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Smart Living Journal

Extra Vegetables Windows Media Center Control4 Driver

For Movie and Music Servers Windows Media Center is now present on virtually all Windows 7 computers and is at the heart of many lower cost Movie Servers available on the market. Window Media Center provides a very attractive on-screen display for choosing and controlling movies. Whilst for some time it has been possible to control some aspects of a Windows Media Center from Control4 this is the first solution which delivers a fully integrated solution for both movies AND music.

Extra Vegetables Windows Media Center driver provides IP control of the Windows Media Center interface, allows you to select movies to play from the Control4 Media database and provides selection and control of music from Windows Media Center. In addition you can also control Windows Media Center extenders such as the XBox 360 (note it does not control all aspects of the XBox 360 - only when it is in Windows Media Extender Mode).

The Windows Media Center interface is colorful and easy to navigate. The driver provides IP based navigational control of the GUI.

Most Windows 7 Machines!
Most editions of Windows 7 now have Windows Media Center (WMC) built in. This means that most customers that own a PC will already have the basis of a music and movie server to use with their system. The PC will need compatible software to play back DVDs, Blu-rays or other compressed file formats. Often this is also included with the PC - if not it is not expensive to add on. So for a customer on a real budget where you can get the video output of the computer to the AV system this is a viable solution.

Dedicated WMC Servers/Players
Moving up a league you could specify or build your own rack mount movie server using Windows Media Center. More likely though is to purchase one of the many such servers that are available from a variety of manufacturers around the world. These guys have done the thinking for you and will deliver a fully working movie server and player that may well offer the ability to backup the customer's DVDs and Blu-rays too.

IP Control
Our driver will provide full IP control over the WMC interface with the ability to quick jump to the Movies, Music or TV section of the Windows Media Center interface. We all know IP control is the quickest and most reliable control mechanism to use.

Integration with Control4 Media
Scan and Go
Control4 has a great built in tool for looking up DVD details and automatically showing these on the Control4 interfaces including the iOS apps. All you need to do is have Control4 scan the location where the DVDs are backed up. Then with our driver installed your customer can simply select a movie from their iPad or Touchscreen and have it play automatically via their WMC player.

It's the kind of integration and convenience that used to only be possible with servers costing thousands of dollars. This integration is now probably possible with the computer the customer already owns.

Music Selection

It's not all about Apple!
Windows Media Center can also catalogue and play all of your customers music collection. It can rip music, look up cover art - all the usual things you would expect. We've not ignored this important aspect of the product. Through the now familiar 'iPod' style interface on Control4 you can browse through the Artists, Albums and Genres in your music collection. Once selected the cover art from the current track is shown on the Now Playing screens in Control4 (assuming it is available in Windows Media Center).