF XBAP (I assume) – you can also run this directly in IE7 on Vista (with Media Center). It’s entirely possible this will also work as well in XP/MCE2005 (as .NETv3 is supported) – but depends on whether any other Vista Specific functionality is required. (and you would also lose the 3d AntiAliasing in non Vista platforms).
It’s interesting that Microsoft chose to write this product in WPF and not MCML – since the MC Platform Team seem to be really pushing developers down the MCML path lately.  From what I have seen of the screenshots/descriptions of this application  – everything I have seen in the UI would be ‘do-able’ in MCML as well (including fudging ‘most’ of the 3d). However – if the aim is also to target non Vista Media Center owners (ie. those who haven’t shelled out a sqillion $$ for the Ultimate/Premium versions of Vista – or those running XP) – then it makes perfect sense why WPF was used.  I guess this action in itself is proof that there’s no definative case for selecting either technology over the other – as each technology will provide something the other can’t. (and in this case the ability to run the app in the IE7 browser is something that couldn’t be provided if it was made in MCML).
I’m also interested to check out how they handled the 3D animation side of things for XBox 360 extenders – as this is one area that falls down with WPF apps on Media Center (and you only get low ~4 fps framerates). To handle this in my own WPF MC apps – I had to provide configuration options for users to disable/simplify animations and transition effects – for the app to be usable in this environment.  However given there’s already a bunch of good IM functionality already provided by XBox360 dashboard (running natively) – its possible they didn’t worry about this scenario at all.
Anyhow here’s a some screenshots (linked from the Orbit team blog) – see their site for more..



Written by mobilewares

January 4, 2007 at 12:00 am

Posted in Vista MediaCenter

One Response

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  1. Hi,
    Nice article. I personally had this dilemma whether I should learn MCML or should I invest in WPF. I chose WPF 🙂
    I’ve tried to download the product but all the links end up in Windows Live betas web site which does not contain info regarding this product. Where can i find it ?


    March 31, 2008 at 9:33 am

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