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Microsoft CES 2007: The Day After

Well, now that everyone’s Bill Gates keynote hangover is winding down, lets wrap up everything we’ve learned.

First, the announcements:

  • Windows Home Server – Coming by the middle of this year, a simple box that sits at the center of your home, acting as central storage for your media and backing up all your computers, as well as enabling remote access to media and networked computers.
  • IPTV on Xbox 360 – Coming late 2007, TV over the internet to your Xbox, via various service provider partners on Microsoft’s IPTV protocol.
  • Windows Vista Ultimate Extras – Two announced, the motion desktop (called Dream Scene) and Group Shot.
  • Windows Vista Media Center SportsLounge – Integration of sports watching features in Media Center, including a FOX Sports stats panel while watching games and fantasy sports tracking features.
  • First uses of Live Anywhere, including Xbox Live social features on the PC, Xbox Live Marketplace games on the PC, and games you can play on the PC versus Xbox users.

It is always tough waiting for products to come out, especially waiting about 8-10 months for IPTV on the Xbox 360. The good news is that at least Home Server will be here by early summer, and even if manufacturers design horribly expensive systems, the system builder channel guarantees you can buy a “grey market” copy of the Home Server operating system and build a more than decent Home Server out of a five-year old Windows XP PC and some big hard drives.

On10 has videos of many of the announced products, including Windows Home Server, Vista Ultimate Extras, Xbox 360 IPTV

Here’s Microsoft’s press release rundown.

Paul Thurrott has a preview of Home Server, revealing that it is indeed based on Windows Server 2003 R2, and that hard drives can be removed from the Home Server and the data will be readable by other PCs (not including the backups). He reveals that remote access will be through Windows Live, and some info on remote access of home PCs. He notes that Macs can access the Home Server easilly and use it for their backups as well. He notes the specs of HP’s announced Home Server:

HP will demonstrate a tiny home server at CES that features a sleek micro-tower design, four externally accessible, hot-swappable SATA hard drive bays, and 4 USB 2.0 ports. It utilizes a low-end 64-bit AMD Sempron processor running at 1.8 GHz and features 512 MB of RAM. You can connect a printer and share it out to other systems on your network.

He also has screenshots of the software. Well, if he can share his screenshots, so can I!

1 - system tray

2 - passwords sync

3 - user accounts

4 - shared folders

5 - backup details

6 - restore wizard

7 - remove hard drive

8 - home network healt

9 - shared folder settings

10 - general settings

11 - computer and backup settings

Ina Fried has an interview with Bill Gates regarding Home Server. Gates says its important that you don’t need a server administrator and that the price be low enough, under $1000. I’m thinking $500 is the sweet spot, and that any manufacturer that overloads it with hard drives is never going to sell the box (let the users supply the storage based on their own budget).

Charlie Kindel ran this photo of a super low profile Home Server:

Much better than the monstrosity HP is showing off, that will likely cost too much and depress the market.

LiveSide has the news that Home Server internet access will be through a free Windows Live service. Brandon LeBlanc found a fact sheet on Home Server at with interesting info, including hardware partners.

Turns out StarDock, the folks behind WindowBlinds and other Windows mods, were heavily involved in the work on DreamScene, which allows for animated desktop wallpaper. will be the official repository of DreamScene content, going live when Vista hits stores. They’re even extending it with DeskScapes, which allows the wallpaper to change based on events, like the time of the day causing the sun to rise and set on the wallpaper.

TweakVista ran these two Soapbox videos of DreamScene:

Video: Windows Vista Ultimate Extra: DreamScene (Motion Desktop)

Video: Windows Vista Ultimate Extras: DreamScene 2

The new Windows Ultimate Extras website has gone live, and it officially confirms the Texas Hold ‘Em game for Vista:

Joystiq shows off video of Xbox 360′s IPTV.

Apparently, Halo 2 will not connect through Live PC players and Xbox 360 players, no matter how confusing the language in the keynote.

Other announcements:

Yahoo is showing off a new version of Yahoo! Messenger that is designed for Windows Vista, using the Windows Presentation Foundation to improve the look and scalability of the user interface. Take a look at this screenshot, via this blog:

yahoo wpf messenger

UPDATE – I’ve written more about Yahoo’s Messenger at InsideGoogle, including linking to a video of it in action.

Engadget spotted what might be Dell’s Bluetooth-powered Sideshow player.

HP revealed an HDTV with Media Center Extender built right into it.

January 8th, 2007 Posted by | General, Home Server, Live, Media Center, Server, Vista, Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Yahoo | 3 comments

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  1. You mention “the monstrosity HP is showing off”. I found some specs (linked from engadget)that put it at 5.5″w X 9.8″h X 9.2″d. That’s not so big.

    Comment by mfmjos | January 8, 2007

  2. Yeah, when I said monstrosity, I was really referring more to the fact that I suspected HP was going to sell an underpowered machine at an overblown price.

    The specs:

    four externally accessible, hot-swappable SATA hard drive bays, and 4 USB 2.0 ports. It utilizes a low-end 64-bit AMD Sempron processor running at 1.8 GHz and features 512 MB of RAM. You can connect a printer and share it out to other systems on your network.

    Dell will sell you a system right now with a slightly faster AMD Sempron and a 250GB hard drive for $440, yet HP seems to be hinting at a $1000 price tag. That’s ridiculous, and it means the system builder market will be the place to go for Home Servers.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | January 8, 2007

  3. Here is an article that gives a little more detail about DreamScene, and more information on DeskScapes. It’s a good read.

    Comment by Scott | January 11, 2007

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