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Microsoft Ready To "Take On'' Google and Apple TV

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  • Netflix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Toe, The (545098) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:23PM (#34759136)

    Are any TV solutions relevant now that Netflix is streaming? Granted, they don't stream everything, but that library seems to be growing.

    Many new TVs have Netflix interfaces built right in. What's the point of these other solutions?

    (And doesn't Microsoft make a set top box... Um, the Xbox??)

  • Re:My bet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:51PM (#34759498)

    Here's my bet: A box with a fairly conservative design, maybe available with different fronts to blend more neatly into your living room interior. Of course, those would cost extra, it comes with a simple, flat brown front.

    It will take about 3-5 minutes for the box to finish booting and will require some kind of rather complicated authorization and verification process before you can use it the first time to make sure it's a genuine product. Now, one might wonder, why this is necessary, but since it's running a Media Center Edition of Win7, that pesky registration process could not be patched out easily without pretty much giving away how to do it in Win7 as well, it was left in and is redubbed "personalization" of the box. The goodie you get for it is that your settings will be stored online, just in case you have to replace your box one day and want to use your settings. This will be considered a neat feature until people notice that by the time they could replace that box, a new version will be out that is incompatible with their settings and no converter exists.

    It will have a network jack and it will require an internet connection to operate (obviously). You will have to open about half the ports on your router and forward it to the box, or it simply will not work. MS will recommend connecting the box directly to the internet with a dedicated IP address. Yes, even for functions that have nothing to do with the internet.

    Of course you cannot access "the internet" directly, because that would, of course, be far too dangerous. To keep you safe from trouble and malware, MS will provide a "Microsoft TV network", at a fairly affordable fee per year. You can spend more for more advanced membership options that also allow you additional features, like doing something but watching TV with your MSTV.

    And so on, simply take what MS has done so far and extrapolate, I'm sure you can do it just as well as me.

  • Re:Dear Microsoft, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:57PM (#34759564)

    I'm guessing you've never used Windows Media Center with XBox (old or 360) as an extender.

    It is simply put the best DVR system on the planet for the home.

    You get complete control over your TV, you get the ability to burn to DVD as DVD movies anything you record so you can use it elsewhere. You can archive your videos if you want.

    I have the ability to record or watch live 8 HD or SD streams at a time while watching them on the local display, another Windows PC or any of my XBox 360s. Or I can watch any combination of live and recorded across my systems. Or listen to my music, watch my home videos.

    The interface is fast and looks good. It supports plugins so you can do stuff like commercial removal if you want, but its almost pointless to bother with since the 'skip forward' feature is exactly 30 seconds and makes commercial skipping almost instinctual with the remote in hand.

    The only thing that prevents WMC from being perfect is the fact that cable companies encrypt their content rather than filter it from entering the home so for premium channels you need STBs from your provider. My solution is to simply ignore those channels, and the cable co can ignore the money they could have had in the process.

    In short, I'm sure MS is perfectly capable of pulling this off, they already have, you just haven't heard about it before now.

    Take a look at WMC, it makes others DVRs look like a joke.

    And before anyone tries to mention MythTV ... don't. Seriously, its only useful if you would rather spend your time screwing with it to get it to work at all rather than watching recorded shows. Forget about using it like a normal TV, its architecture makes the lag in user input to system response completely unbearable. Its a joke all on its own.

  • XBox 360? MCE? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpryGuy (206254) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @07:08PM (#34759688)

    They already have Media Center for Windows, the XBox 360, and Media Center Exteders... they're going to add something ELSE to the mix? Never mind Zune.

    What is it with Microsoft always just throwing layers and crap out there, making things confusing and complicated. Can they ever stop and think something through, and put out something that is cohesive, simple to use and understand, and useful?

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