For years we've heard folks cry out for Windows Media Center to be available for purchase at retail outlets (think Frys, Best Buy, Circuit City, Amazon, etc).

I've seen a number of blog posts (Thomas, Chris and Ed to name a few) about our announcement today regarding the Windows Vista product lineup, but no mention yet of this sentence buried in the press release:

"Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Business will be available as a full-packaged product at retail and on new PCs."

To interpret: Windows Media Center is coming to a store shelf near you in three ways with Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate: shrink wrap software, a system builder bundle or a preconfigured OEM machine.

Let the rejoicing commence in the DIY and upgrade crowd!

Categories: Media Center | Windows Vista | Comments [12] | # | Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 12:16:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   

Check it out over at,guid,f0919949-91e9-4f4c-977f-bd944950ae4f.aspx. Things are starting to come together!

Categories: Media Center Application Design | Windows Vista | Comments [0] | # | Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2006 3:33:41 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   

Rags Gupta (who was instrumental in bringing Live365 to Online Spotlight back in the day -- how ya doin' Rags!) writes the following in DVR Feature Request - One-Click to Record Future Programs...

"I'd like to be able to click a "Remember to Record" button while the ad is playing or within some time lag after it plays and have my DVR put the advertised show on its recording schedule."

I want this too, Rags. Just the other day my wife saw an advertisement for Conviction, the new court room drama from the Law & Order folks. We went looking for it in the Media Center Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) and it wasn't there because the first episode was outside the 14 day window. Now I have to remember to go looking for it at some point in the future.

Oh, and clearly there is an advertising bonus here -- imagine being able to track how many people have scheduled a DVR recording of a show in advance, then publicize the following with a movie trailer voice over...

'Over XX million viewers will be recording this show in two weeks -- will you...?'

Great idea Rags!

Categories: Media Center | DVR | Comments [7] | # | Posted on Friday, February 24, 2006 6:41:51 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   

Things have been super busy the last couple of weeks...

Schematic is doing the design for the 'Q' application and will collaborate with our team to implement the visuals using Media Center Markup Language. Kate Wojogbe and Peng Lee will be co-presenting with us at Mix06 at the 'Design' and 'Developer' sessions respectively. I'm super excited they get to come out from 'behind the scenes' to showcase their talent -- many of the best applications in Online Spotlight exist as a result of their great work. They sent over the design concepts for 'Q' this evening. Impressive, to say the least. I'll post the designs once we tweak them a bit more.

Stephen Toub is also joining us on the project, focusing on the managed code side of the equation. Stephen is freakin' brilliant, and can communicate his brilliance to dolts like myself via his wonderful articles and resources like Fun with DVR-MS, Time Travel with Media Center and DVR-MS: Adventures in Closed Captioning. The best thing about what Stephen writes: it's fundamentally usable by developers and consumers.

Categories: Mix | Comments [2] | # | Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 7:55:23 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   

The developer of Galleon, one of the more popular TiVO Home Media Engine (HME) applications has decided to cut back on the amount of time he spends on continued development...

"So, I’m sad to announce that I’ve decided to reduce my development efforts on the project. I might still release some bug fixes, but these won’t be as frequent as the releases in the past. I also don’t have any plans on adding any additional functionality to Galleon. I’ve decided to rather spend my time on other interesting technologies and open source projects."

I wonder if he is looking at the Media Center platform as one of the other interesting technologies? We are always looking for talented folks to poke and prod our SDK and APIs.

I certainly understand what TiVO is going through with it's platform -- it's tough supporting the enthusiast developer -- as our platform grows in popularity I find it harder to spend time in the enthusiast community. Luckily, folks out there do take the time to ping me and remind me to check in more often.

I sincerely hope TiVO can get back on track with it's platform momentum -- it helps all of us raise awareness of the opportunities with a digital home.

Categories: TiVO | Comments [0] | # | Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 7:21:50 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   

I sat down with a piece of graph paper at McDonalds today for lunch (Value Meal #2 which is a Quarter Pounder w/ Cheese sans onions, fries, Coca-Cola, plus three chocolate chip cookies) to sketch out the Mix06 project.

I named the app 'Q' until we can come up with something better. It can stand for a couple of things which seem to be appropriate: cue and queue.

Here is a sneak preview of the feature set / goals along with priority.

• Browse potential and subscribed content. (p1)
• Subscribe to content. (p1)
• Download content to local machine. (p1)
• Play content from local machine. (p1)
• Support RSS 2.0 required Channel elements. (p1)
   Title, Link, Description
• Support RSS 2.0 required Item element. (p1)
   Title (or Description)
• Support RSS 2.0 Item optional elements required for app to function. (p1)
   Enclosure (+ 3 required attributes of location, size and mime type).
   GUID (unique string for feed)

• Support optional elements of RSS 2.0 Channel. (p2)
   Language, copyright, image (+ 3 required elements of url, title and link), category
• Support optional elements of RSS 2.0 Item. (p2)
   Description, author, category, pubDate

• Manage subscriptions. (p3)
• Support Media Center native formats for playback: WMA, MP3, WMV, MPEG1, MPEG2 (p3)
   We get this for free, but I'm spelling it out anyway so we know specifically what formats will be supported.

Priority Legend

p1 = Must Have
p2 = Nice To Have
p3 = Cool if we get, but won't go above and beyond to implement.

There will be some expansion of these features once we start getting into the UI design -- for example, browse will probably include some notion of grouping / categorization. I hope to publish the full spec before the end of the week.

Keep the comments / feature requests coming -- we haven't locked anything down yet so there is still time to add or change features.

Categories: Media Center Application Design | Mix | Comments [3] | # | Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 7:07:16 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   

Well, it's time to get started on the project we want to demo at Mix06. We are going to put together a podcast / videoblog client for Media Center written as a Media Center Add In with the user interface coded in Media Center Markup Language (MCML).  Chances are this puppy will be released 'out into the wild' at some point.

What favorite features do you want us to include?

Categories: Media Center Application Design | Media Center SDK Code Sample | Mix | Comments [9] | # | Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2006 2:33:20 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   

Copied over the FlexWiki files, created a subdomain and Bam!

[Update] Well, easy to get running -- still have a few configuration files to put in place / edit to actually make the wiki work. Hopefully up and running tomorrow.

Categories: wiki | Comments [1] | # | Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2006 12:56:14 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)   
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