It’s a nightmare scenario. You’re out with family and friends, having a wonderful dinner when you suddenly remember that you forgot to set the DVR for tonight’s big game/film/soap (delete as appropriate). It starts in 10 minutes, and you spend five of them wondering how rude it would be to just leave for home to ensure you didn’t miss it. Etiquette dictates you stay in your seat and suffer, but boy it’s tempting.
In these modern times, there’s no longer any need to miss your favourite TV. byRemote is a new plugin for Windows Media Center, that allows you to access Media Center’s EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) remotely from any PC or smartphone.
It runs as a Windows Service, so it’s always available without the need to be logged into the desktop and presents the EPG using a fantastic Silverlight 4 user interface in a web browser, with listings for all of your channels available for the next two weeks. You can check out episode summaries, additional screenings, and search for specific programmes by title. Best of all, when you’ve spotted something you must record in the guide, you can record the episode or the whole series with a single click.
On the mobile side, Windows Phone 7 users get a fabulous, native version of the EPG which you can see in action here, whilst other phone models get to play with a text based XHTML version to use in the handset’s web browser.
Other features include the ability to view and manage your scheduled recordings, search for shows by genre, cache data locally on Silverlight Clients for a little extra speed, and view complete episode guides of hundreds of thousands of TV series.
Remote access is made super-easy if you're a Windows Home Server owner. Simply forward a port on your router to your Media Center, then access the Media Center PC directly using your home server's remote web address. Job done.
Apps like byRemote really bring the benefits of using an extensible DVR like Windows Media Center to life. It’s a must-have for all Media Center owners, and if you haven’t clicked the green button yet, this may well persuade you to give it a try.