Microsoft unveils entertainment software



Microsoft will announce on Tuesday availability of new personal entertainment software for Windows XP, featuring fresh tools for handling music, movies and photos on the PC.
The technology, called Microsoft Plus Digital Media Edition for Windows XP and part of the Microsoft Plus product line, is designed to give users of standard PCs more features for editing and playing with media files, without turning to entertainment-friendly Apple iMacs or upgrading to more expensive systems like Microsoft's own Media Center PC.

Microsoft said the software is a first for the company in that it doesn't just come shrink-wrapped. People can order and download it starting Jan. 7 from a host of Web retail outlets. It will sell for $19.95 and includes a $5 rebate.

The software's introduction is timed with the final release, also on Jan. 7, of Windows Movie Maker 2, advanced video-editing software, and Windows Media Player 9 Series, technology for the delivery and playback of digital media files. With a growing collection of entertainment technology, Microsoft is aiming to gain a foothold in people's living rooms by making it easier for them to enjoy music, media and image collections on the PC. Ultimately, the goal is to sell more PCs and software as people take to computers as an entertainment hub.

"This raises the water for tens of millions of PC users," said Richard Doherty, president of research firm Envisioneering Group. "It's a way for them to get some of the flavor and sizzle of a full media center PC from Hewlett-Packard or Gateway without buying a new PC. Even if they bought a Pentium 3 or 4 computer, this will bring them a lot closer to the ease of use of, say, the iMac."

In late October, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard unveiled their Media Center PCs, HP-manufactured machines running Windows XP Media Center Edition, a derivation of Microsoft's flagship operating system. The Windows XP hybrid features a second interface for accessing digital media features, including a digital video recorder (DVR) for recording TV shows to the computer's hard drive. At their introduction, the machines carried prices that were at least about $500 higher than those of average-priced retail PCs.

Among the new software's 10 features are special photo-editing tools and a tool for making CD labels. The Plus Photo Story, for example, uses Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series technology to compress photos so people can send pictures with voice-overs and songs attached, according to the company.

The software also includes features for people to host a digital music "party" on the PC. Called Plus Party mode, the technology provides a password-protected environment for people to mix collections of music, add visual effects or an interactive guest book.

In addition, the software has an analog converter to transfer music from cassettes or albums into a digital file. MP3 and WAV files can also be converted to Windows Media Audio (WMA) files or vice versa with a compatible MP3 plug-in for Windows Media Player 9 Series.

Finally, the technology lets people receive news and media updates on their PocketPC 2002. It includes a feature called Plus Sync and Go, which "syncs" content with the handheld to deliver daily tidbits from Microsoft partners including,, and Warner Music Group.


Tech Junkie
Apr 19, 2002
I'm waiting for Movie Maker 2, WMP9 and DirectX 9 ... all three of them seem very promising! :happy:


OSNN Veteran Original
Jul 1, 2002
DirectX never really changes that much


Tech Junkie
Apr 19, 2002
Well, I've heard it's built for the latest high-end graphics cards, so it's going to be useless to me ... but it's good to see an update ;)

Movie Maker 2 is supposed to be better than Apple's iMovie! Not sure how true that is ... but if so, that would be great!! Another reason to use XP!

Windows Media Player 9 is supposed to load MUCH faster than the current version (although I never use it anymore), and some people have migrated over from Winamp to WMP9 ... now that is just amazing! :p

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