Welcome to Installment 003 of The Custom Integrator Show. First of all, thank you for the feedback and encouragement. It sounds like at least some of you are starting to see where we are going and are getting some ideas on things to consider as a Windows Media Center ecosystem integrator. We finally start digging in a little deeper this week and take a look from the inside out. In other words, we start to get into the Windows Media Center PC itself, some of the requirements you need to consider when matching capabilities to feature sets and deliverables as you analyze the machine’s subsystems. We also touch, once again, on looking to the future and how to start drawing some lines between what you may need to provide for the future versus how far out you want to take that “cutting edge.”
This installment is the lead-in to several others regarding the attributes of the hardware and how to start categorizing the technical architectures within the box. For this one, we look at considerations when evaluating the best location and some of the trade-offs between cooling and noise levels. We also start to touch upon selecting various source components and some of the current limitations when dealing with high definition and premium content. Future installments will take a cursory view of the audio and video, which naturally will start moving us out into connecting up video displays, touch panels for control, and distributed audio.
Larry Greenblatt had posted a question on the blog (http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/blogs/custom/archive/2008/09/29/a-little-bit-about-me.aspx) regarding how to take advantage of his new high definition cable service from within Windows Media Center. Although I provided a relatively short response, I would like to start to provide an overview of how we plan to start organizing and covering this type of information because it can become very complex. I have taken the approach of looking at the Windows Media Center ecosystem in much the same way you would look at any complex architecture from the enterprise and IT worlds and came up with my version of a Three Tier Architecture. The current version is US centric (sorry Ian) right now, but we could extrapolate to cover other regions, especially for the sources (much of that is changing for Windows 7 anyhow, so I will wait to update it for a bit). Here is what I came up with:
As you can see, it becomes pretty complex fairly easily, so hang in there Larry, we will get into it fairly soon. It is our hope that we will be able to drill down into each one of these components and look at why you might want to take a certain approach for using one technology or implementation over another. Through it all, we will try to emphasize what about each layer is important to the integrator and why you need to understand the ins and outs of them to really be successful. We are not going to be able to accomplish this in just a few sessions, but we wanted to get you on board with what we are thinking and the direction we would like to take this podcast.
Thank you for listening and welcome aboard the ride. Hopefully, it will not be too bumpy along the way.