It's TV! It's Internet! It Works!


Windows Media Center's always been a convergence technology, erasing the once bright lines separating music, photography, video, and TV. With the launch of the Internet TV beta program for Vista's Windows Media Center, even the delivery mechanism's gone through a mashup: instead of using coaxial cable and a TV tuner, Internet TV uses your existing broadband connection and wired or wireless network to bring you TV.

Tuning In and Turning On

As soon as Windows Vista Media Center downloads the update, you will see Internet TV beta appear as one of the options in the TV + Movies menu (if you don't see it right away, go into the Tasks menu, select Settings, General, Automatic Download Options, and click Download).

So, What's On Internet TV?

As of the start date (9-28-07), you can choose from:

- Movie trailers , including current and forthcoming films in theaters and on DVD

- Music , including live in concert recordings, top videos (Bruce Springsteen does the initial honors), the MSN in concert series, and most popular genres from jazz to hip-hop

- Sports , from baseball and football to OJ and hockey

- News , bringing you current stories

- Entertainment , including MSN orginal live action and cartoon TV series, the cult classic Arrested Development (all three seasons), and about a dozen TV channels from HGTV and DIY to Biography and the History Channel, and your favorite shorts from JibJab, iFilm and others

- Top picks in various categories, including a rare Bill Gates/Steve Jobs joint appearance.

In sort, Internet TV beta brings you a well-rounded program collection designed to appeal to just about everyone. And now for the final good is Internet TV?

TV via the Web - Surprisingly Good!

I gave the pilot episode of Arrested Development a viewing through a 54Mbps (more or less) 802.11g wireless connection to my cable modem:

  • Full motion - check.
  • Full screen display - check.
  • Audio/video synchronization - check.
  • Smooth playback (no dropped frames) - check.
  • Acceptable image quality - check (especially from across the room).

Does it rival a DVD? Not really - it's a bit softer (more like broadcast quality), but it's more than good enough for sampling of unfamiliar series, keeping an eye on the news, and so forth.

Your Money's No Good Here

The price? Free! Advertising pays for it, so put your wallet away. Unfortunately, the fact it's ad-supported means it's only for US residents right now.

Adding Internet TV to Vista Media Center brings it even closer to being a truly all-encompassing home entertainment vehicle. And, the ride's free.


Discover how Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker and Windows Photo Gallery work together to make Windows Vista the most compelling multimedia platform for Windows yet. Get Mark's new book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: an Insider's Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista . It's available at , Barnes & Noble , BooksaMillion , and other fine bookstores.

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