|OS family||Microsoft Windows|
|September 3, 2002|
|October 29, 2002|
|Latest release||2005 Update Rollup 2 (5.1.2715.3011) / October 14, 2005|
|Kernel type||Hybrid kernel (Windows NT)|
|Graphical user interface|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
|Official website||microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter (Archive site)|
Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) is a version of the Windows XP operating system which was the first version of Windows to include Windows Media Center, designed to serve as a home-entertainment hub. The last version, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2, was released on October 14, 2005. After that, Windows Media Center was included in certain editions of later Windows versions. It was an optional, paid addition to Windows 8 and then discontinued in Windows 10. Windows XP Media Center Edition reached end of support on April 8, 2014, along with most other Windows XP editions.
Windows XP Media Center Edition has had the following releases, all based on Windows XP Professional with all features enabled except domain-joining ability disabled in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and Terminal Services in the original release.
To determine the underlying edition of Windows XP on which a particular revision of MCE is based, the System Properties Control Panel applet can be used. To determine the revision of MCE that is being used, select the About Media Center option from the General -> Settings area inside MCE.
Main article: Windows Media Center
Windows XP Media Center Edition is distinguished with its exclusive component, Media Center, a media player that supports watching and recording TV programs, as well as playing DVD-Video, photo slideshows, and music. Media Center sports a user interface that is optimized for use from a distance with large fonts and icons.
Unlike competing commercial DVR products, Microsoft does not charge a monthly subscription fee for its Media Center TV guide service.
Due to its strict hardware requirements, Microsoft opted not to supply Media Center as an independent retail version. Microsoft only distributed it to MSDN subscribers and original equipment manufacturers in certain countries.[which?] Consumers purchase Media Center preinstalled on a new computer, set-top box or embedded device.
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Media Center has higher hardware requirements than other editions of Windows XP. MCE 2005 requires at least a 1.6 GHz processor, DirectX 9.0 hardware-accelerated GPU (ATI Radeon 9 series or nVidia GeForce FX Series or higher), and 256 MB of System RAM. Some functionality, such as Media Center Extender support, use of multiple tuners, or HDTV playback/recording carries higher system requirements.
Media Center is much more restricted in the range of hardware that it supports than most other software DVR solutions. Media Center tuners must have a standardized driver interface, and they must have hardware MPEG-2 encoders (this was changed as companies such as ATI wrote drivers to support MCE 2005 with their All-In-Wonder cards and HDTV Wonder cards), closed caption support, and a number of other features. Media Center remote controls are standardized in terms of button labels and functionality, and, to a degree, general layout.
Windows XP Media Center Edition could be directly upgraded to Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate.
Support for Windows XP Media Center Edition under Microsoft's consumer product lifecycle policy was planned to end on April 13, 2010, however, in July 2009, Microsoft extended the support window to July 12, 2011. This date would be then extended again on December 31, 2010 to a final end of support date of April 8, 2014, citing support volumes in emerging markets as the reason for the extension.
Windows XP Media Center Edition retail availability ended as planned on April 14, 2009.