Skip to comments.Micosoft wants control of your home computer (Windows Home Server announced)
Posted on 01/08/2007 1:49:53 AM PST by HAL9000
Microsoft stepped up the digital battle for home computer networking with Apple Computer Sunday when Bill Gates announced at the Consumer Electronics show that Windows Home Server software will be available during the second half of 2007.
Gates said the new software will perform as the center of a home's computer network, from photo and video storage to television to accessing computer files when away from home.
The announcement sets up another battle for the sofware consumer with Apple. It's anticipated Apple will provide details of its iTV set-top box at MacWorld in San Francisco on Tuesday. The two companies are targeting the more than 40 percent of American homes with broadband that can deliver movies, TV, music and data from the Internet.
"A big part of connected experiences is connected entertainment," Gates said. "We think it's a category that could explode in importance."
Gates also spoke about proposals that will bring video and online services from cable TV channels Fox Sports, Nicklodeon and Starz to its 6-year-old Windows Media Center, a less ambitious software system that will be integrated into the company's Vista operating system coming to consumers at the end of January.
Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices group discussed the millions-strong community around Microsoft's online gaming service Xbox live, and plans to replicate it among users of Microsoft's Zune, an MP3 player released in November.
Bach said the Xbox 360 gaming console would be acting as a set-top box for high-quality, interactive Internet protocol television (IPTV) by the end of the year.
Gates also described some future technology possibilities, such as a teenager's bedroom with computer display and speaker built into the wall, and constantly changing posters, music, and video.
The NetLibrary's eAudiobooks are WMA and not supported by the iPod. After converting them to MP3, they can be imported into iTunes. I'm going on the instructions of the librarian. It sounds like a lot of trouble, so I'll just use my Dell Axim or Palm Lifedrive. They are seamless like your new Zune.
We use Media Center to record some TV sitcoms for the kids so that they can watch them on the computer. The plus side is that the UI for scheduling a recording is really great. The schedules are downloaded and the kids can point and click. The other packages require setting start and stop times, specifying channel numbers, and do not allow scrolling through a particular channel schedule. Kudos on that point.
There are several downsides. One is that the recording format is DVR-MS. I wanted to put a bunch of the sitcoms on a single DVD so I tried MS Movie Maker but did not like the UI.
So, I tried Adobe Premiere Elements, but it cannot read the DVR-MS format directly. I tried Sony's package, but that cannot read the DVR-MS format. I tried Roxio, but that cannot read the DVR-MS format. I tried a couple of others, all to no avail. I wanted something that could read the DVR-MS format directly instead of having to spend the time to read in the DVR-MS format and render in a second format that the other packages could read (rendering into a second format takes significant time).
Then I discovered that installing and subsequently uninstalling those packages kills MS Movie Maker. The install process records some info for MS Movie Maker which apparently is not cleaned up after the uninstall. It has to do with MS Movie Maker startup, not the uninstall of these other packages.
Eventually I found one program that had reasonable UI and could read the DVR-MS format. The experience was costly in terms of my time, and MS Movie Maker still crashes on startup.
It reminds me of a stack of petri dishes.
Like where a virus would grow.
I agree that Media Center is great for kids. My daughter set it to record a whole series (Star Trek, I think) and then when a channel had a marathon, the hard disk filled up!
It would be great be able to hook a small piece of hardware to our TV and allow us to access the shared folder from the Media Center PC. Then, we could play our recorded content in the family room. Maybe that's what the xBox 360 is. I've been tempted to buy a small PC running Media Center just for the family room!!!
Our desktop in the fam room is connected to a HP TV dual tuner that i got with an HP laptop. Since we had cable modem, I put a splitter and connected the TV tuner. The hard part was to get the right drivers for the desktop.
I had a 1-in/4-out headphone amplifier, so I connected that to the desktop as well. This way, the younger kids can watch Zac and Codey and listen on headphones while the rest of us watch the movie of our choice on the big screen TV. (BTW: the amplifier is also great for when they are playing games. We do not have to hear the audio).
I should have pointed out that Roxio does support DVR-MS format for input. The problem was that when I installed Roxio, it trashed the Media Center. The live TV display was terrible, and it installed a different UI for scheduling TV recordings that was terrible. I tried the various custom installation options, but in all cases I was not happy. So I uninstalled. After that was when MS Movie Maker started crashing, and it has never run since.
I think the program I am using is Movie Producer, but I will have to check and get back to you.
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