Microsoft has announced an initiative with industry partners to bring a wider range of interoperable PC-based digital entertainment to the local consumer market.
The initiative is centred on the launch of Windows XP Media Centre Edition (MCE) 2005, which is accompanied by the release of a range of high-capacity PCs designed for the living room environment, portable media devices and digital content services from Microsoft and industry partners.
"Windows XP Media Centre Edition-based PCs enable users to access digital photos, music, recorded and live television, and movies in the home using a single remote," Jonathan Hatchuel, Windows Client business manager at Microsoft SA said.
Microsoft has developed a waterproof wireless keyboard for accessing the Internet and other computer applications in the home environment.
MCE provides a central location to store music, photos and TV shows that can all be accessed throughout the home using Media Centre Extenders.
"This means that imaging, sound, gaming and computing functionality of the media centre PC can be extended to any room in a house," says Hatchuel.
A variety of portable music players also form part of Microsoft’s digital entertainment initiative, enabling users to take recorded television, music, videos and photos out of the home environment.
The concept of a digital entertainment PC is also being embraced by some of Microsoft’s competitors. Just last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the iMac G5, which is designed to enable users to access a variety of digital media.