Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Media Operating Systems Software Windows Entertainment

Windows Media Center Edition vs. The World 423

sam_christ writes "An article in today's Investor's Business Daily (Google cache) and an article by TV industry pundit/predictions-huckster Philip Swann say the same thing: that Microsoft's Media Center Edition will be a big flop in 2005. Meanwhile, from what I can tell much more powerful alternatives to Microsoft's MCE bloatware are thriving: commercial products like Snapstream (see their 6-tuner Medusa PVR built for about $1200), Showshifter and open-source freeware like Mediaportal and MythTV. From what I've read about Microsoft MCE and all of its DRM and content restrictions, I have to agree with both of these articles."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Windows Media Center Edition vs. The World

Comments Filter:
  • Guess what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by justkarl ( 775856 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:21AM (#11209065)
    Winner: The World.
    • ...after all, it's much of the world which has already made Microsoft billyuns and billyuns by unthinking acceptance.

      I'm just waiting for the first Media Center Worm article on /.

      next up: worm brad corkscrew code

    • From what I've read about Microsoft MCE and all of its DRM and content restrictions, I have to agree with both of these articles.

      The average consumer does not care about DRM. It is only a very small percentage of people (mostly "geeks") who care about DRM. There for, do not play "taps" for Microsoft MCE simply because you and all your friends don't like it, you are not an average consumer. You are not Microsoft's target sale.

      • Re:Guess what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Znork ( 31774 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:22PM (#11209691)
        The average consumer does care about DRM. They just dont recognize it.

        When they 'care about DRM' they're irritated because their VCR recordings look bad off (macrovision) satellite signals. They think their VCR is broken. Or they cant play a dvd (of the wrong region) in their computer. They think their dvd is broken. Or they think a CD that wont play is broken. Etc. For the average consumer, things not working equals broken.

        Once you explain to them that their equipment is deliberately screwing with them they tend to get very very angry, and they actually do care. They just dont usually have the time and tenacity to figure out what's wrong with their electronics. They eat the loss instead, or yell a bit at some poor clerk who doesnt understand what's wrong either.
        • Re:Guess what? (Score:3, Insightful)

          No. Sorry, I know it's sad, but the average consumer that knows about DRM accepts DRM as "the way things are". One of the biggest mistakes that tech knowledgeable folks like you and I make is assuming that things like this make any difference to consumers. You see, they make little or no difference to average consumers because these people accept DRM as the cost of buying, renting, or owning a copy of someone else's IP. To most people, it is nothing more than a type of use tax, and most consumers have no pr
          • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @02:19PM (#11210972)
            People are willing to accept change in how things work, when they believe in a reason for the change. Because people do not want more airplanes used as attacks, people grudgingly go along with the newer airline security guidelines even if some individual rules make no sense.

            But when change is thrust upon people that comes with no discernible benefit to them, they do not take at. A very real example I have seen in person is multiple consoles being returned at stored because "they would not play DVD's when hooked up through a VCR". These people didn't know what Macrovision was, but they knew they didn't like how the product worked and so returned it - I do not work at a return counter or anything, these were random examples I saw three times in a row when waiting in line to return something myself.

            Now think forward to the effects of things like the broadcasting flag. What happens when Grandpa can no longer record a game they want to watch on PPV? Chaos I say. A customer service nightmare for whatever company is so foolish as to make use of the flag. And if enough broadcasts do make use of the flag, an eventual shift in what people watch to media that does let them control the pace and time and place they choose to watch things.

            It is not too hard to see people getting fed up with TV and broadcasters. What follows naturally? Well, right now Tivo's are embedded in cable and satellite boxes. Imagine what happens when instead Tivo starts bundling TV services!!! They are already starting down that path to push movies to consumers directly along with Netflix - and when they take over the most profitable part of broadcasting (PPV) can the other parts be far behind?
        • Re:Guess what? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kardar ( 636122 )
          It goes back to the concept that non-physical objects like electronic files ought to be treated as if they were physical objects. We hear plenty of this from the anti-p2p people; we hear that downloading a file is like stealing, that just because it's in electronic format doesn't mean that the copyright is somehow invalidated, that there are financial issues even though no physical media is being stolen, etc...

          But how would it be if I were to go and purchase a CD that I would only be able to play on two CD
      • DIVX (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PurpleFloyd ( 149812 )
        Remember DIVX? No, not the codec [divx.com], but the failed DVD format [wired.com]. That was a form of DRM that consumers rejected overwhemlingly; they didn't want to buy a DVD that imposed restrictions on how they watched it.

        Also, you forget that "geeks" who care about DRM are the people who the less technically talented will go to for reccomendations on what consumer electronics to buy. Thus, 1 geek may influence the purchasing decisions of 5 or 10 different people considering something like Microsoft MCE; those people are

  • cable co (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoldAC ( 735721 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:22AM (#11209069)
    The true monopoly here is the cable and satellite companies.

    They can package their services and rent them out cheaper than any of us can buy the hardware.

    A good MPEG 2 capture card costs $150. Hard drive/CPU/video output is at least $200.

    Heck, I can get PVR service for $8 a month.

    As much as I would rather do-it-myself... it's hard to beat a rock-stable $8/month service.

    • Re:cable co (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Davak ( 526912 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:26AM (#11209114) Homepage
      Yeah, I agree.

      I finally went with the WinTV-PVR-350 for $200 dollars. It does MPEG 2 in AND out. I had an old pent 600 already...

      The reason I agree with you is that the cable company's system is so integrated that I think my wife would be able to control it better. I may like the ability to rip everything to DVD... but she just wants to the ability to rip Desperate Housewives easily.
      • WinTV-PVR (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dpilot ( 134227 )
        I've recently started thinking about building a PVR, but have a question about longevity. Supposedly the NTSC cut-off is 2006, and it's HTDV-only from then on. I have no doubt that the 2006 date will be extended. But at the same time, I'm sure that the FCC is chomping at the bit for the revenue that can be gained by auctioning off the old VHF and UHF spectrum. Also, I have no doubt that some folks at the top would like to GIVE away the old spectrum.

        So maybe not 2006, but I'm sure UHF/VHF days are numbered.
        • Re:WinTV-PVR (Score:3, Informative)

          by EXrider ( 756168 )
          I might be wrong, but I don't think the elimination of the VHF and UHF spectrums will affect terrestrial analog cable. At least the FCC has no control over what's sent over a shielded copper cable, there's standards, but that's about it.

          So that leaves it in the cable company's hands, personally, if my cable company ends analog service, and forces me to purchase a cable box for each of my analog TVs, for anything more than $1 a month additional, they lose their appeal compared to satellite TV, and I'll b
    • Re:cable co (Score:2, Informative)

      by gargonia ( 798684 )
      I think the real advantage to "rolling your own" is that you ultimately control the hardware and software on your own equipment. If you want to ignore the broadcast flag (gasp!), increase the storage capacity of your PVR, change the format(s) that can be supported, etc. the only limitations are your knowledge (or lack thereof).
    • Re:cable co (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:41AM (#11209263)
      The true monopoly here is the cable and satellite companies.

      With that kind of mind set, they are. But lets imagine what could be:

      Take a broadband pipe and stick it into a box with - GASP! - unbreakable DRM. Now, the content providers (read: NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, et cetera) are now free to use bittorrent-like P2P (GASP!) technology for their distribution method - no cableco or satellite company needed.

      Here's how it works:

      The data is cached in advance (think of it as "buffering" only it does it hours in advance - while you're sleeping, maybe). The box, with its trusty DRM, will not allow the media to be viewed until a preset time. Lets say that you want to catch the Sopranos but you don't have cable. The box will download it in advance and then let you watch it simultaneously with the rest of the world - without a cable or satellite TV company. This will be to TV what the iPod is to music. No monthly subscription - just pay for what you buy. Don't want the commercials? Fine - just pay extra and you'll get the version without them.

      The geeks really need to stop hating all aspects of DRM. Ultimately, it will make the world a better place and eliminate eveil entities like the cable companies (though they will just become the bandwidth providers).
      • Re:cable co (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JWW ( 79176 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:54AM (#11209394)
        DRM in the fantasy world you've laid out here wouldn't be too bad. But, theres only one problem. The networks will NEVER EVER DO THIS!!! Do you really think that the same networks that work so hard on their timeslots and schedules are interested in using DRM to give you on demand viewing? No their interest in DRM is to prevent you from ever recording the program so that your only choice if you want to watch it is when they say and how they say. They do not want customers to be happy and get what they want, they want control.

        Look at the recording industry, there are dozens of things I can think of where they could really benefit from better distribution of electronic media, and they have done none of those things. Its all control, don't let them sucker you into DRM, with their empty promises of on-demand.
        • Re:cable co (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:05PM (#11209503)
          The networks will NEVER EVER DO THIS!!! Do you really think that the same networks that work so hard on their timeslots and schedules are interested in using DRM to give you on demand viewing?

          The technology that I've laid out would not be any different from the current television experience that we have today. The DRM would provide the media to be viewed in a strict timeslot. Say, The Daily Show comes on at 7:00PM? Well then lock it down on the DRM box so that it comes on at 7:00PM. Commercials are mandatory for those that don't pay for the non-commercial version. How is this any different to the end user except that they've got more options?

          If the content provider chooses, they could "allow" the media to be "purchased" and viewed at any time after the initial airing. Perhaps yet another option is that "premium members" could watch the shows in advance. The possibilities are endless. Yet another twist is that the "little guy" can make his own shows and become rich without having to worry about toppling the wall that is the media today.

          With good DRM, you can do anything. But there has to be profit motivation for the providers. That free stuff doesn't work in a Capitalist economy (as much as we would all like it to). Yeah, that sucks but if "we the geeks" don't invent this, some enterprising - possibly evil company - will do it and we'll all be bitching about how the implementation was screwed up.
          • Re:cable co (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dsginter ( 104154 )
            Lets use CSI as an example.

            Now, even without cable, you can get it over-the-air with an antenna - free of charge. But, say that the owners of the show wanted to find a few extra bucks. With good DRM, they could offer it without commercials or maybe a hour or two early.

            Some of the 30 million viewers would be willing to pay $0.25 or $0.50 to have this option. That quickly works out to a lot of money. I'd really like to be the business that provides the tech to make this happen.

            And I'm not suggesting th
            • Re:cable co (Score:5, Insightful)

              by JWW ( 79176 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:37PM (#11209851)
              The only problem with that is that with pay per view rates being what they are, the networks would want to charge $1 to $2 per episode. Oh and with the do not copy bit being mandated by the FCC they could prohibit you from recording the program forcing you to pay the money in order to time shift the program.

              So in essence this simple use of DRM to give "more options to the consumer" would just basically in essence be the removal of all our fair use rights laid out decades ago when VCRs were deamed leagal by the courts.

              There is no reasonable DRM..... It will all be used to wield absolute control over the consumer. BTW this flies directly in the face of a capitalist economy where consumer demand is supposed to be a controlling factor. There is no consumer demand that we be restricted by DRM, No one wants it!
      • Re:cable co (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CashCarSTAR ( 548853 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:59AM (#11209453)
        You can..mostly do that without DRM, you know.

        It's quite easy. You just don't upload the files until the day of. Some people might be able to watch it an hour or two early, but to be blunt, that's not a terrible loss. Advertisers? You'd just match the advertising for the TV media with the Internet media.

        And it doesn't have to be DRMd. People can already use a TV tuner card to rip, remove commercials and resend it out. Another source is going to do nothing to this ability. What it WILL do, is that it will make the authorized broadcasts with commercials, come in a higher quality, and easier to obtain. Which will for the most part put the P2P nets out of that material. Now, you'll still see P2P trading, mostly of fan-subs of anime and any show that the network is stubborn upon, but of those shows, the revenue for the networks will actually go up.

        I'm thinking a BitTorrent type client. You log on, and you can sort by shows by network and independents (who would have access to this as well, can sell their own ad time). Choose the ones to download and it would start downloading. It would be watermarked, so if any of the files with commercials went onto P2P networks, they could track it, and the advertisers could now how many people have watched their advertising. (What..and saving the networks bandwidth costs is a bad thing?), but the files would be instantly transferrable to any OS, and the whole new market of handheld media players.

        In this way, the networks, for a minimum of cost, would actually nip TV trading in the bud, actually competing so aggressivly to render it moot. The only potential problem is for DVD sales, but if you have it in a higher quality, and add in lots of extras, DVD sets will sell to the most avid fans, which is what most do now anyway. There are very few that are priced for mass consumption.
      • Re:cable co (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chyeld ( 713439 )
        The problem companies will have with this concept is the same one they have with iTunes type purchases.

        Media companies WANT you to buy a package deal. They NEED you to buy a package deal. They don't want you to buy a single song. They want you to buy the whole CD. Better yet, the boxed set!

        The more granularity you have in your selections, the less powerful their pitches become and the more focus they have to put into pushing all their shows/songs to be hits rather than 'passable filler between the two hit
    • Check the contract (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Penguinoflight ( 517245 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:51AM (#11209370) Homepage Journal
      I can see why your cable co's deal looks good now. Consider the disadvantages though:

      1. Cable co can increase rate (look at contract)
      2. Cable co might be paid off to rid people of PVR's.
      3. $8/month will cost $350 in just under 2 years.
      • by eofpi ( 743493 )
        Your math is wrong. For one box, $8/month is $96/year. For additional boxes, this usually scales linearly.

        The rest of your points are valid though. Not to mention the flexibility to do what you want with the things you've recorded on your PVR.
        • Not to mention I've had 2 boxes go bad in the last 4 years. Since I was renting it from teh cableco, it got exchanged no questions asked. With a 1 yr warranty on purchasing the same equipment, I ended up saving bigtime.
      • Someone else fixed your problem with #3, but I'll address that anyway:

        1. They might be able to increase the rate, but I can choose to end the contract at any time. My cable company doesn't require me to sign up for a certain period of time, and even prorates fees for partial months. So, if they raise their fees and I can find a better deal, I'll go elsewhere.

        2. Until this happens, getting the PVR through the cable company is still the cheapest route. So, I'll get mine through them until they end thei
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:22AM (#11209073)
    Windows XP Media Center Edition, a specific media center product, is a flop, and the articles you link to - which you say you agree with - talk generically about consumers not thinking about PCs in the living room or of computers as entertainment devices, but you think other commercial media center products - which are embodied by the idea of PCs in the living room or of computers as entertainment devices - are "thriving"? Especially when the articles - which you agree with - say that the problem with media centers is that, since they're a computer - a whole other computer, mind you - they're more complex, and normal[1] consumers will never even consider them as an entertainment center component?

    Is there a disconnect here?

    Actually, aside from whether or not it will be a commercial failure, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 actually works famously (have you ever tried it?), MUCH better than previous iterations of the product, and it supports multiple tuners (i.e., >2), lets you archive your recordings to CD or DVD, can support transmitting its content to any other PC, media center extender, or Xbox, etc. - not to mention that for a NORMAL person, it's essentially an integral part of Windows, gets updated along with the OS, and represents a major product from the majority platform, etc.

    And, by the way, I absolutely loathe Microsoft and its business practices over the years in general, but let's at least be realistic here: you can't "agree" with those articles, especially Swann's, and then say that other media centers are "thriving".

    [1] "Normal" here means, like, actually a normal person. Not slashdot readers. Not engadget readers. And frankly, not even savvy computer users.
    • by Megaweapon ( 25185 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:29AM (#11209139) Homepage
      In other words, random pundit predicts future slow sales of a MS product while competitors will thrive... AND SLASHDOT IS THERE! It's a good thing someone agrees with those articles, I wouldn't know how to react!
    • Mostly because it requires pretty expensive hardware to implement WinMCE.

      I still see WinMCE has a relatively niche product until the hardware that can fully implment it get really cheap over the next few years.
      • Really? It runs fine on my old P3 933 w/ 512Mb RAM. Software cost's aside. I only had to spend $79 on a capture card, $30 on a remote and and extra $145 for an ATI's video card and HDTV dongle. It was easy to setup and the interface is great. I might give another PVR such as mythtv a try at sometime, but I never get round to it because MCE works great.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:20PM (#11209660)

      it ...lets you archive your recordings to CD or DVD, can support transmitting its content to any other PC, media center extender, or Xbox, etc.

      It lets you archive to CD or DVD, but does it let you archive in a format everything can read, or only devices that pay a Windows tax? It can stream to other devices, but can it stream to a Linux box?

      WMCE is all about lock in as usual. If consumers had a clue, they would not go near it with a 10-foot pole. My PVR archives to DVD or CD too, except it does so in the standard DVD or VCD formats so that any DVD player can play them. That means the portable on you use to keep you kid quiet, the one in the family van, the one at the neighbor's house, the one at the baby sitter's, the one that I will buy 5 years from now, etc.

      I have doubt as to whether or not the average soccer mom will be able to figure this out before a purchase, and people are very defensive about their large purchases, so I imagine a lot of people will be buying WMCE machines in the future unless there is a better, mainstream option. Tivo is almost there, but there recent actions to prevent the archiving of some shows, has really put me off of recommending them. Where is the startup with the $400 MythTV-based solution?

  • Snapstream? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:23AM (#11209083) Homepage
    Snapstream? Been there, done that, and found that it's even worse bloatware than what our friends in Redmond put out. Maybe it's changed by now (it's been a year or two for me), but I doubt it - if you have a company that seems to value bloat (for whatever reason), it's unlikely that future versions will contain less of it.
    • It's pretty much at the basics now.

      Record, compress, view and channel guide.

      Yeah its a little hefty code wise, but on the windows side of life there isn't that much in the way of competition.

      In any event, they have opened up some of the code for people to work on.

      They did drop divx support though (unless you previously had divx support) and then they have you a plugin. Me, I wrote a script to convert to divx in the over night.
    • I love it when people completely knock a product but then disqualify themselves by saying "This product sucks, but then again I haven't tried any of the recent versions which have completely revamped the product into a stellar performer." Next time, just lay off that reply button ok?
  • People hate DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:23AM (#11209085)
    It's a fact. Most people are sheep and will go along with anything forced to them, but DRM acceptance has it's limits. I know a lot of people who asked me for help on making their DVD players zone-free, for instance.

    If you restrict usage too much, people will seek for alternatives. For DRM done (arguably) right, check Apple and iTunes.
    • Re:People hate DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:31AM (#11209172)
      It's a fact. Most people are sheep and will go along with anything forced to them, but DRM acceptance has it's limits. I know a lot of people who asked me for help on making their DVD players zone-free, for instance.

      Well, I don't know who you are dealing with but NO ONE that I know has a fucking clue what region encoding is and they certainly don't ask me how to get rid of it.

      You know why they don't care? Because it doesn't affect them one bit... People I know go to the video or retail store, pick out a movie, and watch it. Region encoding doesn't stop that.

      Perhaps if you said that they asked you how to remove "the color fades when they record to other media from DVD" I would be more likely to believe you.

      For DRM done (arguably) right, check Apple and iTunes.

      How do you figure? Because you can easily get around it? Or because you agree with their DRM? Personally, Apple's DRM is to support lockin to their portable music player and to their store. Yeah, you can play MP3s on the device but if you want to get music legally you are probably going to go to iTMS (most people don't know about other alternatives such as allofmp3 [allofmp3.com]).
      • Oh, come on. You never brought an imported DVD, fine. Like i said, i know a lot of people who do, and frankly, it's not so hard to imagine happening. Nothing gets more on ones' nerves than popping in a DVD and witnessing a screen saying "Oh, sorry, can't play this DVD - only for players purchased in Europe / Japan / whatever". Yeah, that's surely going to stop piracy...

        As for Apple, is debatable, but it's "done right" in the sense it never gets too much in your way. Of course, it's a vendor lock-in to
      • Re:People hate DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jedidiah ( 1196 )
        There are plenty of people that want more than just American content. Sure, these types of people are real weirdos when compared to the average consumer. However, they are out there in signficant numbers.

        Otherwise, the vendors selling region free players in the US would have no business.

        Anyone that might have interest in foreign SAT channels (or just the BBC) will likely eventually want something not encoded as region 1.
      • I use bleep as well as iTunes.
      • Have you used the allofmp3 site? A little hesitant to send money off to some Russian site I know nothing about.

        Region encoding on dvds drives me nuts, as a European living in the USA I basically have to break the law to watch movies that are never released here.

      • Are you in the USA by any chance?

        Because I know a lot of people with multiregion players here in the UK. I think everyone I know with a DVD player has chosen to go multiregion. That's not just geeks but normal people from 18-70. Because the discs can often be cheaper, released earlier and sometimes are only released in region 1.

      • NO ONE that I know has a fucking clue what region encoding is and they certainly don't ask me how to get rid of it.
        You know why they don't care? Because it doesn't affect them one bit... People I know go to the video or retail store, pick out a movie, and watch it. Region encoding doesn't stop that.

        You only know boring people.

        I know (and am) people who love movies that come from somewhere else than hollywood, love jap games that never make it legally over here, etc. The fucking region codes is a nightma
  • by jacobcaz ( 91509 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:24AM (#11209096) Homepage
    Steve Jobs' is constantly promoting the Mac as the center of my digital-hub enabled lifestyle so why isn't there a PVR/DVR based on Apple hardware?

    Face it, Apple does this shit right. It would be TiVo-easy, probably easier, dead sexy to look at and would integrate with your iPod and desktop or laptop for on-demand streaming. And the best part is...It Would Just Work(tm).

    Everyone said, "No one will buy an iPod! Are you crazy?" and now it's the geek-chic accessory of darn near everyone. Why wouldn't a PVR/DVR from Apple be the same? Once it's on enough episodes of Cribs or put into enough cars on Pimp My Ride everyone will want one.

    • Because the Apple name isn't some kind of a magic dealie. The iPod was successful because it offered a LOT, was cute, had the Apple name on it, but more importantly, because it had the iTunes store to back it up and was introduced when the overall popularity of the devices was starting to take off. I think TiVo has cornered the market and a small company like Apple will be hard pressed to take away significant market share.

      • Wasn't the iPod launched before the iTunes Music Store was launched?
        • Because the Apple name isn't some kind of a magic dealie. The iPod was successful because it offered a LOT, was cute, had the Apple name on it, but more importantly, because it had the iTunes store to back it up and was introduced when the overall popularity of the devices was starting to take off. I think TiVo has cornered the market and a small company like Apple will be hard pressed to take away significant market share.

        Apple's name wasn't magic but it probably has more brand recognition now than eve

        • Finally, Apple hit a huge home run with the iTMS. You don't think they coudln't parlay their success with the RIAA into a deal with the MPAA for movie-on-demand and TV-on-demand downloads?

          If there is ANYONE out there that could parlay legal downloads for video programming, it's Apple Computer. The success of the iTunes Music Store has shown that you can make money on a legal download service for multimedia, so why no develop an iVideo store to download near-full screen DRM-protected QuickTime files? With
        • If what you're saying is accurate, why would Apple not seize on the opportunity? Frankly, what you're suggesting could be applied to just about any consumer electronics or service that Apple could potentially take on. I don't know if it's as simple as you suggest, though. Maybe "luck" should be factored into the success of whatever product in whatever market.

    • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:43AM (#11209285)
      ...Apple, in the form of Steve Jobs, has said numerous, numerous, numerous times, publicly and very specifically, that he doesn't believe in any kind of convergence, or any interactivity between TV and computers. As he has said numerous times: When you use a computer, you turn your mind on. When you watch TV, you turn your mind off. They two worlds are not compatible. Now, whether that's just gimmicky-speak, and whether it's ultimately true aside, Steve himself believes it. And on top of that, Steve, even as CEO of Pixar, is one of those "kill your television" types, so I don't see him getting behind a PVR/AV component type project.

      HOWEVER, some evidence points in other directions:

      AirPort Express: an AV component that lets you stream music from your computer to an analog or digital audio output on a wireless device that's part of your entertainment system

      iPod Photo: an increasingly large hard drive in a product that has a dock that is, in part, intended to be part of an entertainment system that has audio and composite video and S-video output (think iTunes Movie Store: download movie, sync with iPod, drop in dock that's hooked up to your TV, and play)

      New headless sub-$500 iMac: ThinkSecret is almost ALWAYS spot-on with these stories, so it's probably true. This could easily be an AV component IF it includes tuner capabilities, or some provision for adding them

      Apple/Motorola cell phone, possibly co-branded or even Apple-branded: Yes, this really is happening, folks. If an Apple VP talks about it to Forbes, it was explicitly approved by Jobs. This proves Apple is willing to branch out into other markets.

      With the "Digital Hub", Apple has addressed every possible kind of connectivity and device: scanners, printers, digital cameras, digital camcorders, phones, PDAs, the computer, movie editing, CD creation, music, DVD authoring, portable music players, etc. - everything, that is, EXCEPT TV. Yes, there are sticky issues here, of copyright, of rights management, etc., probably even worse than what was dealt with for the iTunes Music Store. Not to mention the problems of dealing with different TV reception standards in different countries, and the fact that you'd need to be able to DIRECTLY TUNE encrypted digital cable and satellite services, in all markets, to even begin to make this worthwhile for Apple. They're not going to have people hook up crap to random external equipment. So until there are universal standards (like CableCard) for allowing devices OTHER than set top boxes to tune the digital TV services, it just doesn't make sense.

      But if Apple made a device in this space, it would be the iPod of PVRs, and would have the ease of use, integration, and fabulous attention to detail and usability we've all come to expect from Apple.

      We can only hope...
        • Steve, even as CEO of Pixar, is one of those "kill your television" types, so I don't see him getting behind a PVR/AV component type project.

        Steve can be a "kill your television" type all he wants, but his first duty is to the shareholders at Apple. If he fails to keep the profits up and the shareholders happy then he can be replaced...again.

        If the shareholders demand it because they see a potential windfall from Apple dominating the PVR/DVR market.

        Sadly, no matter how much Steve doesn't want to in

        • Steve can be a "kill your television" type all he wants, but his first duty is to the shareholders at Apple. If he fails to keep the profits up and the shareholders happy then he can be replaced...again.

          Under Steve's fiduciary responsibility to his shareholders, his first duty is to the customers of Apple. People tend to forget that. If Apple releases a piece of shit living room box just to satisfy the shareholders, it'll turn off the customers. And that is something the shareholders definitely don't want t

        • I don't get how TV is a must-have for a PC. Nice-to-have, perhaps.

          The main thing that gets me is that TV is a huge mess of schedule, ownership, and channel chaos, not to mention the analog/digital/HD variety. The iPod/iTunes combo is all a much more controlled case: a stack of personal CDs and one online store.

          One *might* be able to do this for movies. But it isn't going to be easy for television. I can already play DVDs on my Mac. What more do I really need?
        • Steve can be a "kill your television" type all he wants, but his first duty is to the shareholders at Apple. If he fails to keep the profits up and the shareholders happy then he can be replaced...again.

          Under Steve's fiduciary responsibility to his shareholders, his first duty is to the customers of Apple. People tend to forget that. If Apple releases a piece of shit living room box just to satisfy the shareholders, it'll turn off the customers. And that is something the shareholders definitely don't want

        • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:40PM (#11209887) Journal
          I think you underestimate the value of Steve Jobs to Apple and overestimate the value of a PVR solution to it too.

          Apple, in case it had slipped your mind, was a rudderless ship before Steve Jobs rejoined the company. It was losing market share not only to IBM PC compatibles but to its own authorised clones. It took Jobs next to no time to reverse that slide, develop the iMac, kickstart OSX development and return Apple to its "insanely great" roots.

          Yes, the CEO's that Apple had during Jobs' absence from the company made it more profitable but Jobs has made Apple more popular too.

          More than anything, Jobs has positioned Apple and its products as accessable and desirable: Apply is now a company focused on style (the iMacs, the G3/G4/G5 designs compared to their predecessors, the iPod) and simplicity (again, the iMacs, OS X, the iPod).

          Frankly, it's hard to imagine Apple being where it is today without Jobs at the helm. I'd bet my life that Apple's board, its employees and the overwhelming majority of its shareholders and customers would agree with that sentiment. Certainly, it's hard to see someone like Gil Amelio, Apple's previous Chairman and CEO, steering such a successful course.

          Look around at the PC industry today. Who's the most innovative company out there? IBM's shedding its PC division, HP marriage with Compaq still looks like a bad deal, Dell doesn't innovate at all,Sony is obsessed with its own technology (Memory Stick, etc, although they finally caved in with regards to ATRAC vs MP3), and everyone else is small potatoes.

          Will Apple ever have a PVR product? My head says, yes, eventually they will. But it won't be until Apple is ready, and that won't be until it's confident that it has a killer product. In that regard, it'll be the same strategy as Apple adopted with the personal music player market: let everyone else spend their time and money selling the concept to the public and making the early mistakes and then jump in once it's got a bigger market to aim for with a more polished product (iPod plus iTunes).

          Frankly, there's more chance of Osama Bin Laden presenting himself at the front gate of the White House tomorrow than there is of Apple making the same mistake it's made once before and firing Jobs over his reluctance to jump into the PVR market.
      • you can record Firewire out of your cable box into OS X [avsforum.com]
        • But it doesn't work with all cable boxes, even all cable boxes with FireWire (and even though you can, by FCC rule, request a cable box from your provider with FireWire, no box from Charter Communications has *functioning* FireWire ports, as required by the FCC, and frankly, I'm not about to go out on some crusade to make it happen). This also doesn't apply to any satellite service. Not to mention that it depends upon an unsupported FireWire developer SDK from Apple, and has no integrated software for any u
    • by bushidocoder ( 550265 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:53AM (#11209383) Homepage
      I think its alot of investment with relatively little payoff - They don't have the technology now, so they'd have to invest in creating it, or acquire a company like Tivo that already does. The problem is, even Tivo can't compete in the market they created. As has been mentioned before, my cable company charges me 6 bucks a month for their DVR service, and they provided the hardware for free. How is Apple (or Microsoft for that matter) supposed to be profitable competing with that?

      There is a market for people who would want to digitally edit tv content for various purposes - and with iLife the Apple is the perfect platform to do that on. I think that puts them in such a legal mindfield that they don't want to go there. Microsoft DRMs the hell out of the feeds you save in order to keep the industry at bay, and Apple would pretty much have to do the exact same thing in order to keep the content industries appeased. Apple may be profitable, but one thing that could utterly destroy Apple is to be on the losing end of a multibillion dollar lawsuit.

    • Apple users don't watch TV. We're smart people who read books, listen to music and sip $10 coffees. Duh.
    • Everyone said, "No one will buy an iPod! Are you crazy?"

      Obviously "everyone" did not say that.

      Why wouldn't a PVR/DVR from Apple be the same?

      Why wouldn't a PDA from Apple be the same?

  • I tend to agree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by raitchison ( 734047 ) <robert@aitchison.org> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:24AM (#11209098) Homepage Journal

    IMO people who are tech savvy who would be more inclined towards a PC based system (as opposed to an appliance like TiVo) will be non-plussed by the infelxibility and restrictions in MPC.

    The "sweet spot" that MS is targetting, that I'm not sure exists as a viable market is the consumer that wants to run their media on their single PC. Figure the odds that the person ready to control their entertainment with a PC has only one PC.

  • As a current user... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mzwaterski ( 802371 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:27AM (#11209125)
    As a current user of Windows Media Center, I'd have to disagree that MCE will be a big flop. MCE is one of the most robust packages that I've seen from Microsoft. To put it simply, it just works. And this is coming from someone who is using an unsupported TV card with hacked together drivers. The system properly wakes my system from standby and records my programs. The best part, its extremely easy to use! I hate to sound like a fanboy, but I've just been blown away by the quality of this product.

    That said, I agree that the cost of prebuilt MCE systems is too high. I think what we need to see is scaled down systems in A/V cases that cost around 999$. I've priced out building my own systems and they can be built well below this price on Newegg, so I would think that a PC manufacturer should at least be able to come close.

    In regard to the other packages out there...I had nothing but problems with BeyondTV and Sage, but it was mostly due to lack of support for my ATI AIW card. One thing I did notice in the process, though, was that MCE had much simpler and more intuitive interfaces than these other applications. Frankly, I think that an average user would not even consider messing with one of these programs when they could buy an MCE box all configured and ready to go.

    • I agree, MCE is pretty cool.

      The one thing holding it back, IMO, was that it was only available to OEMs, and thus you could only get it if you spent $3000 bucks on some crappy Dell system.

      Now you can get the OS by itself, and get it running on cheaper stuff you have laying around. Just for the sake of playing around, I got it up and running on my Voodoo 3 3500, like you, with hacked/cobbled drivers.

      I'm sufficiently impressed that I plan to put my TiVo up on eBay and use the proceeds to invest in a decent
    • *cough* astro-turfing *cough*
  • by suso ( 153703 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:31AM (#11209167) Homepage Journal
    "The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they make a vacuum cleaner."
    • "The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they make a vacuum cleaner."

      They would make a vacuum-cleaner that doesn't suck, which means it doesn't do what it's supposed to, which would suck....and look there! My brain just melted.

      Luckily, they could still include a BSOD feature - Blue Smoke of Death. Judging from the most recent poll, you can activate it by not reading the manual.
  • Define "flop"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StrawberryFrog ( 67065 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:32AM (#11209181) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft v1.0 products don't always have to make money. They are often aimed at gaining market share, leveraging related product areas where Microsoft is already dominant, learning what the customers really want, and generally harassing the competition as a prelude to crushing them with a version 2 or 3 product.
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:36AM (#11209219) Journal
    In other words, you haven't seen or used it yourself.

    Neither has the author of TFA.

    You all hate MSFT, and want to see them fail in the home. And this guy is your hero because he predicts that MS sucks. That's all fine and good.

    But remember Sun Tsu's first and most important rule of war: Know your enemy.

    The most rabid zealots show again and again that they have no fucking idea what MSFT products can do, or how they work.

    That said, MCE's actually pretty well put together. It's far beyond MythTV, especially when it comes to hardware support.

    And the DRM is on the CONTENT. You only use it if the CONTENT requires you use it. The DivX files you download off KaZaa will play the same in MCE as they do in linux.

    But, MCE can play those movies you pay a few bucks to download off the 'net, will MythTV? My point being, OSS projects need to incorporate the same thing. The lack of legit DVD support has already crippled linux as an "entertainment" platform.

    Look how well iTunes is working. Bandwidth is going up dramatically, theres a lot of fiber to the home happening. It wont be long before there's an (actually *working*, high-def) iTunes for movies - and OSS better not miss the boat.

    • Movies (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jaoswald ( 63789 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:03PM (#11209488) Homepage
      You know, it's not clear that movies will follow the same track as music.

      * Record labels make money by selling albums over a relatively long period of time.
      * You only need one or two good singles to sell an album.
      * They push singles through the commercial, but not-for-pay radio [does MTV actually show music videos anymore?]
      * Actual concert performances profit the band, not the record label
      * They have *always* had to deal with the possibility of taping-off-radio and taping-off-CD

      * Movies are much more expensive to make than albums. And probably riskier creatively.
      * Movie studios make a bunch of money on live performances in movie theatres. They will hesitate to dissipate that by releasing simultaneously to consumer digital. (Although there are huge advantages to digital transmission to theaters.)
      * They make a second chunk of money selling hard copy DVDs *once the first run revenue* is tapped out.
      * Finally, once the DVD stream is largely tapped out, they'll make a chunk of money selling the TV broadcast rights.
      * For now, the primary medium is heavy, bulky, film prints on reels, which are hard to pirate, except through sucky camcorder taping.

      The whole rhythm of release and commercial structure is different for these two industries. Probably, they'll make the transition to digital quite differently.
  • Real alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdreed1024 ( 443938 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:37AM (#11209227)
    Meanwhile, from what I can tell much more powerful alternatives to Microsoft's MCE bloatware are thriving: commercial products like Snapstream (see their 6-tuner Medusa PVR built for about $1200), Showshifter and open-source freeware like Mediaportal and MythTV.

    First of all, MythTV and Mediaportal are not competitors. Not yet. For them to be true competitors, they need to just work out of the box. Don't get me wrong, they're great products, but they're not true competitors in the average consumer market, just like Gentoo Linux is not a competitor with Windows XP.

    And the other two products mentioned are not real competitors. If you hate "Microsoft bloatware", these are not the products for you. From the Snapstream Beyond TV System Requirements [snapstream.com] page:

    • Microsoft Windows XP Home, XP Professional or 2000
    • DirectX 9.0 or greater

    From the Showshifter System Requirements [showshifter.com] page:
    • Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP
    • DirectX 9.0 Runtime or later
    • Windows Media Player 7.1 or later

    It doesn't get much more Microsoft-centric than that.

    If Media Center Edition fails, it will be because of price and competition from the cable companies, not because of competing software. Users who buy media center PCs will stick with Windows Media CEnter Edition, because that's what it'll come with. Just like people stick with XP Home, because that's what came on their computers.

    Consumers want something that just works. Hobbyists, enthusiasts, and power users may be interested in picking their own TV tuner card, and setting up MythTV, but they do not form a large percentage of the market. You have people now who have Tivos because they "just work". Tivo made something that looks like a VCR and has a remote, and that (combined with cable and satellite companies giving them away for free) more than anything is what will kill windows MCE.

    From what I've read about Microsoft MCE and all of its DRM and content restrictions, I have to agree with both of these articles.

    The average consumer (again, they're the ones who influence the market, not us) doesn't care about DRM, yet. They can play their CDs in the car or on their stereo - it doesn't matter if they can't rip them to MP3.

    However, ironically, MCE may be the thing that wakes up Joe Consumer to the dangers of DRM. If this doesn't, the broadcast flag of HDTV might. Currently, if Joe Consumer misses a show, he can stick a tape in the VCR. And even tape the game, despite the NFL telling him not to. When he fires up his Media Center PC, and hits record, and gets a message saying "You are not allowed to do this", there's going to be a huge backlash. But we're not there yet.

    • by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:54AM (#11209396) Homepage Journal
      The real problem is that while it may work out of the box, within months it will fail.

      We all have had to "repair" computers so infected with spyware that they are practically unusable. Now someone's PVR is going to do that! The only people that can use this long term are the technical people that can keep the thing working.

      I just don't think people want a PVR that must be reinstalled every few months.

  • MythTV (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mogrify ( 828588 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:38AM (#11209230) Homepage
    Approximately once every two weeks, I am nearly overcome by how cool MythTV looks, and I almost start putting a system together. Then I remember that I don't have cable, and I don't particularly want to spend MORE time watching TV than I already do. It would almost be worth it, though, to play with MythTV... Anyone want to donate $40/month or so?

    Anyway, this is another example: MS does it, but Open Source does it better.
    • I agree with the other poster, I built a PVR and I hardly watch TV at all nowadays. Here's an example, I used to be a die-hard Simpsons fan. I'd watch it EVERY Sunday whether or not it was a re-run.

      After building my PVR I could do other things on Sunday night and I let my PVR record them. Soon those Simpson's episodes were building up because I was no longer watching them. When I *had* to watch them at a specific time, I'd make the time. But once I could watch them whenever, I wouldn't make the time.
    • Not having had any hands-on experience with MythTV whatsoever, I will certainly tell you what I know :)

      I understand that the regular MythTV installation is pretty intense. KnoppMyth will probably be better but, yes, it will overwrite your current system. The frontend (i.e. the pretty pictures and widgets) will run off the CD on a minimal system, but the backend (the bit that does the heavy encoding/decoding) needs reasonably good hardware and has to be on a hard-drive based distro.

      You should check on yo
    • Re:MythTV (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spisska ( 796395 )
      There's a lot more to Myth than recording cable. I don't have cable TV, but football is about all I watch on TV anyway.

      But I have MythMusic playing almost constantly. The jukebox supports ogg, mp3, flac, and other formats, and is really easy to use to set up playlists or just randomize a whole bunch of albums and/or singles.

      Add to that the ability of Myth to archive and display photos from a digital camera.

      Plus it plays divx, xvid, mpg and most wmv files. There's been very few video files it hasn't been
  • Biggest Flop of 2005: The Media Center PC
    The product is supposed to bring the PC and TV together, but it's destined for the scrap heap of history. By Phillip Swann

    Anyone else enjoying these advertising blocking mythtv boxes? I just finished mine a few days ago... What was that other successful program that blocks advertisements... oh wait, firefox!

    he's fired.

  • by hipsterdufus ( 42989 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:40AM (#11209260)
    Let's see:

    MythTv is at version .16
    MediaPortal is at version .

    Do you really want to run what is essentially an alpha product? I don't. These people also are happy with the fact that it sorta works, but not all the way. If you had a high end media room with a 100" screen and a projector, the image quality is not where it should be. It proably looks great on your 17" lcd or 4:3 ratio 27" television.

    I'm not even sure what the snapstream product is. You can do everything it lists for the tv stuff with the software that comes with any pc tuner card.

    MCE 2004 was a disaster. Horrible product, run away as fast as you can. MCE 2005 is loads better, though not perfect yet. Numerous companies offer a ready-to-go unit ala a DVD player. Just plug and go. The HP z545 and the Alienware DHS series are great machines that you can setup just fine to output to a HDTV projector and it looks great. You can also play Doom on them and surf the net. Nice integration.

    Nobody YET offers a MCE with OTA or QAM HD support. You can add the card yourself (the ATI HDTV wonder is on the short list of cards supported by MCE) and you're good to go.

    Until you can buy a pre-made box from a company with Myth loaded and ready to rock, I don't think you'll see myth in the living room. Microsoft got a computer in every home, now it wants one in every living room connected to the tv. If MCE 2005 is where they are going, they are headed in the right direction.
  • Windows MCE (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cooterman ( 777948 )
    I have always seen Windows as a necessary evil. If I want an easy to use restuarant touch screen system for reasonable money I have to use Windows. I still use a Mac for back of the house and my co-located webserver is RedHat, but for for touchscreen ordering, Windows is something I always tolerated. But, I just finished building a Windows MCE 2005 system and I love it. MSFT for once is getting something right. If I had one complaint it would be stability. Nothing worse than having to Ctrl-Alt-Del in t
  • xbmc (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tehsoul ( 844435 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:46AM (#11209317)
    also, let's not forget the relative big success of the opensource software xbox media center http://www.xboxmediacenter.de/ [xboxmediacenter.de]
  • PCs vs. PVRs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @11:46AM (#11209319) Homepage Journal
    Although the article focuses on Microsoft vs. everyone else, a lot of the responses seem to be talking about media PCs vs. PVRs. So, I'll address that point.

    PCs and PVRs are just not comparable. Complete apples and oranges. You can't compare a Tivo or other PVR with a PC that's connected to a TV and the Internet. While it's nice that a PVR is meant specifically for its purpose and does it very well (even better if you know how to hack it), I can find many more advantages to having a PC connected to a TV instead.

    First off, do you need more hard drive space? You buy a new secondary drive. You can't do that with PVRs unless you hack (in violation of contract if you rent the box) or buy/rent a newer one with a bigger hard drive.

    If you don't want to watch TV, a wireless keyboard and mouse/trackball will allow you to surf on your TV. You can't do that with a PVR.

    If the box is beefy enough, there is no reason why you can't use the PC as a gaming console. I'm sure that I'd have a lot more fun playing multiplayer "Ghost Recon" on my 55" widescreen TV than on my 21" monitor -- potential burn-in not withstanding.

    There are other reasons, but I've made my point. Snd I'm sure that the vast majority of us on /. have a spare system laying around (or the majority of components to make one)that is more than capable of being a repectable system to act as a PVR.

    Linux would have the same benefits, so I don't want to act as though only Windows can satisfy my requirements. But only us geeks would actually be comfortable using Linux for this purpose. The vast majority of people are unfortunately still brainwashed that Microsoft = Heaven, Bill Gates = God, and anything else != easy-to-use. So, properly positioned and marketed, XP MCE can be a highly effective alternative to PVRs to a huge amount of people.

    That being said, I'm hearing a lot of good things about MythTV. I'm going to have to look into that. And I'll have a spare system shortly that's more than capable of handling the task. I'll pass on the PVR, thank you.
    • PCs and PVRs are just not comparable.

      I disagree with this point, but for the sake of argument lets just assume that you are correct. How about taking that $500 mac that was mentioned earlier, plugging in an EyeTV tuner from Elgato, adding a TV out card or adapter and comparing it to the WMCE PC. Where does that get us?

      Pros of Mac solution vs. PC solution:

      The mac solution has better built in DVD creation, and video editing software. You can make shnazzy DVDs of your home movies, things you record, or

  • by jazzmanjac ( 92458 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:00PM (#11209456)
    Hauppauge's Media MVP [hauppauge.com] let's you watch recordings that reside on your PC on your TV. I've got one and I love it. No PC's in my living room....

    Oh yeah... it runs linux.

  • by kevinx ( 790831 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:02PM (#11209477)
    I did the math and tried to come up with a good pc solution using myth tv. My requirements were a small case that would fit in my entertainment cabinet and semi old cheap hardware. The tv card winds up being the most expensive component $150 for a hardware mpeg encoder solution. To do it right, you are looking at about $400+ total system pricetag. That's using bottom basement pc components and top of the line pvr card. A replaytv unit costs $50 and a 12$/mo subscription or $250 lifetime. Which comes out cheaper then the mythtv unit. It provides many of the features you would see on a full blown media center type application since it networks with other replaytv units. You can run your pc as a replaytv unit and serve it shows, etc. All in all.. I found it to be the best deal; something that just works and the family can enjoy. There is fun factor to building the mytv unit..but if you are building it to be cost effective then you have to look beyond the alure of the free software.
  • This is from the MCE FAQ [microsoft.com]:

    Recorded TV and Content Protection Q. What is content protection, and how is it used by Media Center? A. Content owners and/or broadcasters can set copy-protection flags to indicate that a program is subject to content protection. When Media Center detects that this flag is set, it will protect the content by limiting the ability to copy and distribute the program. Q. Can protected recorded TV files be watched on another PC? A. No, protected files can be watched only on the Medi

  • I only have experience of MCE2005 so I cannot comment on the other products, but MCE05 works wonderfully well (and I am no big M$ fan). I took a PC we don't use much (P4 2.4GHz, 1Gb RAM, 120Gb hd, Nvidia FX5200), added a 802.11b PCI card, wireless Logitech keyboard/mouse, Hauppauge 150MCE, an MCE05 remote control, and I was in business. A small investment, and I can watch/record TV, watch/record DVDs, get online, play games, etc. The computer is hidden away in a cabinet next to the TV. In my book, MCE2005
  • If you want a linux-based alternative to XP media center PCs that is far cheaper for both hardware and software, you need only look as far as CAC media [cacmedia.tv] and the work they are doing for the MediaReady 400 - there is a link to it off of the home page.

    Check it out - you will see a lot of them next year starting at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:38PM (#11209862) Homepage
    Non-specialized hardware. It is widely known that specialized hardware blows the doors off a PC while often costing less. They've learned on their mistake with XBox, and XBox 2 will be a highly specialized platform. They may learn the same thing about Media centers, and turn it into a specialized platform also, simply to bring the prices down from their currently stratospheric level. Viable price point for Media Center is IMO $500-600.
  • i'll bite. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JVert ( 578547 ) <corganbilly@hotm ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:39PM (#11209870) Journal
    On a tuesday if this article was posted as a comment it would be flooded as a troll, wednesdays its a front pager. Lets pick and run.

    Inferior earlier versions of the product might have tainted opinion. The current version, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, is the firm's third-generation offering.

    Media Center is on its third generation over the course of 3 years. Showing progress is not weakness.

    Consumers might decide it's easier to just buy a PVR from TiVo or their cable or satellite provider rather than buy a full-function PC. Plus, finding a place for the PC next to their TV can be a problem.

    Headline fron /. said alternatives are thriving. Let me put this in perspective for you. Media center PCs are usually stocked with other PCs.
    The alternatives, are not.

    Yes the DRM is very damning, as of right now I am stuck copying these drm-ms files onto my laptop and playing them through this windows operating system, how dare they. Completly unacceptable, and I thank you soo much for bringing that up even though the main article mentions nothing about it.

    This far right is like listening to Daily show at night and listening to Rush in the morning. You live and breathe to get your propiganda, even on things you know nothing about. Your taking news articles and posting a completly different spin on them in the hopes of readers beliving you and not reading the article.
  • It is way too expensive. When a TiVo like device is standard fair for people on the Dish and DirecTv for $1000 how many marketing genius do we need to solve that puzzle.

    Joe Sixpack is not even going to know about it.

    This is "Bob" in a new dress.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @01:28PM (#11210402) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, no one wants to be tech support at home for their own cranky television set. This is precisely what would happen with WMCE.

    I can't just picture being interrupted mid movie to have my television set request permission to download a new codec, which requires a reboot and of course either makes no difference at all to me or doesn't work at all.
  • Don't Forget Sage TV (Score:3, Informative)

    by monopole ( 44023 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @02:37PM (#11211210)
    Wonderful program, handles multiple tuners, cable boxes, universal remotes, plays well with Multiple Hauppage PVR-250s. Easy to use. And it records plain vanilla mpeg2s which rip straight to DVDs. Built a micro-ATX box with two PVR-250s a GeForce 5200 and a UIRT-USB for remote control / cable box interfacing. Works perfectly.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"