Microsoft Corp. has announced the Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack, an optional set of software components designed to lower the total cost of development for device-makers wanting to create networked media devices (NMDs) and Internet protocol set-top boxes (IP STBs), which the company sees as becoming an increasingly integral part of the digital home.
The new software supports a broader range of video formats, PlaysForSure certification and digital video recorder (DVR) functionalities.
The Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack is being launched with support from consumer electronics companies such as Amoi Electronics Co. Ltd., HUMAX Co. Ltd., Media Excel Inc., Microsoft TV and Motorola Inc., many of which will bring to market new Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack-based devices this quarter. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across the globe, including U.S.-based Cisco Systems Inc. and Taiwan-based Tatung Co., currently use Windows CE 5.0 to develop STBs supporting the Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Edition software platform.
Developers will find built-in middleware components that provide all the key networking, device drivers and codecs needed to develop an NMD or IP STB. This feature eliminates the need for device-makers to search for compatible third-party middleware, translating to faster time to market, lower total cost of ownership and reduced device complexity.
To encourage and facilitate greater device customization, the NMD middleware and DVR engine found in the Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack are included as part of Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative. This program gives developers extensive access to Windows CE source code, including the right to modify and redistribute custom components. The shared source code license also includes a flexible template that OEMs can use to create unique, customized user interfaces that further differentiate their devices.