White-Box Media Centers To Benefit Nvidia

Nvidia Corp. is expected to be one of the beneficiaries of a new Microsoft Corp. program to provide its Windows Media Center software to system builders. Previously, Microsoft had restricted sales of its Windows XP Media Center Edition to PC OEMs like Hewlett-Packard Corp. Now, a new version of the software due this fall will be much more widely distributed, a boon to chip companies like Nvidia which designs TV tuner cards as well as PC graphics chips.

To better help its case, Nvidia will be rolling out a program in retail stores and others to help consumers visually compare the images its chips produce, compared with its competitors. The program is designed to encourage customers to seek out custom-built and white-box OEMs which have selected its video chips, Nvidia executives said.

Although Nvidia and rival ATI Technologies are locked into a dogfight for control of the PC graphics market, Media Center PCs represent an additional market for Microsoft as well as chip makers that could represent additional sales. Later this fall, Microsoft will roll out details of a new "Designed for Windows XP Media Center Edition" logo program that will limit the system builders' choice of components to a select list. Nvidia is being "considered" for inclusion in that list, executives said.

News source: ExtremeTech

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