TV on your PC opens up the curtains, Netflix comes to Windows

May 19, 2009

Netflix Tile in WMC UIThere are a lot of TV options out there, and consumers are increasingly having to jump from Web site to Web site to find their favorite shows, movies and sports that they frequently watch – all with a different experience each time. For some, this may mean remembering multiple URLs, opening multiple browser tabs, browser windows and even separate programs to get what they want. That’s why our goal is to make Windows Media Center the best place to experience TV on the PC, and one of the ways we’re doing this is to alleviate the need for getting your content from different places while offering a consistent experience.

Netflix UX in WMC_MoviesToday we’re happy to let you know that Netflix is now available in Windows Media Center, offering TV and movie lovers more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly on a PC with Windows. If you’re a Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate user and a Netflix subscriber, you can get started right away. Click on the green button, click on the Netflix tile under TV+Movies and begin streaming movies and TV shows instantly.

For a complete run down of the features and details, check out our nifty animated video below that gives you a complete overview of Netflix in Windows Media Center:

Netflix is the second recent content milestone in Windows Media Center, with the first being the Sports Channel, which offers a variety of interactive sports content from, FOX Sports, and more. Additionally, you may be aware that last fall, we announced the MSNBC News portal, which gives you the latest news, top stories, local weather and more. All of these offerings in Windows Media Center are aimed to bring your content into one place, and as we’ve showcased in previous posts, watching TV on the PC is becoming a preferred way to watch content. Take for example, a recent Forrester study which found that:

Cable and satellite providers reach roughly 100 million homes in the U.S., computer-based television viewing is growing, driven largely by adults ages 18 to 34 who like to watch content when and where they choose.

To further prove this point, we interviewed random Seattle locals to find out a) how they prefer to access their content, whether it’s through specific sites or via a one-stop shop location. Out of the dozens we approached, we hardly ran into anyone that didn’t watch TV on the PC, and as you might expect, the ones that wanted to share their thoughts had mixed answers. There might not be a universal preference for receiving content, because as the video demonstrates, people have preferences and a passion for how they watch TV on the PC. You can check out the video here:

If you’re interested in additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.


The Industry Meets Again This Week

April 20, 2009

nabEmerging Internet TV and online video sites, such as the latest venture from YouTube, continue to shake up the TV industry and underscore the increasing demand for the flexibility to enjoy content on various screens including the PC: a theme that has taken over this year’s NAB Show 2009. At the annual event, which kicked off today, major players in media, entertainment and communications have come together to explore innovative means for “delivering next generation of content across multiple platforms – from televisions, radios and computers to phones, the big screen and beyond.”

We’re on-site at the show this week to showcase our own strides in user adoption by revealing that more than 13 million people are consistently using Windows Media Center in a given month. This is a number that has grown steadily over the past year following multiple content additions we’ve discussed here on the blog, including the NBC Olympics on the Go service, MSNBC News portal and most recently the Sports Channel. If you haven’t had a chance to check these content features out and you’re a Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate user, we encourage you click the green button in the Start menu.

As further testament of mounting interest in TV on the PC, a 2008 survey sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by Nielsen, along with CBS Vision, reported that 73 percent of respondents were interested in watching TV on their computer. Are you one of them?

To keep up with all of the news and trends that are shaping the future of TV/video distribution, feel free to check out for more information. And don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know what you think.

Cable TV’s Big Dilemma

April 10, 2009

Stemming from last week’s cable show, we saw a ton of coverage around cable and satellite providers looking to keep their momentum and prevent being undermined by Internet TV sites. As we all know, more and more people are going on the web to watch their favorite shows, which means traditional TV is becoming less of an option and cancel the cable and satellite subscriptions is becoming increasingly popular.

One of the discussions that derived from The Cable Show is the idea of a “pay-TV subscription,” where cable providers would give users access to shows online through a site only available to cable subscribers.

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What’s it Like to Meet with the Windows Media Center Team?

March 24, 2009

100_2541Yesterday, we invited a handful of sports bloggers we’ve recently engaged with to Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash. campus to speak with the Windows Media Center product and development team. Our primary objective was to get their feedback about the recently launched Sports Channel for Windows Media Center, and we were all ears. It was a productive meeting where we hashed out what works, what could be improved and, with Windows Media Center in Windows 7 ramping up, what’s in the pipeline that consumers will see down the road.

Of course we had our fun too: a visit to the Microsoft Home (a concept facility that models technology we could see in homes five to 10 years from now) and plenty of  drinks and food. 🙂  It was a blast. Check out more photos here and the video below to get a glimpse of the blogger’s thoughts on their visit.

Digital TV Transition has been delayed

February 19, 2009

1950s_04_tv2By now most of you have heard of the transition to digital TV (aka getting rid of the old tin-foiled rabbit ears), which will now take effect June 12 of this year via the DTV (Digital TV) Delay Act that Obama signed earlier this week. And you may have even caught wind of the noise surrounding how this piece of legislation is not mandatory, and that some stations have already made the switch to digital broadcast.

Digital What?

While there are a lot of great resources out there, for some it can still be complicated to digest all of the information at once – especially if you’re not an electrical engineer for a living. We’d like to take this moment to explain the transition to digital TV in plain, simple English.

Digital and analog, you say?

That’s right. Digital Television (DTV) is broadcasting technology that’s newer technology, and offers superior picture (high definition, or HD) and sound quality over traditional analog broadcasting technology that all of us are used to by now. Currently, all major broadcast stations (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, etc.) in the U.S. broadcast in both digital and analog. Congress has mandated that June 12, 2009 will be the last day for television stations to broadcast in analog. It’ll be truly be a digital world after this date.

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What Are You Waiting For? Getting into the Windows 7 Beta!

January 15, 2009

Among the slew of Microsoft’s announcements that came out of CES last week included the public availability of the Windows 7 beta.

If you want to test drive Windows 7 on your PC, then alas, you’re in luck as you can get your hands on it now via Microsoft’s official Windows 7 Web site. There’ll be plenty to explore once you’re in the beta, including the brand new Windows Media Center and its nifty features.

Once you’re on the official Windows 7 Web site and ready to download the beta, be sure to check the system requirements and read the list of what you need to know.

After you’ve had time to explore the beta and Windows Media Center, be sure to share your thoughts with us via the comments post!


Calling all sports bloggers: Tell us your story!

January 13, 2009

For the past couple of weeks we have been chatting with sports bloggers and enthusiasts who are looking to enhance their at-home sports viewing experience.

We all know sports and watching games are a huge component of most people’s lives, so we want to know how sports fans are experiencing TV on their computers. From the Super Bowl to Fantasy Sports to March Madness, every person has their unique way of watching and enjoying their favorite sports teams.

If you’re a sports blogger and you are into watching sports on your computer, join us!  Here’s the run-down:

We’d love to start by interviewing you to learn who you are, why you are passionate about sports and learn about your blog. We’ll post your story  on our blog to feature your story and work with our readers.

If  you don’t already use it, we’d like to introduce you to Windows Media Center and learn what you think about it and how you think it can enhance you sports viewing experience

Once you’re up-to-date, we encourage you to watch as many sports on Windows Media Center and share with us, your friends, and favorite sports enthusiasts on your experiences. We are also happy to provide you with a Windows Media Center remote and we can also help you drive some enthusiasm with your readers by partnering with you on developing contests or demos.

Finally, we have some cool sports related applications planned for 2009 that we could loop you in early on, giving you the inner scoop on the special features for sports fans.

To participate, you just need a PC capable of running Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate. If you don’t already have Vista installed on your PC, we can provide you with a copy.

To join us: leave a comment with your information or contact us at