Microsoft’s Windows Media Center Embedded Strategy

My final day at CES and I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Pendergrast from the Windows Embedded team talking about their strategy for Window Media Center in Windows Embedded. You can here the interview with Mark on the podcast soon but for now I thought I would do a short post about Microsoft’s plans.

Media Center’s development has been shifted to the Embedded team and they have a lot more freedom to do custom modifcations than the Windows team had. This means that each OEM can customise the look and feel of Media Center to suit their needs. Microsoft are pitching Windows Embedded Standard 7 with Windows Media Center as a complete solutions for OEMS who can develop their own set top boxes and media devices using Microsoft technology and with it being based on Windows 7 it integrates with the rest of our Windows products. They have high end media devices from Evolve Media right down to low cost Acer boxes and set top box IPTV devices.  The Acer devices had a network aware 6 tuner CableCARD adapter in for form factor of a Media Player, this prototype should eventualy be a retail product and would make a great solution for the home. It doesn’t look like a PC and you will not find a Windows UI but what you will see is a customised version of Windows Media Center running on it and having network TV tuners on it means other Windows 7 PCs can use the tuners via the network. Mark also showed me a TV with Media Center built in and again there is no Windows UI just Media Center.  There are already boxes coming out from Reycom that are Media Devices with a customised version of Media Center running on it and I think we are going to see a lot more of this category coming out. There was also a set top IPTV box from a european cable company that is powered by Media Center.

So with Windows Embedded and Windows Media Center Microsoft are offering OEM a very complete and polished solution for connected devices that integrate well with the rest of the Windows Ecosystem (he showed me an LG Windows Phone with Play To built in so we could play music from the phone straight to the TV via Media Center). We are not going to see anything new on Windows Media Center front for Windows 7, all the development is going to come from the Embedded team for now and we should see some interesting solutions coming from OEMS.

Microsoft didn’t have a Windows Media Center display on their booth at CES which is a real shame but the setup the Embedded team had in the meeting room was very impressive and its a shame more people will not get to see the setup but I do have some video and audio that I will get posted soon

So you next media devices could be running Windows Media Center but it will not be a PC

More videos and audio to come!



Me interviewing Mark



Customised Windows Media Center UI



Acer 6 tuner CableCARD system



Prime time set top box powered by Windows Embedded



Haiar TV running with built in Windows Media Center





About the author Ian Dixon:
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.
  • SCOOBY_666UK
    Thanks for the news Ian….

    Have any of the embedded solutions got a built in web browser (NOT Kylo)& windows live for TV? The reason why I ask, is cos Microsoft & Samsung announced in Nov 2010 that Windows Live TV Services would be coming to all Internet Enables TVs.

    I’m looking forward to n e further news n vids u may have.

    Thanks once again.

  • gadget
    It seems my prediction was correct, Media Center on a Pc is dead, its development days are also dead, Microsoft are basicaly saying we no longer want the hasstle of integrating it into Windows so lets put it out for others to play with which in my view is a real shame, no matter how good the 3rd party is at development they will never have the resources and money to go as far as Microsoft possibly could. We all have to sit and watch now as Media Center languishes further behind the catching oposition technologies and flounders in the hands of other software developers. It would have been good to see Media Center available as a Windows8 add on, especialy for those people who have already invested in its current iteration and who want to continue using it, perhaps that will happen but untill we have a definate Yay or Nay we will just have to hope.

    Play-to is something all Windows Phone 7 users are hoping for and i hope it is not just LG users that get the swipe-to-play feature on connected Play-to devices

    As a Media Center fanboy CES 2011 was a disapointment, Microsoft have now spelt out what will happen to Media Center and the future does not look rossie

  • Ian Dixon
    @SCOOBY_666UK I didn’t see any mention of Live TV services, the only Microsoft initiative was Windows Embedded
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