Microsoft has begun taking beta-tester applications for the next update to Windows, an upgrade to the Windows Media Centre functionality within Vista.

Dubbed "Fiji" by some, it will not be a separate operating system, a la Windows Vista, but instead an update atop Vista, according to messages posted at "Green Button," a site dedicated to Media Centre.

Jessica Zahn, a programme manager on the Media Centre team, opened the beta-tester selection by pointing users to a link on Microsoft's Connect site. Potential testers must complete an online survey, submit it to Microsoft and then wait until 31 May, when the pool will be picked.

"The survey is deliberately broad," said Zahn. "It would probably be a mistake to assume everything we're asking about is going to end up in the next version, whenever that is." The survey included questions about users' habits in listening to digital music, manipulating photos, and watching live television on the PC screen.

"Is this next release going to be an update to what is in Vista now (i.e. service pack) or is this for the next version of Windows?" asked a user identified as ryan.tollefson. Chris Lanier, forum moderator, replied: "It's Vista-based, not a 'new' OS [operating system]."

Zahn did not reveal a release date for the Media Centre update, or whether it will precede or succeed Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), which is a roll-up of fixes Microsoft has also confirmed but not yet set a release date for.