updated 08:15 am EST, Mon January 8, 2007
Home Server and Xbox IPTV
Software giant Microsoft at its CES keynote unveiled two new technologies bolstering the company's inroads into the living room. Leading the efforts is Windows Home Server, a new software platform designed to share content from multiple computers in one location, even when those computers are shut off. The software automatically backs up and stores files from systems on a local network and can also perform a remote backup through a special Windows Live address. Music, photos, and videos can be shared to any attached Windows Media Center device, Microsoft says.
The technology is expected to make its debut in HP's new MediaSmart Server (PDF), a dedicated hub that will serve as many as ten separate users at once. The server is driven by a 1.8GHz AMD Sempron processor and has both four internal SATA drive bays and four USB 2.0 ports for storage, providing potential room for up to 6TB of storage when using 750GB drives. In addition to supporting the inherent file and media sharing of Windows Home Server, HP's device also allows Mac and Linux file sharing as well as remote program and system control through any Internet-connected PC. HP expects to ship the completed MediaSmart Server in the fall for an unspecified price.
Details of the Xbox 360 IPTV initiative can be found after the jump.
Microsoft also confirmed at its presentation that it will add IPTV functions to its Xbox 360 console, adding a live component to the system's existing movie and TV downloads. Dubbed Microsoft TV IPTV Edition, the software add-on would let Xbox 360 owners watch and record live Internet-based TV while taking advantage of the existing functions of Xbox Live: viewers could participate in conference voice chats while watching the same show, the company suggests, or accept game invites while recording a show in the background. The IPTV link will be available by late 2007 through a large number of North American cable and phone providers.