With the release of a build of Windows 7 build at Microsoft's Professional Development Conference (PDC), there are many new features of Media Center that are finally being unveiled for the first time.
For details, see these two blog postings by Charlie Owen, complete with screenshots and further explanation:
- Windows Media Center in the PDC Build of Windows 7
- Windows Media Center Platform in the PDC Build of Windows 7
Highlights include the following:
- Changes to the Start Menu (text, iconography, improved readability, remembering the last location strip between sessions)
- Improvements to the Music Library (improved display of albums without cover art, more details to improve discoverability of more features, Now Playing improvements, Rating improvements, improved scrolling through large number of items)
- Improvements to the Pictures experience (Ambient Slideshows, Slideshow Creator, etc)
- Video Improvements, including out of the box H.264 playback
- TV Improvements (all of the TV Pack features, mouse navigation of the tv timeline (TV and video), improved shared Recorded TV libraries among multiple Media Center computers, etc
- Movie Improvements (new strip within the Movie experience, including an HD content pivot)
- An on-screen keyboard
- A Media Center sidebar gadget
- An updated Windows Media Center platform focusing primarily on small, targeted improvements to the Windows Media Center Presentation Layer and additions to the managed code object model to make all applications (with greater emphasis on the web paradigm) a first class citizen in Windows Media Center and help them act and feel more like locally installed applications in terms of perceived performance.
Of course, feel free to visit Charlie's blog entries for more details and screenshots.