DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista elite

DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista elite

Summary: Animated wallpapers have been one of the "Extras" that Microsoft has touted as a selling point for customers of its priciest Windows Vista SKU. But now Stardock is bringing animated wallpapers to the Vista masses.

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Animated wallpapers have been one of the "Extras" that Microsoft has touted as a selling point for customers of its priciest Windows Vista SKU. But now Stardock is bringing animated wallpapers to the Vista masses.

DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista eliteStardock, a Gold Certified Microsoft partner, worked with Microsoft on DreamScene -- a desktop-display feature that allows users to make looped, full-motion video their desktop wallpaper (as opposed to using static images only for background wallpaper). After a number of delays, Microsoft finally released DreamScene in September 2007. Stardock helped to create much of the initial wallpaper content for DreamScene and then went on to release DeskScapes 1.0 for Vista Ultimate users interested in enhancing DreamScene.

With DeskScapes 2.0, Stardock has decided to make animated wallpapers avaialble to users of Vista Business, Home Premium and Ultimate users. The Standard edition of the product will be available as a free download; an enhanced version with additional features and "premium" content also will be availbale for $19.95.

Stardock plans to provide more information about its DeskScapes 2.0 plans on November 14, and to release a beta version of the technology "shortly," company officials said. The final DeskScapes 2.0 release will be ready by February 2008, according to Stardock.

Stardock emphasizes that DeskScapes, though animated, use virtually no CPU power. Users will be able to configure the performance of animated wallpapers based on their system requirements. Settings are so granular that users will be able to have their wallpapers change, based on the time of day, and configure dynamic "dreams" independently.

Microsoft has said it plans to continue to release new premium "Extras" to entice users to buy premium versions of Windows. Looks like the company will have to look beyond animated wallpapers, now that Stardock is leveling the playing field in that area.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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16 comments
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  • Curious.....

    If Stardock can do it without eating up processor time why can't M$? Besides that, Kooldock and a number of other packages can give similar (if not identical) fuctionality in linux.....at no cost.
    nwoodson@...
    • They did.

      DreamScene uses about 2-3% CPU power. DeskScapes 1.0 added on movies and pictures in the .Dream format. This would allow you to customize Dreamscene not replace it.

      http://www.stardock.com/products/deskscapes/
      donnellb
      • Not on my Computers

        When I use Dreamscene my CPU Utilization jumps from 2%-3% to 30%-40% on my Laptop whic is a Core 2 Duo on an Dell Inspiron.

        On my workstation, it isn't so bad it jumps from 1%-2$ to about 10% but that is on a Q6600 Quad Core (Precision 390 if it matters)

        This solidifies what a complete waste of money Ultimate is.
        brittonv
  • Way back in the 90's ....

    ... ATI enabled TV to be your wallpaper with their capture cards and software. Now that was really kewl!
    ShadeTree
    • Research or Personal Experience?

      Research = Good Work!

      Personal Experience? = God You're Old! :)

      from the icy roads to the diamond mines

      Muj.
      Mujibahr
  • Beautiful? Yes. Important? NO!

    Looks like Mary Jo hasn't found good material to comment these days... Vista SP1 still MIA...
    linzerd
  • Blech

    Tried it once on OS X a few years back (you can have any quicktime movie play as your
    wallpaper).

    Talk about distracting.
    frgough
  • RE: DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista elite

    Is version 2 available for download? The only version on their website is 1.01 and it does not suppot anything other than Ultimate.
    reverseswing
    • sorry

      take it back, due in Feb .. my bad.
      reverseswing
  • Go Stardock :)

    Nice :). I like Stardock as a company - I play their GalCiv 2 game, and amazingly some of the employees talk on a regular basis with customers in their forums - something pretty rare in the business world. They're a great company IMHO and I certainly do plan on buying more of their stuff in the future :).

    Yeah, this is mostly eye candy, but that's what they do: They're the creators of Windows Blinds, which allows you to skin Windows and make it look completely different :). One of the things I've found that Windows lacks is the ability to customize it.

    And it's weird: Windows 3 and 95 allowed you to change the colors around a lot. Windows XP totally reversed that, reducing your choice greatly. Luna was IMHO the ugliest theme I've ever seen. On any XP computer I used regularly I switched it back to the classic Windows 95 theme.

    Now in Aero color customization is back, and the theme is much nicer and slimmer :). I'm not switching back to the classic theme anymore.

    Anyways, yeah it's all eye candy - but if you're looking at it and using it for long periods of time, it simply can't be ugly. Being able to personalize it is a great thing to be able to do IMHO.
    CobraA1
    • I was a customer of theirs since their start (OS/2)

      Great company.

      I particularly love their games; a standard and depth higher than most mainstream games...

      Never cared for Window Blinds, though I tried and tried; it rendered XP unstable. On multiple PCs and proved to be almost as hoggy when loaded as Vista on its own. They've probably improved it since late 2006, though. :)
      HypnoToad
  • RE: DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista elite

    be availbale for $19.95.
    jesmond@...
  • RE: DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista elite

    The only drawback is that Stardock sucks, and their support is worse than their software. No thanks.
    mollenhourb@...
    • Object Desktop, or DeskScapes?

      mollenhourbsaid [quote] The only drawback is that Stardock sucks, and their support is worse than their software. No thanks.[/quote]

      I dunno if you can say that, I use both MS's Plus! and Stardock's Object Desktop in WinXP. They both BUG the crap out of me during regular working hours, but both are REALLY relaxing off hours. I have yet tried DeskScapes as of yet. For their support I find it better the the hogwash support that comes from overseas with someone that can't speak my language clear let alone understand and be able to solve a computer related problem. I say try it, if you like it go with the full version, otherwise just delete it.
      mikeholli
  • Why would I WANT that?

    I want my wallpaper to sit there and not distract me.
    critic-at-arms
  • RE: DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista elite

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