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Convergence and the Media Center PC

2556 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Chuck McKenney
Convergence and the Media Center PC

How Microsoft's Media Center is getting its dueas much more than a PC DVR.

The long-promised convergence of computers and home entertainment is finally becoming reality, and it's no a surprise that Microsoft is playing a major role. Although Microsoft's Media Center PC platform and associated extenders have been around for years, the high-definition cable piece was missing from the picture. Without the ability to send HD cable programs to the family TV, Media Center didn't have credibility as a viable digital video recorder (DVR).

Microsoft's Vista operating system has changed all that. Now consumers can record HD cable programs onto PCs equipped with tuners using CableCards. And they can send those programs to up to five extenders in the house.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console comes with software that turns it into a Media Center Extender when the game player is on a network. All the digital media on your Media Center PCphotos, music, videos, live and recorded TVcan be accessed on home theater systems elsewhere in the house, using either wired or wireless networking. Media Center Extenders bring the same user interface we see on Media Center PCs to the living room, making the TV a true extension of the PC experience.

When Media Center PCs first arrived, the idea was to bring conventional TV programming to the PC environment by taking advantage of the storage space on the PC hard drive. Today, the PC environment is bringing its own content to market, and consumers want to be able to view the videos they stream or download from YouTube, Amazon Unbox, CinemaNow and other web sites on their TVs.

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