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…)

Small form-factor HTPCs For Your Living Room

Posted in Hardware by Ruslan Ulanov on the November 25th, 2009

While searching for a new HTPC for my living room I found a few off-the-shelf models that you might find worth your while.

Any of these HTPCs will run you under $500 for a base model, but some manufacturers allow upgrades, like Blu-ray drive, RAM, etc., that could easily double the price tag. Also some of these systems are sold without keyboards, mice or monitors (‘coz you’ll be connecting it to a large screen HDTV anyway, right?). You’ll need to make sure you have a spare set at least for initial setup.

These systems are quiet (or nearly silent) and relatively good looking, so they should have high WAF for placement in your living room. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Windows 7 – the day has come

Posted in M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the October 22nd, 2009
Win7 Home Premium

Win7 Home Premium

Yes, it has. It’s October 22, 2009 – the official release date of “the best Windows ever released” (a.k.a. Windows 7).

It’s also a release date of the best Media Center application ever released. No, it’s not a coincedence. Media Center is an integral part of Windows 7 (well, at least of its Home Premium and Ultimate editions).

A lot of Media Center funboys were waiting for this day to come. And Microsoft has spared no effort to polish the GUI and to support all the media and hardware you might have. They even let the DIY crowd to install cable card tuners (but that’s a different story altogether).

If you aren’t planning on byuing a new PC with Windows 7 pre-installed on it, you can head over to Microsoft Store to get the upgrade version from your current OS. I bet it’ll be worth it.

Microsoft Store

How to share media around your home and beyond

Posted in M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the July 28th, 2009

For a while now it’s been possible to share your music, pictures, video and even live TV between different types of consumer devices. For example, you could stream MP3 files from your computer to your cell phone using a software package called Orb. Or you could watch your TV from the other side of the world using a slick little device called the SlingBox. The problem is that many of those devices were using proprietary technologies and required user to be a bit of a nerd to understand how to set-up and configure the system to work properly. You had to set-up codecs, firewalls and other things that most ‘normal’ people have no idea of.

dlna logo But soon-to-be-released Windows 7 and a variety of new-generation devices are going to change all that and take it to a whole new level in regards to inter-connectivity and cross compatibility.

(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…)

Save big on the best Windows ever!

Posted in M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the June 26th, 2009

Microsoft has just announced pricing for its next version of operating system – Windows 7.

The Windows 7 Home Premium and Ultimate editions feature the best Media Center experience you can get, with built-in support for TV recording, Internet video, Netflix and a wealth of plug-ins from third-party developers.

The estimated retail prices for upgrading your existing XP or Vista system to Windows 7 in the U.S. will be as follows:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99


The full retail versions of Windows 7 will sell in the U.S. for:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Full): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Full): $299.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Full): $319.99

That’s a bit cheaper than similar packages of Windows Vista.  

But here’s the good news

Only from now till July 11, 2009 you can pre-order the greatest MS operating system ever with up to 58% savings! Wow! Don’t miss this chance!

If you have several systems to upgrade (and most of us do) your savings will multiply! Order direct from Microsoft Store below…

Microsoft Store

Getting digital

Posted in M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the February 20th, 2009

It’s been a while since I wanted to do that, but I’ve finally braced myself and jumped on a digital TV bandwagon.

Comcast sent me a cable box which arrived in about 4 days. After half an hour on the phone with Comcast’s rep and suggested 45 minutes of waiting time (while cable box was downloading the listings, and what not) the OnDemand menu came up on my TV set. Great! Now what?

It’s good to be able to see all these channels on the TV, but I’m so used to watching TV on my schedule (i.e. recorded on the Media Center PC) and without commercials, that my first thought was to immediately connect the cable box to my Gateway FMC-901X. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Windows Media Center is the Best DVR

Posted in M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the January 16th, 2009

green button Windows Media Center is the Best DVR application according to survey conducted by LifeHacker with 31% of votes. The other contestans were MythTV (28% of votes), TiVo (20%), SageTV (10%), GB-PVR (6%) and BeyondTV (5%).

I totally agree with the outcome (by the way I voted for WMC as well), though I have to admit — I never tried TiVo DVR.

Read the full story at LifeHacker.