Media Center at CEDIA: Surprises, Secrets, and Speculation
Inteset to offer payment plans; Niveus updates Movie Gallery and drops Extenders; what will Samsung and Crestron show?
So far, the pre-CEDIA news on Media Center has been little news at all: Organizers are keeping quiet about the new Media Center Integrator Alliance; Microsoft plans no new revelations on Media Center TV Pack; and Microsoft has not elaborated on partners that “are taking Media Center to the next level.”
Here are a few more pre-CEDIA tidbits concerning Media Center.
Inteset Payment Plan
Inteset apparently is adding “banking” to its roster of offerings. The manufacturer of Media Center-based entertainment and automation solutions will let dealers and their customers buy product on credit.
With as little as $1,000 down, dealers can purchase an Inteset server, and pay the rest over a period of two years or less with “a small finance fee.”
Dealers can pass the payment plan on to their customers, or collect money in full to improve their own cash flow.
Lifeware iPhone Support
Lifeware programming software version 2.0.4 has tons of new features, including the addition of several drivers for third-party subsystems, and continued flexibility for customizing user interfaces.
One of the key new features, though, is support for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Menus for these Apple products can be built inside of the Lifeware programming software.
“It really starts to bring home a very cool but cost-friendly remote-control solution,” says Lifeware CEO Seale Moorer. “All of our partners can automatically pick up iPhone control through our user interface.”
Lifeware is at booth #410 at CEDIA Expo 2008.
Check out more news from Lifeware at CEDIA 2008
Niveus Movie Gallery
In March of this year, Niveus Media announced the Movie Gallery application which aggregates content from a variety sources, whether they are recorded from TV, downloaded from the Internet or even ripped from Blu-ray discs and DVDs.
At CEDIA Expo 2008, the company will introduce Movie Library 1.5, which accommodates a wider catalog of movie sources, offers disc-in-drive support, and expands metadata with high resolution cover art (including Blu-ray).
In addition, Niveus has created a “whole backup engine” for saving movies to the Niveus Media Center via a 10-foot interface (i.e., the television).
Media Center Integrator Alliance
Officially, the MCIA group is still remaining mum, but CE Pro has learned more about this initiative.
The Media Center Integrator Alliance counts an impressive group of companies as founding members – and not just the usual suspects.
Dealers can expect some useful tools for succeeding with Media Center. Any similar support from Apple? Don’t count on it.
Media Center Extenders
Not sure exactly what is going on at the Samsung booth, but there are rumors of something happening in the Media Center Extender department.
The original version of Samsung’s Extenders worked only with Samsung TVs (because control is via HDMI CEC). Might the company be showing a generic version that is compatible with any display?
Also, Niveus has ceased development of its own Edge Media Center Extenders – an expensive product based on the Xbox 360.
CEO Tim Cutting says that Niveus got “mixed reactions” on the product from dealers. “A lot of people thought it was a glorified Xbox.”
So, instead of making its own Extenders, Niveus will be testing and supporting third party devices.
At CEDIA Expo 2008, the company will use HP’s MediaSmart Extenders. “We brought them in house, and tested them,” says Cutting. “They are certified by Niveus.”
Crestron Media Center?
It’s another “stop,” says Fred Bargetzi, VP of technology.
The company is coming out with an new media server, but it won’t be based on WMC.
“We wanted it to be a Media Center, but we asked Microsoft for a lot of changes [to the platform], and it wasn’t in their immediate road map,” Bargetzi says.
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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