While there has been a lot of talk about forthcoming TV features for Windows Media Center (I find it frustrating that some of the testers are breaking NDAs and giving out incorrect information while the rest of us wait for the NDAs to be lifted) and Charlie Owen posting on why DVD streaming may never happen I thought I would post on where I would like to see Windows Media Center develop.
Rather than being a list of specific features instead I would like to see Media Center reach out and be part of a connected ecosystem. Where Apple seems to score is that their products all seems to work well together by design e.g. The iPhone is designed to work with iTunes, MobileMe, App Store etc, where as Microsoft’s digital lifestyle products do not have a coherent solution e.g. Zune is has no hooks in Media Center, Windows Home Server does not backup recorded tv etc
So what I would like to see:
Windows Home Server Integration
At the moment there is no integration between Windows Home Server and Windows Media Center (officially anyway). It would be great to see things like backing up recorded TV, storing TV content directly on to WHS and consuming content from it. Maybe some kind of archive button so you had the option of from Recorded TV in Media Center selecting a Recorded TV file and you had the option of "Archive to Windows Home Server"
I like the Zune desktop software and since 2.0 you can copy recorded tv shows on to the Zune but you should be able to do this from the Media Center UI and select "sync with Zune" , plus playlists should be shared between Media Center and the Zune. The same goes for podcast support, the Zune does it very well and in Media Center are no podcast features at all.
A unified music and video store.
This is simple: make a music store and make it accessible from anywhere in the ecosystem. The Zune marketplace seems good place to start so why not add a Zune store UI to Media Center. I could browse the music store in Media Center and purchase tracks that would be playable on my Zune. Same goes with Video I want to by able to purchase videos from the store that are accessible on the Zune , Media Center and Xbox 360. I would really like to see the Xbox 360 movie rentals system available in Media Center, Media Center is crying out for more video content.
While we are at it why not make all of Microsoft video and audio content available in Media Center. Microsoft events like CES keynotes, Channel 9 videos and MSN video should be available . Make Media Center the place to consume video content
Windows Mobile Integration.
To make Windows Mobile more attractive to consumers make it integrate with Windows Home Server and Windows Media Center as well. Add syncing to the Media Center UI and sharing of the content between Zune, Media Center and Windows Mobile
Other technologies like Microsoft’s Live Mesh should be used for storage and syncing.
Microsoft should aim to have all the systems working together with a coherent strategy and brand as such, all the components are there they just need linking together and then marketing , Microsoft’s Digital Lifestyle
Having all these components work together as a platform should help sell the individual systems, if you have Windows Home Server and you’re looking for a mp3 player then Zune should be the device that you think of first
Maybe this is all coming in Windows 7?
Is this a good idea or should Microsoft concentrate on the core features of Media Center?