Friday, January 09, 2004

Michael Gartenberg: Microsoft's Media Center News at CES

Michael Gartenberg: Microsoft's Media Center News at CES "The news is out and by now you have heard of the new Portable Media Center and the Media Center Extend (as well as the Extender for X-Box). This is amazing stuff from Microsoft (and an area that Apple needs to start to play in). MCE Extend is powerful. By allowing users to gain access to MCE features on other TVs, Microsoft and partners have a powerful weapon to use against the likes of TiVO and other standalone devices. With the rise of broadband and the adoption of fast wireless home networks, these devices allow for two features requested by users; namely the ability to stream music from their PC to their stereo and home theater (favored by nearly 70% of users as a desired feature) and the ability to record TV shows on their PC and watch it on their TV set (a feature requested by 51% of users). While these things could be done by the technology inclined, Microsoft has taken this ability and brought it to the mass market. Combined with the ability to take this content on the road (either on Laptop or on Portable Media Center) Microsoft has started to deliver some of the features and promise that Media Center potentially enabled. These are extremely important and exciting announcements that over the next two years will have a major impact on Consumer Electronics as we know it. The key will be in execution (which Microsoft is not always known for) and the ability to craft, deliver and execute a clear and definitive marketing message that consumers will understand."
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