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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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3 Responses to “What about Portable Media Centers?”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Starz Vongo Internet movie service jumps the CES gun Says:

    [...] A great deal of the analyst buzz seems to be about the portable device options although watching movies from any source on the small screens hasn’t really arrived yet. Mention is made of new portable video devices being announced this week, so presumably support won’t be limited to the few Portable Media Centers. [...]

  2. Microsoft News Tracker » Bill Gates Keynote at CES Says:

    [...] Toshiba America Inc., Tatung Co. and LG Electronics have signed up to venture into the difficult territory of Portable Media Centers albeit with new media services like Starz. [...]

  3. Second time’s the charm for iriver Clix -- Cool Tech Reviews Says:

    [...] First there was the iriver PMC-120 portable media center which attracted yawns, now there is the iriver Clix with Windows Media Player (WMP) 11 and the Microsoft-MTV URGE music service and it’s attracting plaudits: [...]

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