Today Microsoft made the
Windows Media Center TV Pack official. Formally codenamed Fiji, the
TV Pack is meant to add support for various TV signal types within Vista Media Center.
News about the TV Pack has been leaking out for the past month, and instead of
waiting for CEDIA as originally planned Microsoft let the cat out of the bag
today so people will know exactly what to expect and not to expect within the
First of all, yes the TV Pack is OEM only. The
official word for the OEM only release has basically centered around the
installation method, which according to Microsoft was designed for a clean
install of Vista Service Pack 1 (plus a few patches) before the new software
bits can be loaded. As some have already figured out, it is possible to
avoid the clean install method and just install it on your existing Vista SP1
install, but of course it isn’t suggested. Outside of the install method
the TV Pack is very dependent on new hardware (TV Tuners) and thus that likely
played into the decision to make the product OEM only. Sadly, Microsoft
seems to have forgotten the big splash they wanted to make by including Media
Center in two of the Vista SKUs and getting away from the OEM only
release. By providing the TV Pack as an OEM only release they have (once
again) kicked all existing news while they were already down.
Next up on the list, DIRECTV and H.264 support which will
not be shipping in the TV Pack. I don’t believe an official reason has
been given, other than the previously leaked “more complex then expected” but I
wouldn’t count on seeing it until Windows 7. As I’ve said in the past,
the chance of another Media Center release this year and/or DIRECTV support
shipping separate is very doubtful (read: not going to happen).
So what is in the TV Pack? Depends on where you live (there are some other features I will talk about in another post).
- Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial
- Broadcast Markup Language (BML) Support
- Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite (DVB-S)
- Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVB-T)
- Multimedia and Hypermedia information coding Expert Group
- ClearQAM (Unencrypted Digital Cable)