NewsGator Media Center RSS Reader

Ed Bott: I finally got Newsgator Media Center working! Ed Bott blogs about finally getting his Media Center NewsGator RSS working but takes issue with Alexander Grundner’s comment regarding the Bloglines TiVo add in, “hat tip to the developers on getting started on such a desireable HME add-on (you still beat MCE to the punch).” Ed says that the NewsGator had an MCE version out in June 2004.

Well, yes they did have an MCE version out back then, but back then they were charging a monthly fee for the service which made it a very questionable proposition whereas Bloglines was free. Although I had heard that NewGator was considering changing their mind on this I never saw any official announcement that they dropped the monthly fee for MCE useage. I also commented that the TiVo SDK guys had beaten the MCE SDK guys on the Bloglines plug in as well. And although you might be able to say that NewsGator is basically the same thing, I won’t know if it is or not until I try it. Bloglines is pretty cool.

I’ve never used NewsGator but have heard good things about it in the past. At a Scoble Geek Dinner a while back I told Renee Blodgett who was doing some PR work for the company that I’d try it when it was free. If it’s free now it very well might be worth exploring — but I think you can’t really compare a free TiVo Bloglines reader with a pay NewsGator reader and I’m not sure when NewsGator went free on MCE as I never saw an announcement.

I will try this on MCE and report back shortly.

Update: I now have a NewsGator Account on MCE. One of the nice things about Bloglines is that they allow you to export all of your feeds out of Bloglines (which I did) and then import them into NewsGator which I did as well.

It does appear that the web version of the software (including the MCE interface is free). You still have to pay a monthly or annual fee if you want to use it with Outlook. No biggie. Bloglines doesn’t even have the Outlook option if you want to pay.

NewsGator’s Standard service is free and includes web based and Microsoft Media Center Edition RSS. If you want to use the software with Outlook as well (which I very may well try if I like the web and MCE reader) it’s $29.95 per year.

So far there are only two things that I don’t like about NewsGator.

1. I have to check a box to delete posts after I’ve viewed them. Not a big deal but I preferred Bloglines’ approach where they automatically delete the feeds after you view them and it’s up to you to check a box if you want to save a message. As the majority of messages end up being deleted this seems like a better/faster way to go.

2. For some reason when I look at my RSS feeds in MCE even if I click on say, “Ed Bott” it doesn’t only show me Ed Bott’s feeds, it shows me all of my feeds that I’ve subcribed to. This is kind of a cool option I suppose but does anyone know if it is possible to just view a given blog’s feeds?

Update #2: Number one above is easily fixed with a settings change which I did. As far as I can tell there are no significant differences between NewsGator online and Bloglines. They operate almost identically and both are free. As NewsGator has the added advantage of a built in free MCE interface I think I’m going to switch to NewsGator for a while.

I may try the Outlook version as well as it has a try before you buy type of feature. …to be continued.