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February 20, 2009

Windows Media Center’s New Pictures + Videos Features in Windows 7

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Windows Media Center Team here at Microsoft and shoot some videos of the new features that are currently in the Windows 7 Beta. I’m a fairly heavy user of Windows Media Center and know many of our readers are too. This post highlights many of the the changes and new features that people can enjoy for themselves as they try out the Windows 7 Beta.

In the first of several videos I shot, Windows Media Center Program Manager Noah Spitzer-Williams takes us through the new Pictures + Videos features in Windows Media Center.

Windows Media Center Picture and Videos Features in the Windows 7 Beta

In the above video, Noah demos the following new Windows Media Center features and changes in Windows 7 (in the order of appearance in the video) to the Pictures + Videos experience:

  • Changes to the way videos are displayed in Video Library to include Thumbnails AND Names for each video.
  • Support for H.264 Video – no 3rd party codecs are required to play H.264 content.
  • Video Play-All Option (think of it as a “Video Slide Show”) with ability to navigate between each video.
  • Developers can take advantage of the new Import API for Windows Portable Devices. The new API enables photos AND videos from portable devices to be imported directly within Windows Media Center.
  • Ability to create Slide Shows (new Slide Show pivot) with your pictures and can contain pictures or music or both.
  • New On-screen Keyboard (Touch-enabled).
  • Improved Rating Controls within Windows Media Center UI.
  • New Ratings Pivot for quick access to your favorite content.
  • Play Favorites feature with new Slide Show style.
  • Auto Slide Show feature acts as a screensaver for Windows Media Center.

You may have caught PowerPlaylist in the Windows Media Center menu in the video. PowerPlaylist is an application originally released by the Windows Media Center Team for Windows Vista and can be downloaded here via CodePlex. The Windows Media Center Team is revising PowerPlaylist for Windows 7 and an early copy was installed on the PC running the Windows 7 Beta in the video. They plan to release an updated version to CodePlex soon. I’ll be covering that soon as well.

Expect more videos to follow shortly!

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