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What Works with Vista?
Is it worth the price of admission?

By Ron Seifried
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The release of any new operating system can present a daunting choice for any computer user weighing between upgrading for the cool new features of the OS to the practicality of using the system in the everyday functions that were perfectly stable and operational in the older OS. Many software and hardware manufacturers wait several months before releasing drivers, waiting for the operating system designers to work out its kinks by releasing upgrades or service packs. With the extended beta testing of Windows Vista, many of the manufactures thoroughly tested their products, so technically difficulties are kept at a minimum. Today there are more than 1.5 million devices and peripherals that work with Windows Vista, so there won't be any worries, right? Not exactly, because many products still have yet to release any Vista drivers, including high-end applications like video editing, photo manipulation and audio mixing software. But we have compiled a small, albeit useful list of what definitely works with Windows Vista today.

First up is Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 and Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0, the software bundle catered toward the beginner level computer artist wanting to expand to the power of pro level applications without the learning curve necessary to master such programs. Adobe's package will only work in Windows in 32-bit mode. The big advantages that 64-bit has over 32-bit are speed and multi-tasking, but running these apps in 32-bit mode will not cause any program limitations.

Both Photoshop Elements 5.0 and Premiere Elements 3.0 work with Vista in 32-bit mode

Continuing in the same theme in post production video, Pinnacle Systems has announced that their entire line of products will be fully compatible with Windows Vista in March 2007. This includes applications like PCTV To Go, and the entire Studio and Dazzle lines. So any video capturing, editing and output can continue unmolested for users already familiar with the intuitive interface of the Pinnacle Studio packages. Existing Pinnacle software owners can check the company's website for links to free patches for the few applications that do need to be tweaked for full Windows Vista compatibility. The Pinnacle PCTV To Go is series of devices that enable you to watch TV wherever you are, letting you control all of your TV features from your PC.

All Pinnacle products will be fully Vista compatible by Spring 2007

Slingmedia has recently posted an update to their SlingPlayer software, the interface to the entire line of SlingBox line. This easy-to-use software lets you watch and control your home cable or satellite TV channels right on the screen of your portable computer. The interface includes a replica remote control that matches most standard home theater devices, and a listing of your favorite custom channels as shortcuts in the Favorites Bar, along with a custom icon of your choice.

Logitech's series of I/O devices have now expanded to include the Cordless Desktop MX 3200 Laser kit, a keyboard and mouse package the is specifically designed to take advantage of Windows Vista's advanced features. Shortcuts include quick access to Dynamic Search which helps you find files faster by using a touch-sensitive slider and a quick "Start" key for fast booting of your Windows Vista computer.

Take advantage of Windows Vista's advanced features

Many more products will be rolled out in the next weeks and months that will take advantage of the power of Windows Vista, as well as updated software patches from the most popular vendors looking to take advantage of Windows Vista 64-bit architecture. Some will be initially available as a beta version, for extensive testing by developers and the general public, so keep in mind to not fully rely on these versions for actual production purposes. Keep checking the websites of the packages you use most for the latest updated drivers that are written for Vista.

If you have any questions about Vista, feel free to contact one of the professionals at B&H.

Please email feedback on this article, or suggestions for future topics, to emailfeedback@bhphotovideo.com.