REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 6, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is working with key partners in Europe and Asia to deliver Media Center Edition PCs later this year to five new countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Japan.
Companies planning to introduce Media Center PCs in the UK include the following…
Centerprise International Ltd., CFL Media Center Systems, Elonex Plc, Evesham Technology, Hi-Grade Computers Plc, HP, Hugh Symons Group plc, iQon Technologies Ltd., MESH Computers PLC, Packard Bell, PC World, Quantum Microponents Ltd., Time Group Ltd., Toshiba and Yakumo GmbH.
Microsoft also is working with two leading electronic programming guide providers, Nikkan Hensyu Center Co. Ltd. in Japan and Broadcasting Dataservices Ltd. in Europe, to offer Media Center PC users a free* TV program guide as part of the Media Center experience. With the program guide, consumers can search television listings to select, watch and record favorite TV episodes, movies or sporting events on their Media Center PC.
“We have seen an enthusiastic response from our customers and partners since the October 2002 launch of Windows XP Media Center Edition, and we are excited to see our partners carry this momentum to new markets in Asia and Europe,” said Kevin Eagan, general manager of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft. “The expanded availability of Media Center PCs will allow even more people to enjoy the convenience of having all their entertainment choices, including television, music, digital video and DVDs, in one familiar, easy-to-use destination on the PC.”
Media Center PCs allow consumers to get the most out of their digital media experiences, and, according to recent research, adoption of these technologies and Internet use is on the rise worldwide. For example, according to Forrester Research in a report earlier this year (“Where Next for the Home PC?” Forrester Research, European Consumer Technographics, January 2003), there is a marked increase in digital content consumption with more and more European consumers using home PCs to enjoy their digital media.
“The largest increase in home PC usage centers around entertainment: Forty-four percent of owners listen to music on their PC, 40 percent view photos, and 21 percent view DVDs via PC,” said Paul Jackson, senior analyst for Forrester. Forrester forecasts that these changing consumer needs will spur demand and drive sales over the next five years for a new wave of “pleasure PCs” with sophisticated multimedia options.**
The new PC manufacturers join the more than 20 companies, including Gateway Inc., HP, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Toshiba and ViewSonic Corp., already shipping Media Center PCs to consumers in the United States, Canada and Korea, in offering a variety of PC form factors that target the living room, media room, bedroom and any other room where consumers might enjoy digital entertainment.
About Windows XP Media Center Edition
Windows XP Media Center Edition turns a PC into a media center that integrates digital entertainment experiences with the freedom of remote-control access. Consumers can enjoy live television, personal video recording, music, photos, videos and DVDs from a new remote-controlled PC experience called Media Center. The sleek Media Center interface serves as a unified destination for entertainment on the Media Center PC and is designed to be viewed from anywhere in the room. Windows XP Media Center Edition, which builds on the rich media platform launched nearly two years ago with Windows XP, is ideal for technology and digital entertainment enthusiasts who frequently listen to music, enjoy photos or watch movies on their PC.