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Microsoft Set to Launch XP Media Center Edition 2005 on October 12

Although I continue to honor a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) about the details of Microsoft's release of Windows XP Media Center Edition (XP MCE) 2005, codenamed Symphony, several news agencies are reporting that Microsoft will launch the product at an event in Los Angeles on October 12, alongside related products such as Media Center Extenders and software that lets the Xbox perform like a Media Center Extender. These product launches, along with other related launches, constitute the second wave of "XP Reloaded," a Microsoft marketing campaign aimed at rejuvenating consumer excitement in XP, a product that more than 300 million people use worldwide. reports that XP MCE 2005 includes integrated instant messaging, CD and DVD burning, device synchronization, and other new functionality. Microsoft first began selling XP MCE in 2002 and released an update in 2003. Both products, like the upcoming 2005 version, are sold only with new PCs, but reports that PC makers will no longer need to include TV tuner software in Media Center PCs, which should dramatically lower the cost of entry-level units.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is also reportedly prepping a new wave of Media Center Extender devices, which remotely connects the Media Center experience to other PCs in your home. These solutions will take various forms. First, PC makers and home-networking companies will supply standard set-top boxes that you can plug into any TV. Second, Microsoft will supply a software package for the Xbox that will let the Xbox video game system function as a Media Center Extender. And finally, Microsoft is working with TV makers to integrate the Media Center Extender functionality into a coming generation of TVs, making those sets Media Center ready.

Although I can't discuss these releases further at this time, I'll post comprehensive reviews of XP MCE 2005 and the Media Center Extenders--along with reviews of any other XP Reloaded-related products and services that ship in the near future--as soon as Microsoft releases them. Stay tuned to the SuperSite for Windows for more information.

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