An optional interface in Windows that serves as a digital media server. It debuted in the separate Media Center Edition (MCE) of Windows XP and is part of subsequent Windows versions, including Home Premium and Ultimate. No matter which version, the MCE acronym often refers to the Media Center interface.|
Designed to organize and store a music, video and photo collection, content can be viewed and heard on the PC or sent to a local or remote stereo or home theater. PCs specifically sold as "Media Center PCs" include a TV tuner and can function as a digital video recorder (see DVR).
The 10-Foot User Interface
Using the mouse or a remote control, the PC can be instantly switched between standard Windows and the Media Center's "10-foot user interface," which offers a simplified control panel that can be viewed from a distance. In practice, millions of Media Center PCs are used like ordinary PCs with the Media Center interface never selected. See 10-foot user interface.
A PC and Digital Media Server
Many Media Center PCs are designed for the home theater cabinet and come in horizontal cases like A/V equipment. Also called "home theater PCs" (HTPCs), vendors may enhance the hardware and software and turn the Media Center PC into a more specialized and flexible media server. See HTPC.
If a Media Center PC is not located near or in the home entertainment rack, it can stream content to Media Center Extenders (digital media hubs) or Xboxes anywhere in the house via Wi-Fi or Ethernet (see Media Center Extender). See digital media server, digital media hub and HTPC.
Designed for A/V cabinets, the Denzel Media Server from Inteset (www.inteset.com) is both hub and server with more than a terabyte of RAID 5 storage. It includes FM and HDTV tuners, DVD recording, DVR and three audio zones. (Image courtesy of Inteset, LLC, www.inteset.com)