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Consumer Electronics Show 2005

        Tech | Trade Shows

Microsoft

The Microsoft booth is a world unto itself, with dozens of mini-booths inside where people evangelize different Microsoft products.

One thing getting a lot of attention is the whole "Media Center" concept. There are at least four parts to the Media Center idea:

  • The Media Center PC is a PC running the Media Center edition of Windows XP. Normally, this PC has a TV tuner card installed and is acting like a video recorder.
  • The Media Center extender is a box that, through the network (wired or wireless), can pull content off the Media Center PC and display it on an attached TV.
  • The portable Media Center is a handheld device that can download video/music/photos from the Media Center PC so that you can take them with you.
  • The sources of content are primarily TV right now.

While the Media Center concept can handle music and photos, the big focus seems to be on video content.

There were several demos showing how to move content from a Media Center PC to a portable Media Center. The basic idea was: "If you have content on your PC that you can play in Microsoft Media Player 10, then you can move it to your portable Media Center and it will play." When it copies content down to the portable Media Center, the PC automatically compresses it for the smaller screen size so you can fit as much content as possible on the portable device.

To handle the content question, Microsoft now has a way to download content provided by a group of partners:

It seems limited right now, but it is a start.

Two other free things in the Microsoft booth:

  • There is a place called "Windows Marketplace" where you can browse a catalog of 93,000 Windows applications. Go to http://www.windowsmarketplace.com to check it out.
  • Windows Movie Maker is now in version 2.1. This is video editing software that comes free with Windows XP. Microsoft has been upgrading it silently. The version that comes with SP2 is still simple but pretty nice.

For more information, visit Microsoft.com.


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