Join Date: Oct 2007
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I think Amazon is better for HTPC use, but not by much. Amazon use to work flawlessly in W7 Media Center, but at some point they broke it. Perhaps it still works properly for some, but I know it is broken for many. Anyhow, here is what I mean. You can go to the Amazon site from a regular computer, browse through the shows, and buy the ones you want. After you buy them there is a download option, and you can tell which computer to download it right from the same page you bought the show. If the Amazon software is running on that PC, which it should be if you have it run at startup, it will start downloading it. From within MC you can go to your Videos folder and see all your Amazon downloads and in theory be able to watch them as long as you have the Amazon service running on that computer and logged in. The problem is that it will give you an error. I found two work arounds. One is to start the show in the Amazon software, pause it, then start watching it in MC. The only advantage to doing this is you get remote control functionality, since the Amazon player has none. The other work around is if you uninstall the Amazon software, reinstall, then reimport your shows. If you do that the show will play in MC without issue. Not sure who would want to do that for each show they download.
You can get something like PlayOn and TubeCore and play the Amazon streaming content in MC without issue. The only disadvantage here is that the streaming version is much lower quality than the download. The quality is too low for me to consider it a viable option.
The problem with iTunes is there is no external playback functionality, so I don't know of a way to play shows purchased in iTunes from any of the popular MC programs. There is a plugin that will allow playback in Vista MC, but that is hardly a good choice for anyone that wants to use Win7 MC.
The only other option I can think of is to purchase intelliremote. There is a profile to map keyboard keys to IR signals on your remote which in theory could allow you to use your remote for iTunes. I do own intelliremote, but I have never bothered to try to get this working properly.
Good luck with whatever you decide. The options I am aware of are poor to say the least.