Microsoft Announces Plans for Your Digital Living Room and 22 New Security Flaws in Windows Products

Microsoft began the latest phase of its big push for consumers’ digital lives by unveiling Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005 (MCE) and a host of products designed to work alongside it.

Bill G and Queen Latifah demonstrated the most recent features in MCE at an event in Los Angeles, highlighting integration with Windows Media Player 10 and a compatibility with a range of new hardware devices.

To coincide with the do, Microsoft’s main press release describes a hypothetical family and how they might use digital media across the day – from recording TV programmes via their web browser to broadcasting music around the home using a Media Centre Extender.

The company also announced 22 new security holes in its Windows range whilst issuing an update to address them. One of the new flaws managed to affect Macintosh OSX users.

By promoting MCE as a digital hub, the company hopes to show consumers that they can view, share and store their movies, music and pictures around the home and on the move. To reinforce their view of the future, the company also announced a number of devices from partners like HP, Dell and Creative Labs.

Music is a very important part of MS’s plans, with Windows Media 10 and MSN Music receiving another PR boost. Amongst the devices promoted by MS were new Digital Audio Receivers from Dlink, Roku and MoniFi which are designed to play digital music from a central source in any room of the house. Creative, Gateway, iRiver and other also announced new digital media players for the Christmas season, with capabilities ranging from simple music to full video playback.

Will Poole, senior vice president for the Windows Client division at Microsoft said in a statement: “For years, many in the consumer electronics industry have viewed digital entertainment as a field of dreams: if you provide consumers with a solution, they’ll build it into a larger experience – regardless of cost or complexity. Windows XP Media Centre PC and all of these other devices and services make it possible, for the first time, for the average consumer to enjoy digital entertainment anywhere, anytime and in any way.”

Microsoft’s Media experience

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?