Chris Lanier Feels Let Down by v2 Extenders and Other MCE Related Technologies

microsoft vista mce logoChris Lanier, a long time advocate for the Windows Media Center platform, writes: “To sum it up, four CableCARDs only for custom installs. v1 Extenders don’t work on Vista (no rebate program either). Overpriced v2 Extenders. No DVD streaming to overpriced Extenders. No MPEG-4 support in Xbox 360 Extenders. No SoftSled (Software Extender). Delayed launch/beta of the Media Center update in Vista. No DIRECTV support despite it being announced two years ago. Zune that doesn’t sync with Media Center. Windows Home Server which doesn’t work out-of-the-box with Media Center.”

I hate to say it, but he’s right on all counts. And to the list I’d like to add: Xbox Live Marketplace. A great idea for distributing media content, but one that should be ported to v2 extender products, in my opinion. There’s no denying that Microsoft needs to align their various projects and get on the same page for long-term success (a good example is codec support across product lines, which Chris details here). At this point, the various inconsistencies will make it a nightmare for customers to come to a final buying decision without second guessing themselves.

Aside: Not to start a flame war, but Microsoft could have easily chosen the Apple path of only selling the Xbox 360 as their official extender product, period — and not have any partner products. Which, if Steve Jobs was running the show at Microsoft, would only support the WMA, WMV, and WMV-HD media formats (and possibly MP3 and MPEG-4, since they’re industry standards). And then everybody would be saying what a great job Steve at Microsoft is doing because everything “just works.”

This holiday season, which route are you going to take with your Vista MCE related purchases?

Filed in: Streaming Media Devices

  • jennyfur

    I completely agree. MS is really hurting themselves. They had a lot of opportunity to really have some killer products on their hands, but it seems that none of their groups work together to create devices that truly integrate. And the pricing for the v2 extenders is just absurd.

    That being said, I’m still looking to buy a 65nm xbox 360 when they come out, and hope to god that it eventually gets an update to support the codecs that the other v2 extenders do now.

  • Daniel

    I would like to correct a comment on Chris Lanier’s blog. In his description of the DSM-520 UI — “I’d also like to note that D-Link has their DSM-520, and while it is not a Media Center Extender it does support the exact same formats (DVR-MS, MPEG-2, WMV9, MPEG-4 ASP, MPEG-4 AVC) and can be purchased for $150 to $180 at major US retailers. While the UI sucks, you are basically paying double the price for a true Media Center Extender that gives you access to the nice UI” — In fact the active-TV technology update from D-Link enables the DSM-520 to support the same MCE UI. In fact the DSM-520 has no UI disadvantage.