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Apple Businesses Entertainment

Apple Enters Media Center Domain 241

Posted by Zonk
from the another-front-in-the-battle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNN has a story up describing Apple's new media center concept. The software takes on a classic Apple approach: simplicity. 'The program, called Front Row, lets you listen to music, watch videos, play DVDs and display photos from a distance with a few clicks of a lighter-sized, six-button remote control.'" More details available from ThinkSecret.
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Apple Enters Media Center Domain

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  • Or.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by daeley (126313) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:42PM (#14169302) Homepage
    This isn't precisely a secret, however, and hasn't been for the months since it was introduced. :)

    http://www.apple.com/imac/frontrow.html [apple.com]
    • Re:Or.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fahrvergnuugen (700293) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:45PM (#14169334) Homepage

      The news is in the second link... the article on thinksecrets.com

      Basically the news is that Apple will be letting users stream purchased content from .mac iDisk drives - including full length movies.

      I still can't decide if this is a good idea or not... this model has its advantages, but it most certainly has its disadvantages as well.

      • Re:Or.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Golias (176380) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:55PM (#14169423)
        The hype is in the second link... the rumor on thinksecrets.com

        Basically the speculation is that Apple might be letting users stream purchased content from .mac iDisk drives - including full length movies.


        Fixed. :)
      • Re:Or.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        I still can't decide if this is a good idea or not

        It's not. Having to switch from Front Row to iTunes to do any purchasing is going to be a deal breaker for a lot of people IMO. If the whole thing could be done while sitting back and holding a sleek remote, they'd have a winner, but making the user actually have to physically move around and switch back and forth between interfaces, just to perform what could be a seamless process, is stupid.

    • Re:Or.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Harrison (223649)
      I've been proclaiming for weeks that the big announcement the day the iPod with video came out was not the iPod but was that Apple is going to start doing media center stuff. Nobody listened to me. It surprises me how long it has taken people figure this out. Watch a new mac mini come out with Front Row on it that can keep up on the frame rates for HDTV output. People would love something like that in their media centers.
      • Re:Or.... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TinyManCan (580322) on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:20PM (#14169633) Homepage
        You speak the truth here. As long as the Mini can drive an HD set @ 1080i through a DVI _AND_ component out, I will be happy. Unfortunately I got bit by the HD bug a bit early and bought a mitsubishi HD set before DVI was commonplace. I only have component inputs for HD. Well, and FireWire, but I am not too sure how well that would work for this use.

        If Apple gets a mini out with those specs, I'll be first in line. I've bought several of today's minis, and would not bother buying one to use as a HTPC if it has the right horsepower and connectivity.

        • I'd worry more about the upcoming requirement of a digitally "secure" connection (HMDI or secure DVI) to access full HDTV quality content. HDTV content sent over an "unsecure" connection (e.g. component video cables) will be downscaled.

          http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/article/ds22406.html [digitalspy.co.uk]
        • Re:Or.... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by JazzCrazed (862074) on Friday December 02, 2005 @08:17PM (#14170592) Homepage

          Hopefully Intel will give the Mini a real good boost, then - or some magic has to be done with the tuner, because the current solution for an Apple-based PVR timeshifting 1080i HDTV requires no less than a dual G5 (click requirements on right side) [elgato.com].

          I wouldn't even dream of using one of today's Minis as an HDTV PVR. I got so frustrated with mine that I sold it [slashdot.org].

          Not to mention that unless the Mini does real-time compression it'd probably run out of disk space real fast with its 2.5" drives that currently max out at 100GB - at least, for anybody who records a lot (at 8GB/hr. for uncompressed - that is MPEG-2 - 1080i, that's at most 12 hours of recording time before something needs to be compressed, and MPEG-4 compression on today's Mac Minis is, IMHO, HORRENDOUS - it took mine 16 hours to compress MPEG-2 to H.264 MPEG-4 for a 2 hour movie - and that was at DVD res, not 1080i).

          But who knows... Maybe Intel will make this bottom-rung Mac more powerful than some of the top PowerMacs out now. And I'm speculating like the rest anyway, so I hope you had your salt shakers with you while you read this comment. ;)

          • Re:Or.... (Score:3, Informative)

            by Golias (176380)
            Hopefully Intel will give the Mini a real good boost, then - or some magic has to be done with the tuner, because the current solution for an Apple-based PVR timeshifting 1080i HDTV requires no less than a dual G5 (click requirements on right side).

            I wouldn't even dream of using one of today's Minis as an HDTV PVR. I got so frustrated with mine that I sold it.


            You must not have used enough RAM.

            In spite of what the EyeTV box specs say, I used a Mac mini 1.42 as an HDTV PVR from the month that they came out, a
      • Re:Or.... (Score:4, Funny)

        by Jozer99 (693146) on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:41PM (#14169809)
        Thats because everybody else got sick of saying it 6 months before that. Sorry to be rude, but look at the archvives of thinksecret. Every 5th story is something about how Apple is going to kill MCE, or merge with some other media company (TiVo, XM, Sirus, ect...)
      • I've been proclaiming for weeks that the big announcement the day the iPod with video came out was not the iPod but was that Apple is going to start doing media center stuff. Nobody listened to me.

        Ditto. I made a comment here about what (I thought must surely be) raised eyebrows at Microsoft, vis a vis the Front Row as possible competiton for the Xbox360 media center effort... and got modded thru the floor. It's gonna be big though, Apple knows what they are doing in this area.

      • I'd buy it.. (Score:4, Informative)

        by tomcres (925786) on Friday December 02, 2005 @08:20PM (#14170613)
        I don't care one lick about HD, but...

        If Apple put out a mini that came with Front Row and included the remote, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. It would replace my DVD player and I'd get an EyeTV and replace my TiVo as well. I was actually thinking of buying a mini for precisely this purpose, but I'm hesitant to do it without a decent remote control and portal (i.e., Front Row). The beauty of the mini is it's a sub-$600 computer with no frills and takes up next to no space. If they married it to Front Row, they'd easily steal the entry-level (which is, honestly, where average Joe Consumer is) from Windows Media Center, which last I checked, required a behemoth $1000+ PC and is not as simple as FrontRow.

    • Re:Or.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209)
      Frontrow might be a nice program, but a software package alone is clearly not enough. If these applications (music, pictures, movies) make it into the livingroom, it won't be on an iMac, but integrated with the TV and stereo. The question is, what content distribution network, and what end-user hardware, will make an application like frontrow successful?
      • Re:Or.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by he-sk (103163)
        Let's see, my iBook is my stereo (hooked to the receiver and i don't have a cd deck or anything else) and i don't own a tv.

        So front row is all i need for my living room media center thing. And a bigger screen. Those apple cinema screens look nice. :)
      • Re:Or.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        My standard DVD player already does Music, Pictures & Movies.

        OTOH A mac Mini with a decent sized fast hard drive, HDMI, and the right shape for a living room ('lunchbox' doesn't really fit in) sounds cool... provided it has Tivo functionality of course.
  • by Digital Pizza (855175) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:45PM (#14169332)
    There's a utility called "Frontrow Enabler" that will allow you to install FrontRow on any Mac, not just the iMac G5. The utility and instructions are here. [macupdate.com] You need Pacifist and the latest FrontRow Update from Apple.
  • Not a Media Center (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bookemdano63 (261600)
    "Front Row doesn't display live TV"
    That is pretty limited functionality. So, why would you hook this up to your TV?
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:56PM (#14169434)

      "Front Row doesn't display live TV" That is pretty limited functionality. So, why would you hook this up to your TV?

      TVs already display live TV. The idea is that this can be a replacement for your DVD player and CD player. It lets you easily play music, movies, and TV shows and other video you buy online. I think they are hoping to basically do an end run around the cable and satellite companies. Instead of subscribing to cable, you just buy the shows you want rather than a subscription to a bunch of shows you don't want and a few you do. The main drawback is the cost per show (which seems high). The main advantage is it lets you have a permanent copy and see it whenever you want, instead of on a fixed schedule.

      • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday December 02, 2005 @08:21PM (#14170622)
        TVs already display live TV. The idea is that this can be a replacement for your DVD player and CD player. It lets you easily play music, movies, and TV shows and other video you buy online. I think they are hoping to basically do an end run around the cable and satellite companies. Instead of subscribing to cable, you just buy the shows you want rather than a subscription to a bunch of shows you don't want and a few you do. The main drawback is the cost per show (which seems high). The main advantage is it lets you have a permanent copy and see it whenever you want, instead of on a fixed schedule.

        I think you've hit it on the head. Front Row is going to be a really big deal.

        And a big reason I think this is because of Steve Jobs - let's recap what we know about him, aside from his famous temper:

        - does NOT agree that television and computers will have 'convergence' in the way it is usually described; he thinks more of a co-habitation if you will, with the computer as the ultimate master to all other media slave devices
        - HATES the entrenched media companies (Yes. See: Disney negotiations, major music label negotiations)
        - wants control over the entire user experience
        - is infamous for finding 'end-run' solutions as you put it to sticky delivery problems (or more recently, bailing/sabotaging if it doesn't work, see: ugly dysfunctional iTunes-capable Motorola phone)

        And its been so obvious for old Apple watchers like myself, the pieces have been marshaling for a long time. Right back to the ratification of the QuickTime container for the MPEG-4 spec at NAB, moving through the entire evolution of iTunes and the iTMS. They've got the hardware that everyone thinks is cool; they've got the premiere online model for selling digital content (not even a web page! in their own 'browser', iTunes!); they've got an ancient, highly respected and super-capable media container format; they've got a Disney-level brand. Only thing I think they are missing right now are the video-capable Airport Express and some (admittedly tricky) content deals.

        They could totally kick ass with this thing if they execute well, but its a very weird situation, since the main competition for Living Room Celestial Jukebox are game consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Those are game machines, and Front Row is not, but all these projects have the LRCJ as a major design goal.

    • by lakin (702310)
      Most TV's can already handle live TV ;)
    • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:05PM (#14169518)
      I found a far more more elegant solution. My "media" Mac is a G4 dual 867 MDD (wind tunnel) with 3 200gb drives and 2 more external 200gb firewire drives. It lives in the library (with my main work Mac: a Dual 1.8 G5. In the living room near the television, sharing space with the VCR, DVD, Laserdisc, and (since I am old old school) Betamax machines is a little silver box called an EyeHome [elgato.com]

      This magic thing is connected to a router (though it also works on a Airport Extreme or other wireless solution) and via Ethernet pumps avi mp4 and other formatted files to my television. It also handles digital optical sound and mp3s. My stereo system can rock to Weird Al or my collection of Dr Demento shows... Pictures can also be displayed and if you are all thumbs, Web surfing is available. It works with 10.3.9 and above (10.2.8 if you are creative) and oh yes, it works from a remote.
      • Eyehome, bah. Nothing so special. I can do every single thing you said with a $100 used Xbox, and the Xbox even plays games!
      • I found a far more more elegant solution.

        Cool. You have my attention. My "media" Mac is a G4 dual 867 MDD (wind tunnel) with 3 200gb drives and 2 more external 200gb firewire drives. It lives in the library (with my main work Mac: a Dual 1.8 G5. In the living room near the television, sharing space with the VCR, DVD, Laserdisc, and (since I am old old school) Betamax machines is a little silver box called an EyeHome

        This magic thing is connected to a router (though it also works on a Airport Extreme
    • That is pretty limited functionality. So, why would you hook this up to your TV?


      Um, to watch DVDs? The iMac does S-Video and composite out via a nifty adapter.

      iTunes visualizations at parties...

      iPhoto slideshow...

      There are a few reasons to hook this up to a TV.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Five of buttons change the color of media center unit and one is for the mouse click.
    • actually, it's MS who decided one of the most important buttons to have on their Media Player was a "change skin colour" button. unfortunately the only colours it supports are vomit-inducing, apart from the silver option.

      I'm happy that Apple sticks to the principle of "design it properly in the first place and there's no need for stupid fucking skins".
      • Which button is that, now? I can't find it.

        It's easy to have a minimalistic remote when the software has minimalistic functionality.
  • read the link! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chowser (888973) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:47PM (#14169354)
    Read the link to the article at Thinksecret. It's more than about Frontrow. The short paragraph linking to the article doesn't really describe it well. Really quite interesting about storage on iDisk and such.
    • Re:read the link! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Golias (176380) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:52PM (#14169405)
      In other words, they linked to a story about Front Row to make it seem like news, then linked to a RUMOR about Apple's streaming video plans to make it seem like the media streaming is the news.

      Hence, "Apple Enters Media Center Doman" is a story about a product which has been out for months, with a link to wild speculation about What It All Means.

      Without the redundant link to a useless Front Row review to make the headline kinda-sorta factual, you would be left with the far-less interesting story, "Another Rumor Going Around About Mac Media Centers."

      Lame.
    • I have a question, they say that you are charged each time you download from iTunes, is this true? If your HDD dies you have to repurchase all the songs?!?!?
      • Conviently, most iTunes users have a HDD backup, namely an iPod.
        Plug it back in, and wha-la, protected music restored.

        Besides, if you wanted to just back up your protected files, you could make a playlist with just those files and burn them. Hell, I think that such a playlist is one of the standard ones iTunes sets up.
  • by Golias (176380) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:47PM (#14169357)
    "Apple Releases Front Row Media Software" is a news story. (Or, at the very least, a slashvertizement worth reading.)

    "Somebody From CNN Write About Apple's Front Row Media Software, Which Was Released About A Month Ago" is the sort of submission that MacSlash and other "what Steve Jobs had for breakfast today is thrilling news to us" sites would probably reject.

    I'd rather read a badly-written review of Front Row by some random slashbot (or a link to some techie-site review, like Ars) than another "OMG! Apple Matters So Much That CNN Is Writing About Their Software" submission. Come on, editors. You can do better.

  • Trade Mark (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bloater (12932) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:48PM (#14169364) Homepage Journal
    > The program, called Front Row, lets you listen to

    I think NTL might have something to say about this name in the UK. Their pseudo-VoD system over cable is called Front Row.
  • A Good Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by et764 (837202) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:48PM (#14169367)
    So apparently this is a dupe, but it's the first I've seen of it, so I found it interesting. I looked at the picture of the remote here [apple.com] and I think I like it. Just the other day I was looking at one of those remotes that come with digital cable boxes these days, and there were way too many buttons there. To make matters worse, almost every remote these days has just about as many buttons, but they are generally organized differently, making it harder to switch TV's. How often do people visiting a friend's house have to ask their friend to do something like change the volume, because the remote is overly complicated? I like the idea of a remote with just a couple of buttons.
    • Forget the remote... sometimes it's the buttons on the front of the set that I have problems with. Especially the sets that are useless without the remote.
    • For me the remote's a little too small. Granted I don't want some huge clunking thing. Maybe something like how the TiVo remote is designed or the Logitec Harmony ones.

      Not a fan of the Philips Pronto one either with the LCD display. Can't feel for the buttons on the LCD....
  • Oh, no! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by creimer (824291) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:50PM (#14169383) Homepage
    I hope this isn't supposed to be the surprise announcement for the MacWorld Expo in January. A friend of mine said the leading rumor is that Steve Jobs will introduce the Intel-based laptops six months before they were supposed to come out. I'm delaying my Mac laptop purchase to see if that rumor is true.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:51PM (#14169388)
    "a few clicks of a lighter-sized, six-button remote control."

    shouldn't it just have 1 button?
  • by WTBF (893340) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:53PM (#14169407)
    For a media centre it does not seem to have very many features, even if it is meant to be simple.

    Here is what I use on my MythTV box that are not available for this:
    - Watching live TV
    - Scheduling recording of live TV
    - Web interface to access information
    - Weather
    - Games
    - News feeds
    - Advert detection

    These are all things I use on a daily basis and I think that they should be included in any media centre, and Apple's offering barely meets any of those.
    • by NotoriousQ (457789) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:59PM (#14169458) Homepage
      Add to that:
      - Ripping CDs from the menu interface, and adding it to your collection
      - Doing the same with DVDs

      I am willing to bet that Apple will never accomplish the second one.

      My summary of Front Row vs. Mythtv:
      Front Row looks good, but has ass functionality. Mythtv has good functionality, but looks like ass.

      • The Ripping DVDs might be allowed If Apple DRMs the DVD rips. The only real issue would be people renting a DVD and ripping them. For that Apple could just have an age limit. The DVD rip can only stay playable for say a week.
        Not Ripping DVDs isn't a show stopper. Apple will be very happy to sell you the movie from iTunes.

    • So what? You're not the target audience. You probably built this yourself and you knew what you were doing. Apple is trying to make a consumer product that's easy for people to figure out and use. This is like a machinist saying a cordless drill from home depot is useless because his drill press is so much more accurate and robust.
    • You didn't seriously pull out the "Weather" card. Puhhhlease.

      I agree though that the TV functionality is a serious omission. The rest of that is meaningless crap. If I want the weather, games, or news, I'll turn to one of the many other outlets available for those.
    • These are all things I use on a daily basis and I think that they should be included in any media centre, and Apple's offering barely meets any of those.

      Well, there is no offering. Its just a rumour.

      And if Apple could compete with your custom-built MythTV setup that you personally configured, well, they'd really have something there. :)

  • I don't know if I would buy a mac mini just to use it for as a pvr etc. Sure it would probably be cheaper than a comercial pvr, but why buy a whole bunch of new hardware when you can use old hardware that's lying around?
    • why does everyone assume that the a mac mini as PVR would only be a PVR and not also a fully-featured Mac with OS X? surely this is implied by developing Front Row ON Macs with OS X rather than INSTEAD of Macs with OS X? then the question becomes, do you want a Mac Mini that's also a PVR or not? it's like the new iPod with video - it's not a new iPod, it's an updated iPod with video thrown in for free. is there some reason I've missed why the new Mini won't be a Mini with PVR thrown in for free?
      • To the other posters as well I'm not saying that you couldn't use it as a regular computer as well. It's just that my idea of a media center computer is one that hums away quietly next to my home theatre system etc. I don't think that would be very convenient for use as a desktop as well. I'm sure it would make a good server, but as I stated in my original post, there are more economical ways of doing this. Also to the below poster, it's fine if you don't have old hardware around, but it's still less expens
    • My commercial PVR was free, so no, the Mac wouldn't be cheaper. Unless I stole it.
  • The only new thing I see here is a stylish remote control.

    Media center simplicity?

    There are more than one media center out there today that's configurable to be very bare bones and accessible. Just check MythTV and Meedio?
  • not what I'd hoped (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GKevK (519962) on Friday December 02, 2005 @05:58PM (#14169452)
    I RTFA... and I'm disappointed. If this is going to depend on programs being cached on iDisk, then why do I need a new Mac Mini at all? Lots of the speculation was that the new mini might get a tv tuner card and lots more storage, to give it DVR functionality etc. How is this different from a website that just streams you video? Media center... yeah right. I'll keep my TiVos.
    • How is this different from a website that just streams you video? Media center... yeah right. I'll keep my TiVos.

      Um... you watch it in the living room, select it with a remote that also lets you get all all of your music and photos?

      I am certainly not getting rid of *my* TiVo any time soon ( they'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands *after* giving me something better and cheaper ), but I do see some value in *easily* being able to view photos and listen to music from my computer using a remote in my

  • actually... what TFA is talking about is a new version of frontrow (2.0) which will be introduced in january along with a new media center edition mac mini (complete with ipod dock built in, possible tivo functionality etc). it also looks like they're prepping lots of new content from several new cable networks and other sources. i wouldn't be surprised if pixar started making exclusive shorts for the itms (itunes music, er, media store)...
  • by Mashdar (876825)
    Hell, I can't find a standard sized remote 1/5 of the time I want it. Does the idea of a tiny remote scare anyone else? A couch has 10^5 times the number of places for one of these bad boys to hide.

    Perhaps Apple will plan ahead and assume the user will lose the remote and put a god damned set of directional arrows on the unit itself. It seems like once a month I encounter a remoteless DVD player with no means of navigation on the main unit. When the first option on the DVD menu is not play it turns into a h
  • Clarity (Score:4, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:03PM (#14169490)

    Just to clarify this submission for people... it contains two, unrelated links. The first is a CNN article about FrontRow and is old news. The second is speculation on a rumor site about the new version of the mac mini and how Apple will tie in a new video service that is largely inferior to what they are offering now, via iTunes, and that will not work with the new iPods video capabilities. The whole thing sounds rather suspect to me.

  • Xbox (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nightspirit (846159)
    For a "media center", my modded xbox with xbox media center (the open source software, not the MS one) does all this and more, and cost significantly less than a mac mini.
    • Re:Xbox (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jeffy210 (214759) on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:45PM (#14169850)
      There is a *big* problem with having an Xbox for a media center... it's puny processor can't handle WMV-HD (or Divx-HD for that matter). yes it has component out and can output a 720p or 1080i stream but it chokes hard on a 700Mhz processor. That's the biggest reason I never considered it. Now the 360 on the other hand... (Also, I want a DVI out instead of just component)
    • Re:Xbox (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kollivier (449524)
      Apple's target audience isn't a group of people who like modding their computer/console hardware. They're selling to people who don't particularly want to mod their stuff, or pay to have it modded.

      Besides, the real value of Apple's solution isn't Front Row itself; the value in Apple's solution lies in their downloadable content. If they can offer affordable movies and TV programs, a new Mac mini would pay for itself in 1-2 years when I can buy the shows I want to watch ala carte rather than paying for cable
  • by cancerward (103910) on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:05PM (#14169510) Journal
    Six buttons is too many for an Apple object! I suggest just one button, and the remote can
    have a motion detector in it; the user can hold the remote parallel to the appropriate
    face of a cube, and click the button. Simplicity itself!
    • Six buttons is too many for an Apple object!

      I'm sure the designers prefer to think of it as "two buttons and a circle" [apple.com]... I recently had a chance to play with one, and although you're right about the number of buttons it has, after reading your post I first thought "it didn't really have that many buttons, did it ?", I just remembered a menu button and a play/pause control group.

      See, the problem is this thing has too many features. Volume up, volume down, change selection left, change selection right, play

      • If it doesn't have a "skip N seconds" function, I'm not interested. By far the buttons I press the most often while watching something on my Xbox are up, down, left, and right. for those who care but don't know, up and down skip forward and backward [respectively] a bunch, and left and right are back and forth a little.
  • by yardbird (165009) * on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:05PM (#14169516) Homepage
    WIth the roll-out of the new Mac mini, which sources continue to maintain will be bigger than anyone can imagine...
    So what are we talking about? The Mac Maxi?
  • by ta ma de (851887) <chris DOT erik D ... AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:10PM (#14169556)
    The employees create beowolf clusters with mac mini media centers. The Soviets do it too, but no one cares.
  • MicroSoft? (Score:3, Funny)

    by putko (753330) on Friday December 02, 2005 @06:19PM (#14169621) Homepage Journal
    I bet MS is kinda scared about this. At this stage in the game, I think there are a lot of satisfied Apple customers who'd love to bring an 'iPod' quality media device into their living room.

    I don't think MicroSoft has built up this sort of goodwill.

    In fact, I saw on TV -- "The Apprentice", where they has MicroSoft on the show. Trump said to them, "I use a lot of MicroSoft, and it works." As if that was news.

    Not "it works fanTASTIcally!" -- but just a limp-sounding "it works."

    Given how much Trump exaggerates, it automatically downgraded his statement to, "on good days it kinda works," -- basically, if something is half-assed, Trump says it is the best thing ever. So I think MicroSoft has a customer-perception problem.
    • I bet MS is kinda scared about this.

      Win MCE is fast becoming the default consumer install even on the laptop. I suggest you take a look at the holiday specials from Dell.

      I hear the X-Box 360 is making waves too.

  • I've been searching for a good network device to integrate my computer with my stereo system and television. There's a bunch out there, but no one has executed it gracefully - hence (in my opinion) the relative failure of these devices. The squeezebox products seem nice, but are overpriced and not very multimedia oriented. The situation as it stands seems relatively akin to the pre-ipod mp3 era; I believe apple could probably succeed in pulling off a standalone network media center with the proper interf

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