Microsoft Updates Media Center

Microsoft released a software update to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 that lets the new Xbox 360 gaming system play a starring role.

Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 will let users stream digital music, videos, photos and standard or high-definition television and movies from Media Center PCs to any television in the home via the Xbox 360 gaming system.

Xbox 360 is expected to ship on Nov. 22 in North America. It will have built-in Media Center Extender technology that will connect it to a Media Center Edition PC.

Other enhancements include integrated support for external DVD changers; the PC will display information and cover art for each movie loaded in the DVD changer; an Away mode that uses less power for performing tasks, such as recording TV shows; updates to the Sonic Solutions DVD burning engine to improve the performance; and support for up to four tuners at once.

According to research firm Current Analysis, Media Center PCs accounted for 46 percent of the U.S. retail desktop PC market in September.

The Rollup became available free via the Windows Update download site on Friday, as well as preloaded on new Media Center PCs.

Microsoft plans to release it in 20 new countries and 11 new languages in time for the holiday shopping season.

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