Monday, 4 June 2007

Vista Premium features

In one word video: Media center, DVD playback and authoring and themed slideshows are only available in the Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista.

Let's look more closely at these features:

  1. Windows media center

I confess that I am not into this entire media on your PC stuff. I don't even own an Xbox. I watch DVDs and TV shows on a 30" HDTV connected to a DVD with integrated HD and to a high quality wireless 7+1 surround system. I do computer work on the PC. I listen to music mostly on the PC. So, for what's different in Vista as opposed to the XP Media Center (besides the fact that is a part of the OS, of course), see Jeff Atwood's review "Windows Visa Media Center" and some of the comments to that review.

For non US users, please note that HDTV and cablecard are not officially supported outside the US.

As far as I know, of all "preVista" media center extenders, the only one compatible with Vista is the Xbox. On the other hand Microsoft has a lot of things coming in this area, some of which will ship this autumn and will probably not be backwards compatible with XP.

  1. DVD Maker, Movie maker HD, native DVD playback

This is something I'd really like to have some time to play with: Windows DVD Maker. It sure does have some unresolved issues that mainly boil down to DVD maker not playing nice with any non vista codecs and/or sound software that might be installed on the PC. But it also has the potential to do some really cool things with your home movies and pics, not to mention editing some other video material.

Just one thing: this is designed for home users. It's not a professional-grade video editing/creating application. The people who will use and like this app are users who are either new to video editing or have tried and been put off by a steep learning curve for more advanced applications.

  1. Themed slide shows

I would probably not pay extra for it, but if I have it anyway, it's one of those cool visual features you get with Vista. When you open a pictures folder in the Windows Photo Gallery and click on the large middle button, you get to choose between several ways to view he slideshow. The "pan and zoom" one makes me motion sick, but the "spin" thing is a big favourite.

That's it. Not really what I use a PC for, but if you're into videos/pics/ music, Vista Premium is your Vista edition of choice. And it's way better looking and more features rich than even the Media Edition of XP.