Until the Echo hit the street, the Xbox 360 was pretty much the only Windows Media Center Extender still on the market. Companies such as D-Link and Linksys discontinued their extenders years ago—probably because they couldn’t compete with the subsidized price of Microsoft’s gaming console.
Note: This review first appeared in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Imagine if a car thief walked into a dealership and was handed the keys to a new automobile, no questions asked. That would be too easy, right? Well, that's essentially what Microsoft did with Windows 8 Pro when users went to claim their free copy of the Windows Media Center upgrade. One of the unintentional side effects of applying the upgrade is that it permanently activates Windows 8, Venture Beat reports.
Microsoft didn't make many friends by casually mentioning how Windows Media Center wouldn't be included with Windows 8, Redmond's next generation operating system set to debut in a few months. In fact, many were downright outraged at the news, and seeing the sharpened pitchforks and brightly lit torches being waved around cyberspace, Steven Sinofsky set out to clarify things on the Building Windows 8 blog.
Have you ever been browsing through your Windows Media Center library, stopped on your significant other's stockpile of Jersey Shore episodes, and wave your hands dismissively before continuing on to Netflix? Some new tech lets that disgusted gesture alone speed you away from Snooki's yawn-inducing antics. The straightforwardly named "Kinect for Media Center" software taps into Kinect for Windows and adds both voice and gesture controls to your Media Center browsing experience.
With Windows 7 coming down the pike in less than a month, it's time for Microsoft to update its Windows Home Server product to support new features in Windows 7, such as Libraries and image-based backup. Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 (announced in July and now available in beta via Microsoft Connect) provides the Windows 7 support Windows Home Server needs, but that's not all that's new.
Windows 7 and Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 are designed to play nicely together, thanks to updates that support Windows 7 libraries and WHS backup that's Action Center aware (so Action Center will no longer nag a Windows 7 user that backups aren't happening when WHS does its backup thing). To find out what else is new in Windows Home Server, and for the latest on when "beta" comes off the title, join us after the break.
In Windows 7, Windows Media Center is a more useful tool than ever before for working with audio and visual media. While at first glance, Windows 7's version of WMC doesn't look a whole lot different than its predecessor, it includes many improvements. In this article, we'll focus on improvements in WMC's TV setup process, support for digital broadcast TV, the program guide, Internet TV, WMC access from the desktop, RAW file support for photos, picture and music playback and sports.
October's Patch Tuesday's bigger than normal, with 11 security bulletins (four critical, six important, and one moderate) affecting the following desktop operating systems and applications:
Internet Explorer 5.01, 6, and 7 on Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP, and Windows Vista get patched to stop a remote code execution threat
Windows XP SP2 and SP3 and Windows XP Professional x64 and XP Professional x64 SP2 will be patched to stop elevation of privilege attacks
Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Vista SP1 will also be as updated needed to prevent remote code execution
Microsoft Excel 2000 SP3, Excel 2002, Excel 2003 SP2/SP3, and Excel 2007/2007 SP1 will be updated against a critical vulnerability, as will Excel Viewer 2003/2003 SP3, Excel Viewer, and MS Office Compatibility Pack and Compatibility Pack's SP1.
What else is coming down the chute starting Tuesday?
Windows Vista Media Center gets a pair of updates (one for the TV Pack, and one for everyone), as well as the usual updates to the Malicious Software Removal Tool, Windows Mail Junk Email Filter and Customer/Windows Vista Experience Improvement Program.
However, the biggest news is the premiere of the Microsoft Active Protections Program and Exploitability Index we told you about in August. Hopefully, these programs will aid the never-ending battle against the bad guys in cyberspace.
For Windows Vista users who use Windows Media Center, there's good news and bad news:
The good news? The long-awaited "Fiji" update to WMC, officially known as the Windows Media Center TV Pack, was released to manufacturing last week. The bad news? Pick a pair: a) TV Pack is currently available only to OEMs. b) Nobody who knows exactly what TV Pack includes is telling, and the rest of us don't know.
Some long-rumored features, such as support for H.264 encoding (used by DirecTV), didn't make the cut, but exactly what's in "Fiji" is still a mystery. To find out the best guesses we've found about TV Pack, and when the rest of us might finally get our hands on it, join us after the jump.
The government of the small island nation of Fiji is not too pleased with Microsoft’s purported use of the country’s name for the upcoming revision of Windows Media Center. According to reports, Fiji’s government is still trying to convince Microsoft that it needs to seek official permission first – and impute more respect to the tiny country, before going ahead with its plans to launch Windows Fiji.
The country’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum wants the dispute to be resolved cordially. Interestingly, Microsoft’s annual turnover is many times Fiji’s GDP. But something could be more interesting then the economic disparity between the two: Microsoft’s possible obsession with the name Fiji, which might eventually cost it a few million dollars.
Redmond rolls out a pair of updates for Vista's version of Windows Media Center, improving support for newer set-top boxes and enhancing support for Media Center Extenders. Media Center Extenders enable you to bring the Windows Media Center desktop and content to your TV or HDTV. Whether you use an Xbox 360 or other extender, the updates Redmond rolled out today will improve how extenders work. If you use Windows Media Center, you'll want these updates.