MSN TV on Channel 9

MSN TV – Bringing MSN Services into the living room Channel 9 speaks with MSN Remote Record creators MSN TV. Personally I think this is fantastic technology. This is the beginning of what is going to be a whole new way that we find and consume media and it’s integration with Media Center is first rate.

As excited as I am to be able to find and record shows from work (or anywhere remotely for that matter), I’m even more excited to be able to search for programming with MSN via keyboard. The problem is I need deeper search capabilities though.

At present Remote Record allows you to search show titles, keywords and descriptions but I want even more. Let’s open up closed captioning (especially for repeating TV), let’s open up more detailed program descriptions and let’s really open up micro content and allow me to program micro content — everything from Channel 9 to the Internet Archive (how is it that Yahoo! apparently can incorporate the Internet Archive and MSN cannot — Brewster Kahle is totally fine with people building platforms to mine the Internet Archive), etc. You get the idea.

Great work guys — remote record is a great first step. I’m looking forward to watching the interview and even if I can’t get a season pass to Channel 9 on Media Center (yet?) I think I’m still going to watch this one in the living room on the 43″ plasma.

MSN TV is a potential goldmine for MCE content. This is where Microsoft should be spending big time. Compelling content will help drive the purchases of Media Center software and hardware.

MSN TV, you guys should have a whole team of internet editors building your micro content platform.

Update: Well I did in fact watch Channel 9 on my 43″ plasma tonight and the photo proves it. It wasn’t in Media Center of course, but here are some of my comments. 1. Is it just not economically feasible to get a higher quality video? What if I download it instead of stream it? Is it feasible that I could get at least a VHS quality broadcast? How impossible would it be to offer up an HDTV version? Assuming Scoble had an HDTV Camera, what would it cost, again as a downloadable instead of streaming broadcast? Could peer to peer or BitTorrent help? 2. One thing I hated about watching the broadcast in WMP 10 instead of MCE is that in full view the bars at the top and bottom activating WMP kept coming on. I think it was the vibration of the sound that triggered the mouse to display them. 3. Would love to see Channel 9 in 16:9 widescreen format instead of 4:3. 4. MSN Remote Record is expanding two ways, global and mobile. So Ian Dixon and the rest of you overseas pals, it looks like you will get this technology shortly. I’m not sure that I agree so much with the “mobile” part. I can’t imagine ever wanting to schedule programming from my AudioVox SMT 5600 (as much as I do love that baby).

I’d seriously consider abandoning the mobile route guys and going after micro content instead. There is much more there.

And still, you guys are missing a huge PR opportunity by not having MSN TV offer up a Channel 9 broadcast over Online Spotlight in MCE. It would be so easy and great publicity for the two million or so current MCE users (all of who are likely to be MCE fans by the way). As another aside, I hope that you make the Xbox launch via MTV available as a VOD broadcast through Online Spotlight as well. You would be well served to have this kick off watched by your current MCE customers as these are your highest probable buyers of the new Xbox as a Media Extender. Again, really easy, someone’s just got to have the job to make it happen.

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  1. Aaron says:

    You need to the Tweak WMP plug-in. It allows you to change the full screen behavior so that the controls only show up when you move the mouse to the top or bottom of the screen instead of whenever you move the mouse. Also has some other useful tools. It’s available here:

  2. Charlie Owen says:

    Hey Thomas, you need to use Newsgator for Media Center (available via Online Spotlight). You can then subscribe and consume all of the Channel9 videos from within Media Center.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    You are right Charlie. This will work and I actually switched from bloglines to NewsGator as my RSS reader because NewsGator supports MCE and Bloglines does not. Ian Dixon who does the Media Center Podcast has also built an MCE reader that will do this as well.

    I guess my thought is though that RSS isn’t as simple a solution to get Channel 9 as might otherwise exist. I’d rather see this and other micro content actually in the “My TV” space. I’d rather be able to get a season pass to Channel 9 and have it mixed in with my TV recordings. I would think that someone at MCE should be able to pretty easily build a converter that searches RSS enclosure and allows MCE to get a Season Pass under the hood.

    This would be easier for people to use than RSS. MSN should also consider organizing and cataloging all kinds of micro content Video for MCE search. It would be really slick to do a television search and type Scoble in and have the Forbes video come up and Channel 9 come up and your interview with him come up etc. Right now there is no really easy way to “search” for Scoble video via the MCE interface.

    The other thing is that rather than streaming this micro content, I wonder if it would be cheaper to download it and play it later. If MCE could, for instance, download Channel 9 for me automatically at 3 a.m. for my viewing later then Scoble might be able to do a special higher production quality (resolution, etc.) show available especially for MCE users. He could even do a high def version which I would be drooling over.

    NewsGator is great but it’s not as simple for storing television and audio and video. I’d rather see an option to integrate these things into “My TV” or perhaps into “My Videos” as this button is seldom used by people anyways. Or you could always add a new optional button, my micro content, my podcasts, my videoblogs, whatever you guys want to call it. But the MSN TV guys do need to build the search features to get at the content, build MCE season passes, etc.

  4. says:

    I think that the key to getting the microcontent right is to make it as simple as possible. A season pass for Video would be a real way to differentiate your microcontent from Yahoo’s. Of course you can’t call it a season pass because Tivo has the patent on that.