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Media Center Users Get Free ITV and Slingbox Functionality

Microsoft adds free Internet content and remote access to recorded TV shows, music and other Media Center features.

If you already have a Media Center PC, it's your lucky day, as Microsoft adds two features to the platform: Internet TV and Media Center's own version of SlingBox called WebGuide.

Both services will be available free of charge to Media Center owners. "It’s a good example of how the Media Center platform keeps evolving," says Scott Evans, group manager in the Entertainment and Devices eHome Division at Microsoft. "It adds value for people who bought Media Center."

The new Internet TV feature -- accessible through a tab on the Media Center home page next to "Recorded TV" -- is supported by advertising. Internet-based content such as TV reruns and sporting events can be accessed just like any other show available through Media Center.

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ITV should not be confused with Microsoft's IPTV service, now called Mediaroom. Available through broadband providers, Mediaroom is an IP-based alternative to traditional cable and satellite content delivery. It is a non-PC solution that delivers programming guides, content and other services directly through the TV via a proprietary settop box.

The ITV offering, on the other hand, is a simply a way to push some IP-based content to Media Center PCs.

The other new feature, called WebGuide, is a third-party application that does what Slingbox does, and a whole lot more. Like Slingbox, it is a time-shifting, place-shifting TV viewing solution, but it also lets users schedule TV recordings, access music collections, and in short do pretty much everything you can do with a Media Center … via any Web browser, whether inside the home or from a hotel room halfway around the world.

A labor of love by founder Doug Berrett, Web Guide has been highly lauded in Media Center circles, and practically free at $18 for a download. Now it is actually free. Just download it onto your Media Center, and begin accessing it from anything that has a Web browser, from a PC to a cell phone.

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In fact, WebGuide does a few things that Media Center alone doesn't do. For example, you can set up an RSS feed for your recorded TV shows, and access them with one click from a Sidebar gadget on your PC desktop.

The service is just one more reason to dump Slingbox and TiVo for that matter. TiVo's remote access service is slow and laborious. Web Guide is almost as fast as being there.

Berrett has now joined Microsoft full time.

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Article Topics

News · Media Center · CEDIA · Media Center · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
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. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

12 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Nadeem Ishaq  on  09/17  at  01:49 PM

where do i exactly download this from?

Posted by Jake  on  09/17  at  02:07 PM

Please post a reference to Microsoft Press Release

Posted by Nathan  on  09/17  at  03:25 PM

i know this was suppose to be out today but theres been no update or download link or anything. so whats going on here?

Posted by roger  on  09/17  at  05:52 PM

Go here to download webguide -

Posted by shin234  on  09/17  at  07:00 PM

how do i get the itv fuctionality i checked windows update and nothing

Posted by brian  on  09/17  at  08:55 PM

Does this ITV and Web Guide work for MCE XP or only on Vista?  The examples, slideshow and pictures only seem to indicate Vista.

Posted by brian  on  09/17  at  09:10 PM
Posted by Nathan Weinberg  on  09/18  at  12:35 PM

Julie, you report the news on Internet TV as though this were an already launched product, but the feature is not available in Media Center, no update or download is available, and there has been no press release.  I’m guessing you’re reporting on a demo or preview of the product, but your article is very misleading and provides no linkw to back it up.  I’d advise you to revise it and clarify what you are reporting on.

Posted by Chris Lanier  on  09/18  at  03:11 PM

The internet TV plug-in will launch during DigitalLife at the end of the month.

Posted by ncharles  on  09/19  at  05:55 AM

Webguide won’t stream to any web browser, or rather I should say I can’t get it to work from my PC running Ubuntu and Firefox.  I though that it transcoded the show on the fly so it should have worked, am I missing something?

Posted by JoeM  on  09/19  at  01:45 PM

ncharles, as far as I know the service requires WMP

Posted by BearBacker  on  10/02  at  06:37 PM

You can watch, control, record, edit and share a Slingbox video stream in a web browser with mReplay Live.  It has a record buffer so I can record back in time and works in Internet Explorer and Firefox. 

I’m watching the VP debate right now with it… time to record another one of Palin’s brain farts. 


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