We have just been treated to a demonstration of the next generation of Media Center, as based on Windows Vista.
The actual MCE experience is pretty much the same as it is currently. However, what we've seen is some incredibly slick integration of MCE with Windows Live
, Microsoft's online service.
Using a custom applet for Live.com, we were shown a homepage which contained a list of the upcoming recordings scheduled on a remote Media Center, as well as past recordings and recommendations for programming. Programming remotely has been a feature of MCE for a while, but this was very click.
Perhaps more extraordinarily, we saw a real-time MSN chat-bot for MCE integration. By initiating an instant message with a MSN buddy, we saw how it was possible to ask natural language questions and get useful answers in a side-window to the MSN conversation. Using MSN chat it was possible to watch videos and trailers simply by asking to. Here was a quick example:
Bloke: What's on tonight?
MSNbot: Here's a list of what's playing. (Side window pops up.)
Bloke: Can you show me just Sci-Fi?
MSNbot: Sure. (Filters.)
Bloke: Can I watch that trailer of Battlestar Galactica?
MSNBot: I'll play it for you now. (Streams in HD).
Not much more than a cool application of natural language technology, but funky nonetheless. It looks like we're going to be very closely connected to our media via Vista.
Would you use MSN to add recordings? Let us know your thoughts in the forum