Media Center Mayhem

I have issues with Vista Media Center. Don’t get me wrong: I like it but as many people have suggested, it needs an update. Soon!

I guess it’s because I’m stuck with it. All my old versions of PowerDVD and WinDVD that came free with old graphics cards refuse to work decently or at all with Vista and while VLC is nice for those obscure video formats it’s not made for playing DVD’s. So I optimistically went ahead and used Media Center. Let me tell you about my experience.

Now be aware that as of now I don’t have a remote (a condition soon to change) but I still think I got the gist about Media Center.

It’s big upside is the smoothness of it’s interface. It’s well laid out and when going through the different menu options, it’s a very fluent experience. For stuff that’s stored locally on your computer everything goes great. That soon changes however when you put in a DVD. My biggest problem is that you can’t go from Fullscreen to Windowed mode without losing a couple of seconds of footage. The screen blacks out for a second or two. Now, PowerDVD could do this from it’s inception. Why can’t Media Center? Same goes for fastforward and rewind. It’s obvious they just lifted this from Windows Media Player so it’s no wonder it sucks. Why couldn’t they just have done something like 2x/4x/8x/16x/etc. like regular DVD playback software? Now you’re just stuck with one arrow, two arrows,… You have absolutely no control and once again, when you stop, you lose a couple of seconds because Media Center just doesn’t seem to catch up when you press Play. I also hate that it doesn’t have native Podcast support.

So all in all, very pretty, very smooth, very flashy but not exactly the feature bomb that I thought it would be. Hmm remind you of any consumer electronic device you know? 🙂