Microsoft today formally announced TV Pack 2008 for Windows Media Center, inside of Windows Vista.
And, they also said you can’t have it. If you want the benefits, like ClearQAM (that’s unencrypted digital cable), or the ability to add an unlimited amount of tuners (of any combination)… Microsoft appears to be directing you to buy a new PC.
This is the first time that Media Center updates have not been available in some form to existing owners. For example, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 and 2005 were both offered as an upgrade by top-tier OEMs. In addition, major updates such as Update Rollup 2 (part of MCE 2005), were offered to all users.
Clearly, Microsoft is going to take a lot of heat for this. Microsoft media relations explained to me that they aren’t offering the TV Pack to end users, due to localization issues. However, I’ve seen the update… and I simply disagree with those reasons as being valid.
There is no reason I can see that TV Pack 2008 should not be a free update, for all Windows Vista Media Center owners.
I wish I could point you to some source to give feedback on Microsoft’s web site. Unfortunately, there is no such form or email address for Media Center. I do have rebuttals and prodding questions in at Microsoft media relations, so if/when I hear back, I’ll follow-up. Namely, we still don’t know if TV Pack 2008 fixes the CableCARD DRM issue, or how DirecTV owners will be able to get it (since the DirecTV tuner for Media Center appears to require this update).