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October 25, 2014

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Windows Media Center H.264, DirecTV support coming later this year

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 9th 2008 10:03AM
Wi ndows Media Center update
There's good news and less good news and then some more good news on the Windows Media Center front. The good news is that Microsoft will be releasing an update soon, the bad news is that it won't include support for things like the H.264 codec or the upcoming DirecTV tuner. The good news (again) is that EngadgetHD reports those features are on their way, they just won't be ready by the end of July, which is when Microsoft plans to issue the next update to Windows Media Center.

A tipster also sent EngadgetHD a few screenshots of the upcoming update, which adds a few new features like the ability to use as many TV tuners as you want, and to use a combination of tuner types such as NTSC, ATSC, QAM, CableCARD, DVB-T, PAL, or DVB-S. The update includes additional features for international media center users, such as support for ISDB-T and BML standards in Japan, and DVB-T and DVB-S in Europe.

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Media Center Extender shootout, courtesy of EngadgetHD

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 19th 2008 4:57PM
EngadgetHD
When Windows Vista was released, Microsoft proudly highlighted the inclusion of media center functionality in Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate - the two most widely used consumer versions of the operating system. And one of the coolest features is support for media extenders, or relatively cheap computer-like boxes that you can connect to your home network to access your media throughout the house.

But when Vista launched, the only media center extender available was the Xbox 360. Now that Linksys, D-Link, and HP have all put extenders on the market, EngadgetHD's Ben Drawbaugh decided to throw three extenders together in a cage match.

So if three enter and only one can leave, who wins and who gets beaten into a bloody pulp? We'll let you click through to the full review to find out. But here are some of the highlights of the battle between the Linskys, D-Link and Xbox 360 extenders:
  • Picture and sound quality is pretty decent on all three boxes, but the Xbox 360 does the best job of showing photos
  • The Linksys extender boots up way faster than the others
  • The Linksys extender is the cheapest, but all three devices cost between $240 and $300
  • The Xbox 360 has the noisiest fan and overall operation
  • The D-Link and Linksys extenders support several video codecs that the Xbox 360 does not.
  • The Xbox 360 plays games, the other extenders don't (unless you count games designed for Windows Media Center)
Do you have a media extender? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments.

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Comcast TiVo service expanding beyond New England this summer?

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 14th 2008 11:27AM
Comcast TiVo N/AWant to get your hands on TiVo's top notch PVR software, but don't want to give up video on demand and other services provided by your local cable company? So far your only choice is to move to the Boston area and sign up for Comcast with TiVo service. That's the only market where Comcast or any other cable company is currently offering a set top box with TiVo software.

But word on the street is that Comcast will be expanding its TiVo offering soon. EngadgetHD reports that a Portland, Oregon Comcast customer says two different Comcast cable installers told him that TiVo service would be an option soon, as in this summer.

Keep in mind, you don't get a TiVo box, just TiVo software on your regular Comcast box if you sign up for this service. And you get the privilege of paying $3 extra per month for that software. But if you're tired of staring at Comcast's generic program guide and menu system, $3 might seem like a small price to pay.

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The BBC still isn't sure about a dedicated HD station

by Richard Keller, posted Oct 22nd 2007 11:02AM

The BBC ponders the near future of BBC HDIt seems Auntie Beeb -- that's the BBC to all of us blokes here in America -- can't make up its mind whether or not to step into the 21st century earlier than planned and go HD. That's according to our colleague Matt Burns over at EngadgetHD, who reports that a decision has yet to be passed down on some ongoing high-definition tests.

The dedicated high-def station currently in trial, BBC HD, is a mixture of programming from all current BBC stations. Fifty percent of its material comes from BBC One, thirty comes from BBC Two, and twenty percent comes from the company's digital networks, Three and Four. The tests seem to be garnering a great deal of support. Yet, it looks like BBC HD's trial service will end in November and not return until the British digital switchover of 2012.


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Moneaul announces $5000 media center on a stick

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 8th 2007 5:00PM
Moneaul I*magineHigh end home theater PC makers Moneaul have answered that age old question "why can't I mount my HTPC on a stick" with the awkwardly named I*magine PC.

Moneaul are the same folks who brought us the first $1 million jewel-encrusted media center PC, and more recently a sub-$1000 "silent" machine.

The I*magine falls in between with a nice set of specs and an odd design that works vertically or horizontally. If you like your PCs vertical, you can also mount the I*magine on a pole since it likely won't fit in your media center.

The PC packs a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a 256MB ATI 2400 PRO graphics card, 2GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HDMI, 5.1 channel audio, and a speaker on each end. There's also a built in flash card reader and a microphone for voice commands. Is it worth the $5000 asking price? Probably not. But we're pretty sure you'll be the only one on your block to stick a PC on a pole if you buy one. And how can you put a value on that?

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