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To Fiji or not to Fiji, that is the question…

Now that some of the dust has settled on the Media Center debacle that is Fiji aka TV Pack I thought I would post a few thoughts. Also hoopla posted some great comments that made me want to post on the topic.

First the rumors were true that the release of the Windows Media Center TV Pack (codename: Fiji) is OEM only and only for new systems. That means that you can only get it from a system builder like Dell or S1 if you buy a new Media Center PC after the OEM has officially started to support the TV Pack. All of the OEM’s are supposed to announce at CEDIA what their support and release plans will be.

Since I wanted Cable Card support I actually bought an OEM PC which I also thought would protect me from things like this. I guess I was wrong. Since I am an “enthusiast” and pretty adept at make changes I am not too worried since the TV Pack update has made it’s way out on to the internet complete with installation instructions and first-hand upgrade stories.

I am disappointed to not be getting an officially supported update but after all of the conversations I can see why this decision was made. I would like to hear more from Microsoft on the subject though.

As much as I want to get all of the new TV Tuner features offered by the TV Pack, I have not taken the plunge for 2 reasons. The new TV Pack breaks 2 of my most used features and I simply cannot live without them. They are:

  1. WebGuide: The TV Pack makes changes to the underlying structure of the guide in Media Center. This update breaks WebGuide which means you can no longer remotely control recordings on your Media Center. I use this feature A LOT and there is no way I could go back on this.
  2. VideoRedo: VideoRedo is one of the tools I use the most. Along with using this to back up my DVD’s to my hard drive, I also use it to archive TV shows and remove commercials. The TV Pack changes the default Media Center file format from DVR-MS to WTV. VideoRedo is not compatible with WTV at this point.

Once both of these experiences are fixed I will be joining the bandwagon and updating my Media Center. VideoRedo has already hinted at an upcoming update to support WTV and I can’t imagine that there is not an update to WebGuide coming since this application is pushed so heavily by Microsoft to custom installers. And we all know they want to take care of the custom installers!!

If I were about to buy an OEM Cable Card system I would definitely wait until I was sure it had the TV Pack installed (which means after the first weekend in September) and buy it without hesitation. I still enjoy my Media Center everyday and it is world’s above what I had before. Right now I plan on having faith and staying the course.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the advice on this. As I said earlier, I am incredibly excited about getting a cablecard ready VMC PC to replace my horrendous TWC HDDVR. I’m shocked that when I go to the Dell site, it almost appears that they aren’t even interested in selling these things. I would think they’d really try to market to “frustrated with your cable company’s DVR?” crowd.

  2. I went with the Fiji update when it went RTM, and now I do find myself missing Webguide. I intend to do some research on exactly if/when an update will appear.

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