Archives For Media Center

SimpleTV_Logo_medium_full_aspect_mediumIf you’re a Windows Media Center fan and have an iPad, iPhone, or other iDevice – be sure to check out Simple.TV.  The software is in beta, but does a good job of making your content portable by converting into H.264.  The content is then playable via a webpage (which calls the built in video player on your iDevice) or sync to your device via a Podcast created in iTunes.  It’s a hub and spoke model with the website at www.simple.tv being your starting point as opposed to a dedicated iApp.

I have been testing the beta software (0.9.0.0.829) using a Silicon Dust HDHomerun and Windows Media Center.  and it works as-advertised but is rough around the edges on the video compression end.  I recorded an HD QAM signal from our local ABC affiliate and about a five seconds into the video, audio sync was lost and frame compression issues started to show up on my Intel Core i5.  It’s a beta though I will probably uninstall until it is a little more stable.

Most of my suggestions/gripes are related to the branding consisting of a weird space-bunny with TV visor?  Maybe do a competition on www.99designs.com to get the best logo. And the way it integrates into iTunes as a podcast – “Unknown Category” is not very discoverable. There are other details I’m sure will be fixed – visit http://simple.tv and I get a Bad Hostname error. I don’t want to have to add “www.” on every device.

There are other solutions out in the market as well. If you have a Mac, Elgato’s EyeTV now supports Live TV streaming as well as on-demand playback on an iPad via a dedicated app.

Here’s to hoping Simple.TV lives up to its name.  I know some of the folks building the app and suspect it’s only a matter of time.

Mike Garcen of MissingRemote has a good article about integrating the new Hulu Desktop application with Windows Media Center.  Thanks to support for appropriate WMC keymappings and a little XML ingenuity, you can directly launch and navigate the Hulu app from within Windows Media Center.  I’ve confirmed this works (mostly) with Windows 7 as well, though getting the tile to work appropriately is still a bit of a challenge.

The other challenge is returning to WMC when you’re done with Hulu Desktop.  Pressing the “Green Button” will return you to WMC, but Hulu will continue to run in the background.  This is pretty annoying when you accidentally hit the button during playback in a Pavlovian action to pull up the main menu.  Hopefully the good folks at Hulu will see it fit to improve integration.

Tip: Read Mike’s article to the end for Yaggs simplified steps.