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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Windows Media Center And The Race For Your Digital Living Room

Comments (9)

Ross – my “IT guy” – stole my HP z545 Media Center PC a while ago.  I wasn’t really using it because there was too much “marital resistance” to this particular change in our AV infrastructure (plus, I never really got it working the way I wanted.)  Imagine my surprise when Ross suggested that it was the core of the best digital media solution he could envision (after he put it all together, of course.)  Ross has an extensive post on his blog up about his Media Center configuration and why he thinks it is the best solution – following is a teaser. 

The race for your digital living room is on, and you won’t believe who’s winning

Microsoft. Ok, so I didn’t want to keep you in suspense for too long, I guess that proves I’m not a great writer. But the fact is that right now in the race to win your digital living room Microsoft is smoking everyone else. That’s right, Microsoft. Ok, now let me tell you why and a little bit about my setup. First the goals for my system.

- Ability to access all my digital media (TV Shows, Movies, Pictures, Music).
- Ability to record and watch live TV (ala TiVo)
- Ability to playback virtually any codec type (from DivX, WMV, Quicktime, etc).
- Ability to output a HD signal and playback HD content
- Ability to program my existing remote controls to operate the system
- Easy to use, rich and attractive interface
- Must pass the WAF (wife acceptance factor) test (remember my wife works in IT too so this isn’t too hard for me)
- Common interface on ALL my televisions (Plasma in bedroom, Projector in Home Theatre, 32″ CRT in living room)


Click through to the full article

  • PRoales

    Interesting you missed one of the highest criteria on my list for a solution in this category: Ability to stream to my laptop while on the road in a hotel room and to my phone while on the train/bus.

  • Mike Funk

    Brad, MythTV is waaaaaay better. Get Ross to build a Linux box with your favorite distro. I have my Myth set-up with a terrabyte of storage in RAID 5, I have a pcHDTC capture card, I get HD over-the-air, I can use firewire if I had a cable box (and the cable company didn’t encrypt), I can dial-in the exact modeline for my plasma (perfect scaling using the Nvidia GeForce product line), I can record HD, I can rip perfect copies of DVD’s to the hard drive, I can burn DVD’s of anything I want — of course, music, photos, web, games, weather reports, manage your netflix account – it’s all built in.

    In fact, one of things that surprises me is that you VC guys never seem to talk about Linux on the desktop. The analog: hackers building web pages in 1993/4 – linux on the desktop rules for these kinds of applications – it is uncumbered by DRM and other unsaid nasties…

  • http://www.jasbone.com Ross Carlson

    Guys,

    Ross here, let me respond to these two comments.

    - Streaming on the road. I just didn’t put that in this post – saving for a later post. I do this all the time, I use Orb for it (www.orb.com). It’s free software and works great with Media Center. Of course we also recommend SlingMedia (we’re investors) – I just haven’t laid out the cash for a Slingbox.

    - MythTV. I have tried MythTV and I couldn’t possibly disagree with you more. I HATED it. Now let me be clear – I AM a Linux fan so I’m not trying to start a flame war. In my opinion MythTV is great for a free app but WMCE totally and completely smokes it – when I say that I really mean the interface. Oh, and every single thing you mentioned I can do with WMCE I just don’t. And all the stuff with ripping DVD’s, burning them, etc, etc, etc, I do ALL that and more now…

  • http://www.burningdoor.com/lineofsite steve o

    my wife just got me an xbox 360 for my birthday, and its integration with windows media center is well, very integrated. in fact, they are pretty much one and the same. so even if they aren’t getting into the living room with PCs, they are getting there with the game systems. i’m really impressed with the xbox 360 – microsoft pretty much makes it a dead simple experience to merge offline, online gaming, and media distribution through xbox live.

    god, what’s next, am i going to switch to a windows mobile phone?

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