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Microsoft at CES 2004
By CPU-zilla
Category : Events
Published by Aaron Yip on Thursday, 8th January, 2004


Media Center - Extended

Microsoft plans to further extend the media center concept with other gadgets such as portable media centers and Media Center Extenders. Revealed during the keynote was a new portable media center from Creative Technology that plays all the music and videos recorded from the media center, so that users can bring these digital content to wherever they go. The portable device comes with a color LCD screen with a large hard drive that can store all the digital content.

The new Creative portable media center was revealed during the keynote.

Media Center Extenders (MCX) are new devices that will be introduced later this year that will enable current Media Centers to stream digital content to other parts of the home – something like what some of the Digital Media Adapters are doing today. Basically, MCX acts like a bridge, or a decoder box that decompresses the audio or video data, streamed either through a wired or wireless network, to your TV or Hi-Fi equipment. With these Media Center Extenders, all your digital content can be made available anywhere in the home. Microsoft announced that PC makers such as Alienware, Dell, Gateway, HP and Samsung are beginning to offer such devices soon. These MCX boxes are slim, silent (no fans!) and easy to configure – making them perfect for the home.

These MCX devices can work concurrently, regardless of whether the Media Center PC (or another MCX device) is being used for video or audio. Additional modules such as those from Napster or EMI Music would also appear automatically in these MCX devices – as long as these modules were originally subscribed in the main Media Center PC.

Microsoft also plans to introduce the Xbox Media Center Extender kit. This is essentially an Xbox software with a remote controller kit which when turned on, turns the Xbox instantly into a Media Center Extender device.

Gates also shared with the audience that Media Center would be smart enough to update its software (including its clients) so as to allow different types of audio or video content to be played on the Media Center without any additional (and troublesome) software installation.

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