Can Ceton Rejuvenate Windows Media Center, Extenders?
Ceton shows Windows Media Center Extender with built-in Web browser and DTS audio technology at NAB 2012, complementing its InfiniTV 4 USB multistream tuner.
Just when you thought Windows Media Center was dead, Ceton Corp. and DTS announce a new Media Center Extender that delivers streaming media from a Windows 7 PC to multiple TVs in the home.
The product, called Ceton Echo, is being introduced at the NAB show 2012 this week.
Windows Media Center has fallen in and out of favor as a DVR and streaming media system. Proponents like the extensibility, the user interface and the lack of monthly fees; detractors say that PCs are too unstable as an entertainment solution, and that solid support for CableCards is lacking.
Microsoft itself has fallen in and out of love with the platform—first building up the aggressive eHome group for Media Center development, and then dismantling it a few years later.
So-called Media Center Extenders were manufactured by several mass-market producers such as Linksys, as well as niche provider like Niveus. Now, it seems the only extender left is the Xbox.
But things may be picking up for the Media Center and extender platforms, thanks to Ceton.
First there was Ceton’s InfiniTV 4 USB, which enables users to watch and record up to four live channels of HDTV simultaneously, and stream live HD channels or recordings to multiple HDTVs throughout the home from a single cable connection and a single multistream CableCard, the M-Card. (My review of the device should be available soon.)
These cards can be leased for as little as $2 per month on top of a digital cable subscription service.
Introducing the Ceton Echo with DTS, Web Browsing
This year, Ceton is launching the Ceton Echo client device as an alternative to Xbox for extending entertainment throughout the home.
Unlike most mass-market first-generation Media Center Extenders, the Echo not only streams content, it also includes a Web browser that lets users surf the Web.
In addition, Ceton is incorporating DTS audio technology in the boxes.
In a press release, Ceton president and CEO Gary Hammer says, “Integrating DTS audio means our customers can experience immersive audio as they enjoy live and recorded TV, listen to music, surf the Web or stream media to any TV in their home.”
For its part, DTS hopes the solution will catapult the company into the connected home market.
Geir Skaaden, VP of products and platforms for DTS, says in the statement, “At DTS, we have an unwavering dedication to the future of audio enhancement and strive to bring the high-performance sound experience to the next-generation of home theaters, powered by media center devices. Joining forces with a forward-thinking company like Ceton allows DTS to play a more significant role in the connected home entertainment space and further ensure consumers have access to top-notch audio when enjoying entertainment content at home.”
There’s no word on pricing for the Ceton Echo, and the exact release date is not specified in the press release.
Ceton Echo Details
- Outputs: HDMI, Optical Digital Cable, Composite Audio/Video, 2x USB 2.0
- Network: 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet, MoCA, DHCP or Static IP Address
- Standards: TCP/IP, UPnP AV 1.0, USB 2.0
- Media Streaming Protocol: HTTP, RSTP
- Audio Formats: AIFF, MP3, WMA, WAV, Playlists: M3U, PLS, WPL
- Photo Formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF
- Movie/Video Formats: AVI, DVR-MS, DVR-MS HD, H.264, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1, WMV9
- Digital Rights Management: Windows Media Player 11, WMDRM-11
- Power: TBA
- Dimensions & Weight: TBA
- 1-year limited warranty
- Standard- or high-definition television with HDMI or Composite Video input
- TV or A/V receiver with optical digital or composite audio input
- Wired Ethernet Network (10/100/1000 Mbps) or coaxial connection required if using optional MoCA adapter
- A Ceton “Q” or a PC with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate
- Ceton “Q” or a Windows 7 PC with a TV tuner is required for TV and DVR features
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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