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A Media Center Server

November 13, 2007

Chris Lanier questions whether there really is a market for a Windows Media Center server given that it would probably be as expensive as a Media Center PC (which can already sit in a closet and act as a Media Center server.I do not know how large the market is, but I certainly would have an interest in such a device at the same price as a Media Center PC.

I was skeptical of Windows Home Server for the same reasons Chris is skeptical of a Media Center Server: you can already have a PC act as a server; and this is just as expensive as a PC. What I did not count on what that by making the server run like an appliance– with some extra features but less functionality overall than a PC– this would be an attractive device. I now realize that is the case.

I think the same might be true for a Media Center Server product. Media Center runs best when it is the only thing running on the PC. Ian Dixon and Pete Stagman remarked on this on a recent Media Center Show. Among the features I would like to see would be: automatic updates and antivirus protection; better self diagnoses of problems (e.g. if a tuner is not working try automatically restarting the tuner or rebooting); the ability to select programs to record and make playlists from a web interface; and the ability to replicate playlists and other setup characteristics between extenders easily.

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