Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Microsoft & Sony team on 200-disc MCE system

The Sony VAIO XL1 Digital Living System

From the Microsoft PressPass announcement:

The kids are asleep. The popcorn's ready. Time to watch that favorite old movie on DVD. You pop open the case, but instead of “Dr. Zhivago,” you're staring at a copy of “Dr. Seuss.”

Another misplaced disc, another frustrating search through the entertainment center shelves – it’s one the more familiar and irritating drawbacks of owning large collections of entertainment content stored on DVDs and CDs.

But with today’s launch of the Sony VAIO XL1 Digital Living System, a new digital content management product developed in close partnership with Microsoft, movie and music buffs can get back to enjoying their discs instead of playing hide-and-seek with them.

Consisting of a 200-disc media changer and recorder console that connects to a Sony VAIO PC running Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, the Sony VAIO XL1 Digital Living System lets users control their media library in one location using the wireless keyboard and remote control.

In addition to storing and indexing up to 200 CDs or DVDs at a time for playback on audio and video devices linked to their home entertainment center through the PC, VAIO XL1 system owners can use the Media Center Edition capabilities to manage content such as downloaded movies and music, digitally recorded TV shows, personal photos and high-definition camcorder video files.

We’ve taken some of the best elements of consumer electronics, such as the multi-disc changer capability, and enhanced them with the programmability and Internet access of PC technology to create a new standard in digital content management. ….

…With the VAIO XL1’s changer and built-in disc-burning capability, users can quickly archive their content onto DVDs and not only free up their hard drive but also be able to play the content on other devices.

Its auto-rip feature also allows users to easily archive their entire music CD collection onto their PC hard drive.

For instance, they can just fill the changer with 200 CDs and select the command to copy discs before they go to bed or leave the house. The VAIO XL1 saves all of the tracks and attaches the related metadata available through Media Center Edition – artist and album name, song titles, cover artwork, genre – to the My Music folder in Windows.

That way, people can play their music directly off the hard drive and use all 200 slots of the VAIO XL1 disc changer for managing their commercial DVDs, which can’t easily be backed up on a hard drive because of digital rights management protections.

The entire text of the press release can be found here.