Media Center
Most people that've tried Microsoft's Media Center have come away impressed. Even the most devout TiVo fanboy has to admit that Microsoft has gotten quite a few things right this time around, but will they blow it? One of Media Center's biggest proponents isn't so sure, as Chris Lanier (MS MVP) writes how disappointed he is with many of the recent revelations including; "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." Wow Chris, that's quite a list, and you didn't even mention that there's no native support for HD DVD or Blu-ray! As much as we agree, we do feel bad for Microsoft -- yeah we said it -- cause they're stuck trying to be everything to everyone. Just about every example here is a compromise with someone, like AACS getting in the way of HD DVD and Blu-ray support, or DirecTV involvement in bringing their programming to the platform. In the end consumers don't care, they just want the best experience and for now we'll all have to wait.