With the public availability of Windows 7 beta announced at CES 2009, Media Center aficionados are eagerly waiting for the updated Windows Media Center experience in the new OS. For me, Media Center has been the big reason to upgrade home PCs to Windows Vista, and looks like that will continue with Windows 7.
I love the easy-to-use electronic program guide (EPG) – and my son refuses to watch TV any other way now. The built-in DVR functionality is great, the ability to easily search for TV shows and record one instance or entire series, and being able to view the recorded TV shows from a laptop outdoors or any other computer on the home network is impressive. Although none of it is earth-shattering or revolutionary, it’s a great user experience, very well done, and getting better with each version.
Here’s a a look at the evolution of Windows Media Center:
Another trend visible at CES: many new models of televisions you’ll be able to buy in 2009 will have Media Center Extenders built-in. This means the same, well-designed Windows Media Center interface will now be shipped with the TVs – with no additional external boxes to buy or cables to run.
I also had no idea you could easily synch recorded TV from the Media Center to a Windows Mobile phone, as shown in this video.