Streaming Internet Content with Internet TV Beta to Windows Media Center

Streaming Internet Content with Internet TV Beta to Windows Media Center

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On September 28th, users of Windows Media Center for Windows Vista (in the U.S. at this time) will see a new option under "TV + Movies" - the beta version of Internet TV. Internet TV Beta streams high-quality video content from MSN Video ( which just relaunched with new features and enhancements) through the internet to Windows Media Center.  I got an opportunity to take an early look at Internet TV and want to share my experience.

When first launched - Internet TV took me to the Top Picks category. Internet TV consists of 6 main categories: Top Picks, Movies, Music, Entertainment, Sports, and News. These categories have sub-categories or "sections" in which content is divided into:

Top Picks: Top Picks are the top picks of content from all 6 categories. Top picks from movie trailers to concerts to TV shows are located here. There is some great picks here to check out like the Halo 3 "Believe" trailer (one of the coolest trailers ever) and the trailer to the upcoming Batman sequel The Dark Knight.

Movies: Here is where I was able to check out movie trailers to movies currently at the box office as well as movies that are "coming soon" and on DVD. If you are looking to head out to a movie and want to see what is at the box office - you can easily fire up Internet TV to quickly check out some trailers before heading out.

Music: Under music, I was able to check out concerts from artists like John Mayer, Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg, Chris Cornell, and Velvet Revolver. The concerts are pretty sweet. You also can watch top music videos. I've never seen the music video to the Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive" until today. I also checked out "Rockstar" by Nickelback and "Last Fight" by Velvet Revolver.

Entertainment: With the Entertainment category you get complete TV show episodes such as "Arrested Development". I was able to view the shows by channels - with channels such as A&E, bio, The History Channel, NBC Today, Food Network, HGTV, DIY, National Geographic, Fine Living and MSN TV. Under MSN TV I discovered clips to some top TV shows like "Heroes" and the new "Bionic Woman". It is nice to see short clips from shows - especially if you might be interested in checking out some of these shows. There is also a section called "Shorts" where you can view short videos from places such as iFilm.

Sports: Sports fans will love this section. I was able to view clips from the latest games across the board. And there are dedicated sections for NFL news and NCAA Football.

News: This section consists of news clips from the latest current events. There is a section dedicated to top news as well as the 2008 election. Those who are watching the 2008 election closely will find the dedicated election section quite nice.

All the content loaded up in high quality and looked quite nice. There was some brief time in accessing the content as it loads or buffers but once the content is playing - it's playing in some pretty high quality. The content is designed and optimized for broadband streaming so having a broadband connection is required for the best results. I was also able to use my Xbox 360 acting as an Extender to use Internet TV as well. The new Media Center Extenders from D-Link, Linksys, HP and Niveus Media announced today all support Internet TVso you can watch the content on TV sets around your home.

Internet TV is beta and should show up in Windows Media Center for users with Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate on September 28th. During the beta trial, the Media Center team will experiment with the content on offer, and with advertising. At this time, Internet TV is available to users in the U.S.

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  • ThomasJ
    2 Posts

    So I still never got the update for the Beta internet TV im just going to assume they didnt give it to everyone to try out.. I love testing microsoft stuff so it is kind of a bummer..


  • nasd90
    1 Posts

    Ok, I've got the update for VISTA WMC and can play with the Internet TV Beta fairly well and I like it BUT... How do I get the XBOX to see Internet TV Beta ??  I can load WMC just fine, but NO INTERNET TV BETA  !!??

    Please help.

  • borisnyc
    12 Posts

    lots of beta versions we so from Microsoft these few months, this one is really great

  • Hagrun
    1 Posts

    Chill guys it's a test. They don't want to spend massive amount of money on a world wide roll out if it's not going to be successful in the US first. It's easier for them to deploy in the US because they already had the infrastructure setup in the US.

    There isn't anything worth watching on there right now anyway.

    If it's successful I'm sure MS will deploy it elsewhere in the world.

    Just because you don't have this "feature" doesn't mean that you are getting screwed... trust me. With how it preforms so far I'm betting that you wouldn't be happy if you had it, but it's only in beta.

    I really hope MS sticks with this idea.

    If you don't see the update restart your computer. I didn't have it on my desktop until I opened MC then restarted my comp and opened MC again. Strange, but thats what happened.

  • ThomasJ
    2 Posts

    Well I have tried to find the update for this program but no luck here. I have Windows Vista Ultimate and live in the US.. Anyone know why I wouldnt get the update? Is it just under the regular windows updates?

  • Hey, British Guys...

    With sites like you shouldn't be complaining on the lack of US contents on your screens. And you don't have to pay the Ultimate price to get it, either.

  • joem
    7 Posts

    Looks good,  But under Entertainment, History Channel, Modern Marvels, Windmill  the show plays for about 6-8 minutes, then shows what appears to be an ad, then shows another show at random (Music Video, News, etc.), and does not show the rest of episode.

    Has anyone else seen this?  and where can I report the issue?


  • Im sure the non US thing is due to media being restricted to regions, yes this sucks but its really the media companies we need to complain to not Microsoft.  

    UK stations only buy shows after they have been proven to work in the USA, that way you never have to watch some of the really bad CW shows we get in the USA.  Although with torrents and the like available these days it would be nice to see Microsoft tell the media companies that the future is the internet, which has no boundries and that they need to adapt to this or risk failure.

    Hopefully the FTC will sell the free spectrum to Google and force the media and phone companies in the US to compete.  People call Microsoft a Monopoly, however from living in the US I can tell you that it is the Cable/Media companies, Telephone and Oil companies that really need some competition.  Thats why you UK users are getting hard nosed by Microsoft because the Media companies have a monopoly in the USA... Kinda like the BBC and the British TV license.

    Nobody in the UK wants to pay the BBC £135.50 a year, I could buy a Wii or Xbox 360 core in the USA for that price its high... Monolopolys suck :-)  as they slow down the pace of innovation.

  • Albert
    94 Posts

    So the Beta is going to be "forced" into all users tomorrow?

  • mollyfud
    11 Posts


    Why US only? Is my money and time not as important as US peoples? I paid Ultimate price and you have hardly given us any of the extras you promissed now I am getting stuffed around because I don't live in the US!

    How long until the content is available outside the us?


  • someone
    156 Posts

    No Internet TV for XPMCE? Yeah, no one uses XP. It's dead as of 2007.

  • Espiox
    11 Posts

    So what's the reasoning for giving inferior (non-US) people the shaft again? Wait, let me guess: licensing?

    I'm not sure why I buy MS products anymore. I think it's pretty clear what you guys think of me for living in the UK.