How to program the buttons on your MCE Remote

MCE-Remote-Media-Center

Some of the Windows Media Center remotes has the ability to control other hardware in addition to the Media Center. The most common one is the one in this picture. On that one you can program the “TV”-button and the Volume-button. Most likely you would want to control the ON/OFF-function on your TV and the volume on your amplifier.

This is how you do it (from the MCE Remote Manual):

Update2: The manual is no longer available from Microsoft

Update:
Link to the manual (PDF).
Continue reading “How to program the buttons on your MCE Remote”

How to program the buttons on your MCE Remote

Converting DVR-MS files from your media center

Windows Media Center edition records video in MPEG2 wrapped in a format called DVR-MS. Basically a plain MPEG2-file with some metadata. I can’t understand why Microsoft has not included a tool to automatically recompress DVR-MS to Windows Media Video 9 in Media Center Edition.

But, as always – if it is something that people want, people make it.

Just a quick list of alternatives:

AutoDVRConvert
DVR-2-WMV
Tsunami MPEG Xpress
dCut
PowerCompress
GraphRenderer
CyberLink PowerDirector
PQ DVD to iPod Video Converter (Can convert DVR-MS according to spec, but look in the comments here in this post, seems like a user have had problems and that the DVR-MS conversion doesn’t work)
VideoReDo
DVR-MS Toolbox

I know that I have forgotten many tools that does this kind of stuff. In addition to the fact that I am going to expand this list please feel free to comment and suggest other tools.

Converting DVR-MS files from your media center

NRK makes one of the world’s largest Media Center services

Main Page

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has just released it’s comprehensive service for media center PCs. First out is Windows Media Center Edition. The service makes NRK’s vast archive of content on the net available from a GUI that is tailored for use on a TV with navigation through a remote.

Users get access to more than 20 000 video clips and 12 radio channels with three weeks of archive on the main channels. This is one of the most comprehensive services ever made for Windows Media Center’s Online Spotlight broadband portal.

Microsoft Media Center Edition was choosen because it is the first media center to be released in a version for the Norwegian market. Based on the experience from this service NRK will explore possibilities for adding support for systems like Apple Front Row, Mediaportal, MythTV, Beyond Media and Meedio.

TV Page

The TV main menu. Most of NRK’s own productions are available minutes after they have been broadcasted. Many of them are indexed in detail. This gives the user a possibility to jump directly to the most interesting parts.

Radio Page

The radio page gives detailed information on the three main channels. Including playing now / next and information on the current show. For these channels an archive is available with all shows broadcasted for the last three weeks. In addition to this nine more channels are available for streaming. Currently the streaming is done with several different qualities. The best one is 160 kbps Windows Media Audio. This gives better quality than current FM broadcasts and is even better than most DAB broadcasts.

Weather

In addition to the streaming media services a small weather service has been added. It gives detailed weather information for all counties in Norway. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation will explore more services like this as well. News, sports results and other text / image based services that already exist on NRKs extensive services on the net and for mobile phones will be considered.

A special web page has been set up to give the users information and a possibility to comment and provide suggestions. You can find this page here (Norwegian).

NRK makes one of the world’s largest Media Center services

Chris Anderson on Media Centers

Usually I don’t post links on this blog unless I have something to add to what the link is all about. This time I will make an exception. Chris Anderson has a very interesting article about Media Center PCs on his Long Tail blog. And, I can’t add much more than “I totally agree” and “I’ll recommend you to read it“. Chris is the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and a very interesting thinker and writer.

From the article:

For us, Media Centers have five big advantages over traditional DVRs, including TiVo.

* No monthly fees.
* Centralized storage means that all TVs around the house have instant access to the same content.
* Unlimited storage capacity.
* Can stream all the other media on your PC to any TV, including music and home videos.
* By DVR standards, it’s a relatively open platform (certainly compared to the DVRs offered by your cable company), and there are an increasing number of plug-ins that expand its features.

Finally, there’s a strong Long Tail angle to the Media Center. It is, at its core, a platform for unlimited-choice TV. It connects the Internet to the TV screens around your house via a simple, TiVo-like interface. Right now, most of the video content comes over the broadcast network, is cached on your PC, and then streamed over your home network. But that content can just as easily come from anywhere on the net, and independent video marketplaces such as Brightcove and Akimbo are planning to release their services as Media Center plug-ins to deliver just that.

Via Ian Dixon

Chris Anderson on Media Centers

Tivo just made a very stupid move!

I just updated my HTPC Frontend Roundup because it is a quite good guide to alternatives if you don’t want a PVR where the content producers can delete whatever they want. From the update:

Tivo has recently made headlines as people have discovered a horrible functionallity that lets content providers delete shows on your box. My god, what a stupid move!

Kind of like:
You can buy this VHS tape, but you’ll hand over the keys to your apartment so that the content producers can come and take it when they decide that you shouldn’t be able to watch your recording anymore.

Original post: HTPC Frontend Roundup

Tivo just made a very stupid move!

Media Center – A very worn out term

Western Digital, please stop making my work difficult!

I just bought a new external hard drive. It is a USB2/FW 250GIG Western Digital with a built in card reader. I repeat, a hard drive with a card reader.

I am doing lots of presentations and travel around trying to explain new media and technologies for my audience. A Media Center is one of the terms I try to explain these days. Of course it’s difficult to make clear definitions on terms like that, but usually there is a basic explanation somwhere in the simplification of the technology.

For the term “Media Center” that includes something like “…a box that lets you play several different types of media. Usually designed to reside in your living room…”

It’s actually easier to say what types of devices that in no way could be described as a Media Center. And, a hard drive with a card reader is not a Media Center. Still, that’s what Western Digital calls my new hard drive.

Stupid, stupid people. You confuse the consumers. And you make my work difficult.

But – who cares? The biggest newspaper in Norway – “Verdens Gang” has a blog in their printed paper…. Aaaargh!

Media Center – A very worn out term

Still in list-mode: the Media Center Blogs

webpage webpage webpage

I just posted my current “10 important blogs” list. Because many of my readers come to this place for information about Media Center Technologies I just have to give them my top 10 Media Center blogs right now as well (please note that the list is sorted alphabetically, not by importance):

1. www.eirikso.com (of course)
2. Sean Alexander: Addicted to digital media
3. Chris Lanier
4. Digital Media Thoughts
5. eHomeUpgrade
6. Ian Dixon
7. Michael Creasy
8. Om Malik’s broadband blog
9. PVRWire
10. PVRBlog

And yes, http://www.eirikso.com is the only blog here that is not placed in the list alphabetically 🙂

(…and where is Thomas Hawk on your media center blogs list? Well, he is already in my top 10 blogs list at the moment, so I haven’t placed him in the media center blogs list…)

Lists, lists, lists… I feel them coming. I have already promised to give you my “10 most important softwares” list. Now, I feel a “10 most important gadgets” list approaching as well… The beauty of a personal blog is the fact that I don’t have any deadlines. 🙂 But, these lists will be there, I promise.

Still in list-mode: the Media Center Blogs