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Could Win 8 be the new HTPC interface?

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
With Metro going big on icons and touch usability, there is a striking resemblance to the native 10' UI that we are used to. One could configure their Metro UI to house their various programs and just launch from the desktop with their remote. I use XBMC and Hulu desktop as my primary viewing. I don't launch directly into any specific program. I usually have to switch between the other using my harmony remote. I welcome Win8 as a highly dynamic and flexible platform that will change the way we interact with our machines.
post #2 of 59
That's what I've been arguing! I'm very exited. Plus, there's probably a better chance now that we'll finally see an upgraded Netflix app.
post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 
I'm going to get the consumer preview up and running today to see what I can come up with. I can see why people who record live TV would be hesitant to upgrade, but for those of use who consume either local or streaming media, it could create a new more accessible environment that would tie in other services as well.
post #4 of 59
Not really.
The primary use of Media Center/XBMC is as a UI: to browse your computer for different media (stored on hard drives).
Metro UI is not a media browser, it is basically the good old 'Start Menu' laid out in a Metro interface. As such, you can launch different programs using it but can't use it to browse your stored media.
post #5 of 59
I must be missing something. I hit one button on my remote to get to where I need to go on my htpc.

Actually with my harmony its automatic.

So I don't see where this benefits everyone. I guess it depends how you use and interface with your htpc.
post #6 of 59
Can you even navigate the Metro UI using a WMC remote? I use the integration programs that integrate XBMC, Plex, Hulu, and Netflix in the WMC main menu so I can switch to any of those programs and switch back to WMC when I exit them.
post #7 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jprovence View Post

With Metro going big on icons and touch usability, there is a striking resemblance to the native 10' UI that we are used to. One could configure their Metro UI to house their various programs and just launch from the desktop with their remote. I use XBMC and Hulu desktop as my primary viewing. I don't launch directly into any specific program. I usually have to switch between the other using my harmony remote. I welcome Win8 as a highly dynamic and flexible platform that will change the way we interact with our machines.

Sounds like MS marketing.
post #8 of 59
I think the Start Screen is perfect for HTPC use. Someone just needs to make a "Live TV" app and a "Netflix" app and my needs will be met. The video and music apps need some improvements too, but those are reportedly coming with the RC next month.
post #9 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hirent View Post

Not really.
The primary use of Media Center/XBMC is as a UI: to browse your computer for different media (stored on hard drives).
Metro UI is not a media browser, it is basically the good old 'Start Menu' laid out in a Metro interface. As such, you can launch different programs using it but can't use it to browse your stored media.

I know it's not for scraping for metadata and accessing your media and such. Its not the good old 'start menu' in the sense the 'icons' or tiles as they are called are active meaning they display information relative to the application. Windows 7 phone does this. Weather, social networking, etc all have their own tiles and they update with new information and present it to the user. XBMC for example could display a movie trailer, or album playing, or status of its server, while you jump to another program.
post #10 of 59
its certainly more "remote control" centric than the traditional desktop, but say you scroll over to your metro icon for pandora, or to xfinity online, or hbo go. you can't interface with those websites with a remote (or at least not in any easily intuitive way).
post #11 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe 6 Pack View Post

Can you even navigate the Metro UI using a WMC remote? I use the integration programs that integrate XBMC, Plex, Hulu, and Netflix in the WMC main menu so I can switch to any of those programs and switch back to WMC when I exit them.

You can with a Harmony remote. The 'win' key brings up the metro interface, which you can navigate with a directional pad and enter key. I'm not sure if a standard WMC remote has a win key.
post #12 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

its certainly more "remote control" centric than the traditional desktop, but say you scroll over to your metro icon for pandora, or to xfinity online, or hbo go. you can't interface with those websites with a remote (or at least not in any easily intuitive way).

If its native apps as opposed to web apps, then it shouldn't be a problem. HBO go or xfinity I doubt would ever become apps for windows. Though they might. But I see pandora becoming a native app much like it already is on iOS, Android and other platforms. (its revenue depends on how many people can access its content). Unlike xfinity and HBOgo.
post #13 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I must be missing something. I hit one button on my remote to get to where I need to go on my htpc.

Actually with my harmony its automatic.

So I don't see where this benefits everyone. I guess it depends how you use and interface with your htpc.

You're right on the last point. I don't think it will benefit everyone. Obviously, many HTPC users are getting by perfectly fine without Windows 8. However, I like that 10 foot app switching is basically built in to the OS now. Plus, the app store could expand functionality tremendously for HTPC users. It just depends on what apps developers make. Like I said, it's only a matter of when Netflix makes a Windows 8 app. Hopefully it will work with a directional pad instead of just a mouse/touchscreen.
post #14 of 59
Just saw this: http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/21/30...ts-travel-apps. At least according to an early build, WMC will be included in the Windows 8 Release Preview coming out in June.
post #15 of 59
IMO, Windows 8 will open up development to more devs by making it easier to create apps. There is no doubt in my mind that in a very short time, there will be an app for anything WMC can do AND the whole experience will be a LOT better.
I love WMC but it lacks mainstream use and therefore, only enthusiasts, design products to work with it. I think we'll all be very happy to forget WMC once W8 gets rolling.
Not to mention the deeper integration with the xbox, phones and everything else.

My 2cents
post #16 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I must be missing something. I hit one button on my remote to get to where I need to go on my htpc.

Actually with my harmony its automatic.

So I don't see where this benefits everyone. I guess it depends how you use and interface with your htpc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

You're right on the last point.

I don't see how my first two points aren't right.

Seems like there is an awful lot of "if" and "when" in this thread (and elsewhere) in regards to Win8 and what it will have, won't have, and possible apps that it may contain.

I will wait until we know for sure as right now it really gives me absolutely nothing extra.
post #17 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brettvdi View Post

IMO, Windows 8 will open up development to more devs by making it easier to create apps. There is no doubt in my mind that in a very short time, there will be an app for anything WMC can do AND the whole experience will be a LOT better.
I love WMC but it lacks mainstream use and therefore, only enthusiasts, design products to work with it. I think we'll all be very happy to forget WMC once W8 gets rolling.
Not to mention the deeper integration with the xbox, phones and everything else.

My 2cents

I agree. I'v stopped using WMC a while ago as I don't watch live TV. Mostly 1080p mkvs and streaming media. But I don't watch a lot of Netflix as there is nothing like it that is easy to navigate like Hulu Desktop.
post #18 of 59
The preview of the final release version is due out within two weeks. Aero will be supposedly be gone.
post #19 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I don't see how my first two points aren't right.

Seems like there is an awful lot of "if" and "when" in this thread (and elsewhere) in regards to Win8 and what it will have, won't have, and possible apps that it may contain.

I will wait until we know for sure as right now it really gives me absolutely nothing extra.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to say that your first points were wrong. I was just trying to emphasize the last one.
post #20 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by brettvdi View Post

IMO, Windows 8 will open up development to more devs by making it easier to create apps. There is no doubt in my mind that in a very short time, there will be an app for anything WMC can do AND the whole experience will be a LOT better.
I love WMC but it lacks mainstream use and therefore, only enthusiasts, design products to work with it. I think we'll all be very happy to forget WMC once W8 gets rolling.
Not to mention the deeper integration with the xbox, phones and everything else.

My 2cents

This depends on somebody developing a high quality Live TV/DVR app, if thats the case I wouldn't be overly upset with WMC going away.
post #21 of 59
Thread Starter 
The music player out of the box is the best native windows player I'v seen. The music app from Metro shows album covers and when its playing displays fan art in full screen. Its very much like WMC, except is looks like the Xbox 360.
post #22 of 59
I've said before, Metro has the potential to be a great HTPC interface. Icons for LiveTV, Guide, RecordedTV, Music, Videos etc, all accessed via a remote control, but MS don't really seem interested in this anymore. If MC itself isn't getting any MS love in 8, then unless you can create links in Metro to entry points in our existing WMC 10' GUI, it's gonna have to be some smart 3rd party that does (or tries) this.

Can anyone actually confirm whether a standard MS RC6 WMC remote control (or compatible) actually works with Metro? That would at least be a starting point.

Otherwise, we'll all be sticking to 7 for our dedicated HTPC's.
post #23 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tman247 View Post

I've said before, Metro has the potential to be a great HTPC interface. Icons for LiveTV, Guide, RecordedTV, Music, Videos etc, all accessed via a remote control, but MS don't really seem interested in this anymore. If MC itself isn't getting any MS love in 8, then unless you can create links in Metro to entry points in our existing WMC 10' GUI, it's gonna have to be some smart 3rd party that does (or tries) this.

Can anyone actually confirm whether a standard MS RC6 WMC remote control (or compatible) actually works with Metro? That would at least be a starting point.

Otherwise, we'll all be sticking to 7 for our dedicated HTPC's.

Why would they be links? I mean with Metro, you could run all those as apps. The music works as a great app. If other apps are written as well as that is, and it looks great from across the room with my 50' plasma, then it shouldn't be too hard to create Metro native apps that access the tuners, ISO libraries, ect. The keyboard arrow keys work navigating the Main metro interface.
post #24 of 59
I didnt like Metro for an HTPC, it was really anti-mouse, without a keyboard to use shortcuts to close stuff its just ridiculous trying to get out of a Metro app with a mouse, especially if you are using the mouse on the arm of a sofa. I uninstalled and went back to W7, it was too frustrating.
post #25 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post


seems like there is an awful lot of "if" and "when" in this thread (and elsewhere) in regards to win8 and what it will have, won't have, and possible apps that it may contain.

I will wait until we know for sure as right now it really gives me absolutely nothing extra.

+1
post #26 of 59
Why use Metro when you have a remote with an LCD screen? The worst parts about every HTPC UI are the menus. They aren't necessary if you have a good programmable remote and perhaps are willing to use Eventghost. For example, my remote doesn't have a "Windows Media Center" button on it. It has "Movies", "Netflix", etc buttons. In short, no, I won't be using Metro just like I don't use Windows Media Center's menus to navigate to the type of content I want to watch.
post #27 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

Why use Metro when you have a remote with an LCD screen? The worst parts about every HTPC UI are the menus. They aren't necessary if you have a good programmable remote and perhaps are willing to use Eventghost. For example, my remote doesn't have a "Windows Media Center" button on it. It has "Movies", "Netflix", etc buttons. In short, no, I won't be using Metro just like I don't use Windows Media Center's menus to navigate to the type of content I want to watch.

If you look at all the set top boxes like the Roku, most blu-ray players, ect, they have icons to go to the type of content you want. Its how most people (the average consumer) have perceived to use a device. Its how we have been conditioned. Turn the box on, select what you want do. When windows jumps directly into its interface, its hard to ignore this front and center attitude. It is super super fast going between apps as well. I'v toyed around with eventghost for a while trying to get the Harmony to launch individual programs as I don't just use one source. I haven't had much success. I'd like people to develop apps for the relevant services and I can just launch them from the Metro Interface.
post #28 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

Why use Metro when you have a remote with an LCD screen?

Why would you select what video to play with a tiny LCD screen when you could select from a nice large HD TV interface? Maybe for music but for video when you have to have a display on anyways that doesn't make any sense to me...
post #29 of 59
Quote:


Seems like there is an awful lot of "if" and "when" in this thread (and elsewhere) in regards to Win8 and what it will have, won't have, and possible apps that it may contain.

No doubt there is a lot of speculation but one the motivation of the W8 redesign was to make it easier for people to develop apps, more mobile friendly and more UI centric. All of these factors certainly bode well for the HTPC enthusiast. I doesn't matter to me what apps it comes with but the availability of to build/buy/use products to truly customize my HTPC.

I'm still waiting to see what Google's going to do with Motorola, Sage and their Android@home platform. I think there are some excited times ahead.

However, I agree 100%, I'm not switching from W7 until some really solid products show that W8 is indeed the future of the HTPC.
post #30 of 59
If it's going to support simultaneous audio output, I'll give it some serious consideration. If not, I think I'll stick with Windows 7.

Jim
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