Microsoft, which has struggled to get traction in the media centre market by partnering with PC vendors and third party media centre builders is now set to change tact. At the CEDIA Expo in Denver in September Microsoft will announce that it has teamed up with Crestron to deliver the next generation of its media centre offering via embedded chip technology that can be programmed to deliver a vast array of automation and entertainment capabilities for both the home and commercial environments.
By partnering with Crestron, Microsoft believes it is now in a position to deliver true automation services for the home and office that the traditional PC vendor has failed to do.
News leaked out that Microsoft is set to partner with automation company Crestron during an interview with Crestron executives. It now appears that the two companies have spent the last 12 months developing a new media centre standard that will see Microsoft’s Media Center software embedded into a new suite of Crestron tablet controllers.
The new device will not only deliver portable entertainment but home automation capability spanning distributed audio, lighting control security and device control. It is expected that Crestron will deliver several versions of the controller as well as a Windows development kit that will allow installers and organisations selling into the home automation market to develop custom capabilities.
Fred Bargetzi, VP of technology for Crestron and his team have spent the last few years working on a portable tablet solution with their Isys I/O line of touch panels running an embedded version of the Windows OS.
Crestron’s relationship with Microsoft started back in 2004 when the company introduced its mobile Web/control interface, the XP-enabled TPMC-8X, which went to market in September 2006.
According to the US Magazine CE Pro, what started out as mere standardisation on the Microsoft platform, taken Crestron deep into the Microsoft environment much to the benefit of Microsoft who has struggled to get Media Center into the homer other than as a manager of content?
It now appears that Microsoft has decided to standardize on Crestron’s RoomView .NET based resource management system which can be used to manage both corporate environments and the home.
Crestron VP, Randy Klein said “We’re working with Microsoft to bring solutions into people’s homes,” Klein says. “Crestron and Microsoft are going to take it to a whole new level.”
At this stage Creston will not reveal any details about the relationship other than to say that the deal is significant to both companies.
A Microsoft insider working with the Windows Media Center team in the USA has confirmed to SmartHouse that the deal with Crestron opens up “massive” new markets for Microsoft.