Friday, 15 October 2004 10:00

Lounge room Windows at Intelligent Home Show

By

ImageMicrosoft is now set up to put PCs into lounge rooms with the launch this week of its new digital lifestyle operating system. The new operating system will be on display today at the Intelligent Home Show in Melbourne.

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is Microsoft's attempt to effect a coup detat on the home entertainment industry, working in conjunction with global Intel PC hardware industry. Time will tell whether the software giant and its hardware cohorts, which include both the name brand and white box PC manufacturers, can succeed in surplanting the manufacturers of TV sets, stereos and DVD players as the king of home entertainment.

Microsoft says that its digital entertainment centre is designed to live in the lounge room and will change the way people think about and use computers. What it really hopes, however, that its product will change the way people think about home entertainment.

The new Windows, which can only bought shipped with a digital media centre box, can be connected to either a monitor or television and the internet and purports to offer a seamless way to experience photos, music, video, recorded and live TV.

The system enables users, from a single remote control to:

Play, record and pause live television
Watch and control DVDs
Listen and store music
Share digital photos and movies
Access computer games and music on demand

Despite providing this orgy of home entertainment, however, Microsoft Australia's director of PC software, Jane Huxley, insists that the new Windows is not competitor of or replacement for TV. Huxley says, "We don't see it as a replacement for TV because you need a TV tuner card. You can either choose to use a TV or a monitor (as your viewing device)."

Huxley says that, while first Windows home entertainment centers from manufacturers in Australia such as HP, Toshiba, Acer and Optima, will have a PC form factor, the look will change over time to be esthetically more living room friendly. She says, "As the market matures, the units will take on elegant living room features."

Huxley adds that Microsoft's initial market in the home entertainment space will come from users who already listen to music and watch videos on PCs, digital enthusiasts (gadget guys) and home theatre lovers.

According to a salesman at retail chain Harvey Norman, a new base level HP version of the Windows home entertainment centre is likely to retail for about $2500. Microsoft is keeping the price component of its new operating system a closely guarded secret, as you can't buy it separately. However, if Microsoft's pricing runs true to form, we can safely assume that it is probably getting a whopping 15-20 per cent of the retail price for its software. Huxley says, "We can't comment on the price of the software over the hardware. The hardware manufacturers will set the price."

Given that's the case, it's nice to know that at least there will be a plethora of small white box manufacturers out in the market who will be able to undercut the big name brands, as they do in the desktop PC market. Huxley says, "We held an event (about the home entertainment center) for our system builder channel the other day and about 1500 attended."

Microsoft Australia also announced that its new Windows version is enabled to support on-demand media services. These on-demand services, called Online Spotlight, offer consumers access to content, such as music and games, from the Internet. Microsoft will offer Online Spotlight content through ninemsn, its joint venture with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (ASX:PBL) and through a partnership, which it is finalising, with Telstra Bigpond.

As far as availability is concerned, although Microsoft says in its release that home entertainment PCs are available as of today from places like Harvey Norman, someone obviously forgot to tell the HN salesman we spoke to because he said there were none in the store and he couldn't give us an estimated time of arrival.


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

Active Vs. Passive DWDM Solutions

An active approach to your growing optical transport network & connectivity needs.

Building dark fibre network infrastructure using WDM technology used to be considered a complex challenge that only carriers have the means to implement.

This has led many enterprises to build passive networks, which are inferior in quality and ultimately limit their future growth.

Why are passive solutions considered inferior? And what makes active solutions great?

Read more about these two solutions, and how PacketLight fits into all this.

CLICK HERE!

WEBINAR INVITE 8th & 10th September: 5G Performing At The Edge

Don't miss the only 5G and edge performance-focused event in the industry!

Edge computing will play a critical part within digital transformation initiatives across every industry sector. It promises operational speed and efficiency, improved customer service, and reduced operational costs.

This coupled with the new capabilities 5G brings opens up huge opportunities for both network operators and enterprise organisations.

But these technologies will only reach their full potential with assured delivery and performance – with a trust model in place.

With this in mind, we are pleased to announce a two-part digital event, sponsored by Accedian, on the 8th & 10th of September titled 5G: Performing at the Edge.

REGISTER HERE!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments