The obvious question is, “What is Windows Media Connect and why do I care?”. Windows Media Connect 2.0 is a feature of Windows that enables other digital media receivers such as the Roku Soundbridge, D-Link MediaLounge or Xbox 360 to play streamed music, photos, and video* on plain old Windows XP. Xbox 360 you said? Yes.
And it works with services like Napster, MSN Music, FYE, and Yahoo Music in your Windows Media Player library. Whatever you say about DRM, the team is working hard to make sure this stuff will go around your house or on your devices as easily as possible given requirements.
Personally, I have a Roku Soundbridge connected to an older set of bookshelf speakers in our living room and I love it. During Halloween, I create a playlist and point a speaker out the window to scare the kids. Thanksgiving, it fills the dining room with mood music, and Christmas we use it to play our “opening presents” music. The rest of the year, I use it to listen to internet radio from Virgin UK while cleaning the front side the house that the MCE doesn’t cover.
The best news is that Windows Media Connect 2.0 is over 5x faster than version 1.0 and all with a smaller memory footprint. This really appeals to me- when you have over 10,000 songs indexed, this becomes pretty important. The teams are finally prioritizing this as key customers have large media libraries and digital media around the home needs to better support. Congrats and thanks to the Windows Media Connect 2.0 team- my son can hear “Freight Train” before he starts crying out of frustration and that’s worth more than you know to this father.
*Note: Not all devices support all media types.