Three Ways to Make Microsoft’s Media Center Better
Earlier today I wrote about the superiority of Microsoft’s XBox 360 as a home media delivery device over Apple’s iDongle. Media Center does still need some work and following are three suggestions on how they can make their platform even more kick ass.
1. Fix the problems that MCE has with large audio mp3 collections (people’s music collections are getting larger and larger). This has been an ongoing problem for years.
2. Offer more robust long tail integration with online video offerings. What I mean by this is that I should be able to subscribe to various online video content (Scoble’s Podtech shows, Look Shiny, Chris Pirillo, etc.) and this content should (optionally) actually be aggregated in with my content recorded from my TV. Just like I get a season pass to the Sopranos on my Media Center PC, I should also be able to get a season pass to Scoble’s video content and see this programming on the same recently recorded video screen.
As part of this initiative Microsoft should offer a new publishing platform for free similar to TiVo’s Home Movies option that they announced yesterday.
3. Microsoft needs a “discover” section in Media Center. Discover would consist of three new areas. Discover Video, Discover Music, and Discover Photos.
Discover Video would be used in conjunction with Soapbox and possibly other video services (Digg Video, Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) and would use open APIs and your social data around your user experiences on these sites to suggest interesting video content that you might want to consume.
Discover Music would be used in conjunction with Pandora or LastFM (or a similar Microsoft built system if they could build one) where you could essentially tune into interesting new music on your Xbox 360. Microsoft should buy either Pandora or LastFM by the way.
Discover Photos. Ok, here I’m obviously biased because I run a photo sharing site, and in the interest of not coming across as sounding like I’m suggesting to Microsoft to buy Zooomr, lets just say that there are some very interesting things that Microsoft could do to serve up fantastic photos to viewers.
One of the problems with photos on the MCE platform at present is that they are just limited to *your* photos. There is a lame pay GalleryPlayer option to get great digital art for slide shows, but content as good could be aggregated through a photo sharing site for free. Microsoft should either build this or buy this.
A cool photo sharing site could run on it’s own through MSN but could also provide optionally highly personalized wall art for the high def plasmas that are filling up our home. The key is to aggregate this art in such a way that each user is uniquely served up photos and art through a slide show (to go with the great music recommendation service from Pandora or Last FM). This would go a long way towards automating a pretty cool audio visual discovery experience on the Media Center PC.