I’m not an evangelist like Scoble, but I do love toys. And you get to work on a lot of really cool toys in the multimedia group J
A couple of months ago I was redirected from working on Longhorn to work on a project code named Fjord. Fjord’s public name is “Windows Media Connect”, and it’s really pretty awesome.
Essentially, WMC is a service that runs on your Windows XP SP2 machine that turns your PC into a audio/video jukebox. It allows you to export the multimedia content on your machine to any device that supports the UPnP MediaRenderer protocol. There are a bunch of these devices available, Sony sells one called the RoomLink, and similarly Omnifi sells one called a DMS1. The Sony supports audio, video and pictures, the Omnifi is audio-only.
I’ve got to say that in all seriousness these things will totally change the way that people experience multimedia on their PC. I currently have 3 machines in my office (the Omnifi, the RoomLink and a 3rd that’s not yet been announced). These things rock. You can play your MP3 files, your WMA files, you AVI files (I’m not sure which codecs are supported) on them. You get the convenience of having your media on your PC but you get to play it on your home stereo. Some of the devices are wired, some are wireless, so you can hook these things up to your in-house wireless network without too much difficulty (you do have an in-house wireless network, don’t youJ?)
Even in my office, I LOVE the fact that I can now use my office stereo to listen to my ripped CDs. So much that I’ve been aggressively ripping them instead of just keeping them in their jewel cases (yes, I’m a dinosaur – up until about 6 months ago, I didn’t have ANY ripped music, all my office CDs were still in their jewel cases).
I’ll have to be honest and say that the UI on the devices can be a bit “esoteric”, but I’m confident that this will change as more devices come on line and competition heats up. Some of them are REALLY quite nice (especially the one that’s not yet been announced).