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
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
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.