What's Up With Xbox Media Center

January 06, 2005

Gates' CES Keynote

Ol' Gates just gave his traditional keynote at CES with help from the funnies man on television. It primarily dealt with Media Center Edition and what their plans are for the future. There wasn't much ooohs and ahhhs, or announcements. He reiterated the portable media centers and their role in MS's whole scheme as well as had someone come out and demo what would be IPTV. One of the main features I find attractive is the extra content that goes with Xp Media Center. Streaming content from BBC and Discovery is pretty neat, but not worth the lock in that MS provides.

Microsoft is really on track with their Media Center except one problem, the cost. They need to stop requiring everyone to buy into new technologies like this. They need to make this part of their operating system, not make it into a new product. I find it very rude actually. Its just another way for them to scrape money from your wallet. Where Apple provides features for its users, Microsoft provides new revenue streams for its stock holders. Their media center encroachment has all to do with money for them and not for what they can do for the consumer. Its quite typical of them.

The other problem I have with this is that when its all said and done, all you can use this with is television. Whoop de doo. Broadcast quality WMV encoded television with commercials. They do their best to make the consumer believe they can use this technology to watch movies, and while they can, the law stops them. The law prohibits a consumer from ripping his own movie into a media center and playing it back on any tv in the house. And there is no method to buy movies in a digital file format. You can rent, but you can't buy. In a way, MS is pulling a fast one on the consumer. I'd like to see MS put movie ripping into the next iteration of Media Center Edition. Someone needs to challenge the DMCA and why not an 800 lb gorilla. C'mon MS, let us rip movies. Just do it and tell the MPAA to try and stop you. Let us all have our rights back. Will they do it? Probably not, they want a piece of that recurring revenue of digital movie rentals and whatever other subscription model we get forced to use.

In the end, their product is not bad, its just extremely closed off and supports what they provide. Meanwhile there are tons of formats that are not only better, but open and free. Let us play them. Ensure we can use our products like WE want, not how you tell us to use them. Hello? MS? Can you hear my consumer voice, or should I buy stock first and knock on the door.


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