Microsoft's Media Center edition of Windows XP, available as its own software or bundled with Media Center-branded PCs, has long been compatible with the Xbox through the Xbox Media Center Extender peripheral, and a new software update for Media Center XP has enabled the Xbox 360 to become even more so, allowing extensive media streaming transfer from PC to Microsoft's next-gen console.
Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 will allow users to stream movies, music, and photos to their Xbox 360 systems when the console launches in November 2005, and new free or pay-per-view streamable content includes the MTV Overdrive on-demand channel, VH1 VSpot, a Comedy Central on-demand channel, and Akimbo Service, which will offer Media Center customers more than 5,000 programs from more than 75 partners, including British Broadcasting Corp., National Geographic Society, Discovery Communications Inc. and the Hallmark Channel. The software update is free to download from Microsoft's site.
"Media Center Edition and Xbox 360, together with offerings from hundreds of industry partners, are providing fantastic interactive entertainment experiences that can be experienced throughout the home," said Microsoft senior VP Will Poole.
New features in Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 also include support for DVD changers with up to 200 DVDs, an Away Mode for more efficient power management, improvements to the DVD burning software, and improved HDTV support. In addition, the DISCover and Game xStream PC 'gaming on demand' systems have been added to the Windows Media Center, giving customers access to a wide range of PC games that they can digitally demo, buy and stream.
Microsoft has also launched a Media Center PC section
in its Windows Marketplace site, allowing users to shop online for Media Center PCs or buy components to upgrade their existing systems.