facebook rss twitter

Windows Media Center TV Pack gets Freeview certification

by Parm Mann on 10 September 2008, 12:50

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qapbm

Add to My Vault: x

Microsoft announced today that its Windows Media Center TV Pack has been certified as Freeview-compliant by the Digital TV Group, the industry association for digital TV in the UK.

Media Center users, however, will point out that they've been watching Freeview channels for many years, so what's new and what does this certification bring to the table? Well, Microsoft's Windows Media Center TV Pack adds complete Freeview functionality to the Windows Media Center interface - such as support for interactive services via the famous red button.

The certification will allow Microsoft's OEM partners to deliver Freeview-branded PCs to the UK market, placing home-theatre PCs firmly up against set-top boxes from the likes of Humax, Sony and many more.

As Media Center users will know, the software is of little use without a hardware tuner, and Microsoft obtained certification with the aid of Hauppauge's Freeview-certified HVR 2200 - a PCI-e tuner featuring two Freeview DVB-T digital TV receivers.

Microsoft states that "the Freeview certification effectively kicks off a program that will enable PC OEMs and additional tuner manufacturers to launch Freeview-branded PCs with Windows Media Center in the UK."

The Freeview certification will be a welcome addition to the growing number of Media Center enthusiasts, but Microsoft's Freeview-enabling TV Pack remains an item of controversy. The Media Center update, released to OEMs on July 16th 2008, isn't available as a standalone upgrade for existing customers.

Windows Media Center TV Pack introduces Europe-specific enhancements such as support for Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite (DVB-S), as well as an improved guide and playback experience.

Microsoft, however, hasn't announced any plans to roll out the TV Pack via Windows Update, so Freeview-certification may be available later this year with new PCs, but existing Media Center owners may be left wanting.

Official press release: Microsoft and Hauppauge First to Bring Freeview-Certified PC Solution to U.K. Viewers

HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!

I'm sick of this crap. My Vista “Ultimate” Media Center is completely fooked. I sense a complete format coming on, with a complicated and dubious torrented TV pack to install afterwards….


so you're complaing that your install is ‘fooked’, and the solution is to obtain a questionable copy of some software, that will of been modified directly against what the developers planned…….. And you expect stability.
I'm losing hope fast in Vista Media Center. Microsoft would have that all important Vista “killer app” - for home users at least - if they could sort out the problems. Freeview support is great and appreciated. But what happened to the promised HD support (that we need for Freesat) here in Europe? This seems to of been excluded in the much hyped TV Pack.

Microsoft is their own worst enemy too. I installed my copy of Vista64 Home Premium on my current media server running WinXP Pro and Media Portal RC2 (nice program but still quite buggy) only to find I went backwards. There is a massive lack of codecs with 64 bit support and because Vista Media Center is a 64 bit native program on Vista64 it can barely play any media.

I also found Vista Home Premium didn't have the Remote Desktop server enabled. Meaning I was unable to connect to my Media Server and manage it over my LAN like I've always done.
Sure once setup you can use the excellent Webguide plugin but users are already reporting the TV pack breaks this and all the other great user plugins.

After trying SageTV, Vista Media Center and Media Portal on Windows I'm about to give up and go back to MythTV on Linux. Sure its a pain having to dual boot most of my machines. I will no doubt end up troubleshooting obscure hardware and software problems to. But I'm doing that on Windows with limited success and I'm having to pay for the licences on each machine I want to watch TV on.

MythTV just works and is reliable and that is all I want at the moment.
Microsoft don't seem to care who uses the TV Pack going from whats been said over at The Green Button (now a Microsoft owned website). Whether or not the pack will be released to the masses is yet to be seen…there's plenty of rumours as per usual.

My Vista MCE HTPC now has red button functionality, but still no HD which is pretty poor after this amount of time. The Pack adds some useful extra functionality and fixes a few problems. However, its does mean a few plug-ins don't work as the MCE version numbers changes