Microsoft Corp. is exhibiting at CEDIA EXPO 2007 to build direct relationships with custom installers and illustrate the growing CEDIA channel support for home entertainment and automation systems based on the Microsoft® Windows® Media Center platform.
“Our software and hardware alliances in the CEDIA market have created a huge amount of interest in Windows Media Center as the platform of choice for the digital home,” said Scott Evans, group manager in the Entertainment and Devices eHome Division at Microsoft. “As a result of our growing collaborations, Microsoft decided the time was right to establish a direct presence at the custom installation channel’s most eagerly anticipated annual event, CEDIA EXPO. We are fully committed to making Windows Media Center-based devices the most compelling entertainment solutions, and we are here to demonstrate our support for the custom channel.”
Microsoft’s presence at the show is accompanied by several impressive announcements that bolster the standing of Windows Media Center as the fastest-growing platform in the custom installation market.
Some of the biggest names at CEDIA are intensifying their support of Windows Media Center at the show:
• Life|ware™, the industry pioneer in Windows Media Center-based digital entertainment software, unveiled its own line of Windows Media Center hardware, including new high-end systems featuring Quad-CableCARD-tuners. Windows Media Center-based Life|ware home automation software took a leap forward with news regarding a future Windows Home Server Add-in to complement its announced Windows Home Server-based Life|storage™ server.
• Home automation giant Crestron Electronics Inc. officially announced that it will now be a Microsoft Windows Media Center direct OEM and will deliver Windows Media Center-based hardware in 2008.
• Leading multiroom audio manufacturer Russound announced it will deliver its Smart Media Console line in fall 2007. These Windows Media Center-based products provide custom installers with a simple turnkey solution for enabling advanced home automation and integration with Russound’s whole home audio solutions, allowing faster installs and less programming for integrators.
• Niveus Media Inc. is taking digital video recorder functionality to the next level with its announcement to support up to four digital cable tuners. Through the combination of Windows Vista® Ultimate-based Niveus Media Servers and the Niveus Digital Cable Receivers, customers will be able to enjoy four HD premium programs simultaneously throughout the home.
• Alienware® has introduced the new Windows Media Center-based Alienware HD Media Server, positioned to fulfill the demand for an easy-to-use, high-definition content acquisition, storage and distribution device in next-generation digital homes. Alienware’s HD Media Server and Hangar18 are both part of the new Alienware Digital Home Channel Program, which is tailored to the needs of system integrators.
Channel’s First Quad-CableCARD Devices
Windows Media Center hardware continues to evolve to meet the needs of the CEDIA installer by increasing connectivity and conveniences in the home. Life|ware’s Life|media™ LMS-654 and LMS-754, each with four internal CableCARD tuners, and Niveus Media’s announced support for quad-CableCARD tuners through multiple external Niveus Digital Cable Receivers will allow installers of Windows Media Center to provide clients with the ability to enjoy four cable channels simultaneously throughout the home without the use of cable boxes.
Extenders for Windows Media Center
In other hardware news significant to the CEDIA channel, Microsoft demonstrated new Extenders for Windows Media Center. Extenders provide the ultimate whole house entertainment, allowing installers to deliver the Windows Media Center experience in up to five additional zones in a home. Further details will be announced at the DigitalLife event in New York on Sept. 27, 2007.
Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest
To cement its relationship with the CEDIA channel, Microsoft announced the first annual Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest. This Windows Media Center-specific design contest will allow installers to showcase their most extraordinary Windows Media Center-based residential projects. Further details are available at http://www.microsoft.com/ceinstaller
or at Microsoft Booth 320 during CEDIA EXPO.
WebGuide Third-Party Plug-In Now Free
Microsoft also revealed that as of Sept. 5, 2007, the popular third-party placeshifting plug-in application for Windows Media Center is available at no cost. WebGuide allows Windows Media Center consumers to view live and recorded TV, schedule and manage recorded television programs, and access music, pictures and videos remotely from any Web browser. Further details are available at http://www.asciiexpress.com/webguide
Internet TV for Windows Media Center
The number of content providers delivering video over the Internet continues to grow, and Microsoft is supporting this by adding a new Internet TV feature to Windows Media Center. Microsoft said its Internet TV service will be available for all Windows Vista Home Premium- and Windows Vista Ultimate-based PCs in the U.S. This new capability will allow a range of video content to be streamed to any Windows Media Center or Extender in the connected home. Further details will be announced at the DigitalLife event in New York on Sept. 27, 2007.
“This combination of unprecedented partner support, new products and services, and the first-ever Windows Media Center install contest, along with our presence at CEDIA EXPO, proves our commitment to the custom install channel,” Evans said. “Working together, we can bring the vision of the digital home to its fullest potential.”