The first Personal Media Centers are now being offered for sale on Amazon.com, Microsoft Corp. announced on Friday.
Portable Media Centers—also known as Portable Video Players—will be sold initially by Creative and Samsung. Both machines will retail for $499, contain 20GB of storage, and allow consumers to view video and still images on them, as well as listen to recorded music.
Microsoft announced the devices over a year ago, and consumers will be forced to keep waiting for the devices to ship—Creatives Zen Portable Media Centers are scheduled to be delivered in late August to consumers who have preordered, and the Samsung YH-999 will be available in late September. Early PMCs were also expected to at least offer the option for a 40GB hard drive, and iRiver America was also expected to announce its PMC-140 player.
Analysts have also pointed out that its difficult to watch a PMCs video while driving, cycling or performing other tasks, unlike an MP3 player.
Major League Baseballs Web site, MLB.com, will provide a version of its daily coverage for use on the PMCs, including highlights, recorded games, condensed game highlights and blooper reels. Microsoft already provides the MLB.com service as part of its MSN Premium offering, which comes bundled with DSL services from Qwest Communications.
Windows XP users can also record television shows with a TV tuner card and SnapStream Medias Beyond TV 3 software. They can then transfer the recorded shows to the device, Microsoft officials said.