Make your voice heard to our product team -- leave a comment on this post with your feature requests.

[Don't know what our platform is today...? Check out the Windows XP Media Center Edition Software Development Kit (SDK) for more information.]

P.S. Make sure you read the question carefully, noticing the use of the word 'platform.'  I am more than happy to pass along consumer oriented feature requests, but my biggest influence is in the development of third party applications which extend Media Center.

P.S.S. Another way to ask the question: If you were to sit down and write an application for use with remote control and viewed on your TV, what developer features would you want or need?



Categories: Media Center | Media Center Application Design | Windows Vista | Comments [34] | # | Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2005 6:02:12 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)   
Thursday, July 28, 2005 10:46:44 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
As a UK Media Center user I am disappointed there is still no support for radio channels over DVB-T and interactive television e.g. textservices, pick your court at Wimbledon, pick a band at Glastonbury. I would like to see this implemented in MCE 2005 but if not then it would be a priority for me in MCE Vista.

Manual addition of TV channels is another priority, I know I can receive 5, had it before fine, but after running a tuner card test where I had to reset MCE it won't find it when I scan.

Synchronisation with PMC and other devices is still very basic in MCE, I need to go into WMP to set up auto-playlists for background conversion. This needs improvement.
Alistair Burns
Thursday, July 28, 2005 12:45:26 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
No DRM:
Allow me to watch the media content that I legally purchased to watch from my cable company the way I want to watch it. If that means storing my media on my computer indefinietly and having no time limits on when I can watch it, then so be it. If that means being able to transfer my content to a personal video player and still being able to watch it, then so be it. Don't treat me like a criminal just because a small percentage of users choose to use this technology to pirate movies and TV shows.
Jaxim
Thursday, July 28, 2005 1:58:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I have to echo Alistair in adding support for th UK TV features as well as the Radio channels over TV that we have here.

HDTV is the most requested feature I get in to the Show.
Charlie can I link to this on the next Media Cente Show? I would have thought you will get some comments from that.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 2:59:41 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
The Radio section is very basic. I wish there was a way to listen to the radio and watch tv at the same time. Sometimes I enjoy listening to the radio announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals more than the TV commentators. Also, why can't we schedule the radio to record based on a schedule? The acquiring license experience in My Music leaves a lot to be desired. Why isn't the UI more geared towards a TV experience?

I'll ask my wife tonight and see if she has any suggestions. By the way, we love our new MCE!
Shahn Hogan
Thursday, July 28, 2005 3:44:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Being able to mix sources in any mode. For instance it was mentioned listening to the radio while watching TV. I believe this should be extended to being able to listen to music, etc while watching TV, videos, maybe even DVDs.

Other lil things like, if your PC is powerful enough, make it so you can bring up say, a TV program on one side of the screen and a video (or other TV program) on the other. THAT would be cool.

Also id3 tag support needs to be made more intelligent. Its just seems MCE (WMP10?) has a hard time with some files that may have different id3v1 and v2 tags or something. Not to mention is so SLOW to even open up My Music when you have thousands of meda files.
Ben
Thursday, July 28, 2005 3:48:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
More HDTV than just OTA!

Built in support for more than 2 tuners of any given type. I *like* to see no software limit on the number tuners. So if I have 5 open PCI slots I'd like to put 5 tuners in, or 10 tuners with 5 dual tuner cards.

Picture in Picture (PiP) and/or Picture on Picture (PoP)

Make use of the arrows keys while watching TV. Press right arrow and a simple guide pops up in the bottom 1/3 of the sreen. Press right again the guide displays whats on next on the current channel, up and down arrows change the channel displayed in this simple guide.
Matt
Thursday, July 28, 2005 5:34:13 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
better interactivity with users, simple dialog boxes aren't enough.

access to usefull information about the currently playing file, path, type, etc. the current media information is nice, but not terribly useful. at the very least the path of the file.

abiliy to hook events as they fire inside media center. start playing media, stop playing media, button presses. informational events is all I need, but being able to process the event and cancel it if necessary would be great. I have an app that I could do so much more (mostly making it faster and more efficient) if I could easily detect these events.
Andy
Thursday, July 28, 2005 7:24:10 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
- Support for all DVB standards. I'm using DVB-S myself and can't enjoy digital quality TV and recordings in MCE and find myself switching back to the STB for picture quality. There's tens of millions of DVB-S users and they are mostly people that care more than average about their TV experience, so an interesting target market.

- Support for HD over satellite and cable

- HD on demand over IP (My ADSL2+ should do)

- Better support/performance for large music libraries (I still have to use J River Media Center for my 20K song lib)

- Embed Virtual Earth for virtual trips; the ability to add location/coordinate/GPS tags to your digital photo's so you can relive your trips and have a very cool way of demoing your holiday pics.

- Provide a range of hardware accessories - the announced keyboard/remote control is an excellent first stap. Ultimate would be to release bi-directional remote control software for PPC/Ce.Net/Windows Mobile, so you don't need to turn on the big screen to select a playlist. And a thin client for the CE platform to select and listen to music wirelessly (and sync it across the players/rooms) would allow for an affordable multi-room audio solution

- Online games that you can play with your remote control; better yet, make the Xbox casual online games available for Longhorn and support Xbox's wireless controller with an affordable USB adapter

- Check the online status of your Xbox Live buddies

- Purchase Skype and integrate in MCE; alternatevily use MS' own VOIP solution (although most people I know use Skype, so if they could connnect in one way or another)

- Borrow features from Picasa and Flickr for photo editing, management and sharing features - they're far superior to what's in XP

- A software version of MCE Extender for if you have multiple PC's at home, of which only one needs to run MCE. Preferably compatible with XP as well so I don't have to upgrade every PC in the house to Longhorn straight away...

- High quality de-interlacer/scaling software for TV and DVD viewing

- Please, please, please allow me to watch DRM'd HD content on my 720p projector and 37" LCD TV - they have VGA and Component inputs only, no HDCP but I did pay an arm and leg to buy them...
Jeroen
Thursday, July 28, 2005 7:42:43 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Here here for the software version of MCE Extender, that would be great. Remote Desktop is good, but you can't watch live tv.
Shahn Hogan
Thursday, July 28, 2005 7:54:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
1) Access to the guide data. I'd like to be able to have my Pocket TV Listings (http://ptvl.thumbsupsoft.com) app able to have the same data as my MCE machine and be able to change channels, view and setup recordings from the pocket pc. I can sort of make that work by getting the guide data direct from zap2it, but it's not clean

2) SDK support for the cool graphics affects you guys have. I really love the way stuff slides/zooms on/off the screen but I don't want to have to code that myself and worry about it changing with the next version. I want to be able to build something that looks like it's a part of the system, not something bolted onto the side.

The rest are consumer suggestions: direct digtal cable (no set-top box), cable HDTV, faster music library loading, better hiding of the fact that it's running windows (I have an HPz545 and want to get as close to appliance as I can for most things).
Thursday, July 28, 2005 9:37:56 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Firstly I am a dedicated _Mac_ user and despite that I am already very impressed with MCE and plan to build my own MCE system when issue number one below is addressed.

1. Absolute top priority for me is support for DVB-S (satellite) cards. However support is also needed for using a CAM to access subscription only (encrypted) channels. There are several such cards already available for PCs but MCE does not support any. By the way, if you are going to support DVB-S with CAMs then it would logically be a small jump to also support DVB-C cards (for Cable users, not the same thing as CableCARD). Lack of DVB-S support is the sole thing preventing me going MCE today. If it is not in Windows Vista MCE then I will not be buying it. Currently the only way to use DVB-S or DVB-C with MCE 2005 is via an anlogue connection which means SD resolution only. NO-ONE is going to buy MCE to record programs from a HDTV DVB-S or DVB-C service if that happens.

2. Full support for additional Digital TV services like MHEG-5 (digital teletext) and Interactive TV (press the red button) this should be for all appropriate digital TV services (DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-C).

3. Support for Digital Radio (via DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-C and DAB). This should also have an EPG and recording/buffering capabilities just like for TV. Considering Microsoft is a member of the DAB forum and DAB uses WMP codecs the current poor support is puzzeling.

4. MPEG-4 support. While early HDTV services are/have been using MPEG-2, the future is clearly with MPEG-4. Indeed Sky (owned by Rupert Murdoch) is LAUNCHING from day one with MPEG-4 for HDTV. Note: this means MCE Media Extenders also need to support MPEG-4. It would also prepare you for HDTV DVDs

5. Support for iPods. Face it, while I as a Mac user can admit that Microsoft has clearly won the desktop wars, Microsoft should equally realise that the iPod has won the MP3 player wars (George Bush AND Queen Elizabeth II both have iPods!!!). This equally could mean supporting iTunes as an additional choice of music library. Considering the appalling performance of Windows Media Player with even moderately sized music libraries this is another reason to do so. HP have managed a limited an clunky method of doing this, I am sure Microsoft could do it even better.

6. Where possible use the ability to access and record two channels via one tuner (i.e. if they are in the same multiplex). Some PVRs can already do this (e.g. the Topfield TF-5800PVR).

7. If an MCE running computer is supposed to be the hub, then it needs to support more than 2 tuners. I don't see it as being a processing power problem to do so. Recording from a digital source does not require significant power (no encoding or decoding is taking place, merely writing out the already digital stream). Nor do I see playback as a problem as an MCE box is normally only decoding one stream at a time and even then could off-load such work to the GPU. If a second (or third) recording/stream is being played back to Media Extenders, then THEY should be doing the decoding as this will spread the work and ensure only compressed information is being sent across the network.
John Lockwood
Thursday, July 28, 2005 10:36:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Charlie: I thought I understood what you were asking for, but the more often I read your "watchouts", the less I understood. Anyway: here's my MCE wishlist:
1) Support for all forms of HDTV: OTA, cable card, cable decoder or satellite delivered. Obviously, that will require new tuners and decoders. To be clear: lack of HDTV support is the single biggest drawback to MCE.

2) Better media organization: I'm currently having more than 12,000 jpg's and more than 8,000 mp3's organized by my system. Although it is too slow, MCE does a neat job of organizing the songs (by album, genre, artist, …). However, it totally sucks on the picture organization.
It simply uses physical storage organization (i.e. the disk folders you create) and offers a rudimentary timeline organization. The program I am really using to cope with the huge number of pictures is Adobe Photoalbum. An incredibly good program. However, it does of course not have an MCE interface. Not to be used with the remote, no 10' interface.

What is needed is that MCE gives the tools to use the meta data in the picture files (EXIF and IPTC fields). That's where you can include categories, captions, events, location, favorite tags, even GPS information. Once that data is there, Windows MCE could make use of it.
There are 3rd party tools available that allow me to manipulate this meta data, but Windows barely uses it at all. Tagging (look at Flickr) and usage of meta-date by the OS is the best way out of that mess. We desperately need something like this in MCE.
By the way: another area where "meta data" should be used for organization is "My Videos".

3) Including video-conferencing in the 10' interface: the "other" use for our living room PC (other than MCE usage) is video conferencing with family and friends. We have a webcam with microphone attached to the PC, the whole family fits on the comfy couches, and with MSN Messenger 7 you even get a full-screen picture of your video conferencing partner. And it is simple enough to use for my 78 year old father to conference with us overseas.
However … I have to quit MCE and bring out the keyboard and mouse to set things up. Unlike Windows Messenger, the more powerful MSN Messenger is not integrated into MCE. A big oversight.

4) More plugins: there are a number of web sites and web services that just scream to be integrated with MCE, be it via plug-ins under "More Programs", or Online Spotlight, or via any other way that works. Here are some: Flickr, Yahoo! Unlimited Music, the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/), ourmedia.org, mappr, Snapfish, just to name a few. Most of these sites allow you to search through and play short films or music. Where else but on your MCE rig would you ideally want to do that?

5) Support for podcasting and vlogging.

6) PVR type functionality, including a program guide, for radio tuners.

7) seamless mixing of content from different sources. I don't want to have to jump from "My TV" to "Online Spotlight" to switch from CNN to an "Internet channel"

8) The one thing I do NOT want: elaborate DRM schemes that prevent me from using material that I already paid for via my cable subscription. Having consumers pay for technology that prevents them from consuming is brain dead.
Hubert Kirchgaessner
Friday, July 29, 2005 12:05:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Native support for lots of tuners, like 8. Streaming of live radio to extender devices from OTA FM/AM/HDRadio. Streaming of DVD (or its successor) to Extenders. Caller ID on screen built in.
Friday, July 29, 2005 7:09:04 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Hi Hugh,

Sorry for the confusion. Think about it this way...

You ask for 'More plugins' in item 4 of your list. I work on the team which develops our platform enabling developers to create plugins. I'm wondering what features, methods, properties, events, UI models, etc. we need to put into our platform to enable plugins from folks like Flickr. The question is very much for developers, content owners, service providers and software companies creating applications for Media Center consumers.

Put yet another way, you say you like Adobe PhotoAlbum but wished it had some Media Center specific features. it would be great if someone from Adobe came along and said 'We can create a version of PhotoAlbum which works in Media Center if your platform has [Insert Requests Here].'

Don't get me wrong, I will pass along any and all requests -- I simply don't have as much influence on those teams to add end-user only features.

Make sense, or have I muddied the waters even further?
Friday, July 29, 2005 8:47:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Charlie, how about being able to write apps in vb.net as winform apps rather than HTML? (but I guess they way forward is as XAML)

API's to hook in to all elemnents of MCE, e.g. EPG

The biggest problem with writing MCE apps is that we are emulating the MCE UI in HTML rather than as a native application. But again I can see this not being an issue when MCE is all Avalon
Sunday, July 31, 2005 12:18:54 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
A way to interact with a background plug-in instead of HTML with Activex/.NET using remoting... Please, please, please....
Fernando
Monday, August 1, 2005 11:47:06 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I would love to have a .NET class disposing all native MCE controls. It would be so much easier to program plugins and add-ons if a programmer could simply use winforms or any other drag-and-drop mechanism to build a MCE-application.
Monday, August 1, 2005 1:33:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Would it be possible to extend the full object hierarchy of the media player as is available when using the WMP ActiveX control? We would like to be able to set custom attributes on the current media, dynamically create video playlists, do playlist next() calls and so on.

Also, support for video playlists in Media Center Extender would be appreciated.

One of the more frustrating issues we have come across developing TVTonic for MCE is that there are so few ways of identifying and tagging the current playing media. For example, when a certain video is playing we need to update the html to reflect the title, channel, box art, whatever, that goes along with the video. If you navigate away from our page and then return to it, we need some way of determining what video is playing, whether it's ours, and if it is, reset the page to reflect the metadata of that video.

In MCE 2005 we are able to do this by using playlists and embedding the video id in the title of each playlist item. MediaProperty("title") will return this and then the id can be parsed out (though oddly enough, if you resize the MCE window, this information is lost).

In MCX we can't even use playlists so we have to resort to looking up the video in our library by matching the video's embedded title to a list of filenames. As you can imagine, this is often ineffective.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 3:48:05 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Bind (a) guide to (a) tuner(s).
In instances where you recieve content via both free to air (FTA) and conditional access (CA) set-top devices, it'd be fantastic to bind a guide to the relevant inputs.
This way, I could bind my UHF/VHF FTA channels to my tuner card, my satellite subscription to my S-Video input (via the CA set-top box, with IR blasters) and my (limited) FTA satellite channels to the DVB-S card.
While much of this content is replicated across the different cards/inputs, I'd rather not tie up my conditional access set-top box to record free to air content.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 4:39:27 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
In order for folks to have the ability to build/add on a lot of the functionality described by folks in these comments we need one thing that we don't have... the ability to interact with MCE like one does with Windows.

For example, I'd like to see folks not call the things people write 'plug-ins'. To me, this term implies that a developer's just adding a little bit here or a little bit there. Instead, I'd like to see developers have full access to MCE. When one writes something for Windows, they don't call it a 'plug-in,' they call it an application. When one runs an application in Windows, Windows doesn't minimize so the application can maximize and run. It goes without saying that one shouldn't have to reproduce _any_ of the UI that MCE already has. People don't have to write their own windowing code, to generate a title bar, menus, toolbars, etc... why should someone have to do this with MCE?

Windows exists to let people write/run applications. MCE should exist to let people write/run applications too... and not just provide the ability to hook in a 'plug-in' that works on the side and aren't really part of the system. At least, in my thinking.
Andrew
Friday, August 5, 2005 1:50:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
i would like a sort of html enriched teletext. so we can add content for a channel. create our own tickertape when watching MTV or something. or when watching formula 1 pull the live timing in front.
itsgreen
Friday, August 5, 2005 1:54:20 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
oh and multi monitor support. so end users for instance control the interface on one (touchscreen) monitor while viewing tv on their hd tv.

basicly allowing two monitors with diffrent resolutions, cause touchscreens dont have that high resolutions....
itsgreen
Monday, August 8, 2005 5:12:23 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Another suggestion for you.

Microsoft is to be congratulated for providing not merely a 7 day EPG but a full 14 day EPG (more would be even better of course!). Microsoft gets even more kudos for providing it completely free to MCE customers.

However (and this is not Microsoft's fault), the broadcasters are continuously screwing around with scheduling of programs (sometimes deliberately to mess up users of DVR and PVR systems).

This is not helped by the fact that (as far as I am aware) MCE only downloads the EPG once a day, and even it it did it more often, the EPG data itself is probably not updated more than daily (this is definitely a case of garbage in/garbage out).

For example, a program over runs (e.g. due to extra time in a sporting event) and delays the one you have scheduled. This means you miss the ending (often even if you do add padding).

For example, broadcasters round the start/end time up/down so that again you miss part of the program.

For example, the BBC _always_ show the end time for the "Sky at Night" incorrectly so that I (through bitter experience) know that I have to add not merely 2 or 5 minutes padding but a full FIFTEEN MINUTES PADDING to the end.

A system called PDC (Program Delivery Control) was developed for analogue TV which supposedly would send updated scheduling information for that program. However I found it very unreliable (so much so that it was better not to use it at all).

What is needed is something new for the digital age. Firstly, the broadcasters should be soundly beaten so that they stop deliberately messing about with scheduling information. Secondly, information needs to be embedded in the digital stream that will tie up with the EPG information so that a PVR or DVR can detect the ACTUAL start and finish of a program.

Without a more accurate method of scheduling recordings then products like MCE have reduced usefullness,
John Lockwood
Monday, August 15, 2005 9:57:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Hi Charlie,
All I wanted was to have MS publish a Media Center SDK that uses .NET / C# / Winforms technologies as I am tired of writing HTML and Javascript. I saw that ou mentioned the same feeling in a blog of yours and I share that feeling. I am just looking forward for that day....
Rupak Ganguly
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 7:56:02 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
My Music. Is so terribly slow that I don't really listen to music on my Win MCE anymore. Considering that is the primary reason I got the Win MCE in the first place it is very disappointing. Take some clues from iTunes. I can browse music so much faster. I have about 7,500 songs and it takes about 5 minutes to load up the Artist or Albums views. I just saw your product on the .Net Show and even with a Artist view that only had 6-7 artist it took a few seconds. That should not be the case at all - should be instant if you ask me. It is really failing the wife factor and I'm not sure how long it is going to be our music soltion in our home.
Thursday, August 18, 2005 3:35:39 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
As a developer what I'd like to see is a way to specify a more virtualised set of pictures for a slideshow. In the current SDK you can start a slideshow by passing a single directory as the source for the slideshow.

I'd like to be able to pass a playlist of images to use which may include references to images scattered across multiple directories etc.

In addition to passing an image playlist the next option is some sort of callback mechanism where the slideshow calls back into my plug-in to retrieve the next image. This would allow an add-in to download and present images on demand and without the image necessarily having to live on the hard drive.

By the way in terms of music library performance you may want to check out the following, although I presume the media player team is working on using the equivalent indexing features in the Vista version.

http://www.codeproject.com/csharp/MSNDesktopSearchQueryAPI.asp
Sean McLeod
Sunday, August 28, 2005 7:21:33 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
It would be really nice if the platform exposed a single consistent API. From what I have encountered the available APIs break down like this:

- There is an interface that provides detailed state information, but no control (MSAS)
- There is an interface that provides some control capabilities and some state information, though this is not retrieval in all cases (add-in)
- There is an interface that provides full music control and eventing, but only for music (Windows Media Player SDK)
- Some control functions are only accessible by sending keyboard commands to the ehshell window

The SDK has a great .NET implemenation of MSAS which is much easier to use, except that it is not strongly-named, meaning I can't use it from within my add-in.

The end result is that full control of MCE requires an unholy combination of all of the available interfaces through various means of inter-process communication. It is just begging for some obscure failure to make my life miserable.

I understand that MSAS was primarily created to drive front-panel displays, but it is currently the only way to get usuable state information out of MCE for all media types. If that state information was also available to add-ins via events this would clean things up considerably. It would also be nice to expose more music (particularly queue control) interfaces, but I can live with splitting commands across MCE and WMP.

While on the subject of WMP, there is one interface that that SDK is missing: the ability to retrieve the index of the currently playing item in the playlist. The only apparent work-around is to enumerate the entire playlist performing an IsIdentical() check on every item until the match is found. With large playlists this can easily take too much time to be usable.

Finally, I would also vote for access to EPG data though I understand why this is not provided. Perhaps this is something that could be revisited on the business side?
Matt Stevens
Thursday, September 8, 2005 6:51:05 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
i have the media center on my hp. It worked fine before, but since i moved and reset my computer, it doesnt work anymore. it always seems to say "decoder not working". can someone help me with this problem? thank you!

kt
katie
Thursday, September 22, 2005 2:37:45 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
As a developer I'd like to see a method which allows me to add additional context menu items to the menu that appears while viewing a slideshow image when the 'i' - info button is pressed.

I'd like to be able to add a new item to the context menu which would then launch my add-in and which when it returns the slideshow continues.

One example I'm thinking of is since I'm geo-coding my digital images and often when viewing them it would be useful to be able to pop up a map showing the location of where the photo was taken and then return to the slideshow.
Sean
Saturday, September 24, 2005 5:41:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
1) Shuffle thru videos. MP3s were the big thing earlier this decade. The next big thing will be music videos. Currently there is no way to create a playlist of music videos within Media Center, even though you can do this within Windows Media Player

2) Bittorrent support. The next big thing will be (legal) IPTV. My only suggestion is to somehow incorporate this technology into Media Center so when IPTV is more main stream.

3) TV Overlays. Want to keep up to date with stocks, news and sports, create a news channel like stock ticker for the bottom of the screen. Or if you want to have a sidemenu that cycles thru weather and other information. In the sidebar scenario, the TV portion could be made smaller whenever the user decides to view the sidebar. Also, and this is KEY, allow 3rd party groups to have access to making these different TV overlay layouts. A lot of innovation could occur if MANY outside companies/individuals are allowed to play around with the setup.

4) Customization. Ability to "tweak" everything about Media Center. From the background and sound effects, to modifying the meta data of the TV shows you record.

5) Music to play automatically during a picture slideshow. You should be able to choose a song/playlist to automatically play whenever you start a slideshow. Right now, you have to have to go to "My Music", select and play a song/playlist, and then go to "My Photos" to play the slideshow. If a song or playlist isn't currently being played, then when you start a slideshow, a song/playlist should automatically play.

6) Ability to group and ungroup shows. It would be nice to view your TV recordings/video by different categories, and each category is represented by an image which the user can change. So for example, if you want to view your video by TV shows, then all of your Family Guy episodes are grouped into one folder which is represented by a Family Guy image. And if for some reason, a show/video is not categorized correctly, you can change the meta tags for that show/video so it is grouped properly. You should also be able to group your programming by multi categories. For example, the first level, may have (TV shows, family video, Music Videos, Movies, etc). When you drill down to Movies you can view the videos by type (action, drama, chick flics, etc.)

The more different ways to view the categorizations of your your videos, the better.

6) Picture in Picture! Ability to view two channels (or as many channels as you have TV tuners). This way you can flip channels without missing anything and without losing your video buffer

7) Video Buffer to be included in recording. If you pause TV and then decide to record that channel, the video buffer is currently lost. It should be made so this does not happen. Plus you should be able to adjust the video buffer. If you have a 500 GIG harddrive, you should be able to buffer for quite some time.

8) MAKE IT OPEN SOURCE!!!!!!! Firefox is popular partly because people can make extensions and themes that are TOTALLY integrated into the application. If Media Center became open sourced, I think more people would buy Media Centers, because there would be more people enhancing the Media Center and making better than whatever could initially be dreamed of from the getgo. And I don't think Microsoft would lose any money on upgrades, because I think people would still purchase the OS upgrade to make things better. I know I would!
Wednesday, December 7, 2005 9:34:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Support additional media formats in Media Player, specifically ogg/Vorbis
Todd Lumiere
Monday, December 19, 2005 10:45:40 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dolby 5.1 surround sound input/support for my TV! we desperately need true 5.1 support. i can't watch my cable set top box movies with stereo sound, come on..
rob bordley
Monday, December 26, 2005 7:49:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
1) After a few weeks playing with my new media center (and, after 3 years of Tivo experience), the most glaring problem I see is the lack of a two-column TV guide, ala Tivo:

http://www.pvrcompare.com/SATivo2TivoChannelGuide.jpg

I find this *far* more useful for browsing what's upcoming (and adding it to my record schedule).

2) Also, it would be really nice to get more program info for a show superimposed over the screen (again like Tivo) rather than having to navigate to a full-screen description all the time.

3) I know it probably won't happen, but my "dream PVR" would be a media center with true DirecTV support; particularly the upcoming HD mpg4 format. I definitely notice a degradation in picture quality when I went from my Direct/Tivo to media center (due to the signal being compressed/decompressed twice, I assume).
John
Wednesday, August 16, 2006 4:44:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
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