Media Center 2005: gently does it

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In a glitzy LA launch, microsoft yesterday unveiled a new Media Center operating platform, called originally enough Media Center 2005. But those who were hoping that some of the glamour of Hollywood would rub off on the software giant will be disappointed.

For the new operating system is little more than an evolutionary step towards a true living room friendly covergence platform, rather than a revolutionary leap. The only major improvements for 2005 are the inclusion of two tuners so you can record two programmes at the same time and support for High Definition recording from a suitable High Def terrestrial-only source -though of course we don’t have one yet. (The last Media Center could play back High Definition material via Windows Media Player, but didn’t support high def TV tuners).

Other improvements include instant messaging so you can exchange banter with your mates while watching TV and slightly improved onscreen menus, complete with thumbnail images of ‘My Pictures’ and ‘My Video’ content. There’s also an online spotlight where websites such as Live365.com have re-packaged their Internet content for the TV viewing experience.

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