LAS VEGAS, Jan. 5, 2005 — Today at 2005 International CES, Microsoft Corp. announced broad, additional support for the PlaysForSure logo program – both for devices and upcoming services. In addition to many portable music players that are PlaysForSure-verified, there are now new televisions and DVD players designed for PlaysForSure compatibility that feature built-in connections to wireless or wired home networks for the easy playback of photos, as well as subscription-based music and video via a Windows XP-based PC. At CES 2005, D-Link Systems Inc. and Digitrex debuted connected high-definition (HD) TVs, HD displays and DVD players designed to be part of the PlaysForSure logo program, and Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. demonstrated a concept plasma display. In addition, a range of new color-screen, mini-hard-drive portable devices supporting both music and photos are designed to be PlaysForSure-verified, including the Gateway MP3 Photo Jukebox, iriver H10 and the Samsung YH-925 and YH-820. First announced at Microsoft’s Digital Entertainment Anywhere launch event in October, the PlaysForSure logo is designed to help consumers with Windows XP-based PCs choose devices and online music and video stores that work together, taking the guesswork out of compatibility.
An integral part of the PlaysForSure program, Windows Media Player 10 has reached over 90 million downloads, representing an unprecedented average of eight downloads every second since its release in September 2004. Windows Media Player 10 provides access to a wide range of online music and video services, enabling consumers to choose from a growing number of online digital media stores for audio and video including CinemaNow, F.Y.E (For Your Entertainment), MSN Music, Musicmatch, MusicNow, Napster and Wal-Mart Music Downloads.
“The expansion of the PlaysForSure logo program to encompass connected TVs and DVD players represents an important new generation of consumer electronics that provide built-in access to the growing libraries of digital photos, music and videos on Windows XP-based PCs,” said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Client Consumer Marketing Group at Microsoft. “When paired with Windows XP-based PCs, these new connected devices offer an exciting new way to enjoy content in the digital home – not only for personal music and video, but also for audio and video purchased or rented through online music and video stores.”
To date, seven services and more than 50 devices have been tested and have qualified to receive the PlaysForSure logo. A full list of PlaysForSure-verified devices and services can be found at http://www.playsforsure.com , a resource that helps consumers identify the best device to fit their needs. PlaysForSure is supported by the following companies:
Consumer device manufacturers: ARCHOS, Audiovox Corp., Creative Technology Ltd., D-Link Systems Inc., Digitrex, Dell Inc., Gateway, HP, iriver, Rave MP, Rio, ROC Digital, Roku, Samsung Electronics America, RCA-brand players from Thomson and Virgin Electronics
Online music and video services: CinemaNow Inc., F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment), MSN Music, Musicmatch Inc., MusicNow LLC, Napster and Wal-Mart Music Downloads
Traditional retailers: Best Buy Company Inc., Circuit City Stores Inc., CompUSA Management Co., Datavision Computer Video Inc., J & R Electronics Inc., RCS Computer Experience, Tower Records and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Network-Connected TVs and DVD Players Now Designed to Support PlaysForSure
New HDTVs, DVD players and digital media receivers with built-in wired or wireless access to Windows XP-based PCs were unveiled at CES 2005. These next-generation devices provide easy access to digital photos, music and video in any room in the home from a Windows XP-based (including Windows XP Media Center 2005) media library over a wireless or wired home network. Through support of Windows Media Connect, Windows Media Audio and/or Video and Windows Media DRM 10 for networked devices, each device also will enable consumers to enjoy download and subscription content from PlaysForSure-verified online music and video stores, as well as user-created content.
D-Link also unveiled the next generation of powerful wirelessly networked media players, including the new MediaLounge Wireless Media Player with DVD (DSM-320RD), the MediaLounge HD Wireless Media Player (DSM-520) and the new MediaLounge Wireless Media Server (DSM-5208R), that support playback of Windows Media Audio and Windows Media Video files over a network using Windows Media Connect technology.
Digitrex unveiled a new line of networked LCD HDTVs that will come in 46-, 40- and 32-inch models and will offer built-in support for connecting directly to Windows XP-based PCs and enable secure streaming of music and video as well as viewing of photos. They are expected to be available in the United States in the second quarter of 2005 and range in price from $2,499 (U.S.) to $4,999.
Pioneer demonstrated a prototype 50-inch concept plasma display with expansion card in its booth (Central Hall No. 9826) that supports Window Media Video, Windows Media Connect and Windows Media DRM 10 for networked devices. Pioneer is evaluating this concept for future products directions as part of a collaboration with Microsoft.
Roku expanded its support for PlaysForSure today and announced the Roku Embedded SoundBridge, making its SoundBridge network music player technology available to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use in audio/video receivers, televisions, radios and music players. This technology enables a device to become Microsoft PlaysForSure verified, giving consumers an easy way to identify compatible devices and online stores that work together.
New Portable Music Devices Featured at CES 2005
New, leading-edge, color-screen, hard-drive devices from ARCHOS, Gateway, iriver and Samsung are designed to be PlaysForSure-verified with support for Auto Sync in Windows Media Player 10 and for the latest Windows Media DRM 10, enabling syncing of both download and subscription music content from PlaysForSure-verified online music stores.
ARCHOS announced it is joining the PlaysForSure logo program and will demonstrate this new support at CES 2005. The company’s popular Pocket Video Recorder AV400 and the Gmini 400 lines of portable video players will get updates in the first quarter of 2005 to be PlaysForSure-capable. The AV400 and Gmini 400 firmware updates will offer support for Auto Sync with Windows Media Player 10, as well as support for Windows Media DRM 10, enabling the devices to work with PlaysForSure download and subscription music services.
Creative announced its Zen Micro now has updated firmware to support PlaysForSure including support for Auto Sync and Playlists using Windows Media Player 10 as well as online music stores. Additional updates that include support for PlaysForSure online music subscription services using Windows Media DRM 10 will be forthcoming for the Zen Micro, Zen Touch and Zen Xtra players, and be available in the first quarter of 2005.
Gateway showed its Gateway MP3 Photo Jukebox, a 4GB, 3.4 ounce portable player that supports both music and photos. The new Gateway offers out-of-the-box support for Auto Sync with Windows Media Player 10, as well as support for Windows Media DRM 10, enabling the device to work with PlaysForSure download and subscription services. The Gateway MP3 Photo Jukebox is expected to be PlaysForSure verified sometime in Q1 2005.
iriver will announce the new H10, a 5GB portable player featuring a color screen with photo-viewing capability, FM tuner and recorder, as well as a voice recorder. Available in four stunning colors, it offers out-of-the-box support for Auto Sync in Windows Media Player 10, as well as support for Windows Media DRM 10, and support for PlaysForSure download and subscription music services. The H10 will be available later this month at major retailers across the United States.
Samsung announced two new products designed to support PlaysForSure: the 5GB YH-820 and the 20GB YH-925. Both hard-disk devices will offer color LCD screens with photo-viewing capability. They will also include out-of-the-box support for Auto Sync with Windows Media Player 10, as well as support for Windows Media DRM 10, enabling the device to work with PlaysForSure download and subscription music services.
New Services From MTV Networks and MSN Video Downloads to Deliver Digital Entertainment Throughout the Home and On the Go
Also at CES 2005, forthcoming services for the PlaysForSure program were announced from MTV and MSN. MTV Networks (MTVN) and Microsoft announced a strategic agreement to cooperate on several long-term digital media initiatives. The two companies will work together to create new ways for consumers to access MTV Networks entertainment programming and brands such as MTV, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central via a variety of digital entertainment products and scenarios. As part of the alliance, MTVN will utilize key Microsoft technologies, including Windows Media Audio and Video formats and Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10, with the intent to deliver new services including a PlaysForSure-compliant MTVN digital music service with portable subscription capabilities, available in Windows Media Player 10’s Digital Media Mall, an Online Spotlight service for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and ongoing MTVN content for download to Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Center devices.
MSN will announce the forthcoming preview of its video download service. The preview of the MSN Video Downloads service will provide a single source for people who want to take a wide range of news, sports and entertainment with them on Windows Mobile-based devices, including Portable Media Centers and media-capable Smartphones and Pocket PCs. When it launches in the winter, the MSN Video Downloads service will be PlaysForSure-compliant with content that is optimized for playback on Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers, and will be compatible with Smartphones and Pocket PCs.
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