Microsoft announced on "The Green Button" forum on April 17 that it has begun accepting applications from individuals interested in beta testing the next version of Windows Media Center.
Via a posting to the Green Button, Jessica Zahn, a program manager on the Media Center team, notified forum participants that the beta-selection process is now officially open. She posted:
"We only have so many spots, and we need a diverse group of testers from across the US and from supported countries. You'll only be contacted if you're chosen, and we will choose people by May 31."
To gain acceptance into the beta, testers complete a survey, which Zahn described as "deliberately broad." "(I)t would probably be a mistake to assume everything we're asking about is going to end up in the next version, whenever that is. :-)," she said in her post.
According to sources and various blog postings, Fiji will be a collection of fixes and updates to the Media Center functionality that Microsoft delivered in Vista. But it also will include some new features aimed at consumers interested in extending their video/music/photo/TV experiences. sources have said that Fiji will require certain functionality in Vista Service Pack (SP) 1, which is still widely expected to ship before the end of this year.
Green Button Forum moderator "Chris" (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Chris Lanier) responded to a poster's question about whether the new Media Center beta will run on top of Windows Vista in the following way:
The next version of Media Center is "Vista based, not a 'new' OS. Search TGB (The Green Button) or my blog for 'Fiji.' That should be the Codename for this beta."