updated 04:50 pm EDT, Mon September 17, 2007
Media Center WebGuide
Microsoft's Media Center interface is acquiring two new features that will greatly improve its usefulness online, according to news from the electronics promo group CEDIA. The Redmond, Washington developer today announced that it has struck a deal to integrate WebGuide into the software and should soon gain the ability to stream video from a home TV source over the Internet. Similar to the Slingbox, the extension lets users rely on a cellphone or web browser to remotely view shows. Users with DVRs and other recording equipment attached to the PC can also queue shows by issuing simulated remote commands, WebGuide adds. The previously $18 feature is now free and should receive future updates from its developer despite the Microsoft takeover.
An in-house feature has also been developed, Microsoft says. Serving as a complement to the company's Mediaroom for TV delivered from traditional providers, a new Internet TV feature should permit viewers to watch free streaming channels directly from the Media Center interface rather than relying on a subscription service. The service will include specially-made versions classic TV shows and sports events in its initial form and will be ad-supported, Microsoft says. Neither the company nor CEDIA explained how quickly the Internet TV feature would become available, though a launch is expected soon.