Australian TV Networks Cripple Media Center

    August 25, 2006

Turns out Australia is one of the only countries in the world where DVR providers, like Windows Media Center, cannot show Electronic Programming Guides to users.

For some reason, the networks refuse to allow this information to be used to aid viewers in finding more televison programming, claiming it is intellectual property.

It’s a god-awful stupid practice, and one that hurts the networks and their viewers, and seems to hold no advantage for any involved parties. Perhaps someone could explain to me why this is? Anyway, that is the reason why the Australian version of Window Vista (Home Premium or better) will not have the Electronic Programming Guide. Better have a TV Guide ready along with some time to manually program it.

Wait, is TV Guide illegal there, too?

Given that Vista Media Center’s predecessor, Windows XP Media Center Edition, did not offer a free EPG service, it was hoped that the issue would be rectified for Vista. Alas, Microsoft maintains that it’s at the mercy of the TV networks in this regard, as it’s ultimately their decision as to how much EPG information to transmit.

“We can’t revolt and go and say we’re going to do this anyway,” Putt told

“We’re in constant discussions with the networks around features and functionality within media centre.

“As it stands we can’t make any commitment [regarding when an EPG would be offered], but certainly it’s in our interests, because it’s in our customers’ interests, to get an Electronic Program Guide.

“It’s just as frustrating for us as it is for everyone.”

Australia is one of the only countries in the world with such strict restrictions on EPG transmissions. At present, most local free-to-air networks only provide current and next program information.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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