Thursday, December 23, 2004

WSJ.com - Personal Technology: Entertainment Center Works Well in 1 Room But Not Through House

WSJ.com - Personal Technology: Entertainment Center Works Well in 1 Room But Not Through House "Years ago, when computer companies first floated the idea of using a Windows computer as the center of a home-entertainment system, I dismissed the concept, saying it would introduce the pain of computer crashes to the formerly simple act of watching television.
But much has changed over the years. The current version of the Microsoft operating system, Windows XP, is pretty stable. And Microsoft has a slick new version of XP, called the Media Center Edition, that allows a PC to be controlled remotely from across the room. Media Center PCs typically include TV receivers and the ability to record TV programs to a hard disk, as well as to play music and videos and run slide shows of photos, all on a large TV screen.
This year, Microsoft and its partners have built on that concept. The latest Media Center computers can beam TV programming, music, videos and photos to televisions in distant parts of a home, using a home network and an add-on device called a Media Center Extender. And more PC makers are offering Media Center computers that look like home-entertainment-center components rather than traditional PCs.
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In general, both worked well. But they also had some drawbacks, and it was impossible to escape two of the worst problems of using a Windows computer -- security issues and networking complexities."

For the first few paragraphs, it actually seemed like Walt Mossberg was going to say something consistently positive about a Microsoft product....
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