REDMOND, Wash., July 16, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the newest member of the Windows® XP family: Windows XP Media Center Edition. Formerly known by the code name "Freestyle," Microsoft® Windows XP Media Center Edition turns a PC into a media center that integrates digital entertainment experiences -- including live television, personal video recording (PVR), digital music, digital video, DVDs and pictures -- with the freedom of remote control access. Currently in beta testing, Microsoft will ship Windows XP Media Center Edition to OEMs in time for the holiday shopping season in the United States, Canada and Korea. It is expected to be available in Japan in the first half of 2003.
"The PC has evolved from a tool for productivity to a device capable of entertainment, communications and so much more," said Michael Toutonghi, vice president of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft. "Consumers desire more fun and enjoyment from their PC and want it to contribute to their lives even more creatively than it does today. The time is right for Windows XP Media Center Edition; it maps to our vision of realizing potential with technology in ways people may not have thought possible."
Windows XP Media Center Edition's dual-purpose functionality makes it ideal for digital media enthusiasts and consumers in small, space-constrained environments, such as teen-agers, college students, young adults and families who want to use their PC for multimedia entertainment.
"Aside from communications, digital media enjoyment is the No. 1 focus among consumers today," said Roger Kay, director of Client Computing at IDC. "Future PCs for the home will look more like entertainment devices, and Windows XP Media Center Edition has been designed to run on new hardware types built specifically to enhance the entertainment experience."
Introducing a New Media Center Experience
Windows XP Media Center Edition introduces a new Windows experience called Media Center, a unified destination for entertainment on the PC that is accessible using a Media Center-compatible remote control. Designed to be viewed from across the room, Media Center will provide users with the freedom to enjoy television, entertainment and digital media experiences from their couch, chair, bed or kitchen table. The sleek visual design will offer a clean and familiar look with a consistent navigation and playback experience, making accessing entertainment easier and more convenient.
Enhancing the Windows Experience With More Entertainment Choices
Windows XP Media Center Edition builds on the great digital media experiences delivered by Windows Media Player and Windows Movie Maker to offer consumers more choices for enjoying the digital media they edit, organize and store on their PC, including the following:
Television and PVR. With Windows XP Media Center Edition, users can pause and rewind live television so they never miss a moment of their favorite show, such as "The Osbournes," "Friends" or "West Wing." The personal video recorder allows consumers to record a single episode or an entire series without recording repeat episodes. Users also will be able to manage recording schedules and conflicts as well as add storage through PC expandability. In addition, users of Windows XP Media Center can browse the integrated Electronic Program Guide to find their favorite show or search by categories, such as "sports," or by subcategory, such as "baseball."
Music. Windows XP Media Center Edition will give digital media enthusiasts the freedom to browse their digital music collection by album, artist or genre with the push of a remote control button. Keyword searches will help them quickly locate songs or tracks using the on-screen keyboard and the remote control. With Media Center, users can easily switch between artists such as Moby and Madonna, change tracks, or adjust volume without ever getting off the couch.
Photos. Windows XP Media Center Edition will make looking through photo albums as simple and convenient as picking up the remote control. Families will be able to sort slides by name or date and play a linear slide show, or randomly shuffle photos within folders or across the entire library. Background music can be added with just a few button presses on the remote control to create an ever-richer experience. For instance, digital enthusiasts will be able to combine digital photos from a Caribbean vacation with the beat of a reggae album to truly capture the flavor of the trip.
Videos. Users will be able to browse their personal video collection through a thumbnail view and show full-screen playback of favorite footage, such as that of baby's first steps, to family and friends.
DVDs. With Media Center, a college student can invite friends into his dorm room to watch a DVD on his PC, for example, and control the experience with the remote control. Windows XP Media Center Edition not only offers full-screen video and great remote control of DVD playback features, it also offers information about DVDs, tracks and program details with the press of a button.
Windows XP Media Center Edition Availability
Consumers and industry partners alike agree the time is right for Windows XP Media Center Edition and media center PCs. As announced at CES in January, Hewlett-Packard Co., NEC and Samsung are working with Microsoft to bring Windows XP Media Center Edition to market. By the end of this year, consumers will be able to purchase Windows XP Media Center Edition preinstalled on a new PC at computer retail stores or directly from the manufacturer. All the necessary software and hardware will be included, including the remote control, enabling a great out-of-the box experience right off the shelf.
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