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Windows Media 9.0 headed for consumer electronics

MIcrosoft aims to increase influence in home entertainment

Microsoft has teamed up with STMicro to develop a series of chips for consumer electronics devices that support Windows Media 9.0, the companies said Tuesday.

Designed for use in devices like DVD players and set-top boxes, the chips will extend support for Windows Media 9.0 to non-PC devices, reflecting the blurring lines between computing and consumer electronics. In addition to DVD players and set-top boxes, the chips can be used in devices that support Windows XP Media Center Edition Extender Technologies, Windows Media Connect, and Microsoft's IP (Internet Protocol) Television technology.

The companies did not state when the new chips would be available.

Microsoft has been pushing Windows Media 9.0 into non-PC applications with an eye towards playing a larger role in the consumer electronics arena.

For example, researchers at the Optoelectronics and Systems Laboratories of the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan announced in April an optical disc format called FVD (Forward Versatile Disc), which was developed as a low-cost disc format for high-definition video.

With capacities of between 5.4GB and 11GB, depending on the disc version, FVD uses Windows Media Video 9.0 to hold up to 135 minutes of high-definition video, enough to encode most feature-length movies on a single disc, according to OES.

The first FVD players will hit the market during the second half this year.


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