Hey, Charlie from Microsoft was here!
Today Charlie Owen came to visit Fellowship Church. Charlie is a Program Manager with Microsoft Windows eHome Team, the producers of Windows XP Media Center Edition. Charlie and I got to know each other via the blogosphire. One day I was watching Channel9 and ran into Robert Scoble interviewing Charlie and John Canning about Media Center. I was blown away, so blown away I blogged about it giving me a vision. At the time it was a vision for Apple, not Microsoft. So, with that Charlie being extremely kind, he sent me a Media Center PC and said, try it and when I am in the Dallas area I will stop by and see what you think.
Well, Charlie just left and I just jumped on a plane to Colorado so I am going to tell you what I think at 35,000 feet. Media Center is really cool! If you have not had an opportunity to try out Microsoft Media Center I really suggest that you do. Go down to your local Best Buy or CompUSA and check it out. I am an avid Tivo fan and we use Tivo at the house all the time. I actually think that we watch much more Tivo'ed programs than actual live programming. So, all of that to say that I am an avid DVR user and am a huge fan of Tivo. Media Center however really takes Tivo to the next level. I found Media Center real easy to navigate and very easy to use, which is very important! Here are a list of things that I liked about Media Center.
- Fully functional PC
- Disk space expansion!
- Built in Radio (AM/FM/XM/Internet)
- Feature rich with streaming media
- Simply burn DVD's
- High quality DVD player
- Better video/picture management
- Media Center extender
As you can see, Media Center has some great and robust features. Everything that I have read about Media Center has given it great reviews for all the additional gadgets and tools that it has. My one concern with Media Center is the simplicity for the average television user. Tivo is so, so simple. That is one of the great things about it, but Media Center has so many features I would be a little concerned that it could get a little complicated. Also, since it is a fully functional PC to leverage all the great tools you need the keyboard and mouse. For this you can see the additional complexity for Media Center to just replace Tivo, and be your home system. Now, someone like me, I think I would love it, but the average American might not be ready for that just yet. But, I do think that it is coming, the true convergence of TV the Internet and the PC. And with that to say, this is a device that brings them together in sweet harmony.
In closing, I really like Microsoft Media Center, it is very cool. I see some great benefits to it, and really look forward to using it more. I think that the vendor that figures out how to build the Tivo like unit that is simple to connect and set up with complete wireless keyboard/mouse and remote will make a killing (it might already be available). I also think that content is king, and the more and more content (outside of regular TV) that becomes available on Media Center the more draw that it will bring (on demand type media). Just like when XM got MLB, and Sirius got Howard Stern and the NFL, that hugely drove people to buy, Microsoft needs to be looking for killer content for Media Center.
Charlie, thanks a ton for the machine and the visit! It was a blast.