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LG Media Center Extender Now Shipping

At the International CES 2005 last January, Microsoft and LG showed off the first consumer-electronics appliance to use Microsoft's Windows Media Center Extender platform independent of a PC. It's been 9 months since the preview, and LG's product is finally shipping. The new LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder viewer features a recordable dual-layer DVD drive, Ethernet and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) network connectivity, a 160GB hard disk (which supports up to 90 hours of video from cable, satellite, or over-the-air broadcasts), and dual USB 2.0 ports (for adding USB mass storage devices). The device offers a subscription to the Microsoft Program Guide service, which lets users search and schedule recording of up to 14 days of local programming, much like a TiVo or Media Center Edition PC. The unit's network connectivity allows for the sharing and display of PC-based content, including MP3 and WMA audio and JPEG images. The LG LRM-519 won't come cheap: It retails for $600. A subscription to the Microsoft Program Guide service costs $250 for a lifetime device subscription, $100 for a 1-year subscription, or $10 per month. For that money, you could just get a real Media Center PC.

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