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Discussion Starter #1

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The trend seems to be away from HTPCs and toward more profitable streaming solutions or encumbered downloads. It's no accident that Google killed SageTV at about the same time it started Google TV. It's also no secret that the big media companies (Sony, etc) want to kill off HTPCs and MS is in bed with them. Killing WMC makes sense from that perspective. I also expect that MS was betting on making WMC and it's proprietary encryption technologies more pervasive. MS failed in that regard so the profit motive for keeping WMC is gone. In addition, the proposed Canadian copyright law will make some uses of WMC and HTPCs illegal. How many failed products does that make for MS now?
 

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I predicted this move in a post months ago, and I believe it's a good thing for many reasons:

- It allows Media Center to be updated more frequently than the OS.
- Microsoft doesn't need to license certain codecs (e.g. Dolby AC3) in the OS by default any more if they're only there for Media Center users. This drives the cost of producing Windows down for the relatively small market (especially when compared to the massive Windows market).
- With Media Center no longer being completely free, the commercial HTPC market can open up again. I think Media Center being free (and being as good as it is) was really damaging to companies like Snapstream and Sage TV.

Most importantly, I think that with Metro as a primary Windows interface, the need to create additional "specialized 10 foot interfaces" is ending. Just create an app that can be completely controlled with keyboard events (arrow keys, enter, etc) and a user can navigate between them using a remote control.

You could have two Metro applications to do what Media Center does: a XBMC-like app to play local media files and manage local libraries of content, and a TV recording app that interfaces with TV tuners and creates the resulting files on your local disk. Then app like Netflix or Hulu would "just work" without the need to create a "plugin" for your HTPC app of choice. They would all work together because they would all be Metro apps.

And best of all, it would be much easier to write those apps with frameworks like WinRT, so the app developer won't need to spend all that time writing custom interface elements that work well on a TV.
 

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Metro could certainly have the unintended side effect of changing how HTPC interfaces work. IF (that's a big if) Windows developers start creating Metro interfaces for their media apps AND Metro supports media remotes, the need for media center interfaces will disappear. I don't see that convergence taking place for some time though. Android apps that allow control of Windows software have appeared so Metro apps probably won't be far behind. The currently available apps are very disappointing though, mainly for controlling HTPCs from a phone or tablet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
WMC has been "dead"(static) for years.
People use it for the same reason they climb Everest. "Because it's there".
They become familiar with it and to use something else is too much effort.
Now the 3rd party MC apps, which are FREE (or donnation) can get thier attention.

They have much more features to offer and you're not locked into proprietary extenders.
btw: there is another article regarding energy wasted by PS3s and Xboxes sitting idle in America back in Hugh's twitter column.
Crappy little P4 extenders are smart enough to sleep and wake up even using XP.
Why would you need two MC apps(XMBC+WMC) to do what one is fully capable of doing.
NPVR has Netflix intergrated I'm not sure 'bout MP or Myth.
Why stack individual apps when one(1) can do it all with one remote.
The time for users to dump WMC has been here for a while, now the lights are flashing.

The one thing that does concern me about this what may be the effect on the Times-Trib EPG data both used by Schedules Direct and MC2XML but essentially a MS project.
 

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I can't see the rationale for rerquiring the "Pro" version of Windows 8 when WMC is really a consumer product.
 

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I agree, bundling it with "Ultimate" would be a more logical choice. I wouldn't be surprised if MS killed off Win Ultimate for Win8 as well.

MediaPortal can do just about everything that WMC, NPVR and XBMC can do. Development is still active as well. It's pretty much as capable as SageTV was before it was axed by Google. MP suffers from two major drawbacks. One is a reputation for being unstable. That is no longer true since release 1.0 (some time ago.) The other is that it is difficult to configure. That is still very true. I like the extensive configuration ability but it also needs to be PnP for basic use. OTOH, WMC and XBMC are pretty much PnP at the cost of limiting configuration ability.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@ScaryB
I aggree, I was bamboozaled by MP.
and back in '09 WMC didn't want to work with my hardware (using XPpro with MC)
But NPVR is pretty easy to set-up then tweak and master.
After a little over a year post GB-pvr it's very stable.
And for remote access I just point a web browser to h t t p:/<my IP><port#>guide2.aspx and I can do anything from schedule recordings to stream live TV
 

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WMC has been "dead"(static) for years.
People use it for the same reason they climb Everest. "Because it's there".
They become familiar with it and to use something else is too much effort.
I selected WMC after dropping SageTV because after reviewing the available options, WMC + Xbox extenders met my needs better than any of the other alternatives available. The main thing that pushed me to the Xbox over my HTPC extenders (that were previously using the SageTV client) is that the Netflix web interface has regressed in a couple areas that are important to me. Specifically, it doesn't enumerate recently watched shows - so instead of just being able to select a TV series I'm "working on" and have it play the next episode, the web UI makes me search for it and drill down to the relevant episode.

This may seem like a small thing, but now that streaming video makes up the majority of my TV viewing (with OTA content filling in the rest), the interfaces to Netflix and Hulu are a big deal to me. And I love how you can use Kinect to navigate Hulu with your voice.

btw: there is another article regarding energy wasted by PS3s and Xboxes sitting idle in America back in Hugh's twitter column.
Crappy little P4 extenders are smart enough to sleep and wake up even using XP.
Interesting. Either you didn't read the article far enough to understand that the Xbox 360 (and the PS3) have "off after idle time" settings, or you just ignored those details so you could have your rant. My Xbox consoles are set to turn off after being idle for an hour (which by the way is the default setting).

You can also set your primary WMC box to go to sleep and it will transparently "wake up" when a extender nudges it (using a magic packet) or if it is time to record a TV show.

Why would you need two MC apps(XMBC+WMC) to do what one is fully capable of doing.
This would allow the user to select one product independently from the other. Some products like XBMC have a excellent UI, but the authors (or the project) may not have interest in dealing with TV tuners and guide data. I thought this benefit was obvious, so I didn't state it in my earlier post.
 

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bundling it with "Ultimate" would be a more logical choice. I wouldn't be surprised if MS killed off Win Ultimate for Win8 as well.
You are correct. It is dead. There is only Windows8, Windows8 Pro, and Windows8 Enterprise now for x86 + Windows RT for Arm. I am shocked to learn that WMC will not be available on Windows8 (non-pro) I am glad it is no longer going to be part of the base o/s. It is time for it to sink or swim on it's own.
 

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More news on Win8 Media Centre

Looks like they are finally going to spend some time updating it :cool:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57427663-75/windows-8-wont-include-media-center-automatically/

Users interested in Media Center have a couple of choices. If they buy Windows 8 Pro, they can they purchase Windows 8 Media Center Pack to have full integration with DVD playback, broadcast TV recording and playback, and VOB file playback. If they have just Windows 8, they can buy the Windows 8 Pro Pack to get Media Center. Microsoft has yet to announce the cost for Windows 8 and the upgrades; it did say, however, that the Media Center Pack pricing will be "in line with marginal costs."

The separate pricing issue aside, Microsoft also said today that with the Media Center it is focusing on a "comprehensive video and audio platform for developers to build engaging and differentiated apps." The apps will use decoders specialized for system reliability, battery life, and performance. In addition, playback will include YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, Hulu video, MP4 video, and more.
 

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I'm hoping that it gets split into a bunch of little metro apps so that 3rd parties can add their own app to the mix by "just writing a Metro app" rather than having to use some oddball API like they currently have with Media Center.

The statement j0dert3r quoted suggested that this may indeed happen.

I also think that if you're using Win8 as your PVR that Storage Spaces will be awesome.
 

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She unfortunately misread the blog. In the 2nd paragraph from her article that j0dest3r quoted, the original blog post states that about Windows 8, not Media Center. Media Center is simply being kept on life support and the blog post author clarified in the comments that the marginal cost for the Media Center Pack for Windows 8 Pro may be in the single digits (the Pro Pack will likely cost much more).

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/03/making-windows-media-center-available-in-windows-8.aspx
In this post we wanted to update you on Media Center and Windows 8, specifically how we will make sure Windows 8 fully supports the capabilities of Media Center as it is in Windows 7. We took the feedback about maintaining the functionality very seriously, and we clearly understood what we’ve heard many of you saying around the value of Media Center for movies, Internet TV, broadcast TV, optical media, music, photos, and all the other scenarios it covers today. Many said in comments and email to us, that so long as the feature is available somehow it is fine. This post is how we will deliver on that and continue to support Media Center for another product lifecycle
(bolding is my emphasis)

marginal is small, honest, and we just haven't determined the final prices yet based on ongoing work but we are aiming for single digit dollars but we don't control the truly marginal costs
 

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Ahh crap! You just busted my bubble LOL!

Sounds more like they are going to include MC just to shut us up and hope that metro apps end up taking its place somehow. Grr!!

Does the metro screen work as well with a remote control like MC does? Doubt it!
 

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Well, the answer is that it actually does work - if your remote control has keys that map to keyboard arrow keys and "enter".

Many WMC remote keys are meaningless to Windows (the OS) so they won't work in Metro. When companies make remote controls going forward they can just make these remotes appear as a keyboard (to the OS) and map whatever keys or key combinations that Metro will respond to.

Why don't we see this yet? Because Metro isn't out yet - but there are hardware/software product combinations that I'm pretty sure you could get it to work today without any "products from the future". ;)
 

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NineBall,

That remote to keyboard command map is a little misleading because it implies that, say, the "ok" button (VK_RETURN) is the equivelent to the Enter key. While WMC does accept both the keyboard enter key and VK_RETURN key on the remote as the same command (to "drill down" on the selected menu item), that doesn't mean that from the applications perspective that the input is the same.

In other words, if you load Microsoft Word and try a lot of those WMC remote keys, you won't get "enter" or "arrow up", etc. WMC is just very accepting of different many different possible inputs.

For instance, you can decrement the channel number by pressing:
Channel Down (remote)
MINUS SIGN (-)
CTRL+MINUS SIGN
PAGE DOWN

All those inputs do the same thing, but that doesn't mean that the remote key will necessarily cause you to see a "-" character appear in Microsoft Word.

I should note that I've discovered an amazing lack of consistency between WMC remotes that I have used over time. Some remotes will send a APPCOMMAND_MEDIA_CHANNEL_DOWN message to Media Center while others are actually just mapping to the PageDown key.
 
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