Top 2 questions this week:
1. What’s happening with that Drive Extender bug?
2. When are Microsoft going to make Home Server and Media Center work better together?
Clearly, one is a question for today, and the second one for tomorrow. If you’re an MVP and you attended yesterday’s deep dive session at the Seattle Sheraton, you know the answer to Question 1. For everyone else, the team have announced there will be a public beta test some time soon.
Question 2 is actually a bigger question then just Media Center and Home Server working well together - across the digital home, you’ll find the fall out from terrible media sharing experiences. Proprietary or otherwise weird media formats, DRM carnage, inconsistent UIs, poor device communication, the list goes on. As the amount of media display and distribution devices explodes in the home, there’s more companies fighting for a share of your cash, who don’t like talking to the other guys fighting for a share of your cash.
Over the next few years, we’ll have to see more convergence, both in devices (i.e. hardware doing more than one thing) and software (consistent UI, codec/standards support, DRM). HP this week announced the release of their new MediaSmart TV which brings Extender for Windows Media Center functionality to an LCD panel. No separate box, less cabling, tidier solution, works well with Media Center PCs and other UPnP devices (such as Windows Home Server).
It’s a great start, but we’re nowhere near the pervasive access to our media that we all want in our homes, delivered by hardware that’s small, unobtrusive, easy to install, configure and manage. So, let’s build a list - what’s currently broken in how your digital devices work together? What are the big pain points and frustrations in using Windows Home Server with other media devices in the home? What hacks, workarounds, add-ins, and other software do you use to make life easier?
Windows Home Server, WHS, MediaSmart TV, Media Center, Convergence, Digital, DRM, Digital Media, MediaSmart, Microsoft, TV, UPnP, WMC, Windows Media Center