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The New Media Center Extender / Xbox

new360front Microsoft unveiled the updated Xbox 360 yesterday during their E3 Media Briefing.  It is small enough to fit inside the original Xbox 360 design.  The one thing that caught my attention in relation to Media Center is that Don Mattrick said it was “whisper quiet” as he was introducing the new design.

Could this new Xbox 360 design be the Media Center extender we have been waiting for?  The price is right and it is still the most powerful extender but I don’t know if they would ever update it to allow silverlight streaming since the 360 has its own version of Netflix and now ESPN3.com.

The other interesting thing that is potentially Media Center related is the new Kinect Xbox 360 controller.  It is a total hands free experience.  You can use your hands and voice to control the Xbox 360 dashboard and all of the media playback.  I really hope this functionality finds its way into the Media Center portion of Xbox 360.  I can control Media Center with my Xbox 360 controller today so there is hope of being able to control my Media Center with just my voice.

Do not expect anything new until CEDIA in September.  If you want to get the new Xbox though, it goes on sale this week.  You can pre-order now from Amazon.

Back from EHX

ehx_spring_2010 I just got back from EHX (Electronic House Expo) in Orlando, Florida.  I was down there for reasons I will post about later, but it was a great trip with a few Media Center morsels.

The first is Amulet Devices.  Ian Dixon had Eddy Carroll of Amulet Devices on the Media Center Show podcast episode #248.  Amulet Devices is getting ready to ship a new universal remote for Media Center that includes voice control.  I had a chance to test the remote at EHX and I came away impressed.  I’ll be doing a full write-up on my hands-on time with the remote this week.

The other bit of interesting news is that the Media Center Integrator Alliance has been dissolved.  This group was formed about a year and half ago I think to really push Media Center in the custom integrator channel and provide custom integrators with exclusive training, tools and educational resources.  The website is already down and custom integrators are being pushed over to the Green Button.  Microsoft is still hosting a Custom Integrator landing page for Media Center but it links out to other sites such as the Green Button.

Speculation is that they were not getting the participation level from the members of the alliance that they had hoped and were doing much of the work for the MCIA.  I hope this does not mean that Microsoft is giving up on this channel as I think it has more legs than ever over the next few years.  My biggest question is if they are going to make the testing tool suite that was once exclusive to MCIA members available to everyone.  That would be great for enthusiasts!

Mediaroom 2.0 Announced at CES

From Microsoft:

Today at CES, Microsoft announced Mediaroom 2.0, the new version of their award-winning IPTV middleware platform. The update enables service providers to more subscribers than ever before, delivering more content to more screens — both inside and outside the home.

Mediaroom 2.0 allows service providers to:

  • Deploy Mediaroom as the cloud that powers their service
  • Bring live, recorded and on-demand content to Windows 7 PCs via Windows Media Center with no additional hardware
  • Expand their service footprint beyond the reach of their IPTV network by offering existing on-demand TV service to their entire broadband customer base
  • Use Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming for the access and delivery of on-demand content.
  • In the near future, enable playback on compatible smartphones