Windows Media Center coming to the set-top box?

Microsoft is looking to expand the footprint of its Windows
7 Media Center – and that could have folks at Tivo real nervous. 

The company today announced that it was releasing what amounts
to an embedded version of Windows 7 to OEM manufacturers for use in systems
other than PCs. The Media Center is front and center among the elements
Microsoft trumpets in its announcement, noting that it can be used in set-top
boxes, connected media devices and consumer TVs.

No devices have yet been announced that use the feature, but
it likely won’t be long before we hear about them. Among its many advantages,
Media Center 7 lets users gather content from a variety of sources, including
your personal collections, the Internet, broadcast television and more. It is,
in other words, a DVR with multi-media functionality. And it has been widely
praised in the tech world.

The reason it hasn’t caught on more is most people don’t
have a PC hooked up to their TV and streaming through other devices, while not
hard, isn’t intuitive to the average consumer. Putting it directly onto
consumer devices, though, could present a huge challenge to services like Boxee
and Tivo.

We’ll let you know when we hear of products using the operating

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