MyMovies 4 is out

Posted in HTPC,Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the May 6th, 2011

It is with great pleasure that we today can write that we have released My Movies for Windows Media Center and My Movies Collection Management 4.00, which brings extended TV Series support to My Movies.

The long awaited support for TV Series is finally out and as usual the main functionality is provided free of charge, with some advanced features requiring points to unlock. You can request a 21-day trial to experience the complete functionality of MyMovies on the website.

For complete feature presentation of the new release see this link.

The Pre Release of My Movies 4 is now available

Posted in HTPC,News,Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 1st, 2011

If you are lucky to have 2500 points in your My Movies account, you can download and try the next major release of My Movies 4.

Below are a few highlights from the Release Notes.

TV Series support

My Movies 4 brings extended TV Series support to My Movies for Windows Media Center and My Movies Collection Management. You have with My Movies 3 always been able to add TV Series on DVD, Blu-ray or HD DVD to your collection, and users of TV series in online single file structures have been able to have their TV series supported to some extend by using the Series/Box set functionality along with the option to add multiple discs to a disc title profile.

With My Movies 4, we are extending this functionality to what some will refer to as proper TV series import, monitoring, management and browsing. The pre release is intended for users who would like to participate in reviewing, testing and giving us feedback for My Movies 4. The pre release requires 2,500 points or a licensed installer license file to participate – this is done to limit the amount of participating users to a level that we are able to handle support wise.

The functionality implemented for TV series is similar in requirements to what was originally created in XBMC, and today is used in various projects.

Media Center Start Menu Changes

My Movies 4 menu strip

Both Windows Vista and Windows 7 is currently supported by My Movies 4, however some functionalities are only available in Windows 7, such as the extended configuration options for the start menu.

There are changes in the Windows 7 SDK for Windows Media Center that we currently do not make use of, but consider making use of. Due to this, we are also considering if we whould make My Movies 4 a product exclusively for Windows 7, and deprecate support for Windows Vista.

This is something we would like to hear your thoughts of on our forums. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Deal alert: Windows7 family pack is on SALE!

Posted in Deals,Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the September 29th, 2010

Win7 Home Premium Family PackIf you wanted to upgrade your household PCs to Windows 7, now would be a good time to do that.

The Microsoft Store is excited to announce the Windows 7 Family Pack will be on sale for $149! That is only $149 for 3 licenses of Windows 7!

Offer is valid while supplies last, so get the Windows 7 Family Pack from The Microsoft Store while you can and save more than $200.

Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack provides you with three licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, in either 32- or 64-bit.

Take a look at these highlighted features in Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack:

  • Upgrade three PCs, save more than $200
  • Package contains one disc with a license key that can be entered on as many as three machines
  • Enjoy a PC that works the way you want it to with better support for today’s technologies, like 64-bit PC hardware and memory
  • Use HomeGroup to connect all your PCs running Windows 7 to a single printer
  • Find something instantly, compare documents side-by-side, or open your favorite file in just two clicks
  • Watch Internet TV, pause, rewind, and record TV, or use Touch to interact with your PC in new ways
  • Watch movies in your Netflix queue
  • Use Windows Media Player to stream music files on any network-connected device
  • Easily change backgrounds, window colors, and sounds to reflect your personal style
  • Use Windows Search from the Start menu to instantly locate and open virtually any file on your PC—from documents to emails to songs—just by typing a word or two
  • Pin any program to the taskbar and rearrange the icons on the taskbar just by clicking and dragging
  • 90 days of Microsoft Support Services included

For more details head on to The Microsoft Store.

MyMovies for iPhone released

Posted in Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 21st, 2010

Here’s a piece of news I was waiting for…

My Movies for iPhone Light is now available in the iPhone App Store, and to support it, My Movies Collection Management and My Movies for Windows Home Server 3.13 have been released in final versions.

My new gadgetry overview

Posted in Hardware,M@H,Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the February 24th, 2010

It appears I landed on Santa’s “Good Kids” list last year. He was quite generous this past holiday season and — with a little help from my friends and family — brought me some really nice gadgets. Dust has settled since and I had to spend some quality time with my new gear, so I decided to give them a quick rundown in this post, saving the juicy details for the future.

The luxury of touch

Touch Screen

Touch Screen

The idea of controlling Windows Media Center through touch interface was hunting me since I played with one of the first HP TouchSmart systems on the shelves of Costco. I already had HTPC, so I didn’t want to buy a new system. The obvious solution was to just add touch-capable display to my own HTPC. Searching high and low, I was soon discouraged, since all available touch screens were way too expensive – a 12″ displays are sold for over $500. But I managed to find one that fit my budget and works quite well with Windows 7 Media Center. Beware that in many cases drivers for Vista or Win7 could be hard to find or even unavailable, so check driver availability BEFORE you invest in a touch screen.

Movies on the go

DVD headrests

DVD headrests

For some time now I’ve been looking to upgrade my car’s headrests with nice LCD ones to entertain little passengers during long trips. Paying over $2000 for a DVD package on a new car doesn’t make any sense to me. For that much money these days you can buy a TV, a blu-ray player and a truckload of movies. Unfortunatelly none of those portable DVD players I saw in stores met all my requirements. Partly due to the lack of support for the multitude of media formats available today, partly because many kid’s movies I have are from a different DVD region, so none of the players sold in US could play them. But now I have headrests that could do all that and then some (like playing games with 4 included joysticks or reading media from all major flash cards).

Being able to watch a good movie in the car, on your netbook or other mobile device, like iPod Touch, while you travel is nice. Watching movies on a big HDTV screen is way better. So you have two options: 1) use a cable to connect your mobile device to a TV and jump from the couch every time you want to pause, rewind or skip or 2) buy a tiny HDD Media Player that can hold hundreds of HD movies and could be controlled with an infrared remote. What’s your choice? #2. I thought so. That’s exactly what I did. And at $25 for the HDD enclosure with IR remote control this deal is hard to beat. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

How to use iPhone to control HTPC

Posted in Hardware,M@H,Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the July 1st, 2009

Most of Windows Media Center features are easily accessible with IR or RF remote controls and unless you need to type something remote is the only control device you’ll need to enjoy your media.

But typing on the remote control resembles chatting on a cell phone without a dedicated keyboard. It requires multiple key presses to enter almost every character. And if you need to enter non-latin characters it becomes even more dubious.

When it comes to typing, you are better off with a wireless keyboard such as Logitech’s diNovo (Edge or Mini) or Microsoft’s Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000. Those are great keyboards, and they include some kind of a pointing device (such as trackpad or navigation pad) along with media controls (play/pause/fwd/rew/stop).

Though there are a number of points that you should consider before investing in specialized media keyboards:

  • they will run you $100+ in most cases;
  • they are not compact (maybe with exception of diNovo Mini) and you cannot operate them with one hand like a remote control;
  • you’ll have to always have them by your side and that’s not very convenient considering  their size especially if you are not sitting in front of the desk;
  • having to switch from remote control to keyboard and back will not improve your experience;
  • you are bound to only one (or in best case – two) language layout(s) on the keys;

So what are our options? 

(continue reading this article and leave comments here…)