Microsoft Media Center PC? No thanks.

October 7, 2004

Robert Scoble wrote a great post about what Microsoft should be doing to become the company that people like again.  I think he’s right on top of it; I don’t think much of it will happen, but he’s got the right idea.

My message in a bottle to Bill Gates

These are the trends for the digitial decade. Next week you’ll see the new Media Center. It has an RSS aggregator available for it.

However, this still annoys me to no end.  Yes, it is a great product.  Yes, the new features are really nice.

No, I won’t have one.

Why, you ask?  Because the only way to get one is to buy a new PC that the vendors charge TWICE what they do for a comparable machine without the Media Center software.  I have a machine ready to build as a media center PC (notice the small case on the letters) – plenty of processor power, multiple large hard drives, lots of fast RAM.  I have a capture card with MPEG2 hardware encoding.  But, I’ll probably go with MythTV or Freevo.  I don’t need yet another machine; I need a decent software solution.  My family is familiar with Windows family of products but they’ll have to adjust because I don’t want to shell out 1600-2000 dollars (US) to appease the Microsoft Marketing Machine.

Yes, I’m annoyed.  I’ll deal with it.  Read Robert’s post though – he’s pushing out the ideas that will change the internet as you know it.

UPDATE: According to GamePC (thanks to a link from Eric Rice) you can now purchase the Media Center Edition of Windows XP. Well, next week anyway.



2 Responses to “Microsoft Media Center PC? No thanks.”

  1. Mat Hall said

    I’ve had conversations in the past with some MVPs, questioning the strategy of only selling XP MCE bundled with a machine. Their response — that configurations which meet the “standard” are fairly specific (only certain tuner cards are supported, etc.) and that it would be too confusing for consumers — was slightly unsatisfying; after all, MythTV et al don’t support every tuner available, and people manage fine. I have a PC that meets or exceeds all the requirements of MCE, has a supported tuner card, blah blah, but the only way I can get a copy is to buy a new PC at a ridiculous markup, stump up big bucks to join MSDN, or pirate it, none of which are really a good option. Given that the kind of person who’s built a PVR-capable machine is also going to be able to work out whether or not it’ll run MCE, and the type of person who can’t work out the requirements is unlikely to be buying a machine without a bundled OS anyway, so what’s the problem?

    (My laptop came with MCE, so I suppose I could install “regular” Pro on that and put MCE on my desktop machine, but it’s an awful lot of aggro that I don’t need…)

  2. According to GamePC (thanks to a link from Eric Rice) you can now purchase the Media Center Edition of Windows XP. Well, next week anyway.


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