Microsoft Redefines PC Entertainment With Launch Of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 30, 2003 —
Microsoft Corp. announced today at a multicity press conference in the United States and Europe the launch of Windows®
XP Media Center Edition 2004, evolving home PCs with easy-to-use integrated digital entertainment that consumers can enjoy when and how they want. Demonstrating the growing industry excitement around this new class of home PCs, Microsoft unveiled plans by Dell and Sony to deliver Media Center 2004 PCs. These new manufacturing partners join existing Media Center PC manufacturers, including Gateway Inc., HP and Toshiba Corp., in making a broad range of affordable Media Center PC designs starting at below $1,000 available to consumers today. Microsoft also announced that through working with key content providers, including CinemaNow, Movielink and Napster, consumers will be able to enjoy remote control access to exciting new online digital content such as on-demand music and movie subscription services. Finally, consumers currently enjoying the benefits of a Media Center PC will be able to obtain an upgrade to Media Center Edition 2004, allowing them to experience the latest advances in PC entertainment.

“Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 is a great example of integrating software, hardware and services to create simple and compelling experiences that enhance people’s lives,” said Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft. “We’ve moved from designing feature by feature to designing complete scenarios that influence not just software, but also hardware and services requirements. We’re entering the era of eXPerience Computing — Media Center Edition 2004, which gives customers easy access to great entertainment experiences, is the first in a long line of product releases that will benefit from this holistic approach.”

A New Way to Enjoy Music and Movies

Microsoft is enabling key content providers to deliver a new level in entertainment options for consumers to enjoy on their Media Center 2004 PCs — all with the convenience of a remote control. For example Microsoft has worked with CinemaNow, Movielink and Napster to offer consumers using Media Center 2004 PCs in the United States an easier way to order and enjoy movies and music downloaded from the Internet through Web pages specially designed to be viewed from a distance. These services offer the unmatched audio and video quality of Windows Media 9 Series and allow consumers to order a movie or a song with a few touches of the Media Center PC remote control. Consumers can also use their Media Center PC to easily record their favorite television show and, using Sonic’s PrimeTime Media Center application, burn it onto DVDs or video CDs with just a few clicks of the remote control. These new services and others can be found in Online Spotlight, a new online guide created specifically for Media Center Edition PC customers that offers a central location for consumers to find the latest music, movie trailers, news updates and more.

Industry-Leading PC Manufacturers Expand Media Center PCs to New Markets

This year more than 40 original equipment manufacturers around the world will begin shipping Media Center Edition 2004 PCs to consumers in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States. The following are among these PC manufacturers:

  • Dell: United States

  • Fujitsu Ltd. : Japan

  • Fujitsu Siemens Computers : Germany

  • Gateway: United States

  • Gericom AG : Germany

  • Hitachi Ltd. : Japan

  • HP: United States, China, France, Germany, Korea, United Kingdom

  • NEC: Japan

  • NEC CI/Packard Bell: France, United Kingdom

  • Samsung : Korea

  • Sony: United States, Canada

  • SOTEC: Japan

  • Toshiba: United States, Japan, United Kingdom, France and Germany

  • TriGem : Korea

Enhanced Entertainment Experiences at Your Fingertips

Consumers are demanding more of their home PCs, and, according to a recent report issued by Jupiter Research (“Consumer PCs and Digital Entertainment”), entertainment has now evolved to become a mainstream consumer PC activity: “In the past, consumers bought PCs for connectivity and productivity applications — e-mail, Web browsing, word processing, doing taxes, etc. Microsoft’s second-generation Windows XP Media Center Edition will become the standard OS offering for midlevel PCs and some desktop replacement notebooks over the next 12 to 18 months.”

Microsoft is responding to this demand by providing key feature enhancements including the following:

  • Radio (FM). Consumers can listen to their favorite FM radio stations with one-button access from the remote control. Listening to NPR and missing an interview with a favorite author is no longer a problem: Listeners can simply press Replay and jump back seven seconds in the broadcast or Pause the interview if they need to step away.

  • CD-copying capability. Consumers can copy CDs to the Media Library using the remote control: When they insert a music CD, it will automatically copy and show up in their music library.

  • Enhanced photo features. Consumers can play slide shows from their summer vacation from the comfort of the couch by simply inserting a smart media or CompactFlash card or a CD to access photos. They can rotate, zoom, print and even remove red-eye with the touch of one button.

  • Calibration Wizard. This feature helps consumers customize the best picture for a variety of monitors, including CRT (standard), flat panel (LCD, Plasma), rear projection and front projection displays.

  • Enhanced 16 x 9 support. Users can take full advantage of wide-screen displays by using more of the screen for Media Center content.

Simple Upgrade Solutions and Broad Selection of New Media Center PCs

Microsoft has worked with PC manufacturers to provide low-cost upgrade options for consumers currently using a Media Center PC. For a minimal cost*, customers can order a CD from their Media Center PC computer manufacturer that will allow them to take advantage of the Media Center Edition 2004 enhancements. Additional information on upgrading Media Center PCs can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/upgrade/default.asp.

About Windows XP Media Center Edition

Microsoft®
Windows XP Media Center Edition evolves the home PC with easy-to-use integrated digital entertainment that consumers can enjoy when and how they want. It combines the functionality of traditional PC applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel with the ability to enjoy music, television, personal video recording, pictures, digital video and DVD with remote control access. Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 features the quality and compression of Windows Media 9 Series, which helps users create, manage and enjoy more high-quality digital music and video than before.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

NOTE: To enjoy all the benefits of Windows XP Media Center Edition, Internet access is recommended; for some features, such as the Electronic Program Guide, it is required.

*Actual upgrade costs will be determined by individual PC manufacturers

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

Industry Leaders Support Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

“AMD64 technology drives improved digital entertainment experiences all the way from Hollywood to the living room, and coupled with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 provides multimedia, multiformat, anytime entertainment options for users on their home PCs. Systems based on AMD Athlon 64 processors can provide the performance to power many sources of digital entertainment in the familiar Windows-based PC environment.”

– Rich Heye
Vice President and General Manager
Microprocessor Business Unit
AMD

“Dell believes that Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 will enable people to extend the usefulness and functionality of the traditional PC to a solution fit for consumers who want to optimize their digital entertainment experience. We think many of our customers will choose Media Center on the compact Dimension 4600C, since its sleek design makes it ideal for a living room environment. Media Center is a great option for consumers who wish to broaden their daily PC activities, because it empowers them to enjoy music, videos, photos, DVDs and TV/ PVR functionality in a new way.”

– Tim Mattox
Vice President, Client Product Marketing
Dell

“We are excited to work with Microsoft to deliver an outstanding home entertainment and computing experience with our Gateway 600 Series LCD Media Center. This unique product is a sleek and stylish solution for digital entertainment and productivity in the home. It’s the only all-in-one design that combines the TV, PVR, DVD, CD, FM stereo and PC in one space-saving piece of equipment.”

– John Engel
Senior Vice President and General Manager of Desktop Products
Gateway

“As the premier technology company that defined the Media Center PC market with Microsoft, HP has used the learnings of the past year to ensure the industry-leading HP Media Center PC continues to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers. We took that valuable feedback, and the new HP offerings allow consumers to enjoy their digital entertainment wherever they want with the new HP Media Center notebook, as well as simplify digital photography with the new HP Image Zone photo and imaging software.”

– Sam Szteinbaum
Vice President and General Manager
HP Consumer Computing

“Sony VAIO PCs have always been about more than just viewing or listening to music, photos video or even TV on a PC. VAIO users want to create, manage, edit and share their own digital content. By joining our software and hardware with an operating system that was built on a common goal we can give users more control of their entertainment options than ever before.”

– Bob Ishida
President
VAIO of America
Sony Electronics

“Toshiba and Microsoft share the common goal of providing our customers the capability to enjoy digital entertainment experiences in new ways. Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 together with the innovative design of Toshiba Satellite P15/P25 notebooks will take the mobile PC to the next level in the arena of entertainment consumption — from recording TV programs, watching DVDs and managing video, to music and photo collections — that can be enjoyed at home or on the move.”

– Carl Pinto
Director of Product Marketing
Toshiba Computer Systems Group