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Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

More MediaCenter (and other) Bits from CES

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If you’ve been reading the CES news – you’ll have noticed the amount of new MediaCenter goodies that have been appearing this year.
I won’t go into the hardware side of things – but on the Media Center software front – some announcements made include :
Fox Sports / and Sports lounge Addin : View the latest sports scores, stats, fixtures, news, videos, pictures and more from Fox Sports (US based sports only at the moment). There’s also apparently some interactive content that works in realtime with sport you are watching on TV (not clear how this works though). This addin works both as an internal DLL (which is deployed with MediaCenter) – and then switches accross to a MCPL web application. I’ll (resurect) a post on this soon with some screenshots.
Vongo: A new MCPL based Movies/Video on Demand Service. I’m yet to see any screenshots of this one – but Ian Dixon reports that it looks really slick. Currently their site is not accessible from outside US – so I can’t even read a press release on it (or see any screenshots). Hopefully Ian will get a chance to take some photos for us to look at.
Life|Ware (Expectional Innovation) – "Home Control Software" allows you to automate and control your household appliances. A new UI has been released for Vista – and Life|Ware have partnered with Monster Cable Products to provide an end to end experience. See the Press Release for more details on this.
MCentral (Embedded Automation) – Another home automatation package comprising of both hardware and software designed for Vista Media Center. Check out Chris Laniers blog post on this for more information.
TVTonic – A new version of this MCE2005 app has been made for Vista (which downloads Video On Demand for offline viewing) . I’ve not see any screenshots of this one either – but hopefully the new version is a bit nicer on bandwidth – and has some better controls/management on what gets download (I’ve personally had – and heard from others – bad experiences with this app doing massive amounts of downloading before you realize all your month’s bandwidth quota has disappeared).
Also one of the other big announcements was "Windows Home Server" a new home server platform to be shipped with the HP MediaSmart Server later this year.  This is one product I think I just don’t understand. I’ve had a look over what it will do (automated backups of your computers, management/searching of your media collection, printer sharing, web access etc) – and I can’t see a single feature that you can’t do already on todays pc’s (and would argue even some of the cheap NAS solutions will do most of this too). Sure they have put everything into one box (saving end users the time of installing some of the additional bits and pieces) – but I’m sure this is going to be a very expensive solution (no pricing details have been provided as yet).
Another item of interest – was that Bill Gates took some time out to have a long chat with a small group of the worlds most prominent Tech bloggers (ie Robert Scoble, Gizmodo’s Brian Lam and some others ). You can watch the video of this chat via Robert Scobles blog. Apart from it being really damm cool that Bill Gates took the time to do this and offer so much transparency – it’s truely amazing to see just how smart this guy is and that he is totally accross (and passionate about) all the different things Microsoft are doing. I’ve met a ton of CEO’s etc of large companies in the past – and they always seemed to be arms length away from the technology and pretty clueless about the details (even though they were tech companies).
Near the end of this interview there’s a very awkward moment where Robert Scoble asks what Microsoft is doing about reducing power consumption with computers – and relates it to the global warming situation. Bill Gates appears to momentarily lose his cool on this (and maybe due to him thinking ‘oh shit we are now going to be blamed for global warming too’) – and after interrogating Robert on ‘what percentages – what figures – dont raise this question unless you have facts’ etc – he comes back with some strong answers.  I think Robert had a pretty valid question – and I know in my own house a large % of the power bill is directly attributed to the pc’s that are running.
It’s a little gray as to whether power consumption is the ‘fault’ of the hardware manufacturer (who can make their products more efficient), the software platform (which could have better power management features) – or the end user (who should be more responsible with usage).  I think personally its a shared responsibility accross all three – and have no doubt that reducing power consumption by computers could play a very big part in reducing in the overall drain on our environment (both global warming and waste/pollution caused by power generation).
Thats it for now – stay tuned for more news (and hopefully some screenshots of the new Vista Apps)..
I’d also recommend that you check out Chris Lanier’s and Ian Dixon’s blogs – who are both doing an excellent job on covering CES (Ian is live on the spot – and Chris is processing the press releases/news from remote and giving us the good bits).

Written by mobilewares

January 9, 2007 at 1:26 am

Posted in Vista MediaCenter

One Response

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  1. And dont forget all the sideshow news…. reports on sideshow devices – mp3 players / laptops / htpc cases / remotes / laptop bags that all have embedded additional displays… All sounds very interesting stuff – I would love a remote that shows me the MCE guide data in the palm of my hand…. And apparantly some of these new devices will do it !!!!  I’m excited !

    Impact (Keith Chambers)

    January 9, 2007 at 12:44 pm

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