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."

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News source: c|net

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