MS Windows Frustrates Switch to Digital TV

Media Center blithely ignores new channels.

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Everyone has to agree that one of the great benefits of the switchover to digital TV is extra channels. Everyone except Microsoft, apparently. Microsoft's Windows software insists the added programs don't exist. Windows Media center ignores, for example, three extra channels broadcast by my local PBS station. One is a 24-hour kids channel that's a lifesaver when we want to plop our boys in front of the TV.

Media Center is part of some Windows editions and records television, among other things. But Media Center will not download programming data for the extra digital channels. That means there's no practical way to schedule recordings.

Other recording software, such as BeyondTV, handles the extra digital channels just fine. In user forums, Microsoft employees concede the shortcoming. It isn't a bug — just a feature that wasn't worth offering, they say, as so few Media Center users depend on broadcast TV.

Those who do can't depend on Windows.