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October 05, 2007

In praise of TVersity

tversitylogo Nothing to do with web analytics or online marketing, this, but I had to give a shout out to TVersity, which (together with my Windows Home Server box) has delivered on my long-cherished vision of being able to download TV from the Internet (strictly legally, you understand) to the server in my home office and play it via the Xbox that's connected to the TV in my living room.

One of the great unsung features of the Xbox is its ability to stream media files from any Windows-based PC running Windows Media Connect (now part of Windows Media Player 11). The only snag is that for video you can only play WMV files this way.  And we all know how much WMV-format video you can download (not much, if you need telling). TVersity fixes this by allowing you to stream DivX-encoded video through your Xbox; but it doesn't stop there: you can also stream live video (encoded in RSS feeds, even) from the Internet, as well as listen to Internet radio stations.

Why am I excited about this now? Because the new UK series of Strictly Come Dancing starts this weekend, and Mrs Thomas is a huge fan (don't mind it myself, come to that). We moved to the US last year in the middle of the last series, and in order to watch the rest of the series I had to set up a cumbersome system involving recording the show in the UK onto hard disk and downloading it laboriously onto a laptop here which we then plugged into the TV in our corporate apartment. This year will be so much easier. Ah, the relentless march of technology - what a wonderful thing.

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