Microsoft has announced Windows XP Media Center Edition, a version of the Windows operating system that turns a PC into a media center. The new product, formerly code-named Freestyle, is targeted at digital media enthusiasts, college dorm rooms and teen bedrooms. The interface will feature a Start button which brings up a screen to replace the standard Windows graphics with a simple design that provides quick access to various entertainment media and functions (see screenshot). It will not be available as a separate operating system, but will be packaged together with PCs that are specially designed to support its media features. These systems, planned for availability from HP, NEC, and Samsung will be priced in the $1,000 to $2,000 range, and will have extensive digital music, video, TV and DVD video playback capability, along with their own remote control. There are stories about the new system on MSNBC and BBC News.
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