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Vista Experience: ha ha ha ha ha - Page 4

post #121 of 170
Even if they did have a serial code, you could still do that, and it would still be violating the EULA just as you are now. Good job.
post #122 of 170
I've always found the Windows look to clunky and ugly.
post #123 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by ThinkingDifferent
I've always found the Windows look to clunky and ugly.

Yeah, so? The point is: you can change the look of Windows rather easily, just like with MacOS (it's actually even easier on Windows, since all you need is a patch that is free and widely used and you can use any theme without paying for software or anything. It's built-in).

WindowBlinds, StyleXP - there are apps out there that can change the entire look of the OS. I was actually using KoL's Vista theme a while back when I was running some software on XP, and it mimics actual Vista so well (with the transparencies and all that), that Microsoft sent a cease & desist letter to the guy.

Windows' looks are the least of problems that can hamper one's need to run Windows. Especially since they can, and will be, changed, by Microsoft and by the end user him/herself. There are other, functionality problems with WinXP, something that Vista is supposed to (and does, to some degree) change, but those are not show-stoppers.
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post #124 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
Yeah, so? The point is: you can change the look of Windows rather easily, just like with MacOS (it's actually even easier on Windows, since all you need is a patch that is free and widely used and you can use any theme without paying for software or anything. It's built-in).

For me, the beauty of OSX is that I don't have to apply a patch or buy software to make the interface appealing to the eye.
post #125 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by ThinkingDifferent
For me, the beauty of OSX is that I don't have to apply a patch or buy software to make the interface appealing to the eye.

Beauty can only get you so far with an OS. There are other, more important issues to deal with. And beauty is also relative. I like Aqua, but I think Windows Classic is one of the best "themes" (it's not really a theme...) out there for usability purposes. It's fast, uninstrusive, and easy on the eyes.

Can you say the same thing about Aqua? Perhaps. It's certainly not fast - uninstrusive? Maybe. I dislike all the colors it throws at me, but that's me. Easy on the eyes? Not really, but not as bad as Luna. It's all relative.
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post #126 of 170
Kick:

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groverat: MCE has *one* distinguishing feature over FrontRow: DVR.

That's like saying the new GTO has *one* distinguishing feature over a go-kart: ~395 more horsepower.

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Of all the DVR owners I know, none use MCE. Tivo, yes. Cable company boxes, yes. Linux + MythTV, many. MCE? Not a one. And honestly, compared to the number of TV viewers I know, the DVR owners are miniscule.

Anecdotal evidence is the best evidence.

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I'd love to have a Mac DVR now... but I also am unsure that it would make good business sense over the next couple of years.

How hard is it to program DVR functionality into Front Row? Do you really think that's a huge investment?


TenoBell:

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Alright let say this. Since we don't know how much it cost MS to develop MCE. Lets say selling 6.5 million copies they have recouped their initial investment. For a company as large as MS to really have a hit they need to sell in extremely large volume as in the hundreds of millions. 6.5 million will not have much positive impact on their bottom line or on their stock price.

So?

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No MCE is an XP version. Hundreds of millions of copies of XP have been sold without MCE.

MCE is an application built into WindowsXP. XP has been very profitable. It hurts nothing to have MCE in there.

That's the point. There is zero harm in having MCE. You get nothing but benefit from it. If it wasn't worth it, why has Microsoft worked so hard to make it a key part of Vista?

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No MCE is an XP version. Hundreds of millions of copies of XP have been sold without MCE.

The only argument I have made is that MCE hasn't been a massive failure and money pit. You've adjusted your initial arguments and are slowly coming towards reality.

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Lowering the choice even further MS will now bundle MCE right into Vista. Hoping consumers will discover this new functionality and begin using it.

Lowering the choice? What the hell does that phrase even mean?
Microsoft made the very smart choice of making MCE a part of Windows, increasing its exposure and, possibly, its use.

What exactly is the problem here?

I swear to god, Apple fanboys get pissed over nothing if the name "Microsoft" comes up.

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He may have been exaggerating his point, but his story is not the only one of how difficult MCE can be to set up.

It took my mom and I 8 hours to set up our first Mac (5500/225). We reformatted the machine twice because we had no idea what we were doing and didn't read the setup manual carefully. PEBKAC

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Looking at MCE the set up process is too cumbersome and involved.

Have you ever used it?
I have.

I have never been to France but it's probably really stupid and pointless. I read an article about it once.


I cannot wait until Apple comes out with DVR and it's suddenly the most magical thing ever. So damned predictable, you Maclots.
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post #127 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat That's like saying the new GTO has *one* distinguishing feature over a go-kart: ~395 more horsepower.

So educate us - what else does MCE have over the features of FrontRow?

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Anecdotal evidence is the best evidence.

So provide numbers on how successful MCE is.

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How hard is it to program DVR functionality into Front Row? Do you really think that's a huge investment?

As I've told you *numerous* times over the past few months, software is easy, hardware is the problem. Adding DVR capabilities to FrontRow makes no sense unless there's hardware, right? The hardware was, is, and will continue to be, the problem. Choosing the set of inputs that will satisfy everyone just isn't possible right now. Too much flux in the tech and the market.
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post #128 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
So educate us - what else does MCE have over the features of FrontRow?

You miss my point. DVR is bigger feature in itself than the entirety of Front Row.

But aside from DVR:
You can rent movies online with MCE.
You can listen to radio stations (terrestrial and satellite) with MCE.
You can access various Interenet TV "stations" with MCE.

There are a ton of plug-ins for MCE that expand its functionality. Front Row isn't even in its league, it's a different animal.

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So provide numbers on how successful MCE is.

What would be a rubric for its success?
There are no solid numbers on how many people use it and it is bundled with Windows.

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Choosing the set of inputs that will satisfy everyone just isn't possible right now. Too much flux in the tech and the market.

Firstly, CableCARD.

So until everything is perfect do nothing at all? That is absurd.
There will never be just one thing for everyone.

Specifications will always be in flux and hardware components will always change. Thank god software can be changed and that adapters between interfaces are created.

I was not aware that "oh this is slightly complicated so screw it!" was the hallmark attitude of an "innovator" like Apple.
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post #129 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
You miss my point. DVR is bigger feature in itself than the entirety of Front Row.

Today, perhaps. In a couple years? I disagree. I still say an inevitable move to content-on-demand is coming, and make DVRs less and less necessary.

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But aside from DVR:
You can rent movies online with MCE.

Keen. I expect we'll see that in iTMS quite soon. Okay, I *hope* we'll see that soon.

Wait... you mean *on-demand*?

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You can listen to radio stations (terrestrial and satellite) with MCE.

Above and beyond what is accessible on the internet? Or is this just like iTunes 'Radio' section, but perhaps with a Clearcast partnership?

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You can access various Interenet TV "stations" with MCE.

But isn't this just available on the internet anyway?

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There are a ton of plug-ins for MCE that expand its functionality. Front Row isn't even in its league, it's a different animal.

Sounds interesting - what sort of plug-ins do you use?

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What would be a rubric for its success?
There are no solid numbers on how many people use it and it is bundled with Windows.

And that last part is what keeps you from saying it is a success, or anyone else from saying it isn't, without good solid *use* numbers.

Calculator is bundled with every copy of MacOS X, but it doesn't make it a 'success' by itself.

I think the paltry sales of MCE units prior to the massive OEM onslaught recently is the best indicator of use, actually. And they weren't good.

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Firstly, CableCARD.

CableCARD 1? 2? What's the new 'standard' just announced that's supposed to succeed CableCARD 2 in a couple years? It's not the panacea we all thought it would be.

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So until everything is perfect do nothing at all? That is absurd.
There will never be just one thing for everyone.

Exactly. So let everyone choose the hardware solution they need for their system. If Apple were to create a Mac with a set of DVR connectors, they'd inevitably have the wrong ones for a lot of people. So they'd have to make a number of unit styles - they can't afford to do that. There are enough PC makers in the Windows ecosystem to allow for different niche players - right now they're *all* niche players in the MCE realm, but it allows them to find subniches.

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Specifications will always be in flux and hardware components will always change. Thank god software can be changed and that adapters between interfaces are created.

Like I've been saying all along, software is easy, forcing the entire cable industry to move to a reasonable set of standards and maybe, god forbid, sticking with them for more than six months, isn't. Other people are producing products for those niches, I don't see why Apple has to as well.

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I was not aware that "oh this is slightly complicated so screw it!" was the hallmark attitude of an "innovator" like Apple.

Wading into the maelstrom that is the current video distribution market isn't good business sense. Look at today's MultiPass announcement for hints on where Apple is headed. It's not DVRs, it's video-on-demand with an ownership hook.
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post #130 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Today, perhaps. In a couple years? I disagree. I still say an inevitable move to content-on-demand is coming, and make DVRs less and less necessary.

And MCE is already there. The framework is already in place. No hoping involved, it's there.

Why doesn't Apple have it yet?
Why is it unreasonable to expect Apple to have it?

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But isn't this just available on the internet anyway?

The iPod is just an mp3 player.

It is not about providing something that does not exist in any other fashion. You know that.

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Sounds interesting - what sort of plug-ins do you use?

I don't, I have a modified XBox as my media center.

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And that last part is what keeps you from saying it is a success, or anyone else from saying it isn't, without good solid *use* numbers.

I never said MCE was a smashing success, never. Not once.
It was argued that it was a failure and I disputed that. There's a huge difference between saying, "It's not a failure" and "It has set the world on fire."

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CableCARD 1? 2? What's the new 'standard' just announced that's supposed to succeed CableCARD 2 in a couple years? It's not the panacea we all thought it would be.

It doesn't matter, if it changes just change the card (and the software. It's all PCMCIA Type 2.

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If Apple were to create a Mac with a set of DVR connectors, they'd inevitably have the wrong ones for a lot of people.

Like what? What could be the problem?
They ALREADY want you to hook the mini up to your TV. Why not add DVR? It's not like they are divorcing the TV and the Mac, they just don't have DVR.

MacMini & Frontrow @ Apple.com

Whutz that thar big black thingermajig hooked up to th' Mini what says "Sony" on it? Is 'at one a them deviltalk boxes?

And whutz thisahere marketin' gobbledegoock:
TV Star
Front Row makes it even more tempting to use a TV as your Mac mini display. Its easy to hook them up, but because every TV is different, you may need an additional cable.


How will I ever escape from this tangle of wires!?

I like that if you click "Video" there the main thing they are proud of is the ability to watch movie trailers. Awesome!

"Hey kids, not only do you get to pay for cable but you can rebuy your shows that you could've already recorded but we think DVR is really Inelegant and our remote wouldn't be so awesome if it had Extra Buttons."

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Other people are producing products for those niches, I don't see why Apple has to as well.

Obviously they don't have to, or else they would.
You are intentionally missing the point.

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Wading into the maelstrom that is the current video distribution market isn't good business sense. Look at today's MultiPass announcement for hints on where Apple is headed. It's not DVRs, it's video-on-demand with an ownership hook.

This is amusing to me. It doesn't make good business sense... until Apple eventually does it.

MCE already has video-on-demand. It's already there. And as those capabilities expand Microsoft will already have an established and matured (and well-spread!) platform on which to put these new VOD services.
Because all home-bound copies of Windows sold from now on will likely have MCE bundled in.

But it's retarded... until Apple does it.
If Apple does it tomorrow it's smart.
If they wait 5 years that's smart, too.

The right time to jump in? When Steve says.
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post #131 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat

That's the point. There is zero harm in having MCE. You get nothing but benefit from it. If it wasn't worth it, why has Microsoft worked so hard to make it a key part of Vista?



The only argument I have made is that MCE hasn't been a massive failure and money pit. You've adjusted your initial arguments and are slowly coming towards reality.


I agree, Apple is way behind on DVR. I have Tivo and like most users really enjoy it. In this area MS has a HUGE advantage over Apple. Tivo is a big money loser. Apple probably fears treading into a market were they aren't sure they will make money right off the bat. MS doesn't have to worry about making money today. They're looking 5 and 10 years down the road, IMO. Very smart on their part.
post #132 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
And MCE is already there. The framework is already in place. No hoping involved, it's there.

I was talking about video on-demand, not DVR.

MCE already has on-demand CSI? How about Battlestar? ER? Not DVR'd, on-demand.

What you're describing isn't even close to what I mean.

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Why doesn't Apple have it yet?
Why is it unreasonable to expect Apple to have it?

Because it doesn't fit with their fairly obvious strategy?

Look, *as a consumer* I'd love to have a DVR in there as much as you. It peeves me that it isn't. But *as an observer*, I think that Apple has a very different plan in mind, and that DVR doesn't fit into it. I think they're going to try and replicate the iTMS impact on music distribution, but for video to the home. DVR doesn't fit in that, because once on-demand is in place, a DVR has very little utility. So why wade into a market that is a) fractured, b) coming to be dominated by the cable companies who really don't play well with others, and c) going to be more or less irrelevant anyway if they can pull it off?

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The iPod is just an mp3 player.

It is not about providing something that does not exist in any other fashion. You know that.

Well duh, but you claimed that there were three things that MCE did that FrontRow doesn't: DVR, radio station access, TV station access. The latter two are delivered over the net, right? Then, could someone with FrontRow please confirm or deny that they can or cannot access radio streams and/or television streams on the internet? I suspect they can, since iTunes can, and QuickTime Player can, and FrontRow just layers on top of them.

If so, that leaves just the DVR as the feature that MCE has that FrontRow doesn't, which was my original assertion. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

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I never said MCE was a smashing success, never. Not once.
It was argued that it was a failure and I disputed that. There's a huge difference between saying, "It's not a failure" and "It has set the world on fire."

I never said you did. What I'm saying is that with such vague numbers, *no* conclusions can be drawn, just hunches. You think it's been at least moderately successful, obviously, but it's unclear at *what*. Units sold? Bundling with XP makes that a useless number. My hunch is that the number of installations of MCE being used as a DVR is miniscule compared to the number of Tivos and cable company boxes out there. 'rat, you're part of a very bleeding edge group, and not the mainstream user by any means. I mean come on, you aren't even using an MCE box, you modded an XBox. Not. Main. Stream. Not even close.

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It doesn't matter, if it changes just change the card (and the software. It's all PCMCIA Type 2.

My understanding was that the successor is *not*, and that was the problem. Damn, I wish I could remember the name. WWEC?

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Like what? What could be the problem?
They ALREADY want you to hook the mini up to your TV. Why not add DVR? It's not like they are divorcing the TV and the Mac, they just don't have DVR.

Oh c'mon - output != input, you know that. The consumer has control over the display device, but not the input device, in most cases.

I agree that the technological issues are much less than they were a year ago, or two years ago, but I still think, based solely on external speculation, that they won't bite on the DVR market. It seems they have something else in mind. (Hint: true on-demand, not just 'play video over internet')

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Obviously they don't have to, or else they would.
You are intentionally missing the point.

That makes two of us then.

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This is amusing to me. It doesn't make good business sense... until Apple eventually does it.

Never said that, please don't put words in my mouth.

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MCE already has video-on-demand. It's already there.

Really? Or is it just displaying the same content I can show in my web browser? Two very very different things, 'rat. As I said above, my suspicion is that FrontRow can show the same types of data, and that is so not what I mean by on-demand. Try Showtime-on-demand, or HBO-on-demand. How about The-Entire-WB-movie-catalog-on-demand? Or maybe Every-ESPN-Classic-game-on-demand? How about The-Discovery-Channel-Every-Series-Every-Episode-on-demand? We're not there yet. My suspicion is that Apple is going to try to push for that model. In which case a DVR doesn't make much sense.

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And as those capabilities expand Microsoft will already have an established and matured (and well-spread!) platform on which to put these new VOD services. Because all home-bound copies of Windows sold from now on will likely have MCE bundled in.

You may be right, but none of that has squat to do with the DVR, does it? And besides, now you're talking about #-of-units of Windows vs. Mac, and adding a DVR to the mini isn't going to change that situation appreciably.

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But it's retarded... until Apple does it.
If Apple does it tomorrow it's smart.
If they wait 5 years that's smart, too.

The right time to jump in? When Steve says.

Now you're just being obtuse on purpose. Stop putting words in my mouth.
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post #133 of 170
Cable TV is not going to just go away.

Computers were made to have new things plugged into them.

Microsoft already has video-on-demand in addition to DVR, so I'm curious as to what Apple is doing that makes more sense than having both functions.

Apple is doing a great job building their VoD services. I don't much like the resolution of the provided content compared to HDTV over cable (it's not even close), but it's pretty nice. I simply do not understand why anyone thinks it is going to replace cable TV.
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post #134 of 170
hey, it's Moderator Deathmatch!

Five million Quatloos on the newcomer!

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Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

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When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
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Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #135 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
I said "the framework is already there". And it is. They have pretty much the entire package already there. Adding content is simple once you've got the system worked out.

You're right, it is. Assuming the content providers want to play ball with you.

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When is that?
You keep talking about this like it is right around the corner.

Sorry if you think that, I'm not. What I'm saying is that this is what I think *Apple* is thinking, that's all. And I don't think it's right around the corner, it's going to take a few years.

But then again, if you had been told three years ago that one company would be selling over 3 million legal downloads a day of music, at a buck a pop, you wouldn't have believed it, would have you? I wouldn't have. I think they're going to try and replicate that with video.

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Because it's...
(a) not nearly as fractured as you want to make it seem (b) not that difficult to get involved because the cable companies aren't anywhere near as bad as you're portraying them (notice the complete lack of specifics, only "they don't play well with others"
(c) ridiculous to assume total victory over an established model that's been around for decades

Doesn't have to be total, just significant. cf: iTMS.

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iTunes is not Front Row.
Quicktime Player is not Front Row.

We're not talking about what MacOSX can do, we're talking about Front Row versus MCE.

FrontRow leverages iTunes and QuickTime, right? iTunes and QuickTime can play streamed content, right? It is therefore reasonable to assume that FrontRow can display streamed content, right? Like I said, I want confirmation on this, but come on 'rat. Don't muddy the issue just for the sake of obfuscation.

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Not mainstream... yet.
Microsoft obviously has a plan to make this more and more accessible to grandma and grandpa, who are currently intimidated by cableco-provided DVR.

Yeah, that 43-button remote is going to help with that.

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We're talking about computers, Kick. Make a PCI expansion card. Computers were built to have new shit plugged into them.

No, we're talking about consumer electronics devices. Or were you planning on scaring off grandma and grandpa again?

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I am well aware that you think that is the direction Apple is going.

Unless this on-demand service has everything cable TV will have it will still make sense to have DVR to keep all television watching in one, unified package.

Eventually, I think it will. Heck, the cable companies are moving this direction. Networks are playing with online sales and distribution, and liking it. I don't think it'll be a long tail situation, I think it'll happen sooner rather than later.

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People are not going to want to switch from their Mac to their cable box, why do you think those big ugly stupid TV/DVD/VHS combo monstrosities sell so well?

MCE puts everything into one, easy-to-use package. The assumption that cable TV is going to simply blink out of existence is laughable.

Never said that, did I? I said that I think Apple thinks they can take a chunk out of it, and that adding DVR would dilute that strategy.

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Also, MCE already has Akimbo.
And that's in addition to the web-accessible stuff like MTV Overdrive, Game xStream, CinemaNow, Movielink.

And that's just some of it. And that's today.

So Microsoft:
DVR & Video-On-Demand

Yes, and sorta. Still not anywhere near the level I think will happen.

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Apple:
Video-On-Demand (Probably at some point in the future)

Hmm.

Look, I think you have a misconception of what I'm saying here, and why. *I* want the DVR. *I* think its a little silly not to have it. But it's entirely too lazy and easy to sit back and say "Apple sux! Where's my DVR!?" It's a lot more interesting to think about *why* they may not have done this... they're not stupid. They have a major home run with iTMS, despite everyone at the outset saying it would never fly, and was a bad idea. But Apple was right. So consider that *maybe* there's a larger reason why no DVR, and try and divine what it is? The above is just my opinion on what I think they may be planning... not what I think they should do, or whether it is the right thing *to* do. I don't agree with a lot of moves they make, but I also realize that they've been right about those moves more often than my armchair quarterbacking. So instead of just saying they're wrong, I'm trying to deduce what the &*(%$ they have up their sleeve. That's all.

I used to think it was about the hardware - now I think it's about the media distribution strategy. Much bigger pie to go for, and much more in line with what we've seen in the music side of things. Whether they can pull it off a second time... who knows.

Edit: Oh sure, edit your message while I'm responding, ya bum.
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post #136 of 170
Jesus, you jumped on it fast! I didn't wait long to edit it and simplify the whole thing.

We've been through this before and it's a billion little fractured quotes at a time. I'm usually one to enjoy that, but you're just as hard-headed, stubborn and arrogant as I am so it is more tiring than usual.

I think Apple might even see DVR as competition.
Why buy Lost when you can just record it in High Definition?
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post #137 of 170
Oooh, this is fun

A few things, Kickaha.

Firstly, I understand where you are coming from: you are trying to understand why Apple is doing what it is doing. I think you may be right about it. The only thing you haven't said is whether you think they are being realistic or not.

A question: How many U.S. households receive their T.V. over-air, via a standard T.V. aerial? What about satellite?

I find your discussion very U.S. and cable centric. What about the rest of the world market?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Well duh, but you claimed that there were three things that MCE did that FrontRow doesn't: DVR, radio station access, TV station access.

There is one other thing: MCE is third-party extensible. I think the biggest mistake Apple has made with Front-Row is not doing the same; I hope they are working on changing this. Yes, you can buy something like the Miglia TVmini or EyeTV or whatever, but you can't use Front Row as an interface, and that is a shame.


Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Try Showtime-on-demand, or HBO-on-demand. How about The-Entire-WB-movie-catalog-on-demand? Or maybe Every-ESPN-Classic-game-on-demand? How about The-Discovery-Channel-Every-Series-Every-Episode-on-demand? We're not there yet. My suspicion is that Apple is going to try to push for that model. In which case a DVR doesn't make much sense.

This quote exemplifies that you appreciate the scale of VoD. Do you really think that Apple is being realistic if it thinks it can compete with conventional T.V. within just a few years? What about the required bandwidth, both at Apple's end, and at the customer's end? If Apple think they can use iTunes to compete with T.V. on a global scale, I think they are being crazily over-optimistic.
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post #138 of 170
Quote:
The only argument I have made is that MCE hasn't been a massive failure and money pit. You've adjusted your initial arguments and are slowly coming towards reality.

Not so much adjust but clarify. Microsoft is a huge publicly traded company. Its products must sell in huge volume to keep the stock healthy. I see no evidence that MCE has been a profitable product or added confidence for Microsoft on WallStreet.

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I never said MCE was a smashing success, never. Not once.
It was argued that it was a failure and I disputed that. There's a huge difference between saying, "It's not a failure" and "It has set the world on fire."

I am saying the original MCE business plan was a failure. Microsoft offering MCE to consumers as a choice was a failure.

The only way to ship MCE in large volume is to no longer offer it as a choice but to package it with most shipping Windows machines.

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Lowering the choice? What the hell does that phrase even mean

I dont mean lower choice in a pejorative sense.

I am saying most consumers did not actively choose to buy MCE. The only way MS can sell MCE in volume is to take away the choice to buy MCE.

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I swear to god, Apple fanboys get pissed over nothing if the name "Microsoft" comes up.

Now you resort to calling me an Apple fanboy. I havent said anything pro Apple or against Microsoft.

My point is that its no mystery why Apple doesnt get into DVR.

EDIT:
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It took my mom and I 8 hours to set up our first Mac (5500/225). We reformatted the machine twice because we had no idea what we were doing and didn't read the setup manual carefully.

You do realize you are comparing an Apple computer 10 years ago to Microsofts latest software.
post #139 of 170
Quote:
A question: How many U.S. households receive their T.V. over-air, via a standard T.V. aerial? What about satellite?

I find your discussion very U.S. and cable centric. What about the rest of the world market?

I couldn't find a direct statisitc about cabel televison in the US. But last I saw about half the US televisions are on cable.

I agree with Kickaha that cable providers will dominate DVR and Video On Demand.

I don't know how it works in the rest of the world. But I can't imagine it being much different.

Quote:
There is one other thing: MCE is third-party extensible. I think the biggest mistake Apple has made with Front-Row is not doing the same;

At least in the beginning it seems Apple did not want to make Front Row too complicated. I'm sure at this point they just want to get the first version out there and fix any performance and stability bugs.

There is no way to accurately tell what direction Apple wants to take Front Row but without a doubt it should see more features in the future.

Quote:
Do you really think that Apple is being realistic if it thinks it can compete with conventional T.V. within just a few years? What about the required bandwidth, both at Apple's end, and at the customer's end? If Apple think they can use iTunes to compete with T.V. on a global scale, I think they are being crazily over-optimistic.

We are only working with the information we know. Its possible Apple knows some things we don't.
post #140 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
[B]Jesus, you jumped on it fast! I didn't wait long to edit it and simplify the whole thing.

We've been through this before and it's a billion little fractured quotes at a time. I'm usually one to enjoy that, but you're just as hard-headed, stubborn and arrogant as I am so it is more tiring than usual.

I luvs ya, 'rat.

I was getting worn out too... we're getting old.

Quote:
I think Apple might even see DVR as competition.
Why buy Lost when you can just record it in High Definition?

Yeah, exactly.

I look at it this way... DVR supports the traditional network model of them broadcasting on their schedule, with ads. I think Apple is going to try and break that, or help break it, by offering the networks something viable but alternate. Kind of like they did with iTMS and the labels. *shrug* Just a thought.
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post #141 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
[B]Oooh, this is fun

A few things, Kickaha.

Firstly, I understand where you are coming from: you are trying to understand why Apple is doing what it is doing. I think you may be right about it. The only thing you haven't said is whether you think they are being realistic or not.

Oh hell, I have no idea.

Quote:
A question: How many U.S. households receive their T.V. over-air, via a standard T.V. aerial? What about satellite?

A goodly number, still. But many of them have access to broadband via DSL.

Quote:
I find your discussion very U.S. and cable centric. What about the rest of the world market?

Eh, screw 'em.



Seriously, I have no idea, and that's one of the reasons that I think the DVR market is headed for the dustbin - the US TV broadcast market, hardware, etc, is very different from the European one. *BUT*... if it's in H.264, it works everywhere. Globally, a VOD system with some basic codec standardization is the way to go, eventually.

Quote:
There is one other thing: MCE is third-party extensible. I think the biggest mistake Apple has made with Front-Row is not doing the same; I hope they are working on changing this. Yes, you can buy something like the Miglia TVmini or EyeTV or whatever, but you can't use Front Row as an interface, and that is a shame.

Wholeheartedly agree, and I hope this changes soon.

Quote:
This quote exemplifies that you appreciate the scale of VoD. Do you really think that Apple is being realistic if it thinks it can compete with conventional T.V. within just a few years? What about the required bandwidth, both at Apple's end, and at the customer's end? If Apple think they can use iTunes to compete with T.V. on a global scale, I think they are being crazily over-optimistic.

True, but these are the same arguments against the iTMS when it started up. Obviously, that was a *complete* failure.

I think that if Apple can continue to get the *networks* on board, bypassing the cable companies, they might have a shot. Selling episodes is a start, IMO. Once they have a good base for that, they may very well start allowing content *producers* to play as well, like they did with the indie labels and individual musicians on iTMS. Then the creators don't even have to pitch to networks to get slots, they can just produce and sell. Interesting idea, no?

Anyway, all just speculation. Hell, they may come out with a DVR next week, I have no idea.
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post #142 of 170
I had a few comments about stuff on page 1 and 2 before this thread went into an MCE arguement.

First of all to address the comments about the slow release cycle of Windows. Some of you apparently have no idea how Corporate or Educational places do IT upgrades. I work at a major university (45,000+ students) and it takes anywhere from a year from the first proposal to upgrade something. We run most of our labs on Windows 2000 and they are only upgrade to XP in a few months from now. Many companies still run on Windows 2000 and still haven't upgraded to XP yet. If MS had a release schedual like Apples most people would be using OSX 10.2 becuase IT does not upgrade their OS's every 12 to 18 months, it's too expensive and too much work.

Secondly in terms of a rewrite. While Apple has no problems ditching an old OS to do a complete rewrite Apple doesn't have a large userbase. It is simplely not an option to break so many applications just for a rewrite, it would be hell again for the Corporate and Edu sectors. People would simply not buy it, they aren't locked in becuase they have choice of hardware unlike Apple users.

You guys need to think of these things from a business stand point. MS like most software companies (outside of the gaming industry) make the majority of their money from Business and Education sectors. Please have some sense when suggestions on rewrites and upgrade cycles.
post #143 of 170
TenoBell:

Quote:
I am saying most consumers did not actively choose to buy MCE. The only way MS can sell MCE in volume is to take away the choice to buy MCE.

MCE never existed as a standalone product.

Repeat it with me:
MCE never existed as a standalone product.

Did MCE ever exist as a standalone product?
Why no, no it didn't.

How on earth can someone choose to buy or not to buy something that isn't sold on its own?
MCE was bundled with $1000+ computers and now it's bundled with XP/Vista.

It never existed as a standalone product. Its sales power absolutely cannot be tracked. Do you honestly believe people saw the HTPCs offered by HP and whoever and thought, "I would spend the extra money to get this DVR-capable computer, but man do I hate MCE!"?

Quote:
You do realize you are comparing an Apple computer 10 years ago to Microsofts latest software.

It looks like the point went 10 miles over your head.

Quote:
At least in the beginning it seems Apple did not want to make Front Row too complicated. I'm sure at this point they just want to get the first version out there and fix any performance and stability bugs.


kickaha:

Quote:
True, but these are the same arguments against the iTMS when it started up.

Eh... wha?

Let's go through this...

This quote exemplifies that you appreciate the scale of VoD. Do you really think that Apple is being realistic if it thinks it can compete with conventional T.V. within just a few years?

Apples & oranges.
The iTMS equivalent of this would be competing with CD sales and the other pay-for-online-music systems. No problem there as few people thought much of any pre-iTMS music download scheme and CD sales have been on the drop with tons of people looking for a good Internet solution.

iTMS launched to much fanfare. It was the first online music service to get big love from the media and analysts.

What about the required bandwidth, both at Apple's end, and at the customer's end?

Again, apples and oranges for music (of questionable quality) and video (of poor quality). I don't think it's a big concern, but who on earth made the argument that people couldn't possibly have the bandwidth to download their DRM'd 128kbps iTMS tracks?
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post #144 of 170
Here's an idea: pay an extra $5 or so a month with your cable package to recieve a login and password to download HD content in a digital format from Apple. Higher quality and more convenient than having to essentially tape cable TV, and cheaper and less redundant than buying episodes of shows you have the right to watch at some atrocious resolution for a dollar a piece.
post #145 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
[B]MCE never existed as a standalone product.

Repeat it with me:
MCE never existed as a standalone product.

Did MCE ever exist as a standalone product?
Why no, no it didn't.

How on earth can someone choose to buy or not to buy something that isn't sold on its own?
MCE was bundled with $1000+ computers and now it's bundled with XP/Vista.

It never existed as a standalone product. Its sales power absolutely cannot be tracked. Do you honestly believe people saw the HTPCs offered by HP and whoever and thought, "I would spend the extra money to get this DVR-capable computer, but man do I hate MCE!"?

If I may...

I believe TB's point (which I agree with) is that consumers, if they wanted MCE, bought an MCE machine. That was the selection decision point. They had the choice, and in fact *had* to make the choice to go seek out an MCE capable box. They bought it *because* it was an MCE box, not despite it. The units shipped at that point reflect the number of consumers who *chose* MCE. They directly reflect the desire for MCE in the marketplace... and it wasn't big.

That's the difference.

When MCE starts being shipped with every copy of Windows, even if the hardware isn't DVR ready, then the MCE units shipped number becomes utterly meaningless, because a) the consumer's choice is gone, b) they can't use all the features anyway, and particularly the features that distinguish it as a usable and viable product. The units shipped numbers no longer reflect the demand in the marketplace for MCE, or DVR capabilities - only for Windows.
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post #146 of 170
Quote:
How on earth can someone choose to buy or not to buy something that isn't sold on its own? MCE was bundled with $1000+ computers and now it's bundled with XP/Vista.

It never existed as a standalone product. Its sales power absolutely cannot be tracked

You are trying to make a point where there is no point.

There was the choice to buy a computer that was only XP. There was a separate choice to buy a computer with XP Media Center Edition.

XP has sold hundreds of millions of copies. XP Media Center Edition sold millions of copies.

Now Media Center Edition is being sold in the general XP market so that XP Media Center Edition will sell hudreds of millions of copies.

Its not that complicated.
post #147 of 170
"Big" is a relative term, kick. What are you comparing it to? Sales of Macs? Sales of cheaper PCs?
With all the extra added costs to go from a budget PC to a full-fledged HTPC it's not very surprising or noteworthy that full-fledged HTPCs are not dominating the market. I don't think anyone expected them to. Easy to call something a failure when you set unrealistic goals for it.

Sales of machines with XP-MCE are very good, but most of those don't have TV tuners. And right now that's not at all surprising because cable companies offer DVRs for $5-$10 a month and the cost of a full-out HTPC is still ~$1000+. You can still use the Media Center app like FrontRow, either on your television or computer monitor. It's just value-added.

You're trying to call the game in the 3rd inning.

And another thing, if MCE is unusable and inviable without DVR, what the hell is FrontRow?
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post #148 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
"Big" is a relative term, kick. What are you comparing it to? Sales of Macs? Sales of cheaper PCs?

Sales of other DVRs, since that is the one and only reason to get an HTPC over a std computer - the DVR.

Especially now that MCE is shipping on other boxes, right?

Quote:
With all the extra added costs to go from a budget PC to a full-fledged HTPC it's not very surprising or noteworthy that full-fledged HTPCs are not dominating the market. I don't think anyone expected them to. Easy to call something a failure when you set unrealistic goals for it.

Sales of machines with XP-MCE are very good, but most of those don't have TV tuners. And right now that's not at all surprising because cable companies offer DVRs for $5-$10 a month and the cost of a full-out HTPC is still ~$1000+.

Righto. So why is a Mac DVR necessary again?

Quote:
You can still use the Media Center app like FrontRow, either on your television or computer monitor. It's just value-added.

Right. Reducing MCE to essentially FrontRow... which is what I've been saying all along. MCE = FrontRow + DVR, more or less. Without DVR, MCE becomes little more than MS FrontRow. So FrontRow becomes a viable competitor to non-DVR hardware MCE.

Quote:
You're trying to call the game in the 3rd inning.

Who's calling a game? I'm just saying that the goal line isn't where we necessarily think it is.

Quote:
And another thing, if MCE is unusable and inviable without DVR, what the hell is FrontRow?

Actually, I was going out of my way *not* to compare the two, because you were the one saying that MCE was much more than just FrontRow + DVR, but cool, thanks.

And I never said it was unusable. I only said that non-DVR MCE sales are roughly equivalent in functionality to FrontRow. Only, and *ONLY* the DVR-enabled hardware MCE sales make sense in talking about the DVR penetration. Using MCE sales in general, now that it is a std install of Windows, as an indicator of DVR-on-computer demand, is silly. And, as you point out, with cable companies almost giving them away, few people are going to spend the cash on a HTPC with MCE and DVR hardware. It's not a growing market.

Which brings us back to: Why doesn't Apple offer a DVR enabled Mac? This might be why.


And dammit, weren't we getting tired of this?? Cripes, but we're a crotchety old pair.
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post #149 of 170
Quote:
It's not a growing market.

That's a way too definitive statement.

Like I said, you're calling the game in the 3rd inning.
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post #150 of 170
Does anyone have reliable figures on how many stand alone copies of MCE have been sold?

I ask because I'm interested in seeing Groverat's head explode.
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post #151 of 170
A January 5th Wall Street Journal article states that 6.5 million copies of Windows Media Edition have been sold since the products launch.

Most of which have been sold after Microsoft allowed OEM to ship MCE on low cost computers.
post #152 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by TenoBell
A January 5th Wall Street Journal article states that 6.5 million copies of Windows Media Edition have been sold since the products launch.

Most of which have been sold after Microsoft allowed OEM to ship MCE on low cost computers.

Yikes, I wasn't actually looking for figures, on account of, you know, MCE has never been a stand alone product.

I'm just in it for the head exploding.
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post #153 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
And dammit, weren't we getting tired of this?? Cripes, but we're a crotchety old pair.

Hey, don't stop now! I can't be the only one enjoying this

Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
Does anyone have reliable figures on how many stand alone copies of MCE have been sold?

I ask because I'm interested in seeing Groverat's head explode.

Whilst this is, of course, slightly relevant, it would be very hard/impossible to use such a number to prove anything about the future of the market.

I said earlier about how the discussion is U.S. & Cable centric, so I went and found out some numbers for the U.K.

According to the latest government figures, 6.3 million households receive "freeview", which is DVB-T (free-to-air digital terrestrial TV received through aerial), 0.7 million are on "analogue" cable, 2.6 million are on "digital" cable, and 7.5 million are on digital satellite. There are approx. 26 million households in the U.K. The unaccounted for household either are still on analogue free-to-air TV (5 channels) or don't have a TV.

I'm sure that the picture is similar across Europe, DVB-T is very popular.

The thing is, for Apple to compete with MCE DVR directly, the only thing they have to do is open-up front row to third parties, and offer pre-configured bundles. They do not have to make any hardware, and they do not have to make any software. Folks such as EyeTV will do all that. Companies make the necessary hardware to record any of: "conventional" analogue over-the-air TV, DVB-T, Cable or satellite. Very, very little effort is required from Apple in order to enter this field.

Groverat, I'd be interested to hear what you think is stopping Apple. Do you think that they are hoping iTunes will be able to compete with cable head-on?
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post #154 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by TenoBell
A January 5th Wall Street Journal article states that 6.5 million copies of Windows Media Edition have been sold since the products launch.

Most of which have been sold after Microsoft allowed OEM to ship MCE on low cost computers.

Why wouldn't people want MCE? You get XP Pro (SysInfo shows MCE as XP Pro) plus extra multimedia functionality not in XP Pro for a lower price then XP Pro costs.
post #155 of 170
All told, 6.5 million copies of XP MCE sold?
Not bad. How much has OSX Tiger sold?

Quote:
Groverat, I'd be interested to hear what you think is stopping Apple. Do you think that they are hoping iTunes will be able to compete with cable head-on?

It's probably as simple as Steve not wanting to do it.

Front Row is a perfect front-end for recorded television. There's no way it's just us consumers who thought about that.

I don't think it's an all-or-nothing proposition, but putting everything (home theater + DVR) in one package makes it a lot better.

I have a cableco provided DVR and my modded XBox. So I have to switch between the two. As a result, my DVR has kind of languished as most of my focus is on the XBox.

Having both of these in one would be amazing. But I'm a special type of consumer (read: filthy pirate) who has specialized needs (support for different codecs, specifically).

I would like to see Apple take aim at providing all of this in one package. And the reason? Because Apple is damned good at making just this sort of thing easy and fun.

Why aren't they doing it? No real idea. All we have is speculation.
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post #156 of 170
I actually see "sales figures" of MCE as akin to those for "MP3 Phones". You put functionality onto something people were going to buy anyway, and bingo, you've got a "market".

Actual useful figures come from some metric of use. In the case of music enabled phones, if people start buying a lot of tunes from the cell carriers services, that means something.

In the case of MCE, I dunno. Mass defections from cable/satellite DVR set-top boxes? Increasing downloads from some kind of MCE only web video store? My impression is the MCE is sort of a catchall, so does using it "a little" count?
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post #157 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
My impression is the MCE is sort of a catchall, so does using it "a little" count?

Sure, why not?

Even if someone only uses it as a network jukebox they're still using it. Or for slideshows, or whatever.

It's just an application.
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post #158 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
Sure, why not?

Even if someone only uses it as a network jukebox they're still using it. Or for slideshows, or whatever.

It's just an application.

Sure.

But it seems like the larger question is something like "Is there a mass market taking shape for computer as media hub/CE device that Apple is missing out on by not putting DVR functionality into its computers, already?".

And the only "mass market" data we have is how people are using MCE.

If they are kinda nibbling around the edges in low numbers, then maybe it makes sense for Apple to let things gel a little bit more before they step in.

But if a lot of people are really using their MCE boxes to change how they consume media, then Apple may already be a day late and a dollar short.

It's a crucial distinction.
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post #159 of 170
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
But it seems like the larger question is something like "Is there a mass market taking shape for computer as media hub/CE device that Apple is missing out on by not putting DVR functionality into its computers, already?".

Not right now, perhaps, but a market can spring up very quickly if a company sets it off with a good product.

Quote:
If they are kinda nibbling around the edges in low numbers, then maybe it makes sense for Apple to let things gel a little bit more before they step in.

Why wait? There's no reason to. All that is is justifying Apple's silence/stillness.

I do not think that Microsoft can do as good of a job at this as Apple can, the track record simply is not there.

But Microsoft is making the effort and some kind of convergence, and they are doing a damned fine job, especially when you look at integration with the XBox 360. With that, or MCExtender on the old XBox even, you don't even have to worry about hooking your computer up to your TV; just stream everything from it to your XBox.

It's a simple thing, but Joe & Jane consumer aren't too good at putting these things together. That's where Apple excels.

The hurdle is getting your 10' UI. Well Microsoft and Apple both have that now (MCE & Front Row).

If MCE had better support for plug-ins (or at least a slew of different codecs for video streaming) I'd be doing that already. I had to go all hacker to get that.
I had the money to spend but nothing legit to spend it on. All my DVDs are ripped to either XviD or x264. I'm not going to back to juggling my DVDs, that's over now. I'm going to rip them and put them on the shelf, just like my CDs.

If FrontRow supports those codecs why doesn't Apple tell us that?

I think fear of piracy is really keeping this back. That's got to be part of the equation.
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post #160 of 170
I pretty much agree with all that.

I see the difference as this: Apple tends to wait until it can do its thing well all at one go. That sometimes means waiting on technology to get to a certain place, where all the pieces are tested and available.

Microsoft tends to put stuff out there and fix it in the field, adding patches and functionality extensions in subsequent iterations.

Both approaches haves plusses and minuses.

For instance, while it may be true that in driving wide-spread adoption of the MCE framework MS has laid the groundwork to take advantage of future market opportunities, they also run the risk of muddying the waters by having it out there before all the pieces are in place. People try it out, and because of various content/cabling/DVR/processor speed/compatibility issues it doesn't work very well, for the average user.

If that happens enough, you may have poisoned the entire concept of convergence, on your platform and under that name. You know, just bad word-of-mouth.

OTOH, if Apple waits too long to offer a complete solution, the DVR/content deal/compatibility train may have left the station, effectively locking them out of the living room.

Conversely, if they make their move when things like wireless with enough bandwidth for video and HD interconnects and HD-DVD/BlueRay and full res downloads are done deals (or at least doner than they are now), they have the opportunity to "do it right" right out of the box, which could be a huge win.

I see MCE as a product that has been kind of sloshing around in a big box of unsettled standards, changing formats and "pretty soon now" technologies. That's either a head start or the wrong race, depending on how things pan out.
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