Gateway turns PC into entertainment gizmo

Gateway on Thursday unveiled a computer designed as a family entertainment device. The 901 Family Room Media features a personal video recorder, television tuner, digital video-disc player and recorder, CD player and recorder, and FM radio--and it also doubles as a PC. The system, designed to look like a piece of stereo equipment, uses Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004.

The media center will let people record, pause, rewind and skip parts of live entertainment. The personal video recorder controls will locate and record favorite shows by keyword or category. With the CD player and recorder, people will be able to burn downloaded songs and store up to 5,000 music CDs. The system, which comes with a remote control and wireless mouse, can be connected to a television or home-theater system. Of late, the Poway, Calif., PC maker has been trying to reposition itself as a consumer-electronics company. As previously reported, the company in November launched an array of entertainment products at its renovated retail stores.

Gateway said the entertainment PC will be available in mid-December in two models: a Celeron-based system with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive will cost $999.99, and a Pentium 4-based system with a DVD burner will be priced at $1,799.99. The prices do not include a display. "People want to unleash digital entertainment from the office and enjoy it where they spend most of their time," John Engel, general manager of Gateway's PC Products group, said in a statement." The new Media Center naturally extends the benefits of digital media, entertainment and information to the family room."

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