Amulet Devices Voice Remote for Windows Media Center

Amulet Devices Blog

Amulet Support in VoxCommando

Mon, November 15, 2010 by

VoxCommando is an independent software application that adds voice control to a number of popular media player and home automation applications — not only Windows Media Center, but also XBMC, iTunes, MediaMonkey, MediaPortal,  and EventGhost.

We’ve been working with VoxCommando’s author, James Richards, to help add direct support for the Amulet Voice Remote when used with VoxCommando.

His additions allow VoxCommando to automatically detect when the Amulet radio link is idle and turn off voice recognition to save CPU cycles. It also automatically lowers the music volume when the Amulet microphone is active, to avoid loud music interfering with spoken commands. On-screen indicators track the current microphone state to provide additional visual feedback.

If you’re interested in Amulet, but not using Windows Media Center, or using a language other than English, this is great news — you can now use VoxCommando with Amulet and get all the benefits of voice control through a convenient hand-held device.

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LinkSys DMA extenders fall off the grid

Sun, November 7, 2010 by

On November 4, members of The Green Button reported that their Linksys DMA 2100 & 2200 extenders were freezing on power-up and would no longer connect to Windows Media Center.

Some diligent investigation by several users revealed the problem: the extenders were attempting to connect to a central Linksys server which Cisco (owners of Linksys) had recently taken offline. The firmware handles this badly by refusing to continue until the connection succeeds.

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HoustonWinMeet: A Windows Entertainment and Connected Home Meet-up

Tue, November 2, 2010 by

We’re one of the participants at the #HoustonWinMeet which is on in Houston, Texas on 30 November. You can see live and in person the Amulet Devices Voice Remote for Windows Media Center.

This meet-up brings together digital entertainment enthusiasts and experts from around the Houston-area, hobbyists and professionals who have embraced the power of the PC to power their digital entertainment experiences – everything from home theater PCs running Windows Media Center to PlayTo devices, home entertainment networks and mobile devices.

See the Missing Remote for more details.

A Voice Interface to your media

Sat, October 30, 2010 by

People hear about a voice remote control and perhaps think that it merely reproduces the remote control interface using voice. That it just does all the simple buttons using voice. That would be pretty good, but not as exciting or useful as a full voice user interface. The Amulet plugin for Media Center provides a voice interface for accessing media. It’s a new user experience, in the shape of a remote control.

Buttons are good. They provide quick access. But there is a limit to how many are practical. Menus are good, they provide a visible list to move around in. But again, they can be slow to navigate and have limited capacity. This is where voice is a break through. It excels at picking items from big lists. We believe this is a killer capability for media center systems.

People know their music collection. They know their movies. They know the time of day. Using a voice interface you just ask for the music you want, “Play Artist Michael Jackson“. Or the movie, “Play Movie Total Recall“. Or the time of day, “Show Guide Tomorrow at 10 pm“.

We don’t eliminate the buttons, they are useful. To go up a notch in volume is perfect for a button. Quicker than saying “Volume Up“. But what about “Volume Soft“, “Volume Medium“, “Volume Normal“, “Volume Loud“, “Volume Full“. That’s what a voice interface can do. Or 5 extra buttons.

Our software makes this new interface possible. We gather all the media lists you have on your system and build a voice interface with all those items. It’s a background plugin that’s always listening in Media Center. Always active, no matter what screen you are looking at. At shows where I demonstrated the system, I used to explain what it did. After a while I found it was best to just say a command and let people see what a voice interface is. You can check it out in our demo video. It’s much more than just a voice remote control.

The Digital Lifestyle Video Review

Thu, October 28, 2010 by

After seeing a demo of the Amulet Voice Remote Control at the UK Media Center User Group event in June, Ian Dixon from The Digital Lifestyle was really keen to try the remote for himself. You can see his video review of our unique Windows Media Center Accessory here.

I enjoyed watching Ian’s video and his experience with our Voice Remote. He seems cautious and formal at first, carefully unpacking and showing the viewers the details of the system. But after he has it up and running for a while, you can see his style change to one of excitement and pleasure at seeing his voice commands instantly recognised, allowing him to control his Media Center system. This follows the trend I have seen at various presentations and demonstrations. People are curious but a little sceptical, but when they see it work, and when they use it themselves, they become excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities. Seeing is believing!

Amulet Reseller Program recent activities.

Fri, October 15, 2010 by

After the full product launch of the Amulet Voice Remote for Windows Media Center, a lot of the focus has moved to building our Amulet Reseller Program. I am delighted to say that we have had a great response. We are busy processing applications from across the country and will be updating our web site with a list of approved resellers soon.

The latest activity is a newsletter to our resellers launching some promotional offers we have available for them. These include deals on units for demonstration and evaluation as well as multiple unit offers.

The Amulet Reseller Program is open to distributors and resellers of Window Media Center systems, as well as Custom Installers and Home Automation specialists that may be using Media Center at the moment. Or perhaps you’ve seen enough here to consider using Media Center. We are bringing Voice Control to homes, just fill in the application form to be a part of it.

Support forum is now live!

Sat, October 9, 2010 by

We have the Amulet Devices support forum up and running! It took a little longer than planned, but it’s there now. This should be your main avenue for support for your Voice Remote and the Media Center Plugin software. We actively monitor the forum and respond to support queries. There are currently three sections at the moment.

The first covers installation, any problems you might have getting the Amulet Voice Remote installed, connected to your Windows Media Center, or in relation to getting the Amulet Media Center Plugin software up and running smoothly.

The second area is for general support covering ongoing operation, performance, commands or any tips, tricks, or hints that might be useful. It doesn’t have to be purely support issues. We’re happy for users to exchange their experiences with each other.

There is also a forum for resellers and custom installers, which is not available to everyone. Please fill in the Reseller application form if you’d like to get access to this area.

Online Store launch for the Amulet Voice Remote

Tue, October 5, 2010 by

We now have the online store up and running and to celebrate the launch, we’re offering a 10% discount on the Amulet Voice Remote. This is a great accessory for Windows Media Center, which is part of Windows 7. We have the remote and also an IR receiver available via the store. This addon might be needed if you don’t already have an infra-red receiver with your Media Center.

We plan to add some extra accessories, including additional high quality voices for use with Amulet’s Media Center plugin. As we use standard SAPI voices, they will also be available to use in other Windows Speech-enabled applications.

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Media Center Hidden Menus

Mon, October 4, 2010 by

411 Debug overlay for Windows 7 Media CenterHere’s something that not everyone knows about. If you’re watching live TV in Media Center and you press “411” then “info” on the remote, it brings up an overlay that shows handy tuner info. You can get additional pages of info by using the left and right arrow keys.

I find this useful when I want to check what resolution a TV broadcast is being received at. To get rid of the overlay, just press the back key. It works on Windows 7 Media Center, and that’s all I use now so I can’t say for sure about previous versions. I think it was introduced with the Vista Media Center cumulative update known as the “TV Pack”.

CEDIA 2010 Home Automation Demo

Thu, September 30, 2010 by

Just back from CEDIA 2010 where we delighted those that have been following our progress since last year by saying they could now buy our Voice Remote. On our stand we also demonstrated our voice control integration with Bitwise Controls‘ Home Automation system, which excited Bitwise and their new distributors alike.  We hope to have this plugin available as a product for System Installers in the next few months. It’s a great addon for our technology, bringing simple voice control to Home Automation.