For those running the RC1 of Vista -- the most broadly distributed of the Vista test versions -- the TV features of Media Center stopped working on December 31. Microsoft blamed the issue on the fact that it has a paid license for the video decoder and Dolby sound technology, and it only licensed those through December 31. The overall RC1 software is not scheduled to expire until June.
"As of December 31, 2006, users running Windows Vista RC1 beta code will no longer have access to the Media Center functionality, due to the expiration of the MPEG 2 decoder and Dolby Digital components built into Windows Vista and used by the Media Center experience," Microsoft said in a statement in response to inquiries by CNET News.com. "Because these technologies are licensed and royalty bearing, they will expire within a certain time period, according to our license agreements."
A Microsoft representative declined to comment on whether the company could have extended its license, saying it doesn't comment on the terms of such licensing deals. The representative noted that Microsoft did recommend that users not try Vista on their main machines.
News source: CNET