Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vista RTM and SP1 Windows Fiji

– Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008
Developed under the codename Windows Fiji, and released to manufacturing under the label Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008, the first major update to the Windows Media Center component included by default in the Home Premium and Ultimate SKUs of Windows Vista RTM and SP1, is right on track to be a disappointment. First off, although it started along as a major out-of-band release set up to build on what Windows Media Center in Vista brought to the table, the Windows Fiji project managed to lose some features along the way. Additionally, Vista Home Premium and Ultimate users will not be getting their hands on the update, unless they buy OEM products with Windows Fiji preinstalled following the release on September 3 at CEDIA.

"On July 16th, 2008, Microsoft released an update to the version of Windows Media Center included with Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate to our OEM partners – this update is referred to as the "Windows Media Center TV Pack". In order to ensure that users get the best experience possible, this update will only be available from OEMs, as they are best positioned to provide the testing and hardware configurations for a great customer experience. This is due to the fact that in some geographies there are specific technical and hardware requirements for the Windows Media Center TV Pack that are best handled by the OEMs. We are working closely with our OEM partners as they finalize their decisions on Windows Media Center TV Pack products," revealed Ben Reed, product marketing manager, Windows Media Center via Mary Jo Foley.

Reed explained that the final feature set for the Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008 code going gold was optimized following the testing of a variety of features during the beta stages of the development process. This is Microsoft's explanation for cutting native support for H.264 video standard, or for subscription-based satellite tuners, although Reed attempted not to deliver a very clear justification. However, the promise is that Windows Media Center will continue to evolve although, the software giant provided no details on the matter and the next step for WMC is theoretically Windows 7.

Reed added that "The Windows Media Center TV Pack is primarily targeted at adding support for additional international broadcast standards including:

- Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial (ISDB-T) Digital television standard for Japan
- Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite (DVB-S) free-to-air satellite standards in Europe
- Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVB-T) digital television with improved user experience in Europe
- ClearQAM (Unencrypted Digital Cable) in the United States
- Interactive television with integrated Broadcast Markup language (BML) in Japan and Multimedia and Hypermedia information coding Expert Group (MHEG) (MHEG5) in Europe."

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