’08 Disappointments: TV Pack

The biggest disappointment of 2008 has to be Microsoft’s failure
to produce a follow-up release to the RTM release of Vista Media Center.  The TV Pack, which was previously codenamed
Fiji was delayed
well over a year
with no information give by Microsoft as to the reason
why.   Things finally settled down and
Fiji was
released as the TV Pack in August
(officially
at CEDIA in September
).

Of course the disappointments set in a few months early,
with DIRECTV
and H.264 being dropped
, and then the announcement that Microsoft planned
the TV Pack to be OEM-only.   Then came
some bugs, torrents getting leaked, all around poor communication from
Microsoft, broken third party and first party functionality, and I’m sure you
know the story by now.

Not only was the TV Pack a disappointment, it was nothing
short of a failure.  In my opinion it has
been the worst coordinated project to come out of Microsoft since I’ve had a
chance to cover the company.

Given the long delay and ultimate fate of what became the TV
Pack I wish Microsoft would have just waited or simply released a scaled down
Update Rollup in places like Japan where it added a bit more value.  Luckily the TV Pack functionality will be
rolled into Windows 7 which I’m sure the eHome team was working on concurrently
with the TV Pack anyway.  To those not
running the TV Pack, I’d just write it off and wait for Windows 7 to bring a
more stable and polished product.

The TV Pack has been a huge disappointment of 2008.

8 thoughts on “’08 Disappointments: TV Pack

  1. The release of the TV Pack, with it’s limited improvements, convinced me that the Media Center platform will not be the primary solution in my house. Frankly, I use it less and less everday, especially when the Xbox 360 DB has more codec support than what was once considered an OS…Media Center.

  2. The part that I don’t understand is that if the TV Pack was OEM-only due to difficult hardware compatibility issues and that TV Pack will be rolled in to Windows 7, does this suggest that Windows 7 will be OEM-only too? In other words, if we can’t in-place upgrade Vista to the TV Pack then how will we in-place upgrade from Vista to Windows 7? I sure as heck am not going to build a new computer or reinstall for Windows 7.

    Microsoft’s upgrade paths as of late have really stunk. Windows Server clusters were supposed to have a feature called “rolling upgrades”. They no longer support this either. Want to upgrade Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007? Sorry. Can’t do it. Upgrade Vista 32-bit to 64-bit? Nope.

    MS needs to do a better job of providing upgrade paths that don’t always mean new hardware and reinstalls of Windows. The lack of DirecTV support is inexcusable as well. If Windows 7 doesn’t deliver anything meaningful then Media Center will die, if it hasn’t already.

  3. I’m going to have to disagree. While I do think the project could have been handled better, the features it added (at least for me, 4 OCUR’s up to 16 tuners total supported out of the box) far outweigh any issues I’ve encountered, which are only with 3rd party add-ons.

  4. The TV pack includes support for old European TV standards like DVB-T encrypted, DVB-S etc.

    WMC has never been a serious alternative in Europe until now. So even though there are major disappoinments (H.264).

    Still, Microsoft is still behind. Once it was the pioneer and just like with Internet Explorer they got lost it…

  5. Fiji was indeed a screw up of the highest order. Usually M$ is not punished for its stupid mistakes, because of its market ubiquity. I am glad though, that fate has intervened in this instance, with DirecTV suspending its development of the HDPC20. eHome refuses to respond to the requests of their customer base. Maybe events like this will wake them up to the fact that even Microsoft can’t run away from their customers forever.

  6. I find that the TV Pack was a stunning success, it gave Media Center users what they really want. A half ass attempt and a new TV file format that’s incompatible with old plugins you’ve been using for years.

    Mpeg 4 HDTV is a fad and useless, something that regular consumers just don’t want.

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