RealTime IT News

XP Media Center Basks in CES Glow

Like a cat soaking up the noonday sun, Microsoft's Media Center Edition is basking in the spotlight at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Two years after the launch of Media Center Edition, the specialized Windows XP operating system for home and digital entertainment, it is gaining traction as more consumers use PCs as part of their home media systems.

Microsoft said Media Center Edition 2005 had expanded to include a new category of devices -- DVD recorders with Microsoft digital video recorder (DVR) software. That's in addition to new content and service partners for Media Center PC customers.

The company said support for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 has grown to more 80 PC manufacturers and 500 system builders now shipping a wide variety of Media Center PC designs.

In addition, there has been unprecedented consumer demand for both Windows Media Player 10, with 90 million downloads worldwide to date, and for the PlaysForSure logo program. The program, which launched in October, is designed to help consumers with Windows XP-based PCs choose digital entertainment devices and online music and video stores that work together. It now encompasses more than 50 devices and seven services.

Other new services and partner news include Online Spotlight, which provides consumers using Media Center PCs with a central location for updating content from partners, such as Discovery Channel, Fox Sports Interactive Media, TitanTV, XM Satellite Radio and Yahoo.

Other partners said they would ship new PCs with Windows XP Media Center Edition and compatible components that produce unparalleled, high-definition audio and video quality. They include Alienware, ATI Technologies, HP, Niveus Media and Nvidia. All the products will ship with the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) certification.

ThePlatform, which provides software and content, as well as a distribution platform for rich media content management, publishing, commerce and reporting, said Microsoft would use its media publishing system for managing video content delivery in its MSN Video Downloads service.

Andrew Olson, vice president and one of the founders of thePlatform, said the backend system will help MSN's webmasters aggregate video from a wide variety of content owners, and manage the online delivery of digital media directly to consumers.