It’s rare to get to within three weeks of a Windows operating system’s release before learning of the tools designed to encourage us to upgrade. But Microsoft has kept us waiting for news of the Ultimate Extras that will be made available to those that buy the Vista Ultimate version of its new operating system, until now.

Microsoft has today described a few of the downloadable tools at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Las Vegas event that’s perfectly timed for the company to demonstrate the OS ahead of the January 30 launch date.

Amongst the Extras are DreamScene, a utility that allows you to play full-motion video in place of the traditional static image on your Vista desktop; SportsLounge, which offers high-definition streams of sports coverage; and GroupShot, a photo-editing tool enabling you to combine the best aspects of two distinct photographs into one perfect shot.

They’re hardly sufficient to make you speed up that planned purchase of Vista Ultimate, but they’re interesting gizmos nonetheless. Keep an eye out for more on the Ultimate Extras nearer Vista’s release date.

This article appears as part of our comprehensive guide to Windows Vista. Click here to visit our dedicated Windows Vista forum.