I've been using MC for several years, investing significant time and
effort into improving the platform at many different levels. It was
very difficult to even get to the point where I would consider another
platform. Not only would a new set of rules need to be learned (and
passed on to the family), but many of the tools (DTB, RecordingBroker,
LcdWriter, etc) developed to make the old system work right will need
to be adapted to an entirely new ecosystem. Having received a few questions around why I'm replatforming (although
a different word was used), I've tried to hit the big reasons below.
No updates in a long time, and none planned until Win7: Ehome has aligned its release schedule with Windows. So no more yearly updates. If
they were in a position of strength, instead of being significantly behind the feature curve, maybe this would be understandable. But as it
stands, so many features are missing I can only see them getting further behind in each cycle. Looking back 3-4 years it would have been
very difficult to predict where the market would go. In such a dynamic environment, shorter/tighter cycles are required; if you're wrong the
loss is minimal, if you're right you've kept pace. With the exeception of OCUR, there hasn't been a significant functional change in MC
since Rollup 2. MCML is nice, but it doesn't add real functionality to the platform, just form. I want native QAM, a hetrogenous guide,
ATSC subchannels, software extender (softsled), modern high definition codec support, and a more cohesive multi-pc environment experience.
Living without a couple of these isn't a big deal, but there's a point where the features that are missing outweighs the ones that aren't. I
think waiting for Win7 (2010?) is too much of a long shot. If I'm wrong, and Win7 has everything + more than Sage has when it ships I'll
happily eat some crow.
Lack of relevant direction, but who knows: Forced to guess at who ehome designs for, and what its targets are, I can't find a cohesive direction or
strategy targeting the needs of the enthusiast. This is made so much worse by the almost complete lack of transparency. We don't know
what's coming or when; just that "good things are" at some unspecified, unmentionable, unaccountable point in the future. Looking only at
the outputs, I have a hard time seeing how Media Center is targeted at me. Hopefully transparency gets better now that MS has finally gotten
officially involved in the community.
Doing it the hard way, by design: I see a lot of complexity and inflexibility in MC, and I have to wonder how much of it is really necessary.
It seems that they would be able to deliver more functionality faster if it didn't try remaking the wheel each time. For those that want to
play, it's more difficult than it should be to get simple things working.
Won't Fix/can't Repro/Not my problem: It's hard for me to accept these kinds of responses for something I'm passionate about. MS needs to do
a better job of engaging and supporting the efforts of those who are trying to make the platform better.
Maybe I need a change: Messing with HTPCs is one of my main hobbies. I want to be excited about the platform, to advocate for it, to be a
"fanboi". There was a time when I could do that with MC and it was a defensible position. A time when the platform didn't let me down when
it was cutting edge. Sage isn't for everyone. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't interested in tinkering; but it is stable, good
looking (after some help), and most importantly capable.