No sooner have I published my Mini Review of J River Media Center 17 (JRMC17) than they announce they have started development on the next version.

In a forum announcement J River’s Jim Hillegass stated that:

JRiver Media Center 17 is now fully mature, and JRiver Media Center 18 has just begun development. Early versions of MC18 will appear in a month or two.

If you buy J RIver Media Center 17 now you will get a free upgrade to 18 (as Jim H puts it two versions for the price of one.)  If you already own JRMC and want to upgrade then there is a special incentive to pre-register:

If you own a previous version, it’s just $18.98* for an upgrade. It’s $44.98 for first time purchasers (the regular prices are $26.98 and $49.98). Special prices end on August 10, 2012.

*Jim’s original post said 17.98 but he corrected this to 18.98 in a later post so I have amended the quote.

As per usual once you have purchased a JRMC version you will get all updates to that version for free. From what I can see in the forums development on a particular version seems to last about a year and often includes new features throughout the year.

This seems to be confirmed by an email I received from J River’s CTO Matt Ashland:

Just to make sure it’s clear, v18 is what we’re going to be working on this coming year. So the release will be gradual, similar to v17. It is a good time to buy since you get a stable v17 and all of the coming v18 builds.

So what is planned for the new version. In a couple of other forum posts Jim expanded on a few features:

Live TV streaming to clients
Video on Gizmo
Display modifications to Theater View to avoid burn in
Porting changes that will allow us to do a Mac version are a big part of MC18 (though the license will be different).
This should also make it easier to port portions to other OS’s at a later time.

Obviously Mac support is really interesting and the Live TV streaming and and is another step to providing a really competitive TV offering. Gizmo is J River’s Web client and it is nice to see this being expanded to support video – I wonder if TV will follow? I’m personally really pleased to see the work being done on Theater View as Image retention was one of my few issues with using it.

Another point of real interest to me was mentioned by Matt in another post:

Some of the audio changes on the short list include:
Improved loopback and line-in playback
Ability to load and save DSP settings so you can have different settings for different file types, different media types, etc.
Improved DSD / SACD support
Convolution support for filter bank switching for different sample rates

The improved loopback support is obviously something which I’m keen to see following on from the Mini-Review. I also think the ability to vary DSP settings between different media types raises some fascinating possibilities – I really like the idea of having different room settings for Video files as opposed to music. A lot of Audio enthusiasts are really going to appreciate the improved Super Audio CD support and the filter bank switching for Convolution has been much requested (for those who don’t know Convolution allows J River to implement Digital Room Correction by using filter files generated by third party analysis software. This allows audio lovers to correct the flaws in their room, layout (carpets, curtains hard surfaces etc) ,without having to physically change the room layout or put up  correction panels. It is powerful – if a little mind blowing to the non-Audiophile).

All in all an impressive list of future features and I suspect this is only the start with J RIver actively soliciting suggestions in their forums.

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