Windows Media Center in Windows 7

In today’s PDC keynote demo. Media Center got no love at all. It also got no love at the reviewers workshop I attended over the weekend. Fortunately, Microsoft’s Charlie Owen is on the case, with a very detailed and thoroughly illustrated  look at Windows Media Center in the PDC Build of Windows 7.

High points:

  • All the good stuff from TV Pack is in this build.
  • H.264 playback is now supported out of the box with Windows 7 — including on Media Center Extenders.
  • There’s a desktop gadget (no more Sidebar) that shows TV and recorded shows in the order they are recorded.
  • Music playback is greatly improved.

And, drum roll…

Rating your content has never been easier in Windows Media Center. By enabling Rating Shortcuts you can press the 1 through 5 buttons on the remote or keyboard to rate the music (or picture as this is one of the shared features) in real time.

If you’re a Media Center fan, this is a must read. If you’re a Media Center developer, be sure to read the follow-up post, which documents changes to the Media Center platform.

Awesome stuff, Charlie. I can’t wait to begin using this.

9 thoughts on “Windows Media Center in Windows 7

  1. I’m glad to see H.264. I know the answer, but I’ll ask anyway, was there any discussions on DirecTV?

  2. My biggest concern is that they will over-hype 7 like they did Vista. I felt that the pressure on MS to release Vista had them pushing it out to market when it wasn’t quite ready. The beta testers posting on forums just kept stirring the pot and boy did it seem like there were a lot of people running the beta’s!

  3. Good to see h.264 finally getting native support but this should be an update not something we have to pay for in a new version of Windows.

  4. @Freud. They’re not putting features in the build until they’re 100% complete unlike Vista where features were at various stages of completion when released in beta and RTM.

    Hopefully this will raise the overall standard of Windows 7.

  5. I noticed that they didn’t address some usability complaints that I have.

    When you play music or videos, there’s no stop button on the left interface, although there is a play button. The only way to stop or pause the music/video is pressing the stop or pause icons on a horizontal interface or going back, but not all implementations are consistent. It really depends on the computer manufacturer like HP to make the changes.

    Also, the delete button is awfully close to the play button. Can’t they move it further away to avoid the accidental pressing of the button?

  6. Windows Media has disappointed me. My sister and I bought a new computer last year and we set it up perfectly. Our old computer is an Acer and so is our new one, so why can’t I download CD’s. wait a while, then play them back like on the old one instead of having to put up with the silly arrows that you have move. See, I’m fifty and computers aren’t my strong point, but I like to learn. Unfortunately. you don’t help because you think everyone is a computer genius and understand all that stuff you have when we go to the Help bar. At least Real One Player gave me the chance to listen to the CD’s that I downloaded on our old computer, without having to follow the blue arrow. I know my CD is lost in the maze, I also know that I won’t be downloading anymore CDs with Windows Media,not on this computer anyway. It is now 11.12a.m. Australian time, on the 1st December, 2008. From my sister and I Merry Christmas .

  7. It’s Lynmi again. Ít’s rude of me to mix my complaint with our Christmas wishes, sorry, my parents bought us up better than that. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from Lynmi.(Real names; Lyn & Mi, Australia).

  8. Lyn, I’m not sure what you mean by the blue arrows, or what problem you’re having. You should be able to put in a CD and have it rip and play instantly, If that’s not happening, you might need to adjust some settings. Have you looked at the Music chapter in Windows Vista Inside Out?

Comments are closed.