Multimedia

Media Browser is a handy service, which turns your home PC into a multimedia server. With apps available for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone, consumers are able to access remote content on smartphones, tablets and other supported devices. Today, the team have announced updates for both the server release and Windows Phone client, as well as a pretty decent sale for anyone who hasn't tried the service.

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When Microsoft released the Xbox One back in November of 2013, the console came without the ability to play multimedia from an external device, such as a flash drive. It seemed that the ultimate entertainment console would not be able to play any of your personal content and instead you would be locked to approve multimedia apps on the platform, but that is not the case.

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Not everyone are fans of the native Windows 8 Music and Video apps, but for those who are looking to find an alternative solution – you will not have to wait any longer. Back in November of 2012, VLC announced a Kickstarter campaign to launch the software on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. As of today, the application has passed certification and is now published in the Windows 8 Store for x86 and x64 based machines.

RT and Windows Phone versions will still have to wait, though they are planned.

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Yesterday we reported on the possible announcement and availability dates for Microsoft’s Xbox One Media Remote. As of today, we can confirm the previously mentioned reports and provide more information about the Media Remote itself. Wondering what the remote will be able to control and exactly when you will be able to pick it up? Check after the break for all the details you could possibly endure about a remote.

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Media Browser (www.mediabrowser3.com) is a sweet service that turns your home PC (or server setup) into a multimedia server. There's an app available for Windows Phone that enables you to stream content from said machine when not physically in front of it. Now, the Media Browser team has released a Windows 8.1 app, perfect for those with hardware running Microsoft's desktop OS.

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Another rumor we want to squish is that there will be a new version of Windows Phone for "low-end" devices called "Neon".

The information first popped up on TWiT's Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott, Mary Jo Foley and Leo Laporte.  On Episode 264 (June 7th) at around 1:47:45, Thurrott brings up some developer documentation pertaining to Windows Phone 8 with four main points:

  • Avoid free for all multitasking, aka Android and Windows Mobile
  • Allow Mango customers to upgrade to Apollo (later mis-reported as "A lot of Mango customers won’t get upgraded to Apollo")
  • Allow Mango apps to support Apollo resolutions
  • Lower end devices support for Neon

The site Insideris then received an "anonymous tip" on the 13th with the same list and they reported that "Neon" may be the next version of Windows Phone for non-Apollo devices. This resulted in numerous emails here at Windows Phone Central and various people contacting us to comment on it.

So true or false?

False. For one, the current code-name schemes for Windows Phone all have the milestones ending in "O": NoDo, Mango, Tango, Apollo, etc. So "Neon" does not fit with that history. Second, Neon here is referring to ARM® NEON™ a "general-purpose SIMD engine" for ARM chipsets. 

Let's head back to MIX 2011. Back then, Microsoft pre-announced support for ARM NEON for Windows Phone Mango. NEON is basically high-end multimedia support or in technical jargon it can  "...accelerate multimedia and signal processing algorithms such as video encode/decode, 2D/3D graphics, gaming, audio and speech processing, image processing, telephony, and sound synthesis". 

Funny thing though--it never happened (evidently NEON is there, though it is unclear if it works in Tango or early builds of WP8). A smart reading is that Neon support is coming for "low end" devices which is a good thing. That's actually very interesting news. But it is not a code-name for a new version of Windows Phone, sorry.

As a side note, Insideris reported the second point as "A lot of Mango customers won’t get upgraded to Apollo" but if you listen to Thurrott, he says "Allow Mango customers to upgrade to Apollo" and that seems more credible.

To paraphrase Ned Stark: "Brace yourselves, silly season is coming"

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Windows Phone 7 Connector 1.1 released

Attention fellow OS X users, Windows Phone 7 Connector 1.1 is here! Not much to report on (feature wise) since their gold release, but there is one huge improvement in functionality for majority of users. The software can now be configured to start up automatically when a supported device is detected. I was always unsure as to why this wasn't available from the off.

As well as the above change, we have performance improvements and high CPU synchronisation issues solved which is a welcomed fix. The only feature we need now is actual Zune service integration so we can use our passes without firing up the web browser.

If you haven't done so already, download the connector now.

Thanks Ali for the tip!

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Windows Phone 7 Connecter on OS X goes gold on App Store Surprising all Apple focused Windows Phone 7 owners (myself included) with native support for their new platform, Microsoft have had their connector software that allows seamless synchronisation between WP7 devices and OS X in beta for a few months now since October '10. It has now gone gold. Unfortunately, there is still no Zune software available or that has been rumoured to be in active development which would be welcomed with open arms. There are no reportable features that have been added to the Connector, only fixes and enhancements. Still allowing media synchronisation with iTunes & iPhoto and allowing WP7 device firmware updates we don't truly have grounds to grumble. Head on over to the App Store to download the latest instalment for free. Should you have it already and the store is not reporting an update is available, simply drag the Windows Phone 7 Connector icon from your applications list to the trash can and then install from the App Store. Source: Engadget

Surprising all Apple focused Windows Phone 7 owners (myself included) with native support for their new platform, Microsoft has had their connector software that allows seamless synchronization between WP7 devices and OS X in beta since October '10. It has now gone gold.

Unfortunately, there is still no Zune software available or that has been rumored to be in active development, which would be welcomed with open arms. There are no reportable features that have been added to the Connector, only fixes and enhancements. Still allowing media synchronization with iTunes & iPhoto and allowing WP7 device firmware updates we don't truly have grounds to grumble.

Head on over to the App Store to download the latest installment for free. Should you have it already and the store is not reporting an update is available, simply drag the Windows Phone 7 Connector icon from your applications list to the trash can and then install from the App Store.

Source: Engadget

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For the uninitiated, Kinoma Play (and FreePlay) is one of the very best multimedia apps available for Windows Mobile. The slick UI, support for numerous media types, social integration, and massive content selection make Kinoma one of those apps that really sets the bar for everyone else. For those of you still using Kinoma on a regular basis, an update is available for both Play and FreePlay. This update apparently addresses issues with YouTube playback.

Anybody out there still using Kinoma on a regular basis?

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SPB TV 2.0 is out; now free

For those of you who like free things, especially when they used to cost money then SPB will make your day. They upgraded their SPB TV software to 2.0 and in turn, made it freeware (previously it was $14.99). See a review of the older version here.

Well, it does play a mini-ad before your program starts, so more like a Hulu-method sans the cool content. A lot of it is local stations and some web-based things, no major networks, so this isn't a Hulu/Slingbox replacement by any means.

Other additions to 2.0 include

  • Video-on-Demand channels added
  • High quality h264/AVC streams supported
  • Hardware video acceleration support improved
  • Advertising added into opening screen
  • Backlight supported for new devices
  • Other bugfixes

We can't say it doesn't work well and it that is serves as a great "I'm bored, need something to do while I wait for the dentist" program, so we say go for it, after all it won't cost you anything.

It's available in touchscreen and non-touchscreen versions and you can grab it right here; unfortunately it's not available yet in the Marketplace.

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The Zune HD is as close as you can currently (and officially) get to Windows Phone 7, and it's now even closer, thanks to a new firmware update released today.

What dost thou receive with the update? Smart DJ Mix, currently only available on the desktop software, is now available on-device. You also can get personalized music recommendations directly on the Zune HD, browse the Zune Marketplace while the Zune HD is connected to your TV and expanded video codecs.

So if you've got one, plug 'er in and let us know how it goes. [Zune Forums]

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We've been following the development of v7.0 of Resco Photo Manager for sometime now (see our early review) and today it has gone official, hitting the gold status. 

To refresh, the main changes are:

  • WM 6.5 registration fixed
  • Touch friendly user interface
  • User interface is in new graphic
  • Add GPS position to any image and make a diary of your trip
  • Locate geo-tagged image on map (using Google Maps)
  • Different skins available
  • Letter & date navigation bar
  • Folder content preview
  • Rotation , navigation and zoom gestures
  • Double tap image to quickly view detail in original size
  • GUI animations
  • Support of G-sensor
  • Convert image to JPG, PNG and BMP
  • Text notes can be saved into EXIF
  • Upload to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa supported
  • Upload image with comment and GPS location

Our early impressions were basically this a very impressive and worthy photo application, in fact it sets the bar.  Check it out here.

[via our forums]

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We teased you a bit the other day with video of the latest version of Kinoma Play (albeit in Japanese), but now it's ready for the rest of us, in English.

This is a major upgrade for Kinoma Play that they're dubbing a "Social Media Browser," and new features include customizable Kinoma home pages, Facebook integration, direct access to the Mobihand app store, Twitter integration, Last.fm, a built-in RSS reader, a free gigabyte of space from Box.net, the already outstanding Yoututbe player and support for Flickr and Picasa.

Another new feature (to Kinoma at least) is support for the AVRCP Bluetooth protocol, aka the ability control playback from a Bluetooth device. Huzzah!

For those of you already rocking the full version of Kinoma Play (watch our original review here), the update should be available the next time you launch the app. (Or you can get it manually with the "Check for update" function.) If you're looking to buy, it'll run you $29.99. That's definitely not cheap for a Windows Mobile app, but, in our opinion, you get what you pay for here. (And for those of you wondering, Kinoma FreePlay will get an update, too.)

Learn more over at Kinoma.com, and the full presser's after the break.

Update: After applying the upgrade, you'll have to re-save all of your "favorites" within Kinoma Play. I could find most of mine in the Kinoma Guide, but you may want to track down some of your lesser-known links in advance. But this also gives you the opportunity to add the to the home screen and try that out. But be forewarned.

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Mobile March Madness

With March Madness fully underway, many of us are looking for ways to stay up-to-date with what is happening in the world of college basketball. Here is a look at some of the ways you can use your Windows Mobile phone towards that end.

  • Web browser - Many of the major names in sports news (ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sportsline, etc.) have made improvements to their mobile websites. My suggestion is try them all, see which one you like the most.
  • Text messages/Email - Most of the sites mentioned above offer some sort of alert service. The advantage of this obviously is that if you don
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