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A multi-utility PC for you

PC MINUS KEYBOARD Media Centre

PC MINUS KEYBOARD Media Centre  

Microsoft promises an all-in-one family PC device for an unbelievable price

Think about a computer which doubles as a TV, triples as a photo album, and acts as your music player as well.

Any computer will do the same, you say? But how many of them allow you to access each of these functions with a remote, and smoothly navigate between them?

After toying with some pricey options, Microsoft seems to have got the act right. For a price of around Rs. 30,000 they surely seem to be reaching there.

According to Rishi Srivastava, Director, Windows Client Business Group, Microsoft India: "We are looking to integrate the home PC as a consumer media device which does everything an average Indian family would like it to do. This would be using the PC as a TV with a remote, being able to catalogue and listen to MP3 music with the same remote, which allows you to view and modify the photos you've taken on your digital camera. At the end of the day, it is a computer which surfs the Net and does everything else it is supposed to do."

Microsoft has attempted to make big differences with subtle changes in its positioning and functionality.

For instance, the new beefed up version provides an option to `pause live TV'.

Microsoft ensures this by buffering the broadcast into its hard drive when you press the pause button till you release it.

You have the option of switching over to the live TV mode or to continue with the delayed broadcast.

"The Indian consumer who lives with his or her family may be watching a cricket match and wouldn't like to miss it even if a salesperson knocks at the door," says Rishi.

The Media Centre allows one to temporarily pause the TV and retrieve the programme later.

It comes with a remote, has separate keys, which allow navigation between digital photo albums, MP3 music catalogues, the TV mode, and incidentally, the PC and Internet mode.

The Media Centre saves you the trouble of buying a bare PC, loading it with a TV tuner card and a music player.

But then, how many of us are comfortable watching television in a PC screen with a mouse and keyboard that sits on your study table? And are we ready to replace the TV set with a computer?

A. Vishnu

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