Microsoft launched its Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system at an event in New York Tuesday, showing the software in PCs from Hewlett-Packard (HP).
Windows XP Media Center Edition can be operated via remote control, allowing consumers to use their PCs as the nerve center of their multimedia equipment. The operating system will let users watch DVD movies, manage digital audio and video files, and play, pause and record live television.
The launch event marks the North American availability of the software in three new HP desktops. The HP Media Center PCs come with Intel Corp.'s Pentium 4 processors and Nvidia Corp.'s GeForce4 MX420 graphics card, and special keyboards for access to select entertainment applications. The PCs also feature five USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 ports and two IEEE 1394 ports for peripheral and video downloads, respectively.
The 873n model of the HP Media Center PC line will be available through retail outlets such as Best Buy Co. Inc. and CompUSA Inc. It comes with a 2.53GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512M bytes of DDR (double data rate) memory, a 120G-byte hard drive, and a DVD+recordable/+rewritable drive for an estimated retail price of US$1,649.
The other models, the 863n and the 883n, are available direct from HP through its Web site. The 863n is the value-priced model, with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512M bytes of DDR memory, a 80G-byte hard drive, and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive for $1,349. For consumers looking for a high-end option, HP is offering the 883n, which comes with a 2.66GHz Pentium 4, 512M bytes of DDR memory, a 120G-byte hard drive, and a DVD+R/+RW drive, for $1,999.