Seattle - Microsoft today released a new multimedia-oriented version of Windows called XP Media Center, which will be preinstalled in certain PCs by late 2002.
XP Media Center, originally code-named Freestyle, was introduced by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in January at the 2002 International CES. A remote control and any other required hardware will be bundled with the title. Microsoft stated that Hewlett-Packard, NEC and Samsung are the primary PC vendors interested in using XP Media Center. HP did confirm that it is interested in the OS, but has no specific plans at this point, but a spokesperson did hint something could take place sometime this fall.
A launch date and price for the retail box version of the software has not been set, said a Microsoft spokesperson.
XP Media Center is designed around five multimedia applications: TV/PVR, music, photos, videos and DVD. The OS allows users to record, pause, and rewind live TV programming. For music, digital imaging and video enthusiasts Media Center allows users to use a remote control to search their databases for specific items. The operating system also contains DVD playback software.