If you are familiar with Windows XP Media Center Edition, then you are also familiar with Royale Blue, a desktop theme that shipped with XP MCE. Well, another Royal theme is now available. Royale Noir was also developed for Windows Media Center, probably as an alternative, a "dark" alternative to Royal Blue, but Microsoft never officially released the theme.
The reason for this is that Royale Noir has not been completely finalized, and you can see this in the details. There are fade color discrepancies, and the dark grays shift toward purple, while the inactive titlebars gear toward black, but the nuances are worth a try. The only actual minus when compared with Royal Blue is the missing glass effect. One notable shortcoming is the fact that the Start button Normal and Hover states are inconsistent with Royale Noir.
The Royale Noir will give your Windows, be it Media Center or plain old XP, a new style and I invite you to welcome some style variation on your desktop. This is a genuine theme from the Redmond Company, and its authenticity is proven by the Microsoft signature and the fact that it can be installed without a custom UxTheme.dll.
Royale Noir was tested by Softpedia as being 100% Free and is available for download here.