Microsoft Windows ‘Fiji’ beta testing has begun

Speaking of Microsoft information lockdown, there’s been no word in ages from Microsoft about “Fiji,” the next version of Windows Media Center Edition.

But that isn’t because Fiji has evaporated. In fact, the Fiji beta began a few weeks ago, according to a few sources with whom I’ve spoken and who’ve asked to keep their identities under wraps.

It’s not clear how many testers are part of this current test phase. There’s also no word on when and if Microsoft is going to tap the many other Fiji testers whom the company has signed up over the past year-plus or when Microsoft expects Fiji — also known as “Media Center Edition +1″ in some circles — is due out.

Last anyone heard, Fiji was supposed to build on the functionality that Microsoft delivered as part of Vista Service Pack 1. Some potential testers said they heard that Fiji would deliver some of the fit and finish that was missing in the Vista release. DirectTV support also is expected to be added to Media Center with the Fiji release.

Microsoft initially sought testers for Fiji last spring. It’s not clear whether any of the selected testers ever received any internal Fiji builds. Last anyone heard, Fiji was looking like a late 2008 deliverable.

Microsoft’s only comment on Fiji, delivered via a corporate spokesperson: “Microsoft has many ongoing betas, however at this point we do not have any announcements to make related to any future version of Windows Media Center.”