Plus! Digital Media Edition

With each successive release of Windows, Microsoft bundles yet more third-party functions. Audio, for instance, became an integral part of Windows 98 with the addition of Media Player. XP brought us a whole lot more: remote access, digital still and video imaging, CD burning, and file compression, to name but a few.

So, what could possibly be left to add? Why, more multimedia, of course. Enter the Digital Media Edition (DME).

The whole package, for around $45, carries more than a hint of frivolity. Among the more novel provisions are a CD labelling add-on, more skins for Windows Media Player, an alarm clock that can be set for timely wakeups or reminders, and a selection of 3D dancing desktop characters that very quickly become only marginally less annoying than Clippy the know-it-all paperclip Office assistant.

Movie Maker add-ons

The inclusion of a video-editing package in Windows XP took the complexity out of the genre and brought fast, effective filmmaking to the desktop. Version 2.0, available to all via the Windows Update Web site, ironed out some glitches to turn Movie Maker into a truly useful tool. Media Edition adds 50 editing options to the mix, with effects ranging from the artistic Watercolor to the exotic Color Warp, and a collection of transitions that let you drain, erode and evaporate clips from every conceivable direction. It’s a bundle that will no doubt be welcome to most users, though, as ever with such effects, beware of overuse.

Photo Story

The idea behind Photo Story is that, while your images might not move, you can pan and zoom around them to create a still ‘film’ consisting of a series of static shots. Add sound, titles and credits to compile a mini-movie, and e-mail the resulting WMV file to friends or colleagues (see here for a screenshot).

Photo Story is certainly an appealing alternative to attaching a bunch of digital photos to an e-mail, and it saves having to throw a post-holiday slideshow evening, but Movie Maker already allows this kind of approach with still images. Furthermore, not only is Movie Maker free but it also provides much more flexibility than Photo Story’s very basic ‘advanced’ panning and zooming options.

Photo Story is nevertheless a neat extra, even if you already have one of the many free photo viewing utilities such as IrfanView or PhotoExplorer. Those unsure of making their first steps into digital video editing will appreciate the simplicity of Photo Story’s stripped-down functions and automated approach. Its integration with the Windows platform can’t fail to make slideshow sharing that bit easier, too.

Audio Converter and Analog Recorder

For music fans, Microsoft has partnered with Sintrillium (maker of Cool Edit Pro) to bring DME users analog recording and audio conversion software. Audio Converter lets you change the format of music files to and from MP3, WAV and Microsoft’s own WMA — a handy feature for those who use a variety of devices for music playback. The software is again wizard-based, handholding you through the conversion process and taking care of the more technical aspects of the procedure to guard against loss of quality.

If you are looking for a quick, easy solution for getting all your vinyl records and tape cassettes onto your PC, you’ll welcome Analog Recorder. It’s another conversion tool, which this time allows you to copy your ageing analog audio into digital format, and eliminates background hisses and pops into the bargain. In keeping with the other utilities in DME Audio Converter it’s nice and simple, automating most of the process for you.

Party Mode

Party Mode lets you use your PC as a jukebox, utilising Windows Media Player in full-screen skin mode to stream a continuous playlist from your hard drive. There’s the option to add a scrolling message, too — perhaps a note to welcome guests as they arrive. Importantly, you can choose to block access to your desktop while in Party Mode but allow partygoers to reorder tracks just as they might control the comings and goings of CDs in and out of your hi-fi.

No shindig would be complete without some dancing, and Digital Media Edition throws in a selection of choreographed performers to turn your desktop into a dance floor. You can download more from Microsoft’s site, as well as medium and large versions of these real-life twirlers. Be warned, though, even at the smallest size these video files run to megabytes.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Emma Northam

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?