Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Media Center and DVD Streaming

Fellow Media Center MVP Chris Lanier reports that DVD streaming will officially be added to Media Center in the near future.

According to our own TGB @ CES blogger Jerold, Media Center is officially getting DVD Streaming support. Not only that, everyone’s favorite pink haired Media Center employee (Jessica Z) has seen it in action. Jerold couldn’t squeeze a timeline out of Jessica, but he wonders if it will be a part of Fiji.

This has been a feature that many Media Center users have been waiting for. For those of you who don't know what this feature is, essentially, this would allow the viewing of a DVD (or potentially one of the High-Def DVD formats) loaded into a reader drive on the Media Center computer on an Extender. While it likely wouldn't be too difficult to implement from a technical standpoint, there are other reasons why this hasn't been done yet (i.e. legal reasons).

If and when this feature is added, it should definitely help with the adoption of Media Center by the masses. Coupled with the newly released v2 Media Center Extenders, physical media should no longer be a limitation to enjoying these multimedia experiences within one's connected home. It is features like this that will help make Bill Gates' 'Next Digital Decade' vision a reality.

Update: January 9, 2008 from Jessica Zahn

On DVD streaming: I think what I said here was that there is a compelling "soccer mom" scenario. As a mother, I know first-hand how many DVDs get scratched, lost, or damaged by my children. I'd love to throw all my DVDs into a changer and remote them to wherever in my house.

However, we haven't announced this as a feature included in any future release. We play with all kinds of ideas - we're software developers, after all, we have to prototype things! - but whether and how they make it into our products is another story.

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi jason, has there been any news about Rogers digital cable and Vista MCE, or is it still not a real option. i am planning a media room etc and wanted to build out a mce environment using extenders etc. i would like to get advice on this if possible

thanks

Jason said...

Until the CRTC forces all the digital cable companies to have one authenication standard (like what the FCC did with CableCards), I highly doubt we'll see this Microsoft or its partners move on this front. It doesn't make sense for Microsoft or its partners to create a system that only works for one company (i.e. Rogers, Cogeco, Shaw or whoever else in Canada).

The CRTC is holding hearings (Public Hearing CRTC 2007-10-2 - Review of the regulatory frameworks for broadcasting distribution undertakings and discretionary programming services) but what will come of this, who knows.

Wayner said...

You have been able to stream DVDs to an extender for years by ripping DVDs to your hard drive and converting to another format like mpeg, dvr-ms or divx/xvid. Don't most MCE users have large online storage for their DVDs given how cheap hard drives have become ($99 for 500GB)? Playing DVDs off of an optical drive is SOOO 1990s!

To anonymous in the first post - you can easily feed SD (non-HiDef) Rogers digital cable to MCE but you can't feed the hidef channels. However, you can add an OTA tuner (and antenna) to get OTA channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, CBC, CTV, CITY, etc.

Anando said...

Nice post, Jason. Good to see a MCE related post from you after a while !

hespeler1 said...

hi guys,

thanks for the info. i am the anonymous comment post. i guess i am not as much concerned about hd right now for the TV channels, as i still expect to have a roger set top for a while. it would be good if someone put up an overview of what they have done to implement a MCE setup as a rogers customer

Jason said...

There's nothing really to it..

Essentially, follow these instructions to setup the IR Receiver/Emitter with the Rogers Set top box.. Set-top box setup instructions

Then in TV setup, follow the prompts, enter your postal code, and then select the Rogers Digital cable entry, and you should be set.

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