Microsoft has been talking to its partners to provide a decent upgrade path for users currently owning Media Center Edition 2005 and or any flavor of Windows XP Prof./Home/Tablet PC editions. CEPro has an article about this which details the upgrade path. Here is the excerpt:
If any of your customers really want a new Media Center Edition computer for the holidays and can't wait until the arrival of Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system in January, don't fret. Microsoft is working with manufacturers so consumers don't get the upgrade blues, announcing an Express Upgrade program offered by participating PC manufacturers earlier this week.
The program will provide free or heavily discounted upgrades from the XP to the Vista platform. The upgrade "coupon" program begins tomorrow, Oct. 26, and runs through March 15. Vista will be released in six versions and, according to the Windows Vista Team Blog, the upgrade path goes (varied by region):
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 --> Windows Vista Home Premium (nominal fee)
Windows XP Professional --> Windows Vista Business (nominal fee)
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition --> Windows Vista Business (nominal fee)
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition --> Windows Vista Business 64 (nominal fee)
Meanwhile, upgrades of this type:
Windows XP Home Edition --> Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows XP Home Edition --> Windows Vista Home Premium
... are both available at 50 percent discount from the boxed product upgrade price, plus shipping and handling.
Read more on this article here.
I have a HP Pavilion which runs Windows Media Center Edition 2005 and I would be keen to find out if HP will offer me an upgrade. Check the criteria here at the HP site. But, I little unsure because of this text on the top of the page:
Welcome to the Express Upgrade to Windows Vista™ from HP Program
If you purchase select models of a new HP or Compaq notebook or desktop system between October 26, 2006 and March 15, 2007, you may be eligible for an upgrade from your existing Microsoft Windows XP operating system to the new Windows Vista operating system. This upgrade will be available after Microsoft launches Windows Vista, currently scheduled for early 2007.
Does that mean users who were loyal to MS and companies like HP to venture out and buy a previous version of Media Center will have to suffer? I hope not. Only time will tell.