HP will launch new home entertainment PCs running the next version of Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Centre Edition next month.
The software was officially released in New Zealand for the first time yesterday, a day later than the original launch date.
HP first launched media PCs running an earlier version of Media Centre Edition here last November, even though it was not supported by Microsoft New Zealand.
The company is pleased to now have local backing for the software, says consumer PC business manager David Procter.
“We hope to sell more units with Microsoft New Zealand’s support,” he says.
Microsoft’s promotion of the software will help raise awareness of the media PC concept, says Proctor.
“It should help communicate the benefits of the software to consumers and why they pay more for a Media Centre PC,” he says.
HP’s Media Centre PCs fall under its Pavilion range of consumer desktops. It has five models in the range of which three are Media Centre PCs.
Proctor says the Media Centre models make up between 15 and 20% of Pavilion sales, and acknowledges that they have not yet reached the mainstream market.
To achieve that requires a combination of the right features and the right price point to appeal to the mass market, he says.
“We hope to work with Microsoft and the rest of the industry over the next year to establish the Media Centre PC as the platform of choice for digital home entertainment,” he says.
Microsoft has launched XP Media Centre Edition 2005 without an electronic programme guide (EPG), the lack of which caused it to can plans to release the operating system in New Zealand last year.
An EPG makes it easy for users to record television programmes, but Proctor says the absence of this feature will not hurt sales.
“The feedback we have had shows not many customers requested the EPG feature,” he says.
“There are enough benefits in the software in terms of being able to organise media that an EPG is not high on the list of priorities for customers.” HP’s new Media Centre PCs are due in mid-November and will be sold mainly through large retailers, such as Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming.