Microsoft will update its Media Center Edition of Windows to be able to stream digital content to any device via its Xbox console.
Even-tough the streaming of media was possible through other devices (Media Center Extenders), Microsoft decided to release a special software to make its high profile game machine, Xbox, an intermediate in such connections resulting high qualities of the streamed content. Discussions about this movement were held earlier this year.
In competition with Apple and Sony, Microsoft continues to link its products into a larger home entertainment plan based on Windows and the PC.
“The strategy here is quite simple. We want to create an environment based on Windows that will give consumers…the ability to take their content to any device that was connected back to a Windows PC. (Adding) the Xbox 360 is just the next evolution of that vision,” said Brad Brooks, senior director of product management in Microsoft’s Windows client division. “In past extender experiences, we haven’t been able to bring over the full navigation, 3D graphics and (user interface) experience on a Media Center. With an Xbox 360 you get all of that,” he also said.
The Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 will add special features to Windows like DVD changers support, Away Mode – a consumer electronics-like on-off function to Media Center PCs, new DVD-burning capabilities and will of course support for additional high-definition TV tuners.
Microsoft already negotiates deals with media providers to make available additional MTV and VH1 content, along with MTV Overdrive and a broadband video channel; the AOL Pictures digital photo service and AOL Radio featuring XM; the Akimbo Service, which offers more than 5,000 programs from the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery, as well as Major League Baseball playoff games; and two gaming services: Game xStream and Discover Games.