Posts filed under ‘Media Center’

Microsoft RAW Codec and Windows Media Center

Yesterday (see previous post) I wrote a little about the newly released Microsoft RAW Codec. One of the first things I did was try my latest batch of Nikon RAW NEF files from a balloon festival earlier this month. I had so-so results, especially inside Windows Media Center, where thumbnails appeared, but after selecting an individual image file, WMC could not display it. This set of images was shot with a D7000 DX camera, in order to take advantage of the longer reach of FX lenses used with it. I normally carry both a D700 and a D7000.

As it turns out, for whatever reason, the Microsoft RAW Codec does not support the D7000. I’m not sure why, since Adobe and others now support it, and the D7000 has been available since mid October 2010.

Anyway, if you have a supported camera, the new codec most definitely is supported inside Windows Media Center if you want to view your RAW images there. You won’t get detailed EXIF info in View Details, but you certainly can display your images on a large screen. The screen capture below shows one of the folders (highlighted) from an Orchid Show I attended in 2009 where I shot with my D700 and the Nikon 105mm Macro lens. Thumbnails appear as expected.

mce-RAW-1

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July 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Windows 8 Interface Looks Slick,but Where is Multimedia Functionality?

Yesterday Microsoft finally pulled back the curtain just a little to give the world a peek at the touch interface for Windows V.Next.

https://www.youtube.com/v/BHrcz7zcm_8?version=3

The “Start” Screen is “swipable” and apparently every app on your system will appear as a tile. I like this concept a lot (and hope that there is an easy way to search for apps if there are hundred’s installed to avoid scrolling through an ungainly number of pages (thinking of my iPad…). The “snap” feature appears to allow two apps to switch focus (but only two) which is cool for a tablet interface, but I am not sure if that works for me on a desktop/laptop used for mainstream work with multiple apps open all the time. I guess we will find out in time. But for a tablet format, I vote YES.

 

In some ways, the interface reminds me of Windows Media Center. But speaking of WMC, while this first demo touched on Pictures and Videos, I didn’t see any TV functionality in the screens that quickly scrolled by in the presentation. There are a lot of missing pieces, and I hope Microsoft reveals info soon.

June 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

Airplay for Windows Media Center

It had to happen, and I’m glad it did. Thomas Pleasance has produced a nifty add-on for Windows Media Center that allows AirPlay from an iPad to Windows Media Center. It is currently at beta 1 stage and is documented to work only with videos (and YouTube) on the IOS device.

You’ll need to install Dot NET 3.5 if it isn’t already present, Bonjour from http://support.apple.com/kb/DL999 and finally the app from his home page.

After running the install (it is a little quirky, see the comments posted on his page), I was indeed able to stream from my iPad to Windows Media Center. I fired up Videos on my iPad and selected Avatar (which I ripped from my owned BD Ray movie).

I touched the AirPlay icon to display AirPlay enabled devices

airplay3

and sure enough, I could select Windows Media Center!

 

airplay4

Both the iPad and the WMC machine were on 802.11n 5GHz wireless and it didn’t take long at all for the movie to start to stream on WMC.

airplay3wmc

Interestingly enough, I could drag the timeline with a mouse and playback started instantly from that point. I didn’t have any video or audio issues at all.

 

Even though the app is not currently supposed to work with Photos on the iPad, I tried a slide show, as I see that as a more important application for me than videos. I was able to manually move between 5 or 6 photos before WMC froze, but the potential is there.

 

I’m all for a universal ecosystem of smart, connected devices, and I love seeing apps like this one. I’m not seeing the app show up in the Extra Libraries (it IS registered) so I don’t know if the app can send content FROM MCE to an iPad (but I would really like to see that since that would have more real world use for me).

 

Kudos to Thomas Pleasance for these first steps!

May 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm

WX Channel iPad App Interacts with TV While You Watch

I’ve just had a game changing entertainment experience. I love watching shows in HD about nature, geography, especially those that feature striking photography that adds to my knowledge of the physical world around me. The Weather Channel has launched a show called From the Edge with Peter Lik and it is available both in HD and SD. And  WX has simultaneously launched a companion iPad app (FREE) that, like some of the music apps previously available that can listen to music that is playing and identify it, listens to each show as you watch it (Live/Recorded/On Demand) and then download and displays related content to augment the viewing experience.

 

edge1

Tuned in and watching the first recorded episode of this show on my TV.

 

 

edge-listening

the iPad app is listening and syncing/downloading content. Note that other info about the current show and the upcoming episode in the series is also available.

 

interactedge

The app is a great education experience for kids and adults alike with instructional quizzes and FAQs.

 

edge3

Notes from the field about this episode showed the dangers of producing a show in an unpredictable environment.

 

Kudos to everyone at the Weather Channel for the vision to offer a multimedia experience spanning devices in real time. I hope this is the beginning of a new era. We’ve come along way since Former FCC Chariman Newton Minnow’s famous “Vast Wasteness” 1961 speech.

April 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Connecting an IP Camera to WMC, iPhones and iPads

Motivated by the upcoming yearly Halloween onslaught of youngsters and the not so young about to come through my condo complex, I started thinking about how to integrate an Internet capable surveillance camera with my connected home and devices. I’m not a “real” developer, but I’m a pretty smart geek (IMO) and I started looking around for ideas that  I could borrow and customize.

My goals were to be able to check activity in my parking lot/walkway on demand from Windows Media Center, my iPhone, and my iPad. The web is a wonderful wealth of information, and putting this together was not really difficult. And definitely worth sharing with others.

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October 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

iPad + WHS (Vail) + Air Video + Recorded TV = Internet Streaming

Air Video (Free) for the iPad just made my non DRM’d MCE Recorded TV mobile.  A few simple hoops to jump through and a couple of gotcha’s, but for me, well worth the effort. I’m streaming recorded TV over 3G.

Ingredients:

Vail (WHS2) Beta

Apple iTunes x64

Air Video (Free from the App Store)

iPad

DVR-MS Recorded TV files

Well, Vail is in public beta. I’m disappointed that there isn’t any Media Center functionality (i.e., whole home networked Media Center), but at least I’ve got a slick way to stream my unprotected recorded TV (and other video formats) while away from home.

I’m going to be purchasing the full version of Air Video. This one’s a keeper and then some. I set up the free version today and I’m, well, wowed.

Air Video streams quite a number of file formats natively, and can convert some (but not all) in real time and stream. That includes dvr-ms (but not, unfortunately, wtv). I’m looking for a slicker way to automatically convert my wtv files to dvr-ms, but for now, I right click a wtv on a W7 machine and then select convert to dvr-ms. Enough for a demo and to know that this is one app I’m going to be using alot. The Free version of Air Video only allows 3 files in a folder, so for now, I’ve divided a few files up accordingly and stored them on my Vail machine. That was the hard part. Or at least manually distracting.

In order, I

1. Installed iTunes x64 (this includes Bonjour – if you already have iTunes without Bonjour, you will need to install it)

2.  Downloaded the server side software. Configured it by specifying the folders

3. . Downloaded and installed the Air Video Free server software from iTunes on my iPad

4.  Specified the server on the iPad in Air Server Server settings.

5.  Started watching streaming recorded TV over 3G (also works at home on WiFi)

Note: If your router isn’t UPnP, you will need to forward TCP Port 45631

airvideo1

You can see you can play in real time with Live Conversion. This worked perfectly for me. You can also convert and queue up various titles.

airvideo2

Full screen in landscape view on my iPad is totally watchable.

June 5, 2010 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Looks like Netflix MCE HD is Rolling Out

Fired up a machine that never had Netflix installed previously (W7 x64 Ultimate) and installed Netflix. I’m streaming Stargate Continuum in HD 3800/3800 (screen shot below) over 802.11n 5GHz wireless to me 1920 x 1080 Sony “laptop”. No HD icon, but it is definitely HD.

netflixMCE-HDsm

May 16, 2010 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

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