Microsoft Media Center Edition and the Internet Archive

I just finished listening to the Brewster Kahle IT Conversations podcast recommended by Robert Scoble and am now struck more than ever that someone needs to develop an Internet Archive plug in for Media Center Edition.

Brewster has amazing vision and what he is building, a truly free, open, accesible library of all digital media (legally allowed today but potentially more expansive with good work towards copyright reform in the future) is nothing short of brilliant.

Someone absolutely should build an MCE interface to the Internet Archive. Check out the IT Conversations podcast with Brewster. Brewster is perfectly fine with people pointing to all of his data through other sites and providing the free broadband and hosting service. He encourages people to use the Internet Archive even for no other purpose than to just defer the cost of storage and broadband.

By building an Internet Archive plug in you could open up what is probably the largest copyright free digital library on the planet and offer live music by people like Jack Johnson, The Grateful Dead, and the Gin Blossums.

MCE (or perhaps more correctly WMP) would need to support FLAC and other lossless formats natively in order to get the maximum bang for the buck but there is a vast digital media library out there just begging to be imported into the MCE interface here and now today — video, audio, photos, etc.

In fact the story is so compelling that Microsoft should not wait around for a third party developer to develop this through the SDK — Microsoft should build this themselves here and now today in order to make it as rich a part of MCE as possible.

Microsoft should also make some type of a significant monetary contribution to the Internet Archive as a gesture of good will — given the bandwidth that MCE users would use. It would not have to be huge. Something more symbolic. Say $100,000. This would be good PR for Microsoft and would represent a valuable benevolent act to the rest of the IT community.

Then Microsoft as a donor to the Internet Archive could use this new innovative “digital media included” message to better market MCE. Microsoft could and would be proud to talk about their collaboration with the Internet Archive. The product would evolve to eventually incorporate more and more micro content from around the planet but this would be a significant first step paving the way for the many new microcontent opportunities to come.

The story of Microsoft donating to the Internet Archive would generate tons of good press and attention for both Media Center and the Internet Archive. A win for both.

It would be relatively easy to do this today and would be an exciting development for Media Center. If a Media Center PC came stock with the potential of 10,000+ songs from the Internet Archive and was marketed correctly this would help push the product.

Nowhere is digital media more natural then in the living room. Television, music, etc. Microsoft should be the company to bring the Internet Archive to the living rooms of the world.