Windows Vista has several versions: Basic, Home Premium (most likely what you get on a computer you would buy at Best Buy), Business and Ultimate ($400).
New advantages? System doesn’t crash, it has Macintosh widget-like programs and Aero Glass — a translucent window effect for computers with capable video graphics cards. Newer computers have a Windows Key that allows a direct connection to a ‘fancy graphics display.’
Installing Ultimate doesn’t necessarily give you all of the features because system requirements might be deficient. For example, a deficient computer may not be able to display the Aero Glass translucent windows. The deficient systems display the plain old opaque windows. Deficient computer also may not be able to display video as well as a fully specified system.
Windows Media Center for Windows Vista, which is a home entertainment hub made espcially to work with 16:9 high definition televisions, is available only on the Home Premium and Ultimate Vista packages.
Windows Media Center in Windows Vista includes a redesigned menu system that takes advantage of the graphics capabilities of Vista, as well as the common 16:9 aspect ratio of high definition television. The main menu contains “Music”, “Videos”, and “TV” sections, and for each selection, a submenu appears. When any of the options is selected, the entries for each are presented in a grid-like structure, with each item being identified by album art, if its an audio file, a thumbnail image if it is a picture, or a video for a video file.
Other features of Windows Vista Media Center include:
Native DVD/MPEG-2 support
A Movies and DVD button which lists all the movies on the hard drive and DVD.
Tasks button that provides access to jobs such as setting up and configuring a media center extender device.
User Interface (UI) Enhancement: Any video playing is overlaid on the background of the user interface, if the UI is navigated while the video is still playing.
Support for high-definition (HD) content, and CableCARD support.
Ability for a digital tuner to function without an analog tuner present.
New “Sports” section which gives real-time access to sports scores, as well as free broadcasts of games over the Internet. Microsoft partnered with Fox Sports and NASCAR to provide these services. Support for fantasy sport-style player tracking has also been demonstrated.
Windows Vista is being touted by Microsoft as:
Easier. Safer. More Entertaining. Better Connected.