Microsoft details plans for XP's media frenzy

Microsoft Corp. released details on Windows XP's upcoming media trappings Tuesday, revealing the company's plans to make the PC an all-in-one digital media center, replete with video, photos, music and TV programming.

The Windows XP Media Center Edition, formerly code-named "Freestyle," is set to ship to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in time for the end-of-the-year holiday shopping season in the U.S., Canada and South Korea, the company said. It will be available in Japan in the first half of next year.

The media center will allow consumers to listen to, store and organize digital music, watch DVDs, and access and browse personal digital video files. Users will also be able to watch TV on their PCs as well as pause, rewind and play back live TV programming with the Media Center's included personal video recorder. A remote control is included, allowing users to use their PCs like a TV.

The product will also be tailored for storing, sorting through and viewing digital photos. Users will also be able to produce digital slide shows, with music added, the company said.

Microsoft has already announced deals with OEMs such as Hewlett-Packard Co., NEC Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to bring the Windows XP Media Center to market. Consumers will be able to purchase PCs with the software preinstalled and all hardware included by the end of the year, the Redmond, Washington, company said.

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Scarlet Pruitt

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