Microsoft briefly announced in one of their press releases today that they hired on the developer of the popular WebGuide software for Windows Media Center (both XP and Vista). This software lets Media Center users manage all of their recordings from any browser, as well as stream content from your Media Center computer. You can also stream music, pictures, and videos that are stored on the PC all from the comfort of your browser.

I’ve actually been using this software for months, and there was both free and paid versions available. The free version did just about everything except for the streaming media, and I liked the software so much that I decided to buy it for the $10 or $15 that it was. Now, however, Microsoft has decided to make the software available at no cost.

The creator of WebGuide, Doug Berrett, made this announcement yesterday afternoon in his forum. Here’s a summary of what he had to say:

I’m excited to announce that I recently finalized a business deal with Microsoft to make WebGuide available to users for free and to become a member of the Media Center team.

For those of you who feel I’ve sold out, given in to "the man" or crossed over to the dark side, you don’t need to send me a nasty email.  I hear yah.  Go play a round of Halo to get it out of your system.  At the end of the day, my passion is for developing cool software, and this is an opportunity to do just that.  I’d be a fool not to take advantage of it.

Honestly the interface on this program is amazing, and it even includes a mobile version for phones and PDA’s that make scheduling a piece of cake. There’s also a Vista Sidebar Gadget available so that you can manage your recordings, view scheduled shows, or search and browse the TV guide without ever opening your browser.

Another interesting part of the website is the Top List which collects anonymous television recording stats. You can then view the most recorded shows for your country, and it’s pretty interesting to see what tops off the list for different parts of the world.

I highly recommend installing this software if you’re using either XP or Vista Media Center. It will handle almost all of the configuration itself, and you can create multiple users each with customized access restrictions.

WebGuide Homepage
WebGuide Screenshots