Microsoft Fiji beta over; final 'TV Pack' due soon

Microsoft Fiji beta over; final 'TV Pack' due soon

Summary: Microsoft is done testing "Fiji," its update to Windows Media Center and is preparing to release the product -- officially known as "Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008 -- via PC makers.

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Microsoft is done testing "Fiji," its update to Windows Media Center and is preparing to release the product -- officially known as "Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008."

Microsoft notified testers that it had RTM'd (released to manufacturing) Fiji on July 17, according to testers who requested anonymity. From the alleged release note:

"Fiji, officially known as Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008, has Released! The input from Self Host testers has been invaluable to this product and the team would like to thank each of you for your bug reports and feedback.

"As the release team is taking a much needed break, our next focus will be to post the final build onto the Products servers. Please check the newsgroups for updates. Once the build is live, we will notify you.

"-Windows Media Center-"

(I've asked Microsoft to confirm officially the RTM of Fiji. If/when I hear back, I will update this post.)

Update: Microsoft confirmed the RTM of Fiji in a new Knowledge Base article (No. 955485). It says:

"The Windows Media Center TV Pack was released on July 16, 2008. Not all computers that are shipped by hardware vendors in the retail channel have the Windows Media Center TV Pack installed. "

I've also heard from a couple of testers that Microsoft is not planning to release Fiji publicly until September 3 at the CEDIA conference in Denver.

Microsoft has done its best to maintain an information lock-down about Fiji since it began signing up testers for the beta over a year ago. Microsoft sent Fiji beta code to external testers this past spring.

Recently, Fiji testers lashed out against Microsoft when Microsoft made it plain that the DirectTV support many had been expecting to be part of Fiji would not be in the product. Testers are now wondering if Microsoft is intending to wait until Windows 7, due in late 2009 or thereabouts, to introduce DirectTV support -- even though Microsoft signed a deal in 2006 to get DirectTV content on Windows PCs and Xboxes.

Some testers also were upset about Microsoft's expected distribution plan for Fiji. According to one Fiji tester:

"The (Fiji) release going to be OEM only on new machines. They have not been testing any upgrade scenarios whatsoever -- even when they were at RC (Release Candidate) 0. Did they not watch the whole Ultimate Extras debaucle? They put Media Center on millions of PCs thru Home Premium, and then give them all the shaft?"

(Ultimate Extras are the set of premium add-ons Microsoft promised to make available to Vista Ultimate users only as an incentive for them to buy the highest-end version of Vista. Microsoft has dribbled out slowly and sporadically the anticipated Ultimate Extras, angering many of the enthusiasts who were expecting more and better.)

Engadget reported earlier this month that -- even minus the DirectTV support -- Fiji will still deliver a number of new features to Media Center users, including new HD recording preferences; better ability to control the tuners; and the replacement of DVR-MS with WTV " so hopefully 3rd parties like VideoReDo and DVRMSToolBox can adapt to the new format."

Any Media Center Fiji testers out there who are still excited about "Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008"? Why/why not?

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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25 comments
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  • Media Center may be best MS app

    Media Center is by far the app I use most on my PC. When you're in MC, you don't even realize you're using a computer. Yes, there are some missing features, but it a joy to use. The DVR is excellent. The organization of media is great. The ability to stream content (even live TV) to another device in the house is groundbreaking. They've been doing this for at least five years and MC seems to just now be catching on.

    What I've read here about Fiji not being an upgrade option, if true, is ridiculous! If a SP can be installed, there is no reason why this can't be pushed as well. MS needs to figure out how to make this work.
    frankwick
  • RE: Microsoft Fiji beta over; final 'TV Pack' due soon

    I'll be so angry if Microsoft decides not to make this an upgrade, but the community will respond back and we'll *eventually* be able to get the TV Pack in some way or another, whether official or not...
    angarita calvo
  • Windows Media Center TV Pack is a free update for all Vista users

    "Windows Media Center TV Pack" is a free update for all Vista Home Premium and Ultimate users.

    There's also another feature pack for all Vista users here:
    "Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless"
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/942567/en-us/

    Vista is a work in progress OS, new features and updates will be released... Stay tuned!
    qmlscycrajg
    • Not a free update

      The "Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless" is not an update, per se...it's more of an add-on only available from an OEM.

      So, if the TV Pack follows this model, you'll only be able to get it with a new PC. Crap.

      But, as was mentioned, I'm sure some smart cookies out there will figure out a way to make it into an update for the rest of us poor schmucks who threw M$ a bone and bought Vista last year! Thanks for the shaft, M$!
      TyreeComix
      • Simmer down, that's the way it works

        Media Center is already OEM supported/channelled. This really isn't a 'new' thing. If you want updates or support that aren't Windows Updates you have to go to your manufacturer. I had some real fun with DVD codecs and Windows Media Center dealing with Gateway...
        beoz
  • This thing just flat out rocks!!!

    My rep brought me the latest and greatest bits. I immediately deployed it at my house. Pretty soon, we were playing video content from the Zune store and celebrating this wonderful technology achievement. When my kid said that one of his friends has a Mac-mini hooked up to his TV and it worked better, I told him to go to his room for the weekend and to write down the top 1000 things Microsoft has done for mankind. Fiji is awesome; the scene skips are most likely a hardware issue and I will call Dell RIGHT NOW.
    Mike Cox
    • does it really rock?

      Wow, if what you say is true, then I feel sorry for your son. Did you bother to ask him why he thinks the mac-mini is better? The lesson he learned was not to tell you the truth, rather he will now just lie and tell you whatever he thinks you want to hear. And we wonder where people learn to lie. People like you shouldn't have children.
      mrdt
      • Simmer down, that's the way HUMOR works.

        mrdtr, you can't be serious.

        You might want to take your humor/sarcasm detector in for servicing. Read it again, this time with a bit of levity and understanding that this is the kind of banter between father/son that fosters fun and openness.
        kalqlate
    • 9.3 WTG! n/t

      n/t
      Wolfie2K3
  • Once again, Microsoft fails

    Mary Jo is again putting the emphasis on cute projectnames, and once again it is really a story about Microsoft failing to deliver a quality product to market.

    Come on Microsoft, how about you deliver just one product that meets or exceeds consumer demand? Just one....

    Don't tell me the only thing a 40 billion dollar corporation is capable of doing is reselling Office in a new wrapper every couple years.
    croberts
    • stupid people like you will ALWAYS complain

      stupid people like you will ALWAYS complain for something they don't understand
      qmlscycrajg
      • Pulling a Mike Cox, are you?

        I understand I got screwed over on Vista Ultimate.

        I understand that it's looking likely that I'll get screwed on a Media Center upgrade so that Microsoft can re-sell me the entire OS again in 2009.

        Complain? Yes.
        Something I don't understand? Oh, I understand.
        Stupid? No. Just bitter at getting shafted for being a loyal MS customer.
        croberts
        • Crazy...

          I'd really be surprised if they didn't update existing machines, at the very least Vista Ultimate... I paid the extra for Business and Home Premium functionality (yes, I wanted to be able to join a domain, run more memory AND still have all the media functions) and not for the extras but still, throw us a bone.
          LiquidLearner
        • RE: Pulling a Mike Cox, Are you?

          Amen!
          El Condor
    • As is Media Center works fine

      I use it as a DVR and I've been pleasantly surprised at its functionality. I've built and used Knoppmyth systems before and they work quite well also but media center is easier to use and a lot easier to put together.
      marks055@...
  • So the morale is that buying legitimate software does NOT pay ?

    If they only release this to OEMs, this will only prove the point that buying software instead of getting a hacked copy does NOT pay off.
    One of the big so-called advantages of legitimate software is that you qualify for upgrades.
    Now, the person who downloaded and installed an illegal copy will certainly find a source for this TV Pack.
    But the honest user who shelled several 100$ for a legitimate version, has to buy a new computer, so that he can continue to abide by the law ?
    wonttell99@...
    • So the moral is that.......

      What about spending over $200, Vista Ultimate. Spending another $135. For XP. The finding that reugular formatting doesn't elimnate all of VIsta(Shades of 1000 free hours of AOL), and finally buyin a new HD. The old could run vista. Seagate 350 GB, 2 Ghz memory (DDR) Pent IV 3.4 Ghz cpu. Could handle the roll program for the spaceshuttle. But Vista?
      Besides I have a rather large flat screen tv with a great surround sound system in the living room and Directv. Why do I need a computer to watch television?
      El Condor
      • ??

        "What about spending over $200, Vista Ultimate. Spending another $135. For XP."
        You dont need to spend that much for vista you can buy the home premium version for $160, why do you need XP?
        "The finding that reugular formatting doesn't elimnate all of VIsta(Shades of 1000 free hours of AOL), and finally buyin a new HD. The old could run vista."
        regular formatting does erase Vista if you want to take it off, I run Vista from a 30GB 4 year old harddrive and it runs great. How old was your harddrive??
        "Seagate 350 GB, 2 Ghz memory (DDR) Pent IV 3.4 Ghz cpu. Could handle the roll program for the spaceshuttle. But Vista?" yea that will run Vista HOme premium great.
        "Besides I have a rather large flat screen tv with a great surround sound system in the living room and Directv. Why do I need a computer to watch television?"
        If you want to watch home videos or movies, play your music, do a picture slideslow with PIcs on your PC, have a DVR or another DVR, browse the web play computer games, then you should get media center as it can do all of that not just watch TV. IF however you don't want to do any of that then you dont need to get it.
        NoThomas
  • RE: Microsoft Fiji beta over; final 'TV Pack' due soon

    Can't wait.
    rtirman37@...
  • Microsoft should have made this a addon

    I don't use media center due to the fact it hard to switch back and forth from my PC/TV.

    HDTV is my 2nd monitor which I drag movies on to. I have to hit the window keys to get my mouse to come back to my pc monitor and leave something open like Firefox or mouse goes to hdtv.

    I don't have this issue with PowerDVD.

    Anywway this should have been a update for Vista users with media center.
    Randalllind