At CES2010, Steve Ballmer extolled the virtues of media center on win7, and seemed enamoured with the idea of watching net.video on a TV.

As usual, Linux users have been far ahead on this trend. For instance, my media PC plays videos from Youtube, Hulu, and anywhere else that Linux can play from — and I can run MythTV if I want dvr and tuner capabilities.

So — as usual — it should be pretty clear what $MSFT ‘s strategy is…it is the old paradigm of “embrace and extend” that they’ve been following for over a decade.

To be sure, $MSFT has had their Media Center for quite a few years…but I daresay it still doesn’t match the flexibility of a Linux media PC.  Their web site says it all — snooze-o-rama!

Compare with the capabilities of MythTV, which is also easy-to-use, and more flexible when it comes to multiple tuner cards in multiple computers.

Speaking to the latter, equipment for my (previously stalled) Free-To-Air (FTA) satellite installation is on its way, and I already have a DVB-S card in my main Linux workstation downstairs that I’ve been playing with.  Once I have the new dish up with the LNB and motor, I’ll be watching FTA stations on my workstation downstairs, with the ability to record anything interesting.

And since MythTV’s backend — the “media server” chunk of MythTV — can use the DVB card, I’ll also be able to run MythTV’s frontend on the Media PC upstairs for FTA viewing in the entertainment center.

In fact, back when I used to have Comcast, I had mythbackend set up with my cable box, and could use mythfrontend to watch a news channel from the office, ala “slingbox”.  I haven’t set this up with DirecTV yet, though, since I haven’t felt the need to watch talking heads at Sonic hq for quite a while now.

Anyway, I can see a post about setting up and watching FTA via MythTV through the DVB-S satellite tuner/control card might be useful to folks thinking about doing the same thing, so I’ll do that when I get it all set up.