Media Center Update Due Friday
Microsoft plans to issue its second refresh to Windows XP Media Center Edition on Friday, code-named "Emerald." The update, according to a report in Microsoft Watch Wednesday, will be supported by new partnerships from AOL and MTV among others.
New features expected in "Rollup 2" release are easier access to online movies and multimedia, as well as souped up e-mail and shopping capabilities. Microsoft is apparently changing the focus of Media Center, the site reports, to on-demand content rather than the user's personal content.
Other additions in Emerald include support for 200-DVD changers that users will be able to connect to their Media Centers starting this fall, and support for a secondary HDTV-tuner card. Also, "Away mode" would allow for instantaneous start-up and shutdown of the system.
However, according to Microsoft Watch, the best new features slated for Media Center are not due until Windows Vista arrives next year. One source told BetaNews earlier this month that the next major MCE release, known as "Diamond," is expected to put Media Center on par with TiVo in terms of functionality.
Microsoft has declined to comment on any specifics regarding the new Media Center releases.
Windows XP Media Center Edition sales were initially disappointing, as most consumers considered the first computers with the operating system pre-installed too expensive.
However, Microsoft relaxed its peripheral recommendations for MCE systems, and soon sales began to respond as Media Center PCs became as cheap as $599 USD. The result? In April of this year, Microsoft announced sales had doubled in just six months.