Thoughts on the upcoming Vista Media Center TV Pack
Have you heard about ‘Fiji’? Also now known as the Vista Media Center TV Pack. Not too much is out about it yet and Microsoft is being very mysterious and has clamped some tight NDAs on those usually in the know. So far it appears that it will only be available via OEM channels. This is, of course, raising the ire of VMC enthusiasts that want to have the ‘latest and greatest’ bits to work with. All signs point to the general public learning more at Cedia Expo in September.
EngadgetHD has an overview and screenshots of the code that they acquired some how.
I’ll let you read through what EngadgetHD has to say about the features they have uncovered. There is also some good information over on TheGreenButton.
The 2 things that stuck out for me as I’ve read the details released so far:
TV is saved in a new file format called .wtv. Like the current dvr-ms, this is a wrapper for MPG2 (as near as I can tell). The immediate problem I see here is that 3rd party tools aren’t out yet that can handle this format. Of course there is a chance that they are awaiting the Cedia announcement but I sure hope the developers can get the info they need to modify their current tools quickly.
Second, and ignored for the most part from things I have read, is that TV Pack is designed to work with PlayReady. What? PlayReady is a new style of Digital Rights Management (DRM) from our pals at Microsoft. Now I’m not a big fan of DRM but we’ll have to see how this is implemented. If I am right this is MS really trying to sync together VMC, Extenders and Zune (maybe other players too if licensed). Done right, honest citizens won’t be forced to become pirates merely to carry an HBO show or a movie they got through a down load on their portable player or even stream it to the extender attached to their TV.
From the PlayReady site:
Microsoft PlayReady supports a wide range of business models for digital content providers, including:
Subscription: Provides access to an entire catalog of content in exchange for a recurring fee.
Purchase: Offers content for purchase and download.
Pay Per View: Provides pay-per-view choices for all content types.
Rental: Enables rental scenarios with time-based licenses.
And, its already starting. Nokia is already working with MS to put PlayReady on their mobile devices.
I don’t think we’ll see everything we want in TV Pack. Not yet. More content providers need to get on board with PlayReady. We’ll all have our eyes and ears focused on Denver for the Cedia Expo starting September 3rd.
Via Ian Dixon’s Blog