Sunday, January 6, 2008

media center, netflix, monitor rotation and real estate

When it comes to building your home PC, different people want different things. Some people want fast processors. Some people want lots of RAM. Some people want bang for the buck. I'm not really concerned with any of that. I use my machine for browsing the web and watching TV shows or movies. I want pixels. Lots and lots of pixels. I want to be able to watching things and browse things at the same time.

I bought a Dell 2405FPW. The 24" wide screen makes me very happy. My goal is to maximize the use of the real estate this presents. I was watching TV and browsing the web with this goal in mind. Since Media Center (like all good video players) likes to keep it's aspect ratio fixed, I kept ending up arrangements like this:

Notice the big chunk of unused space in the bottom left corner. There was no way to fill this space. Then I hit on the brilliant idea of rotating the monitor to portrait and stacking media center on top of IE. Then I could use every pixel. I was excited.

But I was thwarted:

I don't know what to say. As a user, my first thought is "there is no excuse for this." As a developer who used to work on Windows, I know there was at least a reason for it. Probably some video card didn't work in this configuration, or it would have been too much testing for a non-critical scenario, or something. But it made me mad.

Now I have NetFlix though. It has an in-browser player for viewing videos on demand. Now my dreams of real estate maximization can be realized:

Good bye, Media Center. Good by Cable Television. Hello NetFlix!!

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