Microsoft will debut its first PC speaker system, the Microsoft Digital Sound System 80, at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) which starts tomorrow in Atlanta.
The 80-watt, three-piece PC audio system includes two satellite speakers and a subwoofer with a built-in digital amplifier, the company announced this week. The system can receive either digital or analog sound inputs and works with Windows 98, Universal Serial Bus and non-USB systems. USB enables users to connect devices to PCs without reconfiguring any software.
The Digital Sound System 80 uses USB to pull digital audio signals directly from the Internet, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs or audio CDs and converts them to analog sound in the subwoofer, rather than through a sound card inside the PC.
Microsoft used audio expertise from Philips Electronics and agreed on an arrangement under which Microsoft gets exclusive use of Philips' wOOx subwoofer technology.
Microsoft recommends using a multimedia Pentium 166MHz or higher PC with USB, Windows 98 and a compatible double-speed or faster CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive capable of playing digital audio. To use the speaker system in analog mode, users need a PC running MS-DOS 5.0 or a higher version or Windows 3.x or higher and a Sound Blaster-compatible audio board with a MIDI-enabled game port.
Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 is scheduled to be available before the end of the year at an estimated retail price of $US260.