mceWeather is a plug in for Windows Media Center designed to offer integrated weather news straight into Microsoft’s entertainment station.
Windows Media Center is tailored to encompass everything you need in terms of entertainment, from viewing and recording live television to organizing and playing music and videos. It is a well-structured suite that can be used to render Internet TV streams as well as content from video services such as YouTube
However, despite its wide functionality, it may lack features some users may require, like weather information. Enter mceWeather, a plugin that is a no-brainer to install and which takes its place in the “Extras” section of Windows Media Center. The app is built to fit the same visual standard available in the entertainment center.
It comes with five menus that let you view the current weather details for a selected location, an overview for the next three days as well as a more detailed forecast. For a more general view you can enable satellite view for different areas of the world.
But before any of this information is accessible you need to set the application up. Configuration panel allows you to search for a city name, which can be done using your remote (we haven’t tested this feature).
You also get to pick the service to stream the weather information. There are only two choices for gathering weather related details, from the reputed Weather Channel and wetter.com, which may be seen as a downside by some users.
Options section of the plug in also lets you select the working language, style of the interface (9 skins available) and icons representing the atmospheric conditions.
The range of choices for satellite images is pretty wide, with no less than 60 entries. The best part is that you can add as many of them as you want and toggle between them when in “Satellite” menu. However, take into account that the satellites will not provide a general view at the globe, but regional details.
Weather details available in mceWeather include temperature (expressed in Celsius or Fahrenheit), wind speed, pressure, humidity percentage, UV index as well as time of sunrise and sunset. All this info is available under the “Current” section of the plugin. The amount of details in the four-day report is limited to forecast news like temperature, humidity level and rain risk.
mceWeather retrieves the data in real time from the weather service you select, but the time of the update will be by German time zone. Also, if you select wetter.com as provider you must type the names of the cities as they are spelled in German, otherwise no result will be found.
On the upside, the plugin allows you to add as many cities as you want and view the reports for all of them with a click of a button. Toggling can be done from the upper part of Windows Media Center’s screen, by pressing the “plus” and “minus” buttons next to the city name.
The same goes for the satellite images. You can enable any of the 60 choices available and run through all of them from the “Satellite” menu. The set of maps at your disposal can show you the temperatures, the currents’ transit over a certain region. Of course, in some case you should be able to interpret the images in order to understand the climatic changes.
Although the application manages to deliver the accurate weather reports of The Weather Channel it does come with a drawback. Moving from one menu to another is not as quick and comfortable as we expected. Scrolling through the content is not supported and you will have to use the navigational buttons in the lower right hand part of the screen.
Additionally, the amount of options they report is not accurate in the case of the panels with more information than can fit the screen. For instance, under “Settings” you will notice that the plugin reports a total of 15 options, when in fact this is the number of buttons you can click in the page.
mceWeather is unlike other weather applications we’ve seen because it integrates in Windows Media Center and this gives users the choice to navigate to weather details without leaving the entertainment console. The Good
It installs quickly and integrates perfectly in Windows Media Center. All information is retrieved from a trustworthy source.
You can choose to retrieve weather reports for multiple cities at once. Additionally, the application also brings satellite images for specific regions on the globe. The Bad
Moving through the configuration panel is not as snappy as we expected. Also, in this menu the amount of options reported in the lower right part of the screen actually refers to the number of buttons present.
English speaking users will definitely not appreciate having only The Weather Channel as source for weather reports. The Truth
mceWeather does a pretty good job delivering weather reports straight to Windows Media Center. It can be handled with a remote control and even add cities without having to touch the computer keyboard.
However, moving between the menus is a bit slow, and this is not entirely due to the fact that the results have to be retrieved from the Internet. Other than this, mceWeather makes for a great Windows Media Center plugin.