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‘XP’ Marks the Spot

Microsoft Corp.’s new “Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition” will be a host to several familiar media companies.

MTV Networks reached a deal with Microsoft, announced Friday, under which its MTV Overdrive, VSpot (VH1), mtvU Über and Comedy Central’s soon-to-launch broadband channel will debut on Media Center PCs early next year.

Microsoft said PC users with Sony Corp. “Xbox 360” game consoles or “Media Center Extenders” will “have the ability to seamlessly switch between a standard TV experience and on-demand broadband programming without ever leaving the couch.”

“Our audiences want to connect with our content on every platform they interact with -- linear television, broadband, online, radio and, now, on PCs that run Windows XP Media Center,” MTV Networks Music, Films & Logo Group president Van Toffler said in a prepared statement.

“Today's announcement helps to fulfill our multiplatform entertainment promise,” he added. “The distinction between TV and broadband programming is becoming less important to our viewers, and the Media Center Edition platform is helping to take the entire entertainment experience to the next level.”

Internet-delivered video-on-demand provider Akimbo Systems is also on board with Windows XP Media Center.

The company said Friday that it will demonstrate its new “Akimbo for Media Center” service at the Digital Life trade show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York this weekend.

Akimbo said it will support “Update Rollup 2” for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, including streaming HD video to the Xbox 360 as a media extender.

Akimbo for Media Center will be available through the “Online Spotlight” feature in Media Center Edition 2005, where consumers can view all of the programming available and sign up for free two-week trial subscriptions.

“Media Center is a perfect platform for Akimbo and a great example of how TV and the Internet are combining," Akimbo CEO Joshua Goldman said in a prepared statement.