Media Center and High-Def content

High Definition was part of the opening keynotes here at CES (not really a surprise). And in particular, the the combination of high-def content and Windows Media Center Edition.

As some may know, there are format wars brewing -- HD-DVD vs. BlueRay battle. HD-DVD is the format Microsoft has blessed.

Microsoft wants to make Windows Media Center Edition (MCE) the central piece of home entertainment.

Using a Toshiba HD-DVD device with Windows Media Center, all kinds of information such as info on actors in a movie on the fly without leaving the movie.

Much was made of the "Interactivity Layer" of HD-DVD. the Interactivity Layer allows things like putting talking heads doing commentary on the screen. A little creepy but kind of neat. But mostly creepy.

HD-DVD also allows for Hi-Def movies to be copied to a hard drive. Hence someone can buy a DVD, copy it to their hard drive on MCE so that the DVD can be put safely away.

MCE also will support cable cards and other high definition inputs so that users can record high definition content to their MCE PC. Microsoft claims they've put a lot of work to work with cable and satellite content providers to make it easy for consumers to record high-def to a MCE PC (or to Xbox 360).

MCE is also designed to work easily with large libraries of albums. Which can be streamed to any PC in the house through extender capabilities.

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