Windows XP Media Center Edition

Windows XP Media Center Edition

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Is that a Media Center PC--or an end table?

Oct 15 2004-Wood paneling and chrome made your dad's station wagon look like a million bucks, and they might also be just the ticket for Microsoft's fledgling effort to put a Media Center PC in every living room.
Those materials dominate one of two sample designs for a new style of Media Center PC, commissioned by Microsoft's eHome division from One & Co., a San Francisco engineering and design company.
One & Co. partner Jonah Becker explained that Microsoft wanted a PC design that an enlightened homeowner might want to have sitting in the middle of a living room, as opposed to stuffed into the back of entertainment center. That's important if consumers are to be comfortable using the PC for the "2-foot experience"--typical PC activities such as downloading and organizing photos and music clips--as well as the more laid-back "10-foot experience" of watching TV or running a slideshow.
Current Media Center PC designs don't handle the 2-foot part very well, Becker said, because they look too dorky for most folks to put next to the couch.
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Microsoft to tune up Media Center PC

Oct 10 2004-With the next generation of Media Center PCs, you'll be able to have your TV and record it too.
For the first time, Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition is supporting multiple tuners, meaning that consumers will be able to watch one channel while recording another or record two stations at once, CNET has learned. The feature is one of several improvements Microsoft has made with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, an update that the company plans to announce next week.
At the same time, Microsoft is also allowing computer makers to create Media Center PCs that lack the TV recording feature altogether, a move that will allow computer makers to offer PCs with the operating system for less than $800. It's all part of an effort by Microsoft to position Media Center as a more mainstream consumer OS.
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With new OS, Microsoft seeks couch potatoes' eyes

Sep 16 2004-With its eyes firmly set on the living room, Microsoft plans to release next month a new incarnation of Windows XP Media Center Edition, an entertainment-oriented version of Windows XP.
The company has scheduled an Oct. 12 event in Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium, where it's expected to release an update to the operating system, as well as introduce the first crop of Media Center extenders--devices that allow television shows recorded on a Media Center PC to be watched on a television in another room.
The new version of Media Center, along with the extender devices and a gaggle of Portable Media Center handhelds, are a key part of Microsoft's fall marketing campaign to pump up sales of Windows XP.
In many cases, the Media Center extender will take the form of a set-top box, but Microsoft has also said it will sell a kit that will enable its Xbox game console to act as an extender. Also, the software maker has said it hopes to convince some television makers to include the extender technology in their products.
As for the OS, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is like its predecessor in that it has all the features of Windows XP as well as a separate interface designed to be viewed on a television and controlled from a distance by remote control.
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Windows XP Media Center Edition reviewed

A remote-capable ten foot user interface to digital media and television tasks
In January 2002, I got my first look at Microsoft's Freestyle software--a remote-friendly front-end to digital media tasks--and immediately wanted it. Back then, of course, it was unclear how the software would be delivered, and I had hoped that any XP user would be able to get Freestyle through a cheap, Plus!-type add-on. However, in the days since January, Microsoft decided to ship Freestyle as Windows XP Media Center Edition (XP MCE), which will be made available solely with powerful new PCs, logically dubbed media center PCs. While I understand the reasoning behind this decision, I still have my doubts, since there is a large crowd of digital media enthusiasts who might have paid $50 for an add-on package but have no interest in shelling out $1800 or more for a new PC, just to get this software.
So what is XP MCE? Essentially, it's Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 (SP1) with an additional application, Media Center, and related supporting services. XP MCE runs only on media center PCs, which include modern processors, fast video cards, FireWire connectivity for attaching a DV camera, a TV tuner card for interacting with a cable or satellite signal like direct sat tv, and, optionally, other multimedia features, including a DVD writer, surround sound speakers, and front-panel access to the types of memory cards used by most digital cameras. This year, only Hewlett-Packard will be shipping media center PCs in the US, and I'll be reviewing the final hardware here on the SuperSite in early November; this review focuses solely on the software. But other companies, such as Samsung, are marketing media center PCs in other locales, and Microsoft will announce new partners and markets for XP MCE in 2003.
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Windows XP Media Center Edition

Windows XP Media Center Edition, the newest member of the Microsoft Windows XP family, offers the best of computing and entertainment for the home user. The final software code has now been released to manufacturers. Media Center PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition will be available in North America for the holidays in 2002. Delivers the full power and functionality of Windows XP, so you can get the most from your home computing experience.
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Windows XP Media Center: Who needs it? Not me

Sure, Microsoft's new Windows XP Media Center adds some nifty home-entertainment enhancements to your standard PC. But you can get better features for less money if you just build a media center of your own. Here's how.
Imagine having a PC that allows you to listen to music. And view your photos. And even record your favorite television programs. What? You can do all of that stuff right now? Oh yeah, that's right, you can.
Which is part of the problem with Windows XP Media Center Edition, the latest enhancement to Microsoft's flagship OS. While Media Center adds some nifty user-interface enhancements, it doesn't enable you to do much that's truly new. In fact, the only significant addition--the ability to use your PC as a TiVo-like personal video recorder (PVR)--has long been available for Windows XP through third-party apps like SnapStream's Personal Video Station (ironically, SnapStream's one of Microsoft's Windows XP Launch Partners).
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Windows XP Media Center Takes a Bow

With the all-important holiday shopping season on the horizon, Microsoft (Quote, Company Info, News) has started shipping its Windows XP Media Center Edition to PC makers in the United States and Canada.
The Windows XP Media Center, which brings heady promises of turning the PC into a home entertainment center, has been distributed to Hewlett-Packard Co. (Quote, Company Info, News) and Samsung Electronics, two PC makers serving the U.S and Korean markets.
The Windows XP Media Center Edition, a product formerly known as "Freestyle," offers a separate interface via remote control to let users access multimedia tools -- from a personal video recorder (PVR) to digital music, videos and photos.
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All of your Windows XP experiences

Windows XP Media Center Edition is designed to run all your Windows XP experiences. Use Microsoft Internet Explorer to browse the Internet; Windows Messenger to communicate with your friends, family, and colleagues in real time using text, voice, and video; Windows Media™ Player to create, manage, and play your digital media; Microsoft Office, Microsoft Works, or other programs to work from home, keep your household in order, manage your finances, help the kids with their homework or play your favorite games, plan trips, and explore your creative side; and so much more. You can set up a home network to share all your computers and devices in your home and share an Internet connection with every computer.
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Windows XP ''Media Center Edition'' vs. Fair Use Rights

Is Microsoft trying to kiss the entertainment industry's ass just so they can monopolize the emerging digital entertainment marketplace also?
Reports have it that the upcoming release of MS's new 'Media Center Edition' of Windows XP will tout features to allow users to record their favorite television shows for time-shifted playback much like that currently provided by TiVo and ReplayTV, but with the added ability to burn these show's to DVD. Impressive right? Well, wait till you read the fine print as usual, the devil is hiding in the details.
While the marketability of such a claim is obviously great, what Microsoft is not quick to point out is that these burned DVD's will only play on the PC which they are created. Meaning, quite simply, if you burn a show on your 'Media Center Edition' PC, don't expect to be able to play that DVD back on your home entertainment center or even in your notebook that has the 'Media Center Edition' of XP on it (as it's not the same workstation).
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More fun everyday

When you are ready to have more fun, simply press the Start button on the remote control to get rolling. Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition brings together more entertainment choices—watch DVD movies or your home movies, listen to music, view digital photo slideshows, and now even watch and digitally record live TV—all with one remote control!
No matter what kind of TV signal you get—cable, satellite, or antenna—Windows XP Media Center Edition lets you enjoy live TV. Advanced control features including pause, rewind, and fast forward let you control your live TV experience so you never miss a moment of live TV. You can easily find out what's on by using the integrated Electronic Program Guide (EPG), a grid-based view of current and upcoming programs that is updated daily. See the My TV screen.
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Top 10 Benefits of Windows XP Media Center Edition

Work hard, play hard
Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition runs your Windows XP-compatible applications like Microsoft Word or Excel without missing a beat. Use Windows Messenger to chat online or hold an audio or video conference with friends and colleagues. Get the most from the Web using Internet Explorer. The Media Center PC is also a powerful game platform for your most demanding single player and online multiplayer gaming experiences.
Create your own digital media library
Right at your fingertips, you'll find all the tools you need to enjoy the world of digital music, video, and pictures. Windows Media Player for Windows XP is the all-in-one place to discover, download, and play music and video, export media files to CD or portable devices, and more. Windows Movie Maker lets you edit your home movies and unlock your creative side. View, manage, print, and share photos through seamless support in Windows XP for digital cameras and other imaging devices.
Easily access your entertainment experiences from one place
Media Center is your unified destination for all your entertainment experiences—TV, music, digital video, photos, and DVD. Navigate different entertainment experiences using consistent on-screen menus and the Media Center remote control or keyboard and mouse. Media Center has a sleek, intuitive design with a familiar Windows look and functionality. The Now Playing window integrates your experience by keeping your current media selection in view as you browse the interface selections.
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Windows XP Media Center Edition: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Windows XP Media Center Edition?
A: Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition, formerly codenamed "Freestyle," is a new member of the Windows XP family. Windows XP Media Center Edition brings together the best of computing and home entertainment. It turns a PC into a Media Center that provides integrated access to your favorite digital entertainment experiences—including live television, personal video recording (PVR), digital music, digital video, DVDs and pictures—with the convenience of a single remote control.
Q: When will Windows XP Media Center Edition be available?
A: Windows XP Media Center Edition is scheduled to be available to consumers preinstalled on new Media Center PCs in the U.S., Canada, and Korea in time for the 2002 holiday season. Microsoft is working closely with PC manufacturers to bring consumers products that take full advantage of the computing and entertainment capabilities of Windows XP Media Center Edition.
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MS to ship Media Center 'special edition' of XP in Q4

You've all been very patient, sorry, you want to know about the XP story, don't you? Well, basically Microsoft has rechristened Freestyle Windows XP Media Center and proposes to ship it as a special edition of XP in time for this year's holiday season. It won't be sold separately, allegedly because it's "closely tied to the hardware." We do not, however, altogether understand this because although XP Media Center PCs come with a special remote control and all the hardware you'd need to make them audio-video media centres, it would surely not be beyond the wit of Microsoft to sell it bundled with a remote. But then it wouldn't be giving its special friends in the PC industry a clear run at this compelling package aimed at the youth market, and priced from $1,000-$2,000.
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Windows XP Media Center music

Download songs for Windows XP Media Center edition by Pressthegreenbutton, The Official Band of Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition.
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Watch the demo

Watch the demo for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition.
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Windows XP Media Center Edition ("Freestyle") Preview

Extend the reach of Windows PCs to the Television
During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January 2002, Microsoft unveiled two technologies--code-named Freestyle and Mira--designed to extend the reach of Windows PCs from the office into the far larger and more lucrative living room. The plan, launched through the company's eHome Division, aims to leverage the power and intelligence of the PC while offering simplicity and convenience for consumers.
Currently, PCs are powerful, but limited to specific tasks. As we move toward a more connected world where digital media experiences such as music, photos, and movies are used more and more with PCs, it makes sense to bring that machine into other areas of the house. Windows XP Media Center Edition ("Freestyle") addresses this need. With Windows XP Media Center Edition, a new generation of TV-based PCs, or PCs used in smaller living areas such as dorm rooms and apartments, is made more viable thanks to a simple new user interface. Somewhat predictably, Microsoft calls these PCs Media Center PCs.
Windows XP Media Center Edition was released to manufacturing on September 3, 2002, and Hewlett Packard PCs based on this design will ship in mid-October. It's clear from my hands-on time with prototype Media Center PCs that this technology will usher in a new era of PC computing, and it's exciting to see the market changing into something that will benefit a far bigger audience. I'll have a full XP Media Center Edition review, based on my experience with the Freestyle beta and the final version of the HP Media Center PC, available by mid-October.
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Windows XP Media Center: Control Freak Technology or Just a Commonsense Approach?

One of my pet peeves is watching the way media outlets mishandle certain industry news stories. This week's example is coverage of Microsoft's new Windows XP Media Center Edition, which will ship only on new Media Center PCs from Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Samsung this year. Media Center includes Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that is designed to prevent users who digitally record TV shows from copying the resulting movie files to CD-Rs and giving them to friends (although you can back up the recordings and watch them again and again on the same PC). Clearly, Microsoft included DRM to prevent intellectual property theft and to quell Hollywood's concerns about digital-recording technology. But the reaction to this limitation has been stunning, and numerous stories have accused Microsoft of caring more about Hollywood than Joe User. Come on, people. The movie studios would sue Microsoft for all eternity if the company made it easy to digitally copy copyrighted content in Windows. This week, I even read an article that compared Microsoft and Apple Computer's digital-hub strategies and noted that Apple is about "empowerment, not control." Right. That's why Apple makes it difficult to copy songs from an iPod to another Mac, right? Microsoft is doing the same thing. But when Apple does the right thing, it gets positive press, and when Microsoft does anything, it gets negative press. For what it's worth, TiVo has similar DRM technology in its digital video recorder (DVR) products; competitor SonicBLUE RePlay doesn't. Various entertainment-related companies are suing SonicBLUE because of this. WinInfo Daily UPDATE readers know I'm not a Microsoft cheerleader, but in this instance the company isn't doing anything wrong, so back off and find some real news to write about.
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Microsoft Releases Windows XP Media Center Edition

New XP version will ship only with new media center PCs starting in October.
This morning, Microsoft announced the completion of Windows XP Media Center Edition, which--beginning next month--will power new Media Center PCs from companies such as Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Samsung. XP Media Center is the latest Windows version and one of several products that relies on Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1), which Microsoft will release publicly September 9 (see the story below). XP Media Center adds a friendly interface to XP SP1 that lets consumers access multimedia experiences--such as digital music, photos and videos, DVD movies, TV, and digital video recording (DVR)--using a remote control and, optionally, a TV set.
In addition to the PC makers that will deliver Media Center PCs, Microsoft worked with several third-party hardware manufacturers that created supporting technology, including microprocessor makers AMD and Intel, Dolby Laboratories, video-card makers ATI and NVIDIA, DVD- and MPEG-2-decoder makers Cyberlink and Intervideo, and TV-capture tuner-card makers eMuzed and Hauppauge.
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Microsoft reveals media XP details

Microsoft on Tuesday gave an official name to an upcoming version of Windows XP that aims to make the PC a permanent part of the home entertainment center.
Originally code-named Freestyle, this entertainment version of Windows--which will go by the name Windows XP Media Center Edition--will appear on new PCs and PC hybrids in time for the holidays, the company revealed on Tuesday. With Windows Media Center, consumers will be able to use a TV remote control to catalog songs, videos and pictures, as well as check TV listings.
Windows Media Center brings the number of XP versions to five. The others are Home, for standard consumer PCs; Professional, for businesses; Tablet PC, for tablet devices and notebooks; and an embedded version for other devices. Earlier this year, Chairman Bill Gates said that selling customized versions of Windows, as requested by nine states pursuing the antitrust case against Microsoft, would confuse customers.
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