Saturday, May 27, 2006

Media Center and Vista Editions

Because different kinds of computer users need different features in their operating system, Microsoft will offer multiple editions, or retail “SKUs,” of Microsoft Windows Vista, each oriented to the needs of specific types of customers.

The main goal of the Windows Vista lineup is to more closely align the product offerings with customer demand, rather than forcing customers to make tradeoffs between functionality and form factors. As an example, with Windows XP, you cannot combine Media Center and Tablet PC functionality in one operating system; you could only have one or the other. With Vista, the various editions were designed so that each major customer segment—consumer, small business, and medium and large business—would have at least one entry-level edition and a premium edition.

What does this mean for those that want to use Media Center in Vista?

Make sure you get either the Home Premium or Ultimate edition as these are the only 2 editions with Media Center functionality.

As an aside, Tablet PC, also a separate Windows XP edition like Media Center, will be included as a capability in the Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. Another advantage with Windows Vista is that you no longer need to choose between 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Both versions are available with every product edition except Starter.

For those of you that wanted Tablet PC and MCE functionality together, Vista will give you both of these capabilities together in one operating system, so you can see the possibilities that this presents, when you have all the necessary hardware. Alternatively, for those of you who need MCE with Domain support (through official means) and have Extender support, Vista will allow for this in the Ultimate SKU.

For a detailed breakdown of what is available in each Vista Edition, take a look at the Windows Vista Product Guide starting in Section 2 (Page 7).

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