Microsoft Shows Off Plug and Play with Panja

NEW ORLEANS (04/26/2000) - Microsoft Corp. Tuesday began "taking down the wall between the PC and the home audio-video system" with the first public demonstration of a device incorporating functions of the company's Universal Plug and Play initiative, according to Greg Sullivan, a platform products manager at Microsoft.

The device called The Panja, built by Dallas-based Panja Corp., interconnects a home television and stereo with the Internet without the use of a PC, Sullivan said.

"It can work without a PC, but we'd recommend having a PC attached as part of the home network," Sullivan said, adding that a PC connected to the Panja, or any like device, would operate in the role of a server, speeding up operation and managing the network.

Microsoft's Universal Plug and Play capability will begin shipping as a feature in the consumer-targeted Windows Millennium, which is scheduled to ship in OEM systems by Christmas.

The Panja demo shown here at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) was not running Windows Millennium, but rather a proprietary variation of the operating system designed by Panja solely for the demonstration, Sullivan said.

When Millennium does begin shipping, system manufacturers still will be capable of building set-top-box-style products that interconnect the home entertainment environment to the Internet in a plug-and-play fashion, according to Sullivan.

The Panja demo utilized an interface from StreamSearch.com that offered an Internet menu, much like a browser, for finding and downloading video and music from the Internet.

Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Wash., is at www.microsoft.com. Panja Corp., in Dallas, is at www.panja.com.

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