Mediaroom Personal Server, available Dec 29

Microsoft MediaroomMicrosoft might have just got the Mediaroom party started four months ago, but already dozens of providers around the world are drinking the kool-aid and having a good time. The much anticipated XBOX 360 integration is also crashing in any day now, but Microsoft’s got one last party trick, called the “Mediaroom Personal Server”.

On the generously detailed Microsoft Support Lifecycle’s portal, where it lists the support availability dates for all previous, current and upcoming Microsoft products, features an entry for “Mediaroom Personal Server“. The general availability date provided is “12/29/2007”.

Mediaroom Personal Server support lifecycle

Okay, I have to admit, I have no idea what the Mediaroom Personal Server is. But thanks to Microsoft’s ingenious naming conventions, you can’t be too far off with a guess either. It is definitely a consumer-orientated software or device bundle, much like Windows Home Server, which serves as an aggregator and hub for your Mediaroom devices.

Some of the scenarios I can think of with a ‘personal media server’ includes letting you rip and store your DVDs for instant access, let you subscribe to vidcasts which it will automatically download and archive, or even just manage all of your scheduled recordings including remote recordings from web access.

So far, there’s not even one reference to this product anywhere on Google besides Microsoft’s support page. It is definitely not something they’ve mentioned in passing. However since it’ll be available in exactly two months, I’m pretty sure it’s being worked on very hard.

Update: Or not. By a mile. Apparently it’s not even a consumer product, instead a virtual Mediaroom environment for third-party developers.

16 insightful thoughts

  1. From an Ars article on Mediaroom from a while back
    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070619-atour-of-microsofts-new-mediaroom.html

    “”Microsoft’s vision for the set-top box in Mediaroom is that of a digital media receiver according to Seidel, who also said that the company has a “whole-home PVR” in development. Only one of the digital media receivers in the house would have a hard drive built-in. Any receiver connected to the home network would be able to view content stored on the DVR, however

    Seidel also demonstrated the media sharing capabilities of Mediaroom. Content from all Mediaroom-aware devices (i.e., set-top boxes, PCs, Windows Mobile devices, and the Xbox 360) will be viewable from anywhere in the connected home. Users will be able to easily browse picture and music libraries and can stream content from room to room using Mediaroom””

    So this sounds like it could be the the multi-media equivalent of WHS.

    Ripping DVD’s and serving them up from Windows Media Center is in fact already possible though you need a PC and the v2 extenders don’t support the DVD Library feature.
    http://a8t8.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2518DD508BB713E8!143.entry

    It sounds interesting at least though if it’s really going to be successful as a central repository for streaming media then it will absolutely need to support more than just WMV/DVR-MS, XviD in AVI and H.264 in MP4 containers is a must & the Media Center team finally realized this by adding support for those to the v2 extenders.

  2. maybe a personal lite version of Windows Media Services for the connected home? probably a standalone for Windows or addon to Home Server.

  3. The idiomatic expression, “drinking the Kool-Aid”, was originally a reference to … a group of people … who … travelled around the United States and held events called “Acid Tests”, where LSD-laced Kool-Aid was passed out to the public. Those who drank the “Kool-Aid” passed the “Acid Test”. “Drinking the Kool-Aid” in that context meant accepting the LSD drug culture, and the Pranksters’ “turned on” point of view.

    By all accounts Vista’s Media Centre capabilities are now pretty decent. So if I’ve got a family home network of pc’s (say 4 copies of XP/Vista) why would I want to give M$$$$$$$$ more money for WHS and MPS and buy a new box as well? I like a solution like Apple’s Time Machine – plug in an external disk, wait a few minutes and you’re done. This influx of home server products is to be quashed as a blatant attempt to open up new revenue streams. Get Vista right please: we want a solution which maximises our value for money – not M$$$$$$$$’$ income.

    Been drinking too much Kool-Aid, young master Zheng has.

  4. John F. Jackson :
    The fact is that Time machine is a backup solution when WHS is a backup solution, a Secured (Raid like) NAS (over the netword and online) with shadow copy, and much more with plugins (Download, Torrent, clients Antivirus gestion, automation …).

    so please do not compare Time Machine with WHS …

    Plus, you seems to forget that Time machine NEED a USB/FW drive to be used (when it is not needed for ShadowCopy in Vista – since it is not a backup solution). For a laptop, I guess you can say that Shadow copy is less cumbersome than TM.
    Also if you have more than one Mac on your network you will need the same number in USB/FW drives or you will need to have a Mac to be the “Home Server” in the house (a separate machine or an existing one, but it will also need to be always ON, to be able to use TimeMachine on the other comuters).
    And with all the problems with disk space (when with the disk pool solution of WHS it is simple to add disk space).

    So I wouldn’t say that Time Machine is “better” than WHS … TM is a great backup solution with great ideas, and WHS is a great … home server.

  5. @John F. Jackson
    The backup features in Vista provide the same solution you get with TimeMachine and even more. To go “back in time” you do not need an external drive in Vista and for the automatic “standard” backups you can also use a second internal drive or even CDs/DVDs.

  6. Atomsk+tino

    I agree with you guys that VSS + WHS is superior to TM.
    My point was while Apple have packaged a neatish solution at no extra cost above the base OS, M$ are attempting to create a whole new revenue stream requiring a new machine and OS license.
    Would it not be better value for a customer with a home network to simply nominate one of his VISTA PREMIUM licensed machines to act as a home server and give it the right disk configuration? WHS functionality should have been a part of Vista, not a separate product: backup is a basic OS function.

    The other additional functions of WHS, like the 10 remote access sessions , are also there simply because XP and Vista’s remote access capabilities have been deliberately crippled. M$ realise that if they allow multiple remote sessions to an ordinary PC their sales of Terminal Services licenses to SMB’s will dry up. It is their prerogative of course to make the licensing rules …
    … I’m just trying to highlight how much M$ cripple your PC with licensing restrictions to boost their revenues.

    If you want to have (say) four user PC’s, WHS, MPS, dedicated media-centre PC and so on be my guest. With 4-core CPU’s soon to be the norm your network will be vastly and unnecessarily inefficient and expensive.

    If you want to see a truly innovative design, have a look at the Google File System, indeed Google’s datacentre design. That’s the way to go. Note also the trend in virtual machine consolidation within businesses. Adding new servers is so 1990’s.

  7. Here is some insight into the product you are talking about.

    What it is not:
    Everything that has been speculated so far. It is not a consumer product.

    What it is:
    Technically speaking its not a product at all. It is an installer tool wrapped around the Mediaroom product that will preform an install on a single machine in an automated fashion to allow individuals in the vidoe eco-system a platform for testing and developing against. Its that simple.

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