Cool Tech Reviews

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December 21, 2005

What about Portable Media Centers?

Microsoft News Tracker mentions a rumor that Microsoft is planning to build their own iPod or more precisely, an “iPod killer.” Aside from the advisability of Microsoft going head to head with Apple in the portable media player arena, it would also seem to create difficulties for Microsoft partners Creative, Samsung, and iriver who have built players based on Windows Mobile using Microsoft’s Portable Media Center specification.

Since you don’t seem to hear much about Portable Media Centers, I thought I would see what I could dig up. Below are the three contenders with some typical reviews and they are apparently nice players with big screens and easy to use, if somewhat bulky and expensive. However, they have a major negative. All of the Portable Media Centers are effectively accessories for Windows PC’s running Windows Media Player (WMP) 10, because that’s the only way to get media files onto them. And if you don’t have a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition (or at least a PC with a TV tuner/recorder), you are limited to whatever video content you can obtain or purchase through the services offered within WMP 10. Because of this, they haven’t been a rousing success.

Creative Zen Portable Media Center

- Generally most highly rated
- Retail about $485
- Reviews at CNET, Engadget, and PCWorld

Samsung Yepp YH-999 Portable Media Center

- Seems to have been discontinued
- Available refurbished for about $275
- Reviews at CNET and WhiningDog

iriver PMC-120

- Retail price: about $440
- Reviews at CNET, PC Magazine, and Trusted Reviews

As always, you may find lower prices at your favorite online or offline emporium.

Posted at 9:57 pm. Filed under Apple, Brands, Companies, Creative, iPod, iriver, Media Center PC, Microsoft, Portable Audio, Portable Media Center, Portable Video, Samsung, Windows Mobile

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