Columbus, OH–Life|ware, a Microsoft Windows Media Center hardware and software developer, has created the Life|ware Ready program to rate vital aspects of their own Life|media servers as well as third-party Microsoft Windows Vista entertainment-based consoles.
The program was born as a result of the number one request from Life|ware Certified Dealers, What Media Center should I use and why? stated Mike Seamons, vice president of marketing for Life|ware.
Using standardized testing software and hardware benchmark metrics, Life|ware specialists test each product and assign ratings in an effort to achieve the following objectives:
Differentiate between entertainment-focused media centers and productivity PCs running Windows Vista Premium.
Provide dealers with quality metrics to help them decide which media centers to sell.
Encourage Windows Media Center-based OEMs to build more robust and reliable consoles.
Each unit being tested for the Life|ware Ready program undergoes a three-pronged rating system ultimately resulting in a pass or fail based on a set of metrics established by Life|ware for an acceptable system. The first and most significant testing covers performance, which makes up 50 percent of the final grade. Each consoles components (memory, graphics card, sound card, hard drive, CD/DVD, CPU) will be performance tested using standardized software testing tools to establish a final rating.
The environmental rating is worth 25 percent of the final grade and includes testing of internal heat and external noise levels as well as tests to determine the number of Xbox 360s the unit can handle simultaneously. CPU usage is measured with all tuners recording and with several key components operating concurrently to gauge how the console with react with a full workload.
The final 25 percent of the overall rating is taken from a physical inspection of the AV inputs and outputs of the console, combined with specifications for TV tuners, storage, optical drives, network adapter, power supply, peripherals, Vista rating, and the absence of preloaded software. The media center hardware receives one to four points for each category, resulting in a final point total that is used to calculate the feature set rating.
As of the beginning of Q4, 2007, the Alienware Hangar 18, Sony Vaio XL3, Russound SMC and Life|media 400 consoles have earned the right to be certified as Life|ware Ready. Though Life|ware will report on which hardware passes, scores will not be publically available. Life|ware Certified dealers can access detailed Life|ware Ready reports at Life|ware University.
Each Media Center offers something different in the way of functionality, performance and pricing presenting integrators yet another measure of flexibility when setting up a Life|ware home control network, stated Seamons.