Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) is a version of the Windows XP operating system designed to serve as a home-entertainment hub. The last version, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, was released in October 12, 2004.
Windows XP Media Center Edition is distinguished with its exclusive component, Media Center, a media player that supports watching and recording TV programs, as well as playing DVD-Video, photo slideshows, and music. Media Center sports a user interface that is optimized for use from a distance with large fonts and icons.
Unlike competing commercial DVR products, Microsoft does not charge a monthly subscription fee for its Media Center TV guide service.
Due to its strict hardware requirements, Microsoft opted not to supply Media Center as an independent retail version. Microsoft only distributed it to MSDN subscribers and original equipment manufacturers in certain countries. Consumers purchase Media Center preinstalled on a new computer, set-top box or embedded device.
Successors of Windows XP did not have a Media Center edition but the player itself came with Windows.