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Old Jan 16, 2007, 10:14 PM   #1
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ATImeShifter
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Default XP Media Center 2005 interface looks remarkably like Catalyst Media Center!

Um, I just finished installing XP MCE 05 and set up Media Center, and, er, it looks REMARKABLY like the interface for Catalyst Media Center that comes with the ATI 650. Sure, the colors are different (i.e. blue, green and red instead of various shades of gray), and not everything is the same--and its EPG works better than CMC's. But it looks and feels a lot like it--kind of like a more advanced, next-generation, less retarded version. It even has that status icon in the system tray.

What gives? Is somebody copying somebody, is somebody working with and/or contractually using somebody else's code, have the TV/PVR gods deems that all next-generation TV/PVR apps look alike, or am I seeing things? I find this even more odd given that it's already been established that CMC is pretty much PowerCinema--and that both are CRAP. But THREE separate TV/PVR apps based on the same code and/or design--one of which is sold by Microsoft? That's just too weird...

Note that I haven't used MCE much so I can't comment on what I think of it, although from what little I've seen I do agree that it's a little to "cutesy" for my tastes and clearly intended for the couch potato set. I wish it came with a desktop-specific version that had an interface that made from sense with a mouse and keyboard and that took advantage of higher resolutions to display more schedule content. From what I've been reading this does not appear to be in the initial version of Vista. Sigh...

Well, so long as it's more stable than either MMC and CMC, I'll be fine with it, as this was my main reason for upgrading to it. I was actually OK with the basic functionality of either app--I'm not very demanding, obviously--so long as they worked reliably, which they didn't.
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Last edited by ATImeShifter : Jan 16, 2007 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Fixed typo in title.
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Old Jan 16, 2007, 10:41 PM   #2
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Default

Catalyst Media Center and by association Cyberlink Powercinema are poor reproductions or cheap knockoffs of Media Center Edition.

However, many people will point out that Microsoft is in the habit of “barrowing” ideas so the MCE GUI may not actually be 100% Microsoft either but that doesn’t change the fact that MCE is often imitated due to its success and recognition.

The new Vista MCE interface is a little different with some nice new little features. For example the main Vista MCE menu actually has horizontal scrolling in addition to vertical scrolling. Recall that the MMC EasyLook interface had horizontal scrolling on the main menu. There is also a mini-guide in Vista MCE that mimics the EasyLook guide. The mini-guide is actually just a small single cell guide that you can navigate using the directional buttons on the remote : find what you like via the mini-guide, click OK and your there, click OK again and your back at the previously viewed channel.


Anyway, MCE 2K5 is very stable and reliable.
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Old Jan 16, 2007, 11:03 PM   #3
ATImeShifter
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Well, perhaps they are just copying MCE, but some of their features are just way too similar for my comfort. Usually when a company copies another company's products, it makes enough changes to differentiate them. E.g. the Creative Zen M and the iPod. Very similar conceptually and even visually, but still different enough to not be "copies". With MCE & these other apps, the similarities are pretty substantial.

E.g. the up/down menu navigation buttons, the top-left buttons, the status icon in the tray, the spinning "please wait" thingamajig in the center of the screen, the fonts, the TV/PVR navigation bar, the menu styles, the way that the TV image is made smaller and selected when adjusting settings. This is not, in my mind, a copy, but rather a shared code base. Microsoft would have sued long ago if this was a copy. Somehow behind the scenes, it appears to me that there's more than meets the eye.

Don't get me wrong, so long as MCE does what it's supposed to do I'm ok with this. I'm just curious as to what's going on here. Personally, I suspect that, as with nearly every app they've sold, Microsoft contracted to purchase the license to major portions of the core app, and developed the rest themselves. They've always been big on copying and/or buying other peoples' work to get to market quicker and easier.

And now I await the inevitable C&D letter and knock on my door to be served... ;-)
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