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Monday 22 November 2010

Amulet Voice Remote Control – Part3

In part two I took a look at the Amulet Media Center add-in screens and eventually established that the voice commands not only work in these new areas, but also in the native parts of Media Center, for example I was also able to go in to the regular Windows 7 Media Center Music library and use voice commands like Play Artists (artist name) and Play Some (genre name). Being able to use most of the voice commands in the native parts of Media Center really makes this remote control more appealing.

I have also been using the Amulet voice remote control recently for my Media Center Live TV and it works very well, you can simply say: Go To TV Guide to launch the guide, then use commands like Watch Channel BBC1 or Watch Channel ITV1 etc to change channels which is pretty cool. You can also navigate around the TV guide using commands like Show Guide at (time) on (date) or Show Channel (channel name) at (time) on (date) etc. So for example you can use a voice command like: Show Channel BBC1 Tomorrow at 13:00

I have scanned the voice commands quick reference cards that came with the remote control in the box, so you can see a full list of voice commands that can be used with the Amulet remote control. This should give you a much better idea of what can be done using voice commands alone!

Amulet Quick Reference Cards (Voice Commands)

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Amulet – TV Guide

Amulet - TV and Video

Amulet - Music

Amulet – General

You can see that the Amulet user interface add-in areas are well designed and nicely animated. I especially like the Pictures area and how the Polaroid like tiles move in to position as new photo folders are displayed on screen. The Music interface also has some animation with the cover flow in the top left hand side displaying random album covers, also how the albums appear in the right hand pane for the currently selected artist is nicely done. I did have some issues with high CPU usage whilst in the Amulet Music area during music playback, however disabling the playback time counter in the Amulet.ini file seemed to improve this issue greatly. Amulet are hopefully looking in to this problem.

The Amulet movies / videos area I found a little confusing initially as it displays your media files in a flat view, i.e. it does not keep the folder hierarchy / sub folders, it displays your video files all at the same level, which can mean quiet long lists of video files, however Amulet say that this type of view is better suited for speech. I am yet to add my shared movie folders on my WHS into the Amulet media indexer, I need to do this and it will be a good test of the system as I have over 1400 titles.

Navigating around the Media Center TV Guide using speach is great, once you get use to the correct voice commands. Just saying Watch Channel BBC1 and it changing to that channel is brilliant, you can use commands like Record That to record a program you currently have selected in the guide.

In part 4 I will be looking at using Amulet with my shared movie folders on the WHS and also taking a look at the Amulet.ini file and some of the things you can customise in there.

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