Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vista gets Media Center right

We are not big fans of Vista here at PC Medic, at least not in its current incarnation, and do not recommend it to our customers at this point in time. That may change when Service Pack 1 is released, but for now we have seen problems with networking, hibernation/sleep mode, and miscellaneous program crashing issues.

However, having recently had a Dell Inspiron PC in the workshop fitted with a TV Tuner card and Vista Premium, we can report that one of the things that works superbly in Vista is the Media Center in general and TV in particular. Media Center first entered the world of Windows in 2005 with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. Having had first hand experience of this version I can report that it was flaky and poorly supported.

The current version of Media Center, by contrast is stable, easy to configure and feature rich. Within 10 minutes we had tuned in all our cable TV stations, downloaded the electronic program guide (EPG) and were able to watch, pause and rewind live TV as well as recording programs. The system is as easy to use as a Sky+ box and has the same functionality e.g. from within the EPG you can record single episodes or complete series of your favourite programs with a click of the supplied remote controller.

Of course the Media Center not only handles TV superbly, but also allows you to manage music and photos with equal ease. The Vista Media Center is possibly the best piece of software Microsoft has ever written.

Now if we could just get our hands on Service Pack 1!

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