As it stands right now, Windows Vista Service Pack 2 still won’t include TV Pack 2008.
I haven’t heard official word from Microsoft, but I can confirm that TV Pack 2008 is absent from SP2. It’s not clear why the Media Center team didn’t add this. Microsoft has confirmed to me that TV Pack 2008 will not be included in Service Pack 2, see update at the end of the article.
As I’ve noted in the past, TV Pack 2008 adds a lot of cool features, ClearQAM support, the ability to mix and match analog, CableCARD, ClearQAM, and ATSC tuners all in one system. In fact, it’s an excellent way to get around the CableCARD DRM problem that Media Center still haves. A user with TV Pack 2008 can have ClearQAM tuners record content from most channels, while the CableCARD tuners will still (needlessly) add DRM to CableCARD-only channels.
The only problem? Microsoft refuses to offer a public download of TV Pack 2008. It still isn’t clear if you’re breaking the law, in Microsoft’s opinion, if you download TV Pack 2008 elsewhere. It is clear that they’re only offering it directly to OEMs, with the purchase of a new computer.
Microsoft still says they’re getting back to me on this, and many other questions that you submitted. When they do, I’ll be sure to follow-up on this.
Also, I have no idea if Microsoft will about-face and add TV Pack 2008 to the final release of Vista Service Pack 2. I am simply reporting on what I have seen from the first wave of beta releases.
Update: Microsoft just confirmed to me that they have no plans to add TV Pack 2008 to Windows Vista SP2. I’m still waiting to hear back why this update is any different than the Bluetooth and Storage feature packs, which are being added to SP2. Doubt I’ll hear anything you’ll want to read.