Video: Windows Home Server PP3 and Windows Media Center

Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 is bringing new media center features. It’s only in beta but you can sign up to test it out. Ian Dixon has a video walk through of how it works which is above. Some of the new features are below.

* You will now have Music, Photos and Videos shared folders from the WHS available to Windows 7 Libraries. This makes that content available for Windows Media Center as well as other Windows applications like Windows Explorer, Windows Media Player and others that use Windows 7 Libraries.
* A new Media Center menu option on the main menu of Media Center called “TV Archive.” This menu item allows you to transfer recorded TV programming to your WHS machine. There is an option to select individual shows or entire series. A nice feature is the ability to transfer future, scheduled episodes of a given show as well.
* As part of the “Move TV Recordings” function described above, you can also choose to compress/transcode those shows to save hard drive space. That includes compression into Zune and other portable media formats.
* A new Media Center menu option on the extras menu to View WHS stats. Stats include: Storage available, hard drive stats, computers being backed up & their status, list of shared folders, media count, network health, and home server hardware & manufacturer info.
* All of the new menu items do work on Media Center extenders

It’s nice to see Microsoft making Windows Home Server more of a media center hub for everything digital but the stuff they have included has already been done by other media center companies. GeekTonic pointed out that SageTV has been using the Windows Home Server since 2007 and they already have softsled software. I’m not sure where Microsoft is going with Windows Media Center but with companies ditching extenders and other companies running circles around them for features they don’t stand much of a chance. That might be what they are planning. If I had to guess it will be Windows Media Center embedded on set top boxes and a Windows Home Server as the backend.

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