When it comes to all-round multimedia managers and media centers, the likes of iTunes and Windows Media Center have a strong competitor in J. River Media Center. By definition, such applications are designed to handle multimedia files, be them photos, music or videos so as to easily replace not one or two but three programs altogether. J. River Media Center’s setup procedure takes a while because it has so many features that the user needs to configure them from the get go and thus be able to fully experience its powers starting from the first run. Even if it took us about 2 minutes to make all the adjustments during our test, it’s recommended to spend a bit more time if you don’t like to pay too many visits to the settings menu. The interface might be a bit overwhelming at first sight, but after spending a couple of minutes with it you’ll realize everything is actually well organized and easily accessible. J. River Media Center comes with theme support, and although the number of skins included in the standard pack isn’t too impressive, you can play a little bit with the layout using the ‘View’ menu that enables you to choose between multiple predefined setups. The application has almost everything you’ll ever need from a media center: podcasts support, cover art downloader, a powerful file manager for each of the multimedia types it supports, playlists, plugins, CD and DVD burners, portable devices managers and many more. The settings menu is extensive and allows you to tinker with basically every tiny function that’s offered with J. River Media Center, a great playground for power users. All in all, J. River Media Center is one of the best media centers out there. It comes with a very strong feature package and the well-thought layout makes it rather easy to use even for less experienced users..
Organize and experience all your media — music, photos, and video YOUR way – all from a single software program! Connect your PC to your home entertainment hardware and control it all with a remote! Load your music on your iPod while you watch TV! Media Center is a software that helps you collect, organize and play media files. Copy music from MEDIA CENTER to a portable digital audio player or move digital camera photos into MC’s powerful image library. Make a CD of music for your car. Record your favorite shows and watch them on your TV. More than one soundcard? Play different music simultaneously in different rooms.
Here are some key features of “J. River Media Center”:
- Copy music from MEDIA CENTER to a portable digital audio player or move digital camera photos into MC’s powerful image library. Make a CD of music for your car. Record your favorite shows and watch them on your TV. More than one soundcard? Play different music simultaneously in different rooms. MC’s Media Server can even stream your music to your PC at work!
- Camera and Images
- Support for Canon and Kodak cameras and others that use the WIA interface. Almost all cameras are supported.
- Image enhancement during slide show or for e-mail and web upload.
- Display color images as black-and-white or sepia.
- JPG, BMP, TIFF, RAW and PNG support.
- With one click, acquire images from your camera and load them into your media library.
- Basic image editing.
- Remote control Improved learning mode and additional commands.
- Handheld Devices
- For the iPod:
- Single Click Synchronization of iPod audio and data with MC.
- Apply Replay Gain to files on iPod.
- Dynamically adjust playback volumes.
- Audible file bookmarking.
- iPod playcounts, date last played, and rating transfer to MC from iPod.
- For players that support synchronization or appear as a drive:
- Drag and Drop on Handheld image in the Action Window.
- One click synchronization.
- For players that appear as a drive:
- Auto create a folder structure based on tags.
- Designate a root directory.
- For Microsoft PlaysForSure devices
- Support for handhelds that play Microsoft protected files and the WMDM standard.
- Cover View
- MC has a new view showing album covers for audio tracks Note the new “My Computer” section of the organization tree, where you can browse your drives without leaving the application. Digital Images
- The main image screen, showing thumbnails of digital camera images. An optional properties window can be opened for details about each image Minor edits can be made with the included Image Editor.
- Theater View Prefer to browse your media from the comfort of the couch? This customizable view is designed for use from across the room on a monitor or TV. Type is enlarged and navigation is simplified so it’s easy to use with a remote.
- PLAY your media YOUR way
- Create a slideshow of your vacation photos, and add a music soundtrack from your song library. Get the party started with a playlist of hot tunes. Or let MC do the work by picking an Auto Smartlist, such as an hour of random music, a CD of MP3 favorites, an audio CD of recently played tracks etc.
- Digital images can be screened in an automated slideshow. You can stop to zoom in on a single image, pan from side to side, and then resume. All with your favorite music playing in the background. Slideshow options
- Change the look of your slide show by altering the timing between images, transition effects and more.
- Auto Smartlists
- An hour of random music, a CD of MP3 favorites, an audio CD of recently played tracks, all tracks with empty properties. These and more are what “Auto Smartlists” are about. Powerful TV Features
- TV recording, pause, resume, fast forward and re-wind. Control it using a remote device across the room or a PDA, PocketPC or TabletPC.
- ORGANIZE your media YOUR way
- Want to arrange your pictures by subject, date, and location? Categorize your music by artist, album, genre and assign a star-rating to your favorite songs? Or sort your videos by director, cast and year? Do it easily with the world’s most powerful and flexible media library. Even add your own custom categories.
- File Browser
- A new section of the Organization Tree called “My Computer” lets you browse all your files and folders as with Windows Explorer. You can even see files you haven’t imported and files on your portable music player. Flexible views
- You can add new “view schemes” under any media type so you can see your files, arranged as you want to see them.
- CD and Track Lookup
- J. River’s YADB database is the most trouble-free and accurate database available for CD titles and tracks. Audio fingerprinting also lets you look up track names on individual tracks. Extensive Tagging Capabilities
- MC supports ID3v1 and ID3v2 for music. It supports J. River tags for photos. It can also import MusicMatch tags. You can fill the tags from the file names, re-name files from the tags, clean tags and much more. When the files are moved and re-imported, the organization is restored.
- 600 MHz Pentium
- 32 MB RAM
- 40 MB Free hard drive space
- Sound card
- Video card
- Microsoft Internet Explorer I.E. 5.0 or above
- Internet connection (recommended).
- 30 days trial
- Nag screen
- NEW: Help > System Info reports anything that changes the system power state in a new ‘Power’ section (preventing sleep, keeping the monitor on, etc.).
- Fixed: The monitor would not correctly be allowed to turn off in some cases in the last few builds.
- Fixed: When doing cover art lookup from the Internet, the second, third, etc. page of results would not always load correctly.
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