March 2008 - Posts

  • RadioTime for Windows Media Center

    I found a new (to me anyway) service today, thanks to an insert in the box my Linksys DMA2200 came in.  Its called RadioTime, and its free.  Its a Media Center plugin that allows you to stream Internet radio stations from all over the world. And it can present you with a list of local radio stations, based on your ZIP code, that are available for streaming.  You can add your favorite stations to a Favorites list (who knew there was a country radio station in Prague?).  This feature requires a free subcription to utilize.

     Best of RadioTime

    They also advertise a companion service, The RedButton.  This allows you to schedule and record radio, and play it back via Media Center or your portable media player. They do have a 14 day free trial, and if you decide to buy its a one time charge of $29.00.  No recurring fees at all!

    And, yes, it works though the Media Center Extenders, as well.

  • Linksys DMA2200 Media Center Extender for Windows Vista

    My Linksys DMA2200 arrived today, thanks to the Media Center team at Microsoft (Thanks, folks!).

    Linksys DMA2200 

    I was fortunate enough to get to test a competing product, the D-Link DSM-750, prior to this.

     D-Link DSM-750

    PRO: The single biggest advantage of the DMA2200 over the DSM-750 is a built-in DVD player.  This is a 1080p upscaling DVD player. Sadly, you have to exit the Media Center Extender UI to get to the DVD player, but........ Its an inconvenience, not a show-stopper.  

    PRO: The UI in the DMA2200 seems to be a bit snappier and smoother than the DSM-750. 

    CON: The DMA2200 does not have the Windows Media Connect feature of the DSM-750.  This allows you to access shared music, movies, videos and pictures across your LAN.  Of course, you can do this within Media Center, too, so I don't see this as any big loss.

    The DMA2200 does what you would expect a Media Center Extender to do, and so far, does it pretty well.  It presents almost every function of the full Media Center Experience, and does it in a small black package.   No need to have that clunky PC in the den or living room any more. 

    Both units support Draft N wireless. as well as wired ethernet.  And they both support Composite, Component and HDMI video.  Surround sound support is standard for both units, as well as S/PDIF audio out.  I haven't tried the wireless yet, since I already had CAT-5 running to the devices location.  All in all, if its a choice between these two units, I'd spring for the extra bucks and get the DMA2200, as it doesn't lose anything I'd miss and gains a DVD player.