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Windows Media Center Wizardry by Tony Campbell

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Taking Media Center to the Next Level

There are, as with most software systems, things XP MCE can’t do by default. However, as is the case with all Microsoft platforms, XP MCE comes with its own API, and it’s highly extensible. Many software developers have augmented the XP MCE interface with new and exciting enhancements, bolstering its already rich set of capabilities. This section examines a number of additions to the XP MCE solution that can be considered the best in their respective fields, as well as taking a look at some of the new and exciting hardware interfaces available for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony’s PSP, and the Apple iPod.

How to Find the Best Updates, Plug-Ins and Power Toys

MCE, like any other software platform, needs support. Updates that come from Microsoft for MCE are made available through the Automatic Updates functionality of the underlying Windows XP operating system. If you choose not to use Automatic Updates, you can check to see which updates might be necessary on Microsoft’s MCE web site, at http://www.microsoft.com/mediacenter.

MCE is an extensible platform, complementing the underlying Windows XP operating system with various development interfaces and capabilities.

By using the Media Center Software Development Kit (SDK), which is available as a download from Microsoft’s web site (see Figure 31), developers can create plug-ins and extensions to the MCE platform in Visual Studio. The SDK is extremely flexible and extensible and is a great platform for ...

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