Windows 7 - MCE PIP

Asked By Nick Gressens on 24-Jul-07 07:27 AM
Hi all,

I'm fairly new to XP media center OS, just bought my dedicated machine
couple of months ago, and already loving it :-)

However, I'm really missing PIP functionality here, are there any known
plugins for this??

Dave B. replied on 24-Jul-07 11:40 AM
If there are I haven't found one, kind of an odd feature to leave out for us
dual tuner folks.

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Nick Gressens replied on 25-Jul-07 07:43 AM
Exactly my point!
There are some opensource mediacenter alternatives that have PIP, it's just
odd that in XP mediacenter there's no option for this :-(

Is there in Vista? Or are there plans to implement a feature like this?
David B. replied on 25-Jul-07 08:56 AM
I don't think Vista has it either. If it was easy to implement someone would
have developed a plug-in by now, so I don't see much hope for it.


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Jason Tsang replied on 25-Jul-07 12:40 PM
There are architectural issues in DirectX that make this a more difficult
request to accomodate (i.e. you can't have a VMR window over another VMR
window or something more more technical).

Jason Tsang - Microsoft MVP

Read my blog for the latest in Media Center topics
(and other topics that interest me)

More information by me

Find out about the MS MVP Program -
John Lockwood replied on 26-Jul-07 06:23 AM
I think the reality is that Microsoft are the world's worst programmers,
perhaps they should stick to making hardware.

A third-party - Sceneo has developed a plugin called VistaTV for Vista Media
Center that effectively replaces (more accurately acts as an alternative) to
the MyTV module. It not only DOES support picture-in-picture but also
supports MPEG4 H.264 (for HDTV), and also support DVB-S, DVB-S2 DVB-C,


Now if a third-party can do this on the SAME operating system and within the
same Media Center system there is obviously nothing that would prevent
Microsoft doing so. The sad reality is that Microsoft is currently seemingly
spending 90% of their efforts on ever more draconian DRM measures and very
little on actually adding features (or fixing bugs). Or is it because all
their employees spend all their time writing blogs and none writing

Even the Mac can do PiP in Elgato's EyeTV.

Note: I do use MCE 2005, Vista currently offers zero new Media Center
features for Europe so it is doubly not worth paying to upgrade. I say
doubly because it costs twice as much as the US price, Vista Ultimate in US
= $399, in the UK = $660, both exclude sales tax.

Windows Vista - The Wow! is the price.
Nigel Barker replied on 26-Jul-07 07:11 AM
This is by no means that first product available with these capabilities if you want an alternative
to the TV module in Media Center. There has been a My Theater plugin for MCE for ages. DVBViewer can
do all that Sceneo does & more plus it's much cheaper. The one thing that they are all missing is
that the EPG in Media Center provided it is all present & correct is far & away the best available
for a PVR (which excludes Digiguide which is far & away the best programme guide.) The UI for Media
Center is arguably the best too.


Nigel Barker
Live from the sunny Cote d'Azur
Nigel Barker replied on 26-Jul-07 07:27 AM
John, really can't keep perpetuating this myth. I posted a response a couple of weeks ago which you
chose to ignore so just to confirm your error here are the latest prices that I have checked again

I just compared vs. The price for an OEM copy of Vista Ultimate is
189.99USD in the US & 112.48GBP in the UK i.e. 231.29USD. However the UK price includes 17.5% VAT
(sales tax) whereas the US price is tax free. Adding 17.5% to the US price gives 223.29USD. Given
the fall in the dollar versus the pound & realising that  pricing was probably settled 9 months ago
the prices seem pretty equivalent to me with a difference of just $8.


Nigel Barker
Live from the sunny Cote d'Azur
Nick Gressens replied on 26-Jul-07 07:57 AM
I'm not going to argue about price differences, but I keep finding it weird
that there is no out of the box PIP with MCE. As there are definitely some
3th party solution I actually think John has a really good point here. Why
is it MS can't provide this feature? Clearly no technical restrictions here,
as there are other solutions. Maybe they have to focus more on features like
this than on things like DRM and stuff. PIP is a real missing feature, that
is missed by a lot of users as I can see with a little google search :-)

On the other hand, I do find that the MCE UI is far better then most other
(open-source) mediacenter alternatives, which justifies the price for me.
Imagine what it would be if my girlfriend wasn't able to change the channel
or schedule a recording herself, and needed me to do this for her...
Jason Tsang replied on 26-Jul-07 10:44 AM
I'd bet that that uses overlay mode, rather than VMR or EMR

Microsoft has decided to go away from overlay mode, see here for some of the
design reasons why

I'm not arguing whether this is the right decision or not, and I'm pretty
sure you're going to come out and say that this was a 'dumb' reason, but
ultimately, Microsoft will decide to go in the direction that it feels is
the best for a wider majority of the users it is trying to target.

Jason Tsang - Microsoft MVP

Read my blog for the latest in Media Center topics
(and other topics that interest me)

More information by me

Find out about the MS MVP Program -
John Lockwood replied on 27-Jul-07 07:41 AM
On 26/7/07 12:11, in article,

Agreed (best EPG), and agreed (best user Interface), my point was that
someone (other than Microsoft) has managed PiP inside Media Center.
Therefore there is no reason why Microsoft could not.
John Lockwood replied on 27-Jul-07 08:04 AM
On 26/7/07 12:27, in article,

I was partially wrong, I thought the Amazon UK price (like the US) excluded

This would make it :-

$349.99 + Tax for the USA and $560.88 + Tax for the UK using an exchange
rate of £1 = $2.05 (prices from Amazon).

This still represents a difference of over 60%, even an older and lower
exchange rate of £1=$1.80 would still show a very large difference.

I am comparing the full Vista Ultimate product and never said I was
comparing the OEM product. A rip-off for a product is still a rip-off even
if a DIFFERENT product is not.

Microsoft are not the only offender or even the worst. Adobe is by far the

My point that Vista adds zero new Media Center features for Europe (and
hence is worth NOTHING) still applies. [Yes it is prettier, yes it is a bit
more reliable, but it is not worth upgrading to yet.]
Nigel Barker replied on 27-Jul-07 11:06 AM
AIUI Sceneo replaces the MyTV module so it's not actually _inside_ Media Center at all but is just
like the My Theatre plugin & for example recording cannot be scheduled from the Media Center EPG.

TBH as far as I am concerned PiP is vastly overrated & I would much prefer Microsoft to concentrate
on developing support for more useful features like H.264 MPEG4 HDTV services.


Nigel Barker
Live from the sunny Cote d'Azur
John Lockwood replied on 30-Jul-07 07:29 AM
On 27/7/07 16:06, in article,

Agreed again, PiP does not even make it on to my wish list, far better DVB
support is top of my list (i.e. DVB subtitles, teletext, MHEG5, DVB-S,
DVB-S2, etc.) with H.264 almost as important.