Acer is the latest hardware company to unveil a home entertainment PC but, unlike many of its competitors, the PC won't be using Microsoft's much-vaunted Media Centre Edition operating system.

The Aspire RC 900 and 500 models can be switched between TV, FM radio, DVD playback, photo-viewing and PC modes, and are designed to look at home in the living room alongside the hi-fi.

The machines will run Windows XP Home or Pro plus a proprietary multimedia interface, not Media Centre Edition which Microsoft says is designed specifically for such use.

"Media Centre is good if all you want to do is enjoy playing back media, but it's not best suited if you want to create media," said Sarah Scott, Acer's desktop business manager. "And Media Centre will be available in one or two languages only in Europe, whereas the Aspires will be available in pretty much every European country."

Switching between modes is achieved by a remote control, wireless keyboard and mouse or a hi-fi-style 'superdial' on the front of the system unit.

The RC 900 and 500 series will be available in the UK from the end of October and priced from about £800 for a base unit.