Kickstarter Idea: Zune Media Center

I have an idea that I would like to put out there.  I see dozens of ideas and requests concerning X-Box Music and X-Box Video and there’s even a user voice site for X-Box Music and X-Box Video.  It seems there are quite a few people who are not happy with the current state of Microsoft’s first party software and their inexplicable decision to split Zune into X-Box Music, X-Box Video, Podcasts, Radio, and Windows Phone Synch.  Following that decision, dozens of features – auto playlists, wireless synch, gapless playback among them – have yet to be put back into Microsoft’s software.

Based on the current state of affairs, I have come to the conclusion that we need to take matters into our own hands, since Microsoft is either unable, or unwilling, to create a first-rate media management, purchase, and synchronization program for their own operating systems.  I propose a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to program a media management program that will solve our problems for us.

My proposed set of features:

Media:  The program will play mp3, mp4, avi, wmv, wma, mpg, and mkv with multi-audio and multi-subtitle support.  It will also display pictures.

Universal app: same code-base, but with different interface for the metro/desktop and phone.  Buy once and have it available for any device.

Subtitle support: embedded and *.srt file support on desktop/metro environment

Multi-lingual: you can change the interface language from English, French, Spanish, German, and any other language that we get supported translations.  Also change the subtitle or audio track (if available) on the fly.

Metadata Editing: allow basic editing and advanced editing of metadata.  For example, in Zune, we could edit both mp3 and video metadata:

Basic metadata editor available in Zune Desktop software.  The most important information can be edited here.

Basic metadata editor available in Zune Desktop software. The most important information can be edited here.

I would propose that in my Kickstarter, we would also add an ‘Advanced’ button to get the same mp3 metadata editing that we could in Windows XP’s advanced metadata editor.

It's in French, but you can tell there is much more here to edit: mood, language, subgenre, country, and more.  This should be available behind an advanced button on Zune 2014.

It’s in French, but you can tell there is much more here to edit: mood, language, subgenre, country, and more. This should be available behind an advanced button on Zune 2014.

Search: filter as you type search, so that as you complete your search term, it filters down results.  When you press enter, you get search results similar to how they were displayed in Zune.  If you have subtitles for a TV show / movie on your computer, then it will search those subtitles for matching text, so you can find that one TV show where that one guy said that thing…now you can find it.

Interface: On the Metro/desktop, show Home, Music, TV, Movies, Audiobooks, Podcasts, Pictures, Social, Synch.  Home would give you the overview of everything: newest media; what your friends have been watching/listening to, and what’s popular on X-Box Music.  Clicking on any pivot takes you to that pivot’s home screen.  You can click collection to view your collection at any time to see just your videos or just your music, and if you wish, you could disable the X-Box Music or the video home screens if you just want to go to your collection.  In Music, for example, you could browse the X-Box marketplace, or view your collection.  View your collection, and you get pivots to the top right (like Zune) for album, artist, playlist, genre, and songs to view your collection how you want to view it.  In TV, you view the collection, and get pivots top right for title, genre, year, airdate, rating, cast+crew, and studio.

TV Shows: view your movies by DVD cover by title, genre, year, date, rating, cast+crew, or studio.  They would be arranged by series (unlike Zune which shows series grouped by season, showing you Star Trek: Season 1, then Star Trek: Season 2, making scrolling take a long time), then when you open the series, you see the seasons and episodes within.  To the left, on the screen you’d see TV show banners for your other series so you can switch between them quickly.

Movies: view your movies by DVD cover by title, genre, year, date, rating, cast+crew, or studio.  Scrolling is vertical to get through movies; swipe left/right to change pivots.  There would be letters for jumplists to the left.

Music Videos: view your music videos by title, artist, or date released.

Audiobooks/Podcasts: Simply by using the genre tag on the mp3 file, you could mark your files as audiobooks or podcasts, and have them act as such.  If it’s possible to program, I’d include subscribing via URL to podcasts and searching a podcast database.

Playlists: Imagine a playlist of music videos you could play on your TV while you have a party with friends, for background.  Or a movie playlist (say, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Star Wars, or the Marvel movies) that would save your position, and you could resume any time you want.  Or a TV show playlist that lets you view several various TV series in one coherent order (such as Buffy / Angel, or  Star Trek: TNG, DS9, and Voyager, or dozens of other examples).  You could even share the playlist with friends (it wouldn’t share the files themselves for videos, but you could give them the playlist nonetheless).  All playlists are saved to OneDrive to be available on any device you use that has this program.  I would have auto-playlists for music (which you could hide or use pivots to hide) based on heart/broken hearts, top played, least played; custom auto-playlists (all songs in genre country less than 4 minutes, in a playlist not to exceed 60 minutes, for example) like Windows Media Player.  I don’t know if I can create Channels, but if possible, I will try putting it in there.

Remote Controls: Accept input from Media Center remote controls, as well as Windows Phones acting as remote controls.

Social: share music with your friends: playlists, albums, artists, songs, so you can help friends find new stuff to listen to.  Share it to Facebook.  Share your entire collection with friends.  Like/favorite friends’ TV shows, movies, or music if they share their collection with you.  See your friends’ top artists, most recently played music, just like we could on Zune.  See for any TV show how many friends watched it, liked it, favorited it, or commented on it.  Ditto for movies, and artists.  So you can see how many people are watching/listening to something and see what they’re saying.  A stretch goal would be to put a social map and see who’s listening where, and what’s hot in your state/country or in another state/province in another country, similar to what Microsoft showed off in one of their ‘house of the future’ videos.

Live Tiles: pin any playlist to your start screen to instantly start that music playlist.  Pin a video playlist or audiobook to resume it from last played position.  Pin an artist and get a live tile notification of a new album release.  Pin TV shows, movies, music videos, artists, albums, audiobooks, and podcasts to your start screen.  Pin friends’ Zune cards to your start screen and they’ll flip to see what they’ve been listening to, recent likes/favorites, etc.

Tags: this would require a server, most likely, but have tags on videos like Netflix, so you could search ‘goofy movies’ and come up with Airplane, Kung Pow! and movies like that, or ‘scary’ and get House on Haunted Hill and Ghost Ship.  It might require integrating with the Movie Database in addition to the TV Database to get this implemented.

Multiple profiles: if you and your wife/husband/significant other/siblings/children would like to use one program, maybe you have different tastes.  Log in with your Microsoft account and see only your stuff.

Parental Controls: set your kids to be able to access only certain parts of the program and only certain content within those parts.  Do so by rating (G, PG, etc.) or by specific artists/albums.

Statistics: see what you’ve watched, how much of your collection is TV/Movies, how much is sci-fi, western, drama, etc, how much music comes from which decade, etc.

Badges: Earn badges by listening to music, like on Zune.  Also earn badges by sharing with friends, and by completing TV seasons and series, finishing a video playlist, etc.

Views: Full screen, show similar to Zune with pivots atop the program.  1/3 screen view would be similar to Zune HD’s interface for simplicity’s sake.  The phone version would look like this.  The exact specifics of how the program would look would be in the air, but it would be in the appropriate Metro style, and avoid the stark gray Soviet style that X-Box Music/Video seems to favor nowadays.

Pictures: View pictures by date taken, person tag, place tag, or collection (user-defined, such as ‘London vacation’).  When you choose place tag, you view the pictures on a Bing map, similar to Facebook’s ‘places.’  You can zoom in and see your pictures on the map, and place them on the map by adding untagged pictures.  When you choose people, you see your friends’ pictures organized alphabetically by friend, then by date taken.  When you choose collection, you see it by folder, or by your user-created collection for vacations.

Now, my question to you is: would you fund such a program?

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