Yesterday, at a gala launch event in Hollywood, California, Microsoft publicly unveiled Windows XP Media Center Edition (XP MCE) 2005, unleashing the second wave of XP Reloaded releases, which Microsoft calls Digital Entertainment Anywhere. Companies such as Dell, Gateway, HP, Sony, and Toshiba are releasing new computers based on Microsoft's latest multimedia-oriented OS. Additionally, HP and other companies are releasing Media Center Extender devices, set-top boxes that extend the Media Center experience to other TVs in the home.
"Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is at the heart of Microsoft’s vision to offer people around the world the best in complete, connected entertainment experiences," Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said. "Together with our partners, we are truly revolutionizing digital entertainment on the PC."
XP MCE 2005 is available only on new Media Center PCs and won't be sold at retail or made available from Microsoft in an upgrade package for previous owners. However, Microsoft has made the software available to PC makers to distribute to previous buyers. Those companies will distribute the full installation version to customers. HP has already announced plans to do so, and I'm contacting other Media Center PC makers to see what their plans are.
XP MCE 2005 includes an amazing array of improvements over earlier versions, including better picture quality, multiple tuner support, a movie guide for finding which movies are playing on your TV system, integrated CD and DVD burning, photo and music acquisition capabilities, and more. For the full rundown on XP MCE 2005, visit my exhaustive review on the SuperSite for Windows.