Saturday, 27 December 2008
I've seen a similar visualization in the past, but it was either a paid one or I couldn't get it working, I can't really remember now.
Anyways this one is totally free and it works in both WMP and Media Center on Vista, yep that's right it also works in Media Center on your TV! It won't work on the extenders obviously but there is also a similar Yule Log effect for the XBOX 360 dashboard, however that is not free read more below, I've not tried the XBOX one out yet.
"Ah, just in time for the holidays! Sean Alexander has released an updated Yule Log Visualization for Windows Media Player. Originally released as a part of the Windows Media Bonus Pack for Windows XP, this visualization is simply a fireplace complete with crackling logs and dancing flames perfect for bringing a bit of holiday spirit to our PCs. "
Download the WMP / VMC Yule Log Viz here.
XBOX 360 Virtual Fireplace
"If you enjoyed the Windows Media Player Yule Log visualization but don’t have a PC in your living room, you may want to check out this virtual fireplace instead. As Major Nelson reports, an Xbox LIVE Member SniperED007 used the XNA tools to create this visualization “that has all the sights and sounds of a nice wintery fireplace.”
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Cheers have a good one!
Saturday, 20 December 2008
"Japanese entertainment software developer Pony/Canon will release the first movie title on a hybrid Blu-ray/DVD disc in Japan in February, in an effort to accelerate the transition from the DVD to the Blu-ray format." Read the full article.
Sounds pretty interesting one disc that both DVD and Blu-ray players can read, so I guess you could have the standard definition version of a movie and the high definition version on the same disc! Might be handy if you don't have Blu-ray players in everyroom and want to watch a movie say on a DVD player in the bedroom maybe. Or you might only want to rip the SD version to your hard disk to save space. I can see having both SD and HD versions on one disc coming in handy, whilst we are in this in-between stage, until everything has switched over to the blu-ray format this might ease the transition.
Friday, 19 December 2008
The video is pretty cool I think and the thing I like the most about this video is the sound track he used which is a really cool track!
Think it's from the 1995 Hackers movie, take a look here.
Think I might just watch Hackers again, great film and have not seen it for a long time!
can select an artist, album, or Zune Card and see a visual mosaic of related music and listeners. As you click on the mosaic, you’ll be taken in new directions, allowing you to discover music in a visually appealing way. Of course, if you wanted to see Mixview you had to have the Zune software installed on your computer. But now, you can check out Mixview on the web even if you don’t run Zune software. The feature has just launched over on Zune.net. When you click on the page for an album, artist, or Zune Card, you’ll notice there’s a new link called “mixview” available at the top. If you click If you haven’t yet tried this out, you should give it a shot – it’s a pretty cool way to explore and discover new music.
that, the new web-based Mixview will then launch.
Of course, if you wanted to see Mixview you had to have the Zune software installed on your computer. But now, you can check out Mixview on the web even if you don’t run Zune software. The feature has just launched over on Zune.net. When you click on the page for an album, artist, or Zune Card, you’ll notice there’s a new link called “mixview” available at the top. If you click
If you haven’t yet tried this out, you should give it a shot – it’s a pretty cool way to explore and discover new music.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
"Now that DIRECTV has suspended development on their HDPC-20 Tuner where does that leave us? There are a lot of differing opinions going around about why DIRECTV canned the tuner, whose fault it is, and where do we go from here. Most people are pointing the finger at Microsoft, and with their history of releases how could you not? This doesn’t mean however that Microsoft is totally at fault, but let’s look at the whole situation to see how we got here. "
Saturday, 13 December 2008
It was nice to purchase SlySoft's AnyDVD HD once and let the gurus in Antigua continually re-break whatever DRM Hollywood chose to throw out, wasn't it? After this year, you can kiss that luxury goodbye -- that is, if you continue to sit on the sidelines. SlySoft has just announced that starting on January 1, 2009, it will "change its update policy from free lifetime updates to an annual subscription fee. Full article.
Friday, 12 December 2008
If your current hardware knowledge and PC building skills are as bad as mine
which I very much doubt!
And when you built PC's on a regular basis, motherboards had
no USB ports and then when they did have USB ports no USB devices existed for two years, floppy disk drives were a must have feature and the latest
graphics cards where either Matrox or Diamond and if you had 128MB of RAM you
were lucky! That's what years of senior corporate I.T. management OEM buying power and
laziness gets you! Then this guide is going to be right up your street.
An extremely knowledgeable chap who goes by the name of Renethx over on the
AVS Forums has a fantastic guide for newbie's like me and seasoned PC builders alike.
Check it out here.
Warning there are 160 plus pages and it will make your head hurt if you read
too much, however the first 15 pages or so and for current specs page 85 onwards are the
His HD HTPC build recommendations cover low end, mid range and high end, Intel / Intel, Intel / Nvidia, AMD / AMD and AMD / Nvidia chipsets, he
also covers building massive terabyte storage servers and home servers and high end workstations.
I think I'm gonna just choose one of this spec recommendations and build away when I have the spare cash that is!
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
"If you’re a DirecTV subscriber and a Media Center fan, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you: DirecTV has pulled the plug on development of its long-rumored HDPC-20 tuner."
Via Ed Bott, full article can be seen here
I was reading this thread on the Green Button here page 19, seems there's a newer Windows 7 build doing the rounds and here's some new screen shots of Media Center in that build.
There's an option in the guide to color code shows by category.
Similar movies and future recordings integrated.
While watching a movie you can view the cast, and view other movies they have directed, produced, or acted in.
Check out the thread here on this page where you can view full sized screen shots.
If your wondering where to get your hands on this build take a look see here.
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Also check out the Wiki for using Transcode 360 with the My Movies add-in here.
Both methods work well.
Friday, 5 December 2008
"AMD's "Maui" home theater PC platform consists of a combination of AMD hardware and software. Systems built around the platform feature an energy efficient Phenom or Athlon processor, ATI Radeon graphics, ATI TV tuners, and AMD LIVE! software elements. The current foundation of the platform is MSI's somewhat unique Media Live DIVA 5.1 motherboard, which is based on the AMD 780M chipset, and includes a specialized Intersil D2 Ausio DAE-3 audio chip with an accompanying 5.1 channel amplifier, but a 3.1 / 7.1 pre-amplifier card is also an option."
Check out AVS Forum for the real low down on this motherboard.
Once upon time, video codecs and formats were really only the concern of AV nerds, anime freaks and hardcore not-so-legal movie downloaders. Now, even the most part-time of geeks has to deal with them, whether they're trying to stream a flick across their house with an Apple TV, dump some video onto their phone or just trying to grab last night's episode of Dexter because they, uh, forgot to renew their Showtime subscription. It's messy and annoying, but we're here to clean it up. Take a deep breath.
Saturday, 8 November 2008
The Zune customization web site ZuneOriginals.net recently added 46 new designs just in time for the holiday season. The new designs include a Zodiac series featuring both Eastern and Western astrology-related artwork from two different artists.
The Zune customization web site ZuneOriginals.net recently added 46 new designs just in time for the holiday season. The new designs include a Zodiac series featuring both Eastern and Western astrology-related artwork from two different artists.
Friday, 7 November 2008
I stumbled accross this audio interview with Dan Polivy from Microsoft who talks about some of the new features with SideShow in Windows 7, most notable are TCP/IP support yeah! and Touch support.
"Microsoft has shown off some crazy features in Windows 7 over the past two weeks. Most of these additions are on the user interface level, such as the replacement of the sidebar with simply “desktop gadgets” which can pin to specific locations on the desktop. The evolved taskbar (first time a major usability change was brought to the taskbar since Windows 95 with IE4), the updated Aero features (Aero Peek, Color HotTrack, etc.), as well as Jumplists are also usability and “likeability” features which were added to Windows 7.
Beyond simply the looks, however, there’s also gesture and touch support. These two will have a significant role in Windows 7, as can be seen already via features such as Aero Shake and gesture functionality in common controls (such as scrolling) via the the tablet framework.
Finally, Windows 7 will be much more context-aware than any other operating system thanks to a new sensor framework debuting in Windows 7.
Despite all of thiis, there are still some Windows Vista features which have not been expanded upon during PDC; SideShow, for example, was curiously absent. Will SideShow see more enhancements which will increase adoption? Here’s the quick list:
- Touch support with SideShow displays
- TCP/IP support via the updated .net micro framework
- 100% Backwards Compatibility with all Windows Vista SideShow gadgets
You can hear the full answer in an audio interview I magically recorded with the SideShow lead while at WinHEC"
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
I just updated my Sony PSP with firmware update 5.01 and now I have access to the Playstation online store!
It's seems version 5.00 actually gave users access to the online store, I must have missed that update. 5.01 addresses issues with larger memory cards.
It seems quite good, free game demos and you can purchase PSP and PS One classic game titles. Movie and game trailers, wall papers and themes.
I might buy a few new games from the online store, as for someone like me who lives in the middle of nowhere, it's not like I can just pop to the shop and buy new game titles off the shelf.
The sign up process was a bit long winded and required me to submit allot of personal information such as DOB and postal address etc. But the sign up went smoothly and I had no problems accessing the store after the sign up process had completed.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
I found a couple of interesting articles about WMP12...
"Windows 7 is going to ship with an updated version of Windows Media Player, WMP 12, which we’re excited to try out. In keeping with the new look of Microsoft apps, the new Media Player features a brighter, lighter look that reminds me of the new Windows Live betas. However, it’s not just the UI that looks different – the player itself offers some pretty cool new features, too"
This is the thing I am really interested to know more about, I wonder if a multi zoned audio setup with WMP12 / W7MC is now going to be possible?
Remote streaming set-up
"As well as streaming to remote PCs, WMP12 also includes support for controlling Digital Living Network Alliance v1.5 devices. These are networked devices with audio and/or video playback capabilities; so, similar to the scenario of streaming to an HTPC, you might be streaming audio to a Sonos box. Each device being Played To has its own playlist and playback settings and is controlled through its own little window"
The Play To controller for a network device
"If a device can't handle the format being streamed, WMP12 will detect this automatically and transcode it on-the-fly."
Saturday, 1 November 2008
On the last two versions of ngRC, I have seen issues with the Now Playing and the Queue not updating and showing the currently playing track correctly.
They seem to get stuck on a previously played track and do not move on to show the new track that is now playing, even if you refresh the pages.
If you have also seen this happen? Then please head over to this forum and click on the thread that's entitled "RC1 Feedback" and describe what you are seeing?
So hopefully the developer can resolve any issues in this area, the more people that chip in the better the final release will be.
You can also check out the older thread entitled "ngRC queue not updating" which I posted in regard to the last beta version and similar issues.
You will need to sign up to the forum to post, but don't let that put you off submitting your feedback as we need it, even if your feed back is that you are not seeing this same issue and it is working OK for you?
Friday, 31 October 2008
ngRC by default just looks for and displays whatever is the largest image file in the albums folder.
So in ngRC using the previous beta version, it was showing some front covers but also back covers, inlay's and inside images, if they happened to be the largest image in that folder.
Now in ngRC RC1 you can edit the settings.jsp file in notepad to specify what your front covers are called? In my case all my high-res 600 x 600 album cover images are called Folder.jpg
Here is an extract of the original code from the settings.jsp file located in the C:\Program Files\ngrc\tomcat\webapps\ngrc\skins\pspiphone directory,
highlighted in bold is the section we are interested in.
<%@ page import="agorum.mce.ngrc.*"%>
<% //set the name of the default Image to look for (uncomment, if you want to change the default name)
//can be for example: f*.jpg
//default settings for filters
//defaultMaxItems (values are: -1 means all, 20, 50, 100)
Simply remove the comment // and specify the file name of your album cover images. So after I edited the file that section for me looks like the below.
//set the name of the default Image to look for (uncomment, if you want to change the default name)
//can be for example: f*.jpg
I could not initially save the settings.jsp file in notepad, due to not having the correct permissions on the folder.
So I closed notepad re-opened it with the run as administrator option on the right click menu and then I was able to save the changes to the file without problem.
I also stopped the ngrc.tomcat service at the same time, so that might have helped as well, after restarting that service I was then able to open ngRC in Internet Explorer using the address shown below. Also you need Media Center up and running at this point as well.
http://IP Address of your computer:8080/ngrc/skins/pspiphone/index.jsp
I am very happy to report that all my album's front covers are now being shown correctly in ngRC!
The next thing I need to look at is the defaulMaxItems in the settings.jsp file, as the Sony PSP has problems displaying long lists on one page, if you have a large music library like me, you end up getting memory errors.
Album Details View with Cover Art
Song Details View with Cover Art
next generation Remote Control (ngRC) Release Candidate 1 is now available for download.
The following is from the Developers site:
"It’s done, the new Version of ngRC 2.0 is available now… Here is a list of improvements towards the beta Version of 2.0:
- fixed play all Problem (double added)
- fixed settings page display error
- implemented amount reduction of lists (let choose amount to display)
- implemented prefered coverArt Image Filter (e.g. folder.jpg)
- implemented default setting for maxAmount for lists
- removed auto-refresh in actual playing, now refresh button instead
- fixed ch+, ch-, vol-up, vol-down and mute button on extenders
- made keyboards bit larger for better handling
- Enhanced XML-Api for better using
- Implemented Volume Feedback Display on Keyboard
- Fixed actual playing List problems
- some clean up and other small things
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
I'm sorry but like it or not the main stream codecs that are out there are here to stay and Microsoft need to open up and support what at the end of the day their users want to play.
There maybe some light at the end of the very dark tunnel in the form of Windows 7. It's far too early to say but initial readings sound positive.
I stumbled across a few articles about Windows 7 from a media playback perspective some of them are quite intriguing.
"Windows Media Player has the most significant changes, with support for new codecs including AAC, H.264, DivX and Xvid, and support for the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) 1.5 media streaming standard, including transcoding where necessary. Under the covers lie more multimedia features, including a new animation framework and DirectX 11."
This is good news, you can get AVI and MP4 movies for example now in to your media library with WMP11 via registry hacks but native support is always desired and preferred.
DNLA is also good news, fancy streaming music directly to your Onkyo amp for example? Now you can in Windows 7.
"H.264 playback is now supported out of the box with Windows 7 -- including on Media Center Extenders – both standalone hardware implementations AND on the XBox 360 when in Extender mode. I know a few people on http://www.thegreenbutton.com who will rejoice"
H.264 in some form was always expected in Media Center due to the fact HD TV really requires it. What is not clear at this stage is what containers we can use such as MKV.
The most intriguing thing I have read about Windows 7 from a media playback perspective is this:
"Multimedia routing. Windows 7 adds features for shuttling media files from PCs on your home network to streaming devices such as the Sonos multi-room music system. Microsoft says the OS will transcode files as necessary to make your entertainment play on gadgets regardless of whether the gadgets support the file format in question. Sounds intriguing; I look forward to trying it out."
Transcoding files as necessary? Could this be the start of the end of the codec compatibility issues we know of today?
So my question or half of it anyways still remains, when will we see native support in the XBOX 360 MCX for DIVX / XVID / AVI ?
Your guess is as good as mine but I now feel this won't be happening and I will be ditching my XBOX's in favour of Sony Playstation's for games and V2 extenders for MCX.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
"Over in Los Angeles, attendees of Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference will today hear about the features planned for Windows 7, and receive a pre-beta version of the software for testing and feedback.
Here at WGS, we’ve had a copy of that build (Build 6801, or Milestone 3 for you build geeks) for a little while - today our NDA is lifted and we can bring you a sneak preview of some of the features planned for Windows Media Center in Windows 7."
Read the article here
7WMC (7 Windows Media Center)
W7MC (Windows 7 Media Center)
SWMC (Seven Windows Media Center)
SMC (Seven Media Center)
7MC (7 Media Center)
"The Windows 7 release of the Windows Media Center platform focuses primarily on small, targeted improvements to the Windows Media Center Presentation Layer and additions to the managed code object model to make all applications (with greater emphasis on the web paradigm) a first class citizen in Windows Media Center and help them act and feel more like locally installed applications in terms of perceived performance. I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to outline some of the new platform features you will find in this build."
Charlie Owen from Microsoft has announced on his blog, details about Media Center in Windows 7 talking about some of the new features.
- The Start Menu gets a slight update, I have seen this in action a few weeks ago and it’s not a massive change but it does look better and it remembers where you were last
- The now playing thumbnail is bigger
- Music performance improvements
- Much better details view and improved now playing
- Improved Ratings
- Turbo Scroll, this is something that you have to see in action to get and if you have large libraries you will love this!
- Improved Picture library including new slideshows, and Shared Libraries
- TV Feature Pack is including in Windows 7!
- New clickable seek bar in TV and videos
- Online Media replaced with “Extras”
- New text entry screen
- New gadgets for the sidebar
This looks familar, looks like the Zune Album wall!
This is good news and was expected with HD TV in many countries now requiring H.264 support
"H.264 playback is now supported out of the box with Windows 7 -- including on Media Center Extenders – both standalone hardware implementations AND on the XBox 360 when in Extender mode. I know a few people on http://www.thegreenbutton.com who will rejoice."
No mention of Divx however ?
This was also expected for Media Center on Windows 7
"For starters, you get all of the enhancements made available with the TV Pack (including those for United States customers). For more information on the TV Pack check out this post at The Green Button: http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/282555.aspx. If you recall, the TV Pack was designed to enable TV standards in Asia and Europe. There are some nice additions in this area for Windows 7..."
Overall I'm very impressed with how this is looking and with some of the new features, I really can't wait for Windows 7. Well done eHome team!
I've played and completed every single game in both these series, since the Playstation One.
Excellent games if you like these types of genres.
I'm still actually playing GTA4 think I'm about 74% in to it now, I've completed a few games in between playing it, so that's why I've still not finished it, again the GTA series is amazing and I have completed every GTA game Rock Star have made.
I wouldn't say I was a massive gamer however but these games are the ones I really like, and the Call of Duty series rocks as well!
Resident Evil Zombie
Tomb Raider in Thailand !
What other games similar to these would you recommend?
Other new feature is the ability to rate your music and photos in Media Center and to then create playlists and sideshows based on those rating. Take a look at the many screen shots to get an idea for yourself what's new!
Monday, 27 October 2008
If you subcribed to the original Blogger feed address that should still continue to work, however you might want to change it to the new address above.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
MolsonFLMCE on the Green Button has started the petition, below is what he had to say:
"Ok, so the petition is online and available here. I'm not the most eloquent writer in the world but I think I've covered the core issue. If you agree with what I've said, I encourage you to sign it. If you don't like what I said but agree with the petition itself, please consider signing it and leave a comment as to how you would re-word things. 16,000+ views on this thread. I doubt the petition will get numbers that high but I intend to blog it today as well as post it on the Xbox boards in the correct board.
Thanks for your support."
If you want the full history look at this thread here on TGB.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
"Made some more changes to ngRC, at the moment the development version contains following fixes:
* fixed play all Problem (double added)
* fixed settings page display error
* implemented amount reduction of lists (let choose amount to display)
* implemented prefered coverArt Image Filter (e.g. folder.jpg)
* implemented default setting for maxAmount for lists
* removed auto-refresh in actual playing, now refresh button instead
* fixed ch+, ch-, vol-up, vol-down and mute button
* made keyboards bit larger for better handling
* clean up
a bit more to do:
now I just have to look after the playlist behaviour and some smaller changes in the XML-API, and then I think, I will release a first Release Candidate…"
This was the email Ian sent out to the website's users:
I just wanted to update you on the site update
After an hour or so of IIS/Application pool issues I have got the updated TheDigitalLifestyle.com up and running. The site has been upgraded to the latest version ofCommunity Server and it has a new look that should make navigatingaround the site much easier. All the content from the old site has beenported over which includes all the forum content, the forum layout is a big improvement and I am looking forward to getting more content in to there.
One new area for the site is the Wikis, there is a wiki for Windows Media Center, a wiki for Windows Home Server and one for Media Center Addins. Having a wiki for addins means that the community can contribute to the addin review section,which I aim to build up in to community created and maintained databaseof Media Center addins. It’s open to all users for contributions on anyMedia Center application.
The site also has a new social aspect ,once you are signed in youcan Friend Request other users and then from the home page you get aFriends’ Activity list, so you can keep up with your friends on thesite (and via RSS). Hopefully this will increase the sense of communityaround the site and help build some relationships.
Also joining TheDigitalLifestyle.com is UK blogger Simon May,I will be working with Simon on some community project in the comingmonths and Simon will be blogging and reviewing Media Center addins. Socheckout Simon’s new blog and first addin review
The is going to be a new podcast called “The Custom Installer Show”and you will be able to find out more details in the coming weeks.Another new section of the site is the Groups section and I willexplain more on that over the next few weeks.
So take a look at the new content and please contribute to the Wikisespecially the addin Reviews. Let me know what you think about the newsite and if you have any suggestion for other new feature let me know.
To get the Media Center Sideshow gadget working on TV Pack you can change a setting in the registry, edit the registry at your own risk!
1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center
2. Change the Ident version to 5.0 from 5.1
3. Run the Sideshow install
4. Change the Ident value back to 5.1
There is also another way to get the MCE SideShow gadgets installed on a TV Pack version of MCE, you need to modify the MSI files in a certain way and then they can be installed as normal. This has been tested and works, however you might as well just use the reg edit work around shown above instead.
- TV: Browse the program guide, schedule recordings, and browse and play back recorded TV shows
- Music: Browse and play music
- Pictures + Videos: Browse pictures on your device and play slideshows and video
- Now Playing: Provides information on what is playing in Media Center and provides playback controls like those on your Media Center remote
Monday, 6 October 2008
Sunday, 5 October 2008
clipShow is a Windows Vista Media Center application that provides the ability to view a personal video collection in a slide-show type fashion. It features a "clip" capability that can play continous random clips of video media (customizable by 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or the entire video). It also provides the capability to create custom playlists from the Media Center video library. In addition it also can organize a video media collection by common tags stored in the video file metadata, and allow clips to be played by those tags.
This sounded like an MCE add-in that was worth a try, I have several short Video clips in .MOV format that were taken on my Nikon digital camera. I never really knew what to do with them as far as my media center setup was concerned. So I just left the various .mov files mixed in among my photo folders and photo files.
I had to install Quick Time alternative to get .MOV to play in WMP11 / VMC but other than that they play and I currently access them (If I remember they are there) in VMC in the Picture Library, if I am in a certain folder that also has some movie clips in there as well, I see a Related Videos option. If I click this I am taken to the Video clip(s). This kind of works for me as is but I cannot create a playlist and play each .mov one after the other!
When ever I install a new VMC add-in I open MC Menu Mender first to see where the applications Icon has been placed and if I want to move it, first thing here, what's with the big red stop icon for clipShow in MC Menu Mender?
Answer: In the VMC UI there is no icon visible for clipShow.
Upon launching clipShow I got two messages about having to create a playlist and another about Clipshow crawl execption, see screen shots below.
I eventually found a clipShow playlist creator entry in the Program Library area of VMC, again no icon showing for this plug-in.
I had to give the new playlist a name and the only locations I was given to "browse" for media was the Recorded TV or Video Library. Does that mean I am restricted to just those two locations? Neither of these locations are the current location of those short movie clips in .mov format I mentioned earlier.
So I selected Video Library and when in to a folder I have called home movies where I have larger DVR-MS clips from my Samung Mini DV digital camcorder. I selected all movies in this folder and saved the playlist.
I then got three critical errors see screens, I clicked OK on the final error and that just took me back to the program library, so not a good start at all with this application.
I closed Media Center and tried the same steps again same deal again.
So I tried to select a different folder with MP4 files in it instead this time the Burn progress thing said 100% complete, but then I got the Media Center Extensibility Host had stopped working message. Why does it say Burn progress anyways? I thought I was creating a playlist!
"Copy is progressing" so it's copying my movies from their original location to where exactly?
Followed by another clipShow has stopped responding message and then another Burn Failure.
At this point I am getting bored now and this really isn't turning out to be the kind of review I was hoping to give you.
Keep in mind this is a Beta, give it a go and let me know if you get any further with it? Maybe it's just my machine or something who knows!
Now where is that uninstall option?
OK so I gave it one more try, I copied all my small .mov files in to a folder in the VMC Video Library. I then tried to create a Playlist again in clipshow, upon clicking save playlist I still get all those errors and the playlist is never created.
Do let me know if you get this working for you?