Archive for the ‘Media Center’ Category

Windows Embedded Standard 7 to include Media Center

27 Apr
In a press release today from Microsoft,

“With the release of Windows Embedded Standard 7, Microsoft has furthered its commitment to the integration of Windows 7 technologies in the specialized consumer and enterprise device markets by providing OEMs with the latest innovative technologies to differentiate through rich, immersive user experiences and streamlined connectivity,” said Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business Unit at Microsoft. “The addition of the Windows Media Center feature in Windows Embedded Standard 7 is driving the set-top box, connected media device and TV markets by providing OEMs with opportunities to develop uniquely branded experiences and service providers with capabilities to explore additional revenue streams with unique content through a centralized media hub in the home.”

This is going to be interesting. I can see a number of small devices, maybe even TVs, with Media Center built into them, Encouraging (hopefully!) a greater take up of this great media experience without having to have a PC plugged into the TV. I’ve done a number of sessions, entitled ‘A PC in the living Room’, during which I discuss the WTF – Wife Acceptance Factor – which severely restricts extensive use of a PC plugged into the family Plasma. This is a way round the problem. 

Lets hope the device manufacturers think so too!

Take a look at it at

and listen out for next weeks The Media Center Show, hosted by Ian Dixon.


TunerFree for MCE

18 Apr
I’ve just installed the new version (3.7) of TunerFree for Media Center. I had the older version for a while when I had Vista on my laptop, but never got round to putting it back when I upgraded to Windows 7.

Since then, theres been a number of changes that, while not immeadiately obvious, make the experience much smoother. Better menu control, better integration of DRM protected media, such as BBC iPlayer stuff just makes it feel a much more fluid experience.

If you want to take a look, heres the link.


Watch Sky TV in Windows Media Center

29 Dec
Over Christmas, I stayed with relatives that didn’t have Sky TV, fortunatley though, they did have a reasonable broadband connection. Facing the prospect of not being able to get my nightly dose of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I connected by laptop to the TV and watched Sky via Windows Media Center.


Heres the process I went through to get it to work. You only have to do this once, to register your Sky account number with Media Center and off you go. Having selected the Sky Player from the Media Center menu (if you havent got it on the main menu, then try getting the latest updates from Windows Update), click on install to begin the process of installing the required addin.

Once installed, you get a menu integrating the usual Sky guide into Media Center guide, along with a recommended viewing page.
To actually watch anything though, you need to sign in with your Sky ID, If you have already registered an email address and got a login from Sky then of course you can use that, Or you can follow a link and get your own login. You will need to be able to identify yourself to Sky, by providing details of your viewing card number, or details of your latest bill.

When you sign in for the first time, you get a message saying that a licence is being obtained to watch the video. On my PC and Internet connection which is quite good, this process took just over 5 minutes, so dont get impatient and start clicking on things, like I nearly did, and cancel the process by mistake!

Thats it, you can now watch Sky TV on your PC! You even get the popup showing now and next thet you get when watching Sky from a Sky Box.
The channels you get to watch depend on what subscription you have, but you get all the FreeSat channels, and any other you subscribe to. Theres a catch however, you can only add four machines, which is not that bad, but you can only watch Sky 1 and Sky Movies on the ‘Main PC’. You can select which is the main machine, and while you can change it from Skys website, you can only change it once a month.
To find out more you can visit Sky TV for Media Center at

Update: Its now also possible you get Sky TV on your XBOX 360!


DDD Southwest

10 Jul
DDD Southwest was a brilliant event a few weeks ago, and not just because I was speaking at it! For those of you who couldn’t make it, and also for those of you that did and are getting nostalgic, the DDD Southwest team have put together a video showing some of the goings on. Go on, watch it – Happy memories.

Roll on DDD SW2 (sounds like a postcode;-0)
You can find the video here


Speaking at DDD Southwest

20 May

I am privileged to be speaking at DDD Southwest on the 23rd May (Saturday).

I’ll be talking about Media Center development and how to use it for home automation.

You can find out more about DDD Southwest by visiting the site, which is If you are about, come and say hello.

PS. Richie Costall is also going to be there doing something with Silverlight, which will also be a very good session. (I’ve seen it already). Just dont tell him I said so… ;-0)

Its been a long time

30 Mar
Its been some time since I last made a post here. Not going to make excuses, usual things like work getting in the way!
I did a couple of presentations on using home automation and tie-ing into Media Center, the last one being for VBUG in London.
Thanks for your hospitality Sam!


Media Center presentation in Cambridge

29 Mar
Been a while since I updated this Blog, been busy with work stuff. I did manage to get to present a Media Center session at NxtGen in Cambridge on the 25th though. It seemed to go well, with questions galore and the usual vast quantity of pizza.
I was asked for a copy of the slides. They are attached here..    VMC.ZIP