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MULTIMEDIA: Portable Media Center becomes available from today
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 02.09.04 - 09:48:43 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 6981x
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With release of Windows Media Player 10, Portable Media Center, and MSN Music preview, Microsoft's digital-media strategy supports a fundamental transformation in the way people create, access and share entertainment.

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 2, 2004 - Every once in a while, the dance between trends and technology achieves an almost perfect state of synchronicity that changes the way we experience the world. This may be one of those times. Among the trends: five years ago, less than 13 percent of Internet users had a digital-music file on their computer. Now, 70 percent of computer users listen to music on their PCs. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Last year, more than 100 million digital photos were taken. More and more people are using PCs to view videos. By the end of this year, 9.5 million TV tuner cards will have shipped.

Clearly, digital technology is becoming the driving force behind the way we enjoy entertainment. A series of new products and services from Microsoft, along with services and devices from partners, will play a key role in this ongoing transformation. With the release today of Windows Media Player 10, Portable Media Center, and MSN Music preview, Microsoft is at the heart of a fundamental transformation in the way people create, access and share entertainment.

"Our vision is to deliver a seamless, end-to-end experience for discovering, downloading, and playing music, videos, and more anywhere," says Jonathan Usher, Microsoft's director of Windows Digital Media Marketing. "These releases are an important step forward in delivering on that vision."

Usher says Windows Media Player 10 is central to Microsoft's digital-media strategy. Media Player 10 makes it significantly easier to perform common digital-media activities, and it offers a built-in online Digital Media Mall, which provides seamless access to leading online stores and services, including MSN Music, CinemaNow, MusicMatch, MusicNow, Napster and Wal-Mart. Windows Media Player 10 also includes support for more than 70 portable devices, and it enables users to automatically copy music, video, pictures, and recorded TV to portable devices.

For its part, MSN Music will play a key role in making it easier for consumers to find and purchase their favorite music and discover new music. With this week's preview release, MSN Music offers access to more than 1 million tracks from nearly 3,000 record labels.

The Portable Media Center is an entirely new category of handheld devices designed to enable people to enjoy the digital music, TV, movies, and pictures they store on their PCs on a single mobile device. The first Portable Media Center, built by Creative Labs, includes a 3.75-inch screen (9.5 centimeters) and enough storage for 80 hours of video, 5,000 songs, and tens of thousands of pictures.

The simultaneous launch of Windows Media 10, MSN Music, and the Portable Media Center is the result of a coordinated effort spanning more than a year and stretching across a wide range of groups inside and outside of Microsoft.

"Our focus is on enabling customers to discover and play digital media wherever they are," Usher says. "Achieving this vision has required close collaboration among many partners, both internal and external. In particular, our hats are off to the engineering teams. They've pulled off something of a miracle by providing a truly seamless experience while preserving all the choice users expect in a Windows environment."

To support PMC owners better, from today Microsoft also launched their new PMC newsgroup under:

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information] [Buy Here] Source: [Microsoft]


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Posted by on 02.09.04 - 17:38:35

so it's time to dump your iPod, Arne! Isn't it?

Posted by Mark F. on 03.09.04 - 02:31:57

[1] If only you knew what you were talking about. See for a comparison shot from a review ( that includes: "We can’t imagine not using our iPod rather than the PMC for music. They’re definitely different devices. The PMC is geared towards TV, video, movie, photos, and while we put some of our music on it, it’s not our full-time music player." I for one am happy that Arne has his own point of view, and hasn't turned into a blind moth using only MS products even when other products might be better suitable for his use, just because he is a Microsoft MVP. Of course, I also like that he is a big fan of Pocket PCs and Smartphones.

On topic: although I -like Arne- have an iPod (for both music and as a portable hard disk), I'd definitely like to lay my hands on one of these. This will be a great solution for portable image and video viewing. If only they'd included a memory card slot, so people could use this as well to offload images from their cameras etc. on the road. But hey, at least there's something to improve now.

Posted by Arne Hess on 03.09.04 - 08:56:07

[2] Thanks Mark for the comparison shot and I'm exactly with the same thoughts!
1) I've already preordered my PMC and can hardly await it arrival here (and no, I don't get it for free but pay the regular Amazon fees).
2) I'm also using my iPOD for music as well as a portable HDD
And like you I think size matters for MP3 players and I think the regular iPOD is the max I can accept for a MP3 player. Also iPOD is pretty scratched already because I put it into my pockets without protection. While a scratched iPOD display isn't nice but okay to use, a scratched PMC display wouldn't give you the best experience anymore for videos and photos...
So yes - I will continue to use my iPOD as a mobile MP3 player and the PMC as a portable MP3, video, photo player. Different kind of use!

On a side note - I will continue to use all kind of technologies, doesn't matter who developed it as long as it fits my personal needs! If it comes from Microsoft, great; if not bad but no reason for me to stay away from it. No, even better - competition is good and creates great innovations!

Posted by on 03.09.04 - 14:59:19

I agree that PMC are a bit to big (yet) but what about cheap 1GB SD cards? (and cheap 512 MB mini-SD) With these cards Pocket PC devices and MS Smartphone devices can replace iPod.

Posted by Mark F. on 03.09.04 - 15:16:07

[4] Cheap SD cards? Let's take a current cheap price of $100 per Gb. With my iPod I carry my complete record collection (20 GB) with me at all times (I love my CDs, and like to have music with me for every possible mood), and still have 10 GB to spare to carry over files, store camera pictures on the hard drive etc. (I have a 3G 30 GB iPod and a Belkin Media Reader). Right now you can get a 40 GB 4th generation iPod ($399) with Media Reader ($99) for $ 498. Similar storage in SD cards would set me back $3000 (30 Gb) or $4000 (40 Gb). So for me, and my usage pattern, SD cards aren't the solution. If SD cards are good enough for your usage pattern, great, but alas it's not the case for everybody (like me). I'd love to see a Pocket PC with a built in harddisk, or a smaller PMC with a memory slot. If that one will come, fat chance that I won't be using my iPod as much. But until then, I think I'll be enjoying all different kinds of mobile devices, both from MS and third party vendors.

Posted by Arne Hess on 03.09.04 - 17:17:11

[4] Jacek, 1GB? 512 MB? What are you talking about? Are you seriously comparing this with 7GB, 30 GB, 40 GB iPods or 20 GB PMCs?
The charm of such a device is that you don't have to be the disc jokey since it stores everything in one convenient place. According your idea I have to carry 40 1GB SD cards for my Pocket PC to get the same result as I have with my 40 GB 3rd generation iPod today? lol

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