website hit counter Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales - Chris Lanier

Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales (CNET) |  U.S consumers bought more Windows Media Center-equipped PCs than the standard edition of Windows XP last month and sales of Media Center will reach 10 million by the end of March, a Microsoft executive said Tuesday.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows eHome Division, disclosed the sales numbers at a keynote speech here at Mix '06, a Microsoft conference aimed at Web developers and designers.

Belfiore also demonstrated the upcoming enhancements to Media Center, which will come out with Windows Vista at the end of this year, saying it will "blur the line between television and interactive video content."

Sales of Media Center, a higher-end version of Windows XP for handling multimedia content, were sluggish in the first few years of its life, but have picked up as Microsoft has cut prices and dropped a requirement that PCs that run Media Center come with a built-in TV tuner.

Belfiore said that sales of Media Center are now running at 1 million units per month and that the company is "highly confident" total sales will top 10 million by the end of the month.

Citing third-party research, he said that 59 percent of PCs sold through retail outlets in the U.S. were Media Center PCs. On Monday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that sales of Media Center PCs in December of last year made up more than 40 percent of all Windows sales.

With Vista, Microsoft doesn't plan a distinct Media Center Edition, but instead is including capabilities such as video recording in both the Home Premium version of Vista as well as the Ultimate Edition, which combines high-end consumer and business features.

With the Vista release of Media Center, Belfiore said that Microsoft is planning to improve video viewing, create close integration with its Xbox 360 game console, and significantly expand the distribution of the product worldwide.

He said that Windows Vista Media Center PCs will have support for digital cable, allowing people to view high-definition television from a PC.

Also, Windows Vista will take better advantage of large screens to help people manage large libraries of photos, videos or music files.

Belfiore demonstrated a number of applications that were written with Microsoft developer tools for Windows Vista.

He said that the Windows Presentation Foundation, the user interface toolkit to ship with Vista, will allow people to easily convert existing Windows or Web applications to run with a remote control on a television or Xbox console.

"The idea is to get content out of the PC and onto the TV and through a range of devices," Belfiore said.

One attendee who consults for a multinational media company said that the slick user interface design enabled by Microsoft's upcoming operating system will appeal to many people.

However, he said that some of the restrictions placed on video content, in the form of Windows file formats and digital rights management, could be frustrating to some people.

"If I have a video that I want to share with someone and they can't play it except on Media Center, people are going to get frustrated," said the attendee who did not want to be quoted by name.

Published Tue, Mar 21 2006 15:50 by chrisl
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Comments

# re: Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

How representative is this statistic though? With the tuner restriction gone, more and more hw vendors are just offering MCE instead of XP Home to jazz up their offering. I'd be interested to see just what percentage of those 10 million MCE PCs are actually used as MCEs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 4:26 PM by Serdar Soysal

# re: Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

I agree with the first commentator. Where's the corrsponding news article "WindowsXP Home sales slip 59%!"

I'm not saying it's a bad thing that more people are getting MCE whether they care or not. I'm just saying the way those units are entering the market is not really news worthy...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 4:46 PM by MattP

# re: Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

Dispite the tuner aspect, with the addition of the Xbox 360 as an Extender, could we now think that a "Media Center" doesn't have to do TV? It's an entertainment platform that just happens to have TV as a selling point. No?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 4:49 PM by chrisl

# re: Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

Too bad Vista's shipping date slipped into January 2007.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 6:20 PM by Beau

# re: Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

"If I have a video that I want to share with someone and they can't play it except on Media Center, people are going to get frustrated," said the attendee who did not want to be quoted by name


Er, why don't these same people say the same thing about iPod and AAC? Duh?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 6:34 PM by Paul

# Like DUH folks - MCE has rapid sales

Chris Lanier's Blog : Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales: http://msmvps.com/blogs/chrisl/archive/2006/03/21/87204.aspx...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 11:54 PM by E-Bitz - SBS MVP the Official Blog of the SBS "Diva"

# re: Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

"If I have a video that I want to share with my friends in Bittorrent-Land and they can't play it except on Media Center, people are going to get frustrated," said the attendee who did not want to be quoted by name.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 12:01 AM by Robert

# re: Microsoft Sees Rapid Media Center Sales

This is an analysis I did of the Media Center market from the perspective of a 3rd party developer.

http://www.thegreenbutton.com/community/shwmessage.aspx?ForumID=41&MessageID=158003

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 9:23 AM by HoofArted