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More info on Microsoft Internet TV

Microsoft Internet TV
So we were standing in line at the Microsoft booth at Digital Life because we wanted to get a good look at the Internet TV platform coming to Windows Vista Media Center tomorrow. And we overheard someone asking the guy manning the booth a bunch of questions about Media Center and how to get it, and it occurred to us that a lot of people still don't know what Windows Media Center is.

So here you go: It's an interface for interacting with media on your PC from 10 feet away. And it's built into Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate. It's also included in Windows XP Media Center Edition.

The reason a lot of people don't know they already have Media Center is because while it's built into the software, they don't have the hardware to connect their PC to a television. Or if they do, they don't have the hardware to watch and record live TV using their PC. For the record, you can perform these tasks with a video-out graphics card, a media center extender, and a TV tuner card. Prices for these different devices range from $30 to $500.

But the nice thing about the new Internet TV service is that you don't need a TV tuner. You don't even to download legal or illegal videos from the web. Basically, the service is a user-friendly interface for watching video without a web browser.

The service launches in public beta tomorrow, meaning if you've got an internet connected PC running Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, you'll probably wake up with a new "Internet TV" option in your Media Center interface. When we first read the press release this morning we were impressed to find that the service will include content like music concerts, news and sports clips and even TV shows including Arrested Development. And then we realized that this is all content you can already access for free from MSN Video.

In other words, there's absolutely no new content here. The only thing that's new is that it's accessible from within the Media Center interface. There are movie trailers, but no movies. But since this is a beta, we're hoping that Microsoft is just showing off the interface and working behind the scenes to sign up more content partners. The service will be advertising supported, so if Microsoft is willing to split the revenue with TV networks, we don't see why networks that are already putting many of their shows online for free wouldn't be willing to make the available through Microsoft's service.

Tags: internet-tv, media-center, vista, windows-media center, Windows-mediaCenter, windows-vista

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