There was some fairly significant news today (no I'm not talking about the new iPod Touch, Classic, iPhone this time) from the author of the Media Center's Webguide. The shareware add-on to Windows MCE and Vista Media Center created by Doug Berrett is now free to all to download and use. Doug finalized a business deal with Microsoft to make WebGuide available to everyone free. Doug will also become part of the Microsoft MediaCenter team.
If you are unfamiliar with WebGuide, here's some of what it can do:
- Remotely view live and recorded TV programs
- Web based TV Guide
- Remotely schedule and manage your recorded television programs, music, pictures and videos on your Media Center or Windows Vista PC.
- Access Webguide and all of its features from any machine that has a web browser, including your cell phone or mobile device.
- Subscribe to recorded TV via RSS feeds for fast access to your recordings
It's similar to the web-based webadmin I use with Beyond TV's HTPC software, but it has more integrated placeshifting abilities, built-in RSS feeds and integrated access to your music, pictures and videos - all things I want from Beyond TV, but don't have yet. This is a step in the right direction for Microsoft with their Media Center. Microsoft seems to be taking Media Center more seriously although I'm still waiting for a several more things before I would turn to the the "dark side". In a coming-soon post, I'll cover Media Center's shortcomings that keep me using the better (for me at least) Beyond TV application from Snapstream.
For now though, this is very good news for Media Center users as long as Microsoft doesn't cripple the placeshifting abilities of WebGuide.