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LINK: Back from the Longhorn Lab - Reporting on the Xbox 360
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 27.07.05 - 00:23:58 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 10003x
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My fellow MVP and friend Jason Dunn (principal of the Thoughts Media Group of websites - if you haven't heard about him before, which is most unlikely ;-)) reports from his day is Redmond where he spend a day on the Microsoft Campus where he got a great deal of information about Windows Vista, the next version of Windows (formerly known as Longhorn). While much of the event was under NDA and most of what he learned about Vista he can't talk about, the last session of the day happened to be about the Xbox 360 and it's media capabilities:

There's a software update for Windows Media Center Edition 2005 PCs coming out fairly soon, code-named "Emerald". The official name is "Roll Up 2 for Media Center Edition 2005", and it will primarily add two features: support for the Xbox 360, and support for moving from 13 up to 33 countries in terms of guide support for TV. There were rumors about Emerald incorporating support for HDTV tuners, but that doesn't seem to be the case based on what I was told. It also seems to be only for MCE 2005 PCs, so anyone stuck with MCE 2004 is out of luck - including HP notebook owners like myself. Lucky for me I have another PC with MCE 2005 on it.


The big deal for me was the built-in Media Center Extender software - with the current generation Xbox, you need to put in a special CD to have the Xbox connect to your MCE 2005 computer, and the end-user experience was pretty horrible because it was essentially a special remote desktop client running. This meant you didn't get any of the smooth transitions, there was a lag with every button press, and it generally wasn't great. It was impressive as a proof of concept, but I for one wanted more and the Xbox 360 delivers: because it has a full client built in, you get a first-class experience when using the Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender. Rapid response to buttons and selection movement, fast responses to changing screens, and direct TV viewing (including HD content) are all supported. The one thing it doesn't do is visualizations for music - which kind of sucks given the Xbox is going to be connected to the big-screen TV in most homes.

Read Jason's full Xbox 360 media coverage over at Digital Media Thoughts, it's absolutely worth to read if you are interested in Media Center and the Xbox 360 media capabilities.

Cheers ~ Arne

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