Does the future of Media Center for Windows 8 concern anyone? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been on the fence about building an HTPC for some time now. I'm still considering it, though, but the combination of Boxee's live TV support + Windows Media Center's lack of support from MS are giving me some pause.

I know that people will say, "If you like the interface now, build a machine." I know that it looks likely that Media Center will be included in some form in Windows 8, but it isn't getting much love from MSFT, there still isn't official support for something like a Hulu Plus app, etc. I need something cablecard support.

Boxee isn't there yet. but I love their interface, but they don't have DVR / cablecard support, but I feel like that might be coming in the next revision.

In any case, if I do this, i'm gonna drop some coin on it. I want it to be nice, and I want it to last for a long time, but I feel like right now the industry is getting shaken up a bit, and I'm not sure where to place my bet. Something tells me that Windows 7 MC isn't exactly the future of DVRs.

I'm also not in a huge rush. I've got my TiVo Premiere right now. It's just fine. Not perfect, but it's fine. Just torn on the issue... I do love the ability to use network tuners w/ W7MC, but I only have one TV now haha.
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 11:00 AM
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I understand the feeling. There are several competing philosophys right now, but the main ones are...

- Typical STB from subscription provider or cablecard. TV channel "packages"
- Season downloads (iTunes/AppleTV)
- Netflix/Amazon Instant monthly video subscriptions (I would lump mlb.tv and NBA with this)

It's hard to predict where the industry will go in the next 5-10 years.
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post #3 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 02:04 PM
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Boxee and Linux have to figure out how to get DRM into the Boxee to allow for cable cards to be used. For right now OTA is fine and no different than having a OTA DVR.

Boxee + OTA would be a viable option IF -

You watch a ton of Westerns. This is the issue I haven't solved yet. It has nothing to do with me personally but prevent converting the entire house to a tuner farm/cluster/server and client boxes to replace the STB and DTV DVR's around the house.

The NFL depends on how well your local team is doing. In LA we don't a team currently so we get the best national games and usually the Raider/Charger/49er games in the afternoon or Green Bay/Dallas. Or the hot team of the moment.

The majority of Motorsports is available on the internet, even F1, I don't mean streaming. Its available from a private torrent site. F1 to MotoGP and everything in-between. American Le Mans Series is exclusively flag to flag on ESPN3, unless your in the UK (Motors) or Canada (Rodgers Sportsnet). Otherwise its streamed on their own web site (Geo-blocked to US IP's).

Between torrents, newsgroups and software like Media Center Master, unless you just HAVE to watch something live (not recorded), its possible you could get away with a Windows 7 HTPC, maybe Boxee Box or MythTV for PVR of Over The Air content and download/stream the rest, requiring a decent broadband connection.

The problems come from niches like Westerns or watching Live Sports.

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post #4 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 04:29 PM
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Well first of all, WMC as old as it is, is still years ahead of most other DVRs, at least as far as the interface goes. Microsoft has already made it clear that it will be in Windows 8, so it's still important to them. Lastly, some companies like Ceton are still developing new products based on WMC. The Echo, for instance, should be coming out this year, and I there's a good chance it will include streaming apps like Netflix.
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post #5 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 05:05 PM
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The market is far from picking a winner. Actually the winner has not shown up yet. So whatever you choose will not be the winner, but it may serve its purpose for a few years.

In general Win7 is a good, stable OS, and Win8 is targeting tablets and is does not look like a step forward for other systems. So I would not wait for Win8.

I do think that ARM compatibility will eventually lead to exellent HTPCs based on derivatives of Win8, but not a stock version of Win8 itself.
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post #6 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 05:54 PM
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Windows 8 has nothing new to offer for WMC users so there's not much point in waiting. Build yourself a Win 7 HTPC and enjoy!
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post #7 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 06:03 PM
 
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I think that the fact that since Windows 9 will become a "Cloud" based OS, such as the case with google's Chrome OS, and that MS will integrate the kinnect, I myself see Windows 7 being the last real OS for MS, since 8 starts the next step.

More and more people that do not want the evil grip of MS, are building their own Media boxes with Open source solutions. Overall, you are still going to see maybe 10% that will check out what is Media Center when they purchase a new computer, 1% that will actually use it, and then 96% that do not care about it.

Microsoft screwed themselves when they attempted to market Media Center, when it came out for XP, but never fully showed it justice. It is the same with the kinnect. Only reason that they integrated it with 8, is because two years ago, someone hacked the kinnect and wrote programming to have it run in Windows, and MS as the scared bunch they are, in that they realized that someone did something that their own programmers could not do, paid quietly the two parties that figured out how to come up with the next jump for both the kinnect & 8.

Going back to your original question, unless MS gets off their rears and shows consumers what Media Center can do in the home, vs. showing eye candy, like they did with 7, even though Vista has the same features, they are still going to be looked at as number 2 next to Apple, for those that really know that MS keeps taking steps backwards.
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post #8 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

I think that the fact that since Windows 9 will become a "Cloud" based OS, such as the case with google's Chrome OS, and that MS will integrate the kinnect, I myself see Windows 7 being the last real OS for MS, since 8 starts the next step.

More and more people that do not want the evil grip of MS, are building their own Media boxes with Open source solutions. Overall, you are still going to see maybe 10% that will check out what is Media Center when they purchase a new computer, 1% that will actually use it, and then 96% that do not care about it.

Microsoft screwed themselves when they attempted to market Media Center, when it came out for XP, but never fully showed it justice. It is the same with the kinnect. Only reason that they integrated it with 8, is because two years ago, someone hacked the kinnect and wrote programming to have it run in Windows, and MS as the scared bunch they are, in that they realized that someone did something that their own programmers could not do, paid quietly the two parties that figured out how to come up with the next jump for both the kinnect & 8.

Going back to your original question, unless MS gets off their rears and shows consumers what Media Center can do in the home, vs. showing eye candy, like they did with 7, even though Vista has the same features, they are still going to be looked at as number 2 next to Apple, for those that really know that MS keeps taking steps backwards.


Apple has screwed the consumer at every opportunity and offers no solution for a whole home DVR/media distribution system. If you want a one box solution for bluray/DVD/HDTV/DVR/Netflix/Hulu/etc/etc, MS is the only game in town.
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post #9 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 07:02 PM
 
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Never said that Apple was number one. Some of us like myself, which I have been around them in my home for over 35 years, look at Apple & Microsoft each having a purpose. Also, those like myself look at Windows as a toy/gadget, and Microsoft as a company of thieves with no real ingenuity. If Jobs had ever been allowed to do with the NeXt box like he wanted, Apple would have been farther up the food chain in media type computers, then how they headed. With the ATV & i gadgets, they were conceived as devices to bring media into the household, and at the time, the record industry was hemorrhaging, and the movie industry was not even looking at what they could do, to stream media in the palm of your hand while on the go, or even through something like the ATV.

But yes, with a beige box, you can roll your own media server either with Linux or Windows. You can also do it with a mac mini if you wish to do so, just in a different direction.
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post #10 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 07:26 PM
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I look at it this way...WMC is going to be in Windows 8, and Windows 8 should be a viable OS for 8-10 years (XP is still pretty widely used, after all), so whatever you invest in, it'll work for you for a while. I like WMC a lot, and you can definitely find some add-ins that will at least let you launch things like Hulu Desktop in a separate window, although it doesn't work with extenders that way. The cablecard tuners and whole-house DVR options are really good, though.
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post #11 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 07:31 PM
 
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I think that in all reality, MS will kill off 8 as quick as they did with Vista. Reason being, is that just like Vista, they are using 8 to test out a new gui platform. In all reality, 8 is nothing more than Vista/7 under the hood, with just a few more tweaks. As for the DVR aspect, it is the third parties that are taking advantage of the software vs. MS.
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post #12 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 08:34 PM
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Personally I say go for it now, WMC in windows 7 is the best yet. I have been using WMC since the beginning and have loved it ever since, never looked back. I tested all the software out there over the years and nothing IMHO still comes close to the WAF of WMC.

Granted I do have a big wishlist like many others here, and I think windows 8 is where MS should have made a big change and push for WMC.... but they are disappointing a lot of people. With the new metro style and the sudden app craze they should have blended this in with WMC and let developers create these "apps" for WMC, so Hulu could have a direct app, Netflix, crackle, anyone.. hell even if you wanted angry birds or cut the rope in WMC playable with a remote... they should have done it it would have opened up a whole world. and while I like the current simplicity of the WMC interface I do think they could have blended it across platforms so the "metro" look in Windows 8 could be there, the Xbox, Windows phone, and WMC.

The big issue also is with providers like Dish and directv, no one wants their content pirated and that's all they are concerned about, they think that by preventing someone from DVRing movies from HBO and etc, king of thrones or Dexter on a PC they cant upload it to the net.... yet it still ends up there, they are fighting a losing battle. I know I got excited when there were plans for dish network to hook in to a WMC PC and allow you to directly get HD in WMC... but they pulled out last second and honestly lost me as a customer because of it.

Honestly though I'm perfectly content with my OTA cable and unencrypted channels, netflix and huge collection of movies (using my movies server and client to manage), not to mention I have the capability to playback blurays, DVDs, and just about anything I can throw at this thing, it's all in one box. Not to mention my HTPC is a full on gaming rig so I can do it all in one box. My kids are happy with it, my fiance is happy with it and therefore I am happy with it

one box to rule them all
one box to find them (in the living room)
one box to bring them all (together)
and in the darkness (of the living room) bind them

lmao... my htpc, my precious
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post #13 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkole View Post


Apple has screwed the consumer at every opportunity and offers no solution for a whole home DVR/media distribution system. If you want a one box solution for bluray/DVD/HDTV/DVR/Netflix/Hulu/etc/etc, MS is the only game in town.

Apple just removes choice, that way you don't have to make your own decisions.
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post #14 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 11:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

I think that the fact that since Windows 9 will become a "Cloud" based OS, such as the case with google's Chrome OS, and that MS will integrate the kinnect, I myself see Windows 7 being the last real OS for MS, since 8 starts the next step.

More and more people that do not want the evil grip of MS, are building their own Media boxes with Open source solutions. Overall, you are still going to see maybe 10% that will check out what is Media Center when they purchase a new computer, 1% that will actually use it, and then 96% that do not care about it.

Microsoft screwed themselves when they attempted to market Media Center, when it came out for XP, but never fully showed it justice. It is the same with the kinnect. Only reason that they integrated it with 8, is because two years ago, someone hacked the kinnect and wrote programming to have it run in Windows, and MS as the scared bunch they are, in that they realized that someone did something that their own programmers could not do, paid quietly the two parties that figured out how to come up with the next jump for both the kinnect & 8.

Going back to your original question, unless MS gets off their rears and shows consumers what Media Center can do in the home, vs. showing eye candy, like they did with 7, even though Vista has the same features, they are still going to be looked at as number 2 next to Apple, for those that really know that MS keeps taking steps backwards.

Your forgot to say that MSFT faked the Moon landings and are the ones who planted the super thermite in the Twin Towers...
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post #15 of 29 Old 04-02-2012, 11:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nintari View Post

Personally I say go for it now, WMC in windows 7 is the best yet. I have been using WMC since the beginning and have loved it ever since, never looked back. I tested all the software out there over the years and nothing IMHO still comes close to the WAF of WMC.

Granted I do have a big wishlist like many others here, and I think windows 8 is where MS should have made a big change and push for WMC.... but they are disappointing a lot of people. With the new metro style and the sudden app craze they should have blended this in with WMC and let developers create these "apps" for WMC, so Hulu could have a direct app, Netflix, crackle, anyone.. hell even if you wanted angry birds or cut the rope in WMC playable with a remote... they should have done it it would have opened up a whole world. and while I like the current simplicity of the WMC interface I do think they could have blended it across platforms so the "metro" look in Windows 8 could be there, the Xbox, Windows phone, and WMC.

I agree, with the caveat that I believe MSFT did not want to make too many changes at once. Changing the GUI is a huge thing, so they wanted to keep as much under the hood action the same as possible to make it easier to troubleshoot and bring to market.

Expect Win9 to show the larger WMC improvements...with minor fixes in Win8 SP1.
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post #16 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 12:11 AM
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I think people will be surprised by what developments are going to be in for WMC via Windows 8. I think people are making too much of the Consumer Preview and how WMC is largely unchanged.

Does the GUI really need any work? I don't think so, it just needs native Blu Ray support, maybe support for FLAC and MKV and wider Internet TV choices now that the Zune doesn't exist anymore, you can make one network available for both Media Center, Xbox 360 and Windows 7 Phone.

It could look better, especially using already widely available metadata. Also with W8 being able to run on ARM type processors this opens up the market for more, less expensive extenders.

These could be very simple boxes without a hard drive or tuner, since you could get files directly off your HTPC or WHS 2011 server.

I'm in no hurry to upgrade to W8 and I'm sure this is a problem for MS, they'll have to put something juicy in it to make you buy it. A few server type hard drive options and Metro are not enough for me to plunk down $90 or more for it.

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post #17 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 05:23 AM
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Maybe with the new Windows Store in Win 8 you will see media related Apps.
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post #18 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

I think that the fact that since Windows 9 will become a "Cloud" based OS, such as the case with google's Chrome OS, and that MS will integrate the kinnect, I myself see Windows 7 being the last real OS for MS, since 8 starts the next step.

More and more people that do not want the evil grip of MS, are building their own Media boxes with Open source solutions. Overall, you are still going to see maybe 10% that will check out what is Media Center when they purchase a new computer, 1% that will actually use it, and then 96% that do not care about it.

Microsoft screwed themselves when they attempted to market Media Center, when it came out for XP, but never fully showed it justice. It is the same with the kinnect. Only reason that they integrated it with 8, is because two years ago, someone hacked the kinnect and wrote programming to have it run in Windows, and MS as the scared bunch they are, in that they realized that someone did something that their own programmers could not do, paid quietly the two parties that figured out how to come up with the next jump for both the kinnect & 8.

Going back to your original question, unless MS gets off their rears and shows consumers what Media Center can do in the home, vs. showing eye candy, like they did with 7, even though Vista has the same features, they are still going to be looked at as number 2 next to Apple, for those that really know that MS keeps taking steps backwards.

What funny about this comment is that your comments are a juxtaposition of reality. The people building WMC and open source media centers are the ones trying to keep themselves from the evil grip of Apple. Think about all of the people today who talk about wanting to get android phones but can't because they've invested too much in iTunes. Or look at how Apple sticks it to your wallet.

There's a lot that Microsoft has done wrong particularly on the marketing side of things. But they have been just as innovative as Apple if not more. Not sure if this is the case still, but people used to talk about how terrible MS is but rave about U-verse...
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post #19 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Artslinger View Post

Maybe with the new Windows Store in Win 8 you will see media related Apps.

I think this statement is close to reality...it seems like they are merging xbox, zune, phone, and pc into a single OS...makes sense for them as they'll only have to focus on a single code base. If the xbox changes are any indication, having a 'live tv' tile doesn't seem like a far fetched solution.
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post #20 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 06:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tr4nc3f0rm3r View Post

There's a lot that Microsoft has done wrong particularly on the marketing side of things. But they have been just as innovative as Apple if not more. Not sure if this is the case still, but people used to talk about how terrible MS is but rave about U-verse...

Problem is, MS has not innovated anything. Everything that has been released of lately, those groups have either been dismissed, or moved on to other projects. The worst innovation next to the new GUI interface is the Ribbon for Office and integrating into 7 onwards.

As for those stating that 9 will continue to have WMC, you may be surprised when it comes around, that MS is going to screw the pooch on that one, due to the talk is that it will be a full Cloud based OS, with everything running in a browser/always on interface.
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post #21 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 09:13 AM
 
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If Win9 is fully cloud based they will have lost the business market. The business market is where they make most of their money, so they will not do anything to purposefully lose it.
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post #22 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post

I think people will be surprised by what developments are going to be in for WMC via Windows 8. I think people are making too much of the Consumer Preview and how WMC is largely unchanged.

Does the GUI really need any work? I don't think so, it just needs native Blu Ray support, maybe support for FLAC and MKV and wider Internet TV choices now that the Zune doesn't exist anymore, you can make one network available for both Media Center, Xbox 360 and Windows 7 Phone.

It could look better, especially using already widely available metadata. Also with W8 being able to run on ARM type processors this opens up the market for more, less expensive extenders.

These could be very simple boxes without a hard drive or tuner, since you could get files directly off your HTPC or WHS 2011 server.

I'm in no hurry to upgrade to W8 and I'm sure this is a problem for MS, they'll have to put something juicy in it to make you buy it. A few server type hard drive options and Metro are not enough for me to plunk down $90 or more for it.

I'm actually completely satisfied with WMC in its current form, so as long as they keep updating it and supporting new tv/cable cards then I'm satisfied. The one missing feature I see is blu-ray support, but Sony is mostly to blame for this.
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post #23 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tr4nc3f0rm3r View Post

What funny about this comment is that your comments are a juxtaposition of reality. The people building WMC and open source media centers are the ones trying to keep themselves from the evil grip of Apple. Think about all of the people today who talk about wanting to get android phones but can't because they've invested too much in iTunes. Or look at how Apple sticks it to your wallet.

There's a lot that Microsoft has done wrong particularly on the marketing side of things. But they have been just as innovative as Apple if not more. Not sure if this is the case still, but people used to talk about how terrible MS is but rave about U-verse...

I'm one of those people. Although I have my music so that it can be easily transferred, I just haven't found a good music player to replace it. I'm not convinced of windows media player or wmc yet as a music player.

The second I can get rid of Apple in my life I am.
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post #24 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

It is the same with the kinnect. Only reason that they integrated it with 8, is because two years ago, someone hacked the kinnect and wrote programming to have it run in Windows, and MS as the scared bunch they are, in that they realized that someone did something that their own programmers could not do, paid quietly the two parties that figured out how to come up with the next jump for both the kinnect & 8.

Microsoft released the developer tool pack for windows as soon as Kinect was out. Anyone could use Kinect in Windows. It is in fact a very simple thing, there is no need to know any programming to enable it. Just download the developer pack, and in the visual interface assign Kinect gestures to windows commands.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #25 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 10:58 AM
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Go with windows! it is by far the most robust system available.

You want amazon prime, itunes, netflicks, hulu, DIY music server, DIY movie server, outside access, a full tuner with all channels, internet access, any file type on planet earth, 2D, 3D...then a windows box is the only way to go.

Western digital live, boxee, and other mediaboxes don't offer all benefits of a full OS. They tend to be much slower. I have used WD live and boxee and both were too slow for my media collection. It takes too long to scroll through movies and TV episodes. It plays fine, but too slow on the finding! Also no real TV tuner capabilities.

I am a major football fan...and I absolutely love nfl.gamereplay.com. I get access to all the seasons games for under thirty bucks! Screw DirectTV 300+ subscription. The only good way of accessing that is through a browser.

Also the options for set up are limitless...want a nano computer (zotac) that you can velcro to the back of a TV and never see of hear...done. That little nano + NAS and a HD homerun tuner and you have the ultimate entertainment system that fits in the palm of your hand (and the rest is in a closet next to your router).

W8 will have media center. And who cares if W9 doesn't...WXP, Vista, W7 all do the same thing. It's the only system that allows you to control everything the way you want.
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post #26 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 11:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

If Win9 is fully cloud based they will have lost the business market. The business market is where they make most of their money, so they will not do anything to purposefully lose it.

They are losing the business market due to Office365, and how much more integrated Office15 having the Metro interface also integrated into the cloud.

No, MS is starting to shoot themselves in the foot at this point.
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post #27 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 11:50 AM
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What are the odds of Windows 8 MC having "CANADIAN ATSC support".

every time i build a system, i just shake my head. I have lost alot of potential $$$ because of this. (& time).

sorry off topic
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post #28 of 29 Old 04-03-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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I would think that it should, since 2012 is supposed to be the official change over to digital for Canada.
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post #29 of 29 Old 04-04-2012, 05:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

They are losing the business market due to Office365, and how much more integrated Office15 having the Metro interface also integrated into the cloud.

No, MS is starting to shoot themselves in the foot at this point.

Really do have anything to support this, every corporation I've been in runs Windows and Office. At this time I see 365 as a Office support tool for people who use many differnet devices.
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