Integrated Media Center Extenders in Consumer Electronics

Gates' keynote also gave us the impression that Microsoft was now ready to start offering hooks into consumer electronics devices that would take advantage of Media Center Edition PCs. For example, TVs and set-top boxes with integrated Media Center Extenders that could wirelessly stream content from your MCE PC are the direction Microsoft wants to take. So instead of forcing users to purchase a MCE PC and then an Extender for every TV they want to stream content to, encourage the CE manufacturers to integrate the Extender functionality (basically a 802.xx receiver) into their devices so the enabling is already done.

One such example was a set-top DVR/DVD burner from LG. The DVR/DVD burner interface looked very much like Microsoft's MCE interface, as it well should since Microsoft developed it. The DVD burner used a customized version of the MCE interface for its menus and could also connect to any Windows XP based PC to stream music, pictures and movies from for display on the TV it's attached to. Think of it like a DVD burner and Media Center Extender in one.

Microsoft also announced that Pioneer and Digitrex would be producing HDTVs that could interface with Windows XP and Media Center Edition PCs in the future. Again, much like HDTVs with built in Media Center Extenders that will stream content from your XP or MCE PC all while featuring a familiar MCE-style interface that you can sort of see below:

Microsoft's strategy definitely seems to be enabling the PC-centric homes that we've been hearing about for years, with the PC being a powerful XP or MCE box and it driving numerous CE devices effectively acting as Media Center Extenders. If Microsoft can make it cheap enough for CE manufacturers to include the Media Center Extender functionality in their devices then we may just see this idea of a Media Center PC truly take off.

We should give credit where its due however, last year Microsoft shipped 1.1M MCE enabled PCs, which is far from an insignificant amount.

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  • Griswold - Saturday, January 08, 2005 - link

    Friends? The TV show or... err..uhm.. real.. friends? Reply
  • bupkus - Friday, January 07, 2005 - link

    #12 - Thank you. I was beginning to think there must be something wrong with me. Down with Friends! Game on! Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Friday, January 07, 2005 - link

    If I was being vindictive I would say he's trying to take the emphasis off all the delays on his software...

    I have to agree with #11 on TV - surely gaming has to be where it's at right now. At least you have to engage your brain (slightly) for that.
  • HardwareD00d - Friday, January 07, 2005 - link

    The more Bill Gates tries to get involved in Home Entertainment, Consumer Electronics, and Gadgets, the more I feel like I want to avoid them like the plague.

    Why do we need all this fancy stuff? There isn't much on TV these days worth watching, let alone recording. Just what I need, pip x 2 so I can watch 4 crappy shows at the same time. People are becomming way too dependant on TV to entertain themselves.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, January 07, 2005 - link


    Forza Motorsports

    Take care,
  • Phiro - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    Anand: what was the name of the game they demoed? My brother-in-law is working on an xbox 2 title and I would love to know if it was his game ;) Reply
  • mldeveloper - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    anyone know where a video of this keynote speech can be found? Reply
  • dderidex - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    Sooo....going to check out Shuttle's booth? Dying to see some pics of their new XPCs! Reply
  • skunkbuster - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    conan was hillarious. but bill was almost completely devoid of a sense of humor.
  • AlexWade - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    I wish Conan would go back to work for the Simpsons. Although the show is still better than 99.99% of the junk on TV, it has lost some of its magic. Reply

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