The new Windows 7 beta includes a few new surprises, one of which is an updated Windows Media Center. A new, very promising addition to WMC is the Extras Gallery (pictured below). While not immediately interesting, digging a little deeper reveals a promising new ecosystem.
Buried inside the Home Shopping Network Extra, is a full online purchase and payment system ! Personally I’m not that interested in getting a new set of earings or the latest steam iron, but this showcases game-changing technology integration.
With the help of a Media Center extender, Microsoft have created an lounge-room / arm-chair shopping experience. Never before have we been able to buy real items via the TV. Some enthusiasts may have a laptop next to them in the lounge room, but this makes purchasing dead easy, so easy that your mum could do it.
In this instance a purchase does require registration with the HSN, but it’s easy to see WMC Extras being built for almost everything, ordering food, electronics, clothing, anything. Your order would then simply arrive at your door.
This could be the new frontier for online shopping.
One of the most promising new menu items is Viral Videos. Whilst we still don’t have access in Australia (read below), this could pave the way for integration with Hulu, YouTube and other online video streaming services.
Only speculation at this point, but the name certainly points to Live Music concerts being available in WMC in the future. Just imagine Big Day Out being streamed live to your big screen. Not sure about you, but I’d pay for that.
This borrows from Movie trailers on the Xbox 360, remembering though the Xbox 360 isn’t the only Media Center extender. Movie Trailers are likely to be delivered by streaming.
Lack of Australian support
Unfortunately too many of the services in WMC result in Australian’s seeing this message.. “Sorry, there is no <insert service> content available for Australia.” Microsoft and Xbox Australia, please hear this cry from Australians, that we too want online content from around the globe, delivered to our lounge rooms. If it’s a matter of striking deals with content delivery partners, then get it signed. Our broadband adoption is growing fast, let us take advantage of that with Windows Media Center.