Media Center is getting neutered in Windows 8

Microsoft made a lot of Windows Media Center fans unhappy when the company revealed earlier this year that it would only be available as a downloadable add-on for Windows 8. It made many Windows fans in general upset when Microsoft said that it would not offer DVD playback as an option for Windows 8, but it would include it as part of the Media Center add-on package.

Since that announcement, two more issues that have come up that could be a problem for fans of Windows Media Center in Windows 8. Engadget reports that according to a recent Microsoft Answers reply to a question regarding booting up directly from Media Center in Windows 8, Microsoft said that option is not available because of "new Windows OS requirements and behaviors." No other information was revealed.

Putting in support for TV tuners and remote controls for Windows 8 Media Center could be harder as well. The Digital Lifestyle reports that according to a statement from Microsoft:

The TV Tuner and Windows Media Center Remote Control and Receiver categories and tests are not included with Windows Hardware Certification Kit (HCK) because we are retiring these programs. You can use HCK to obtain a Windows 8 signed driver for these devices by passing the applicable tests. For example, if the device connects via USB, then the USB tests would appear. The tests that appear depend on the features that are detected, but there are no Windows Media Center or TV tuner tests in HCK. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can use Windows 8 signed drivers as part of their pre-installation image.

While we will likely see TV tuners and remote controls that will support Windows 8, the fact that Microsoft won't offer their own HCK to officially certify them could limit a consumer's choices for both of these hardware product lines.

Sources: Engadget/The Digital Lifestyle

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Well then, I guess I won't be upgrading my HTPC to Windows 8. Shame...WMC on 7 beats every other DVR application, including TiVo, that I've used so far.

Keep shooting yourself in the foot, Microsoft. I am the 2%.

Why do people keep defending Microsoft's garbage ?
This is anouncement that another feature of windows is being removed
and its not like this was something people generaly hated
i bet most people don't even know its there.
Why it can't be maintained as is i have no idea.

I am glad i don't have to read so many "It's not done so you can't judge" crap comments.
Now they are being replaced with the "Well don't upgrade" comments LOL
And these people walk all over them selves contradicting them selves and
stuffing their feet in their mouths. These same people can be seen moaning that
XP users are idiots and its obsolete blah blah blah.. and........
You should UPGRADE
LOL see my point ?
Basicly these people will take any angle to fanboy it up
even if what they say contradicts themselves.
And i brought this up because it has been said a number of times so far.

And by the way, don't worry I won't.. "upgrade"

And to the posters above that are saying that this is all the more reason to stick with Windows 7 (and to save money), you DO realize that you are proving my argument (in the Microsoft Beta thread) about looking for excuses NOT to move, don't you? Because the usual reasons not to move (application/game compatibility, driver issues, etc.) for the most part haven't been there with Windows 8's Release Preview, Consumer Preview, and in some cases back to the Developer Preview) you basically decide to hold Microsoft accountable for something that *isn't* their fault - because you really don't want to leave the comfort zone of Windows 7.

PGHammer said,
Because the usual reasons not to move (application/game compatibility, driver issues, etc.) for the most part haven't been there with Windows 8's Release Preview, Consumer Preview, and in some cases back to the Developer Preview) you basically decide to hold Microsoft accountable for something that *isn't* their fault - because you really don't want to leave the comfort zone of Windows 7.

I my eyes that's incompatibility as they're severely limiting the use of my TV card... And that's Microsoft fault as they think I'm happily gonna replace my Media Center PC with a XBox and a satellite box...

When i go to turn on my TV I'm looking for excuses ?
By the way i don't own a TV anymore ..my computer IS my TV
I'm typing this and watching "American Dad" right now
at the same time "looking for excuses" lol

As a long time WMC user, I cannot even act surprised. When Microsoft lost the fight with cable and satellite providers to provide home integration and even the cable card fights, the writing was on the wall that Tuner based TV content was being killed by the same providers pushing it.

Even if you have a rather nice tuner setup, dealing with cable card and the providers boxes that have become even hard to do IR blasting to control, it is a mess to get Media Center running for the majority of the market.

Media Center also is a bit of overkill, in that it is an App platform, that Metro fully replaces. From Netlix and InternetTV on WMC, these will be better 'Apps' for Windows 8 than locked inside Media Center.

Microsoft should have gotten more App support in Media Center, but they hit hard resistance and even had to use the XBox deal with Netflix to get the Media Center App. Back then Apps in Media Center for content providers seemed really silly. Now you can watch the same content providers that though it was silly rushing to make Apps for TVs and GoogleTV.

So seven years ago, content Apps were a crazy idea from Microsoft, and today they are a brilliant idea.


Anyway... Think of it like this, instead of Media Center, there will be an App for that. And for TV content, there will be an App for them too. Between all the online providers from Amazon and Hulu to Netflix and HBO to Go, there is less of a reason to use a DVR than ever.

Microsoft is encouraging online content providers to shove forward, which they started with the XBox 360, and was set in stone when they hit the resistance with Media Center in Vista after putting a lot of money and work into digital box and cable card integration technologies only to have DirecTV and others bail from the standards leaving Media Center dead, which people should have noticed when Microsoft didn't try to get more partners and WMC didn't receive an update in Windows7.

XBMC is better for Media Collections but it REALLY needs DVR. There's a version of the latest XBMC with it semi-baked in, but it's a complete nightmare to get working with it involving backends of other pieces of software.

The DVR in Windows Media Center is beyond excellent. Easy to set up and powerful to use. What a waste of a great piece of software.

Not being able to record 4 channels at once and have the Windows Media Center reduce the filesize and automatically download my favorite shows to my Zune HD's and WP7 devices is going to be terrible. I have all my DVD's and music to an optical out to connection to my stereo and use 3 xbox 360's as dedicated WMC extenders. Windows boots directly to WMC which is a dedicated computer. I was really hoping Zune/Xbox Music integration in this next version.

I have used WMC since the Gateway 901x came out and have upgrade over time both the OS and the hardware and are deeply disappointed in Microsoft in this one, I know I can stick with Windows 7 but I know other future new devices will not have integration that it has now.

I guess this is good, another reason to put off or avoid 8 altogether and save some cash. I use WMC as a dvr in 7 constantly, for a cable set-top box and ClearQAM. Never found a usable alternative to WMC, so I've grown to like it. While I have no need to run WMC on startup, I can see all the other new limitations (and various changes) of 8 make 8 very unattractive to many.

cables companies in canada won't let you connect their stream on your computer. you need to have THEIR sawk ass receivers they're providing with a UI dating from 1998. I'd gladly use WMC if only I could...

And forget about FTA. Apart from the national tv channel, nothing is really useful. I listen to Discovery channel and National Geographic a lot and it's only available through my service provider.

Mouettus said,
cables companies in canada...

Yes, but in our defense, it's also Microsoft software.
Most of the DSL/Fiber TV solutions are Microsoft Mediaroom.

Mediaroom offers the capability to consume content from the company provided dvr on any number of devices already if your provider chooses to offer the platform app.

But, TV Anywhere is the best feature. Totally removes the need to have your own 'local copy'.

The real point is the real customers Microsoft build solutions for DO NOT want you having the local copy. This is the dawn of the consumer PC, everything before was the beta test.

Some enterprising young chaps will undoubtedly make Metro apps that offer the missing functionality that most mediacenter users I know would miss.

Mouettus said,
cables companies in canada won't let you connect their stream on your computer. you need to have THEIR sawk ass receivers they're providing with a UI dating from 1998. I'd gladly use WMC if only I could...

And forget about FTA. Apart from the national tv channel, nothing is really useful. I listen to Discovery channel and National Geographic a lot and it's only available through my service provider.

Nope.
I went to future shop and bought a $50 ATI tv tuner w/remote and plugged it in
to Win7 x64 it was auto detected and tuned by WMC and the EPG
"Electronic Program Guide" was setup and ready for viewing and recording
with one click of accepting permission to go online. All this using
Shaw Cable Digital TV Services
so uhhhhhmm i have NO idea what your talking about at all.

Sounds horrible doesn't it ?
Better cancel that feature quick ..no one needs it lol

I use windows 7 for my HTPC. There is no way I was going to pay for Windows 8 to put on it since Win 7 works fine and is just better for the desktop. Microsoft could have marketed Media Center better as it is awesome for TV plus it could save you some bucks on Cable box rental fees. They seem to be abandoning the project as WMC 7 hasn't had a single update in ages. I have a feeling that they are looking at a stand alone solution maybe with the next Xbox.

Deihmos said,
I use windows 7 for my HTPC. There is no way I was going to pay for Windows 8 to put on it since Win 7 works fine and is just better for the desktop. Microsoft could have marketed Media Center better as it is awesome for TV plus it could save you some bucks on Cable box rental fees. They seem to be abandoning the project as WMC 7 hasn't had a single update in ages. I have a feeling that they are looking at a stand alone solution maybe with the next Xbox.

Microsoft pushed hard for WMC and providers to have seamless integration, and were on the way until Sun, Motorola and a few other notable anti-Microsoft trolls told providers us or them.

http://msmvps.com/blogs/chrisl...ive/2008/12/09/1656281.aspx

When this all took place, Microsoft basically gave up the Cable Card and other fights for WMC, and instead started to promote online content, which took a new center role on the XBox 360.

Why Media Center never took off was because with XP it was a separate OEM only edition available only with purchase of a Media Center PC and then with Vista, because Vista bombed, MCE didn't take off. Windows 7 was the first chance for mainstream users to really know what Media Center was but MS didn't put enough marketing behind it. Killing off a great feature just because of low usage as their telemetry shows is insane to me. They should have stuck with it. The Next Xbox coming in 2013 will have all the TV features now.

xpclient said,
Why Media Center never took off was because with XP it was a separate OEM only edition available only with purchase of a Media Center PC and then with Vista, because Vista bombed, MCE didn't take off. Windows 7 was the first chance for mainstream users to really know what Media Center was but MS didn't put enough marketing behind it. Killing off a great feature just because of low usage as their telemetry shows is insane to me. They should have stuck with it. The Next Xbox coming in 2013 will have all the TV features now.

Actually, it was the OEMs/IHVs (with major prodding from content providers) that killed any in-the-PC *modern* WMC-based solutions. (Note that even most OCAP solutions that work worth anything are external (while Ceton's InfiniTV is an OCAP solution that supports CableCARD, their internal and external versions are priced identically - even at e-tailers such as Newegg or Amazon) and even InfiniTV costs more than Tivo (it's $50 more than Tivo Premiere, for example) - worse, Tivo Premiere also supports CableCARD, and everything else InfiniTV does. And yes - you *can*, in fact, connect the Tivo Premiere to a PC (via USB) or even your network (via Ethernet).

http://www.cetoncorp.com (InfiniTV PCIe and USB)
http://www.tivo.com/products/t...ere/premiere-specs.html#tab (specifications for all Tivos)

Sure this sucks for Media Center users but it's clear to me that MS's "media center" is and has been for a while, the Xbox. If that leaked 720 document is half real the next Xbox will be a DVR and loads of other things. It sounds like HTPC replacement to me and more.

GP007 said,
Sure this sucks for Media Center users but it's clear to me that MS's "media center" is and has been for a while, the Xbox. If that leaked 720 document is half real the next Xbox will be a DVR and loads of other things. It sounds like HTPC replacement to me and more.

Yes - XB360 functions as a media extender today (that was, in fact, a major feature); however, it doesn't support CableCARD. However, external devices that do (and also function as media extenders) also exist (Tivo Premiere, for example), and costs less than other external OCAP solutions (Tivo Premiere, for example, costs less than Ceton's InfiniTV USB straight-up, and is networkable - it can be connected directly to a LAN via Ethernet; the XL4 also optionally supports wireless (G or N)).

I know this won't satisfy everyone, but the next Xbox will replace media center and include DVR functionality.

Media Center is becoming redundant in the shadow of Xbox. Xbox is achieving everything that Microsoft wanted to with webTV/UltimateTV/MediaCenter.

Avatar Roku said,
I know this won't satisfy everyone, but the next Xbox will replace media center and include DVR functionality.

Media Center is becoming redundant in the shadow of Xbox. Xbox is achieving everything that Microsoft wanted to with webTV/UltimateTV/MediaCenter.


No it wont.

There is no way Microsoft is going to either integrate or provide support for all of the different types of broadcast standards in the world.

Avatar Roku said,
I know this won't satisfy everyone, but the next Xbox will replace media center and include DVR functionality.

Media Center is becoming redundant in the shadow of Xbox. Xbox is achieving everything that Microsoft wanted to with webTV/UltimateTV/MediaCenter.

Before people seriously use the XBox as a media center MS will need to resolve the main problem about it which is the noise. A well made Media Center PC makes far less noise than the Xbox 360.

In fact I used a decibel meter to compare my own pc with my XBox 360 and my PC while not playing games makes less noise than my 360 and it's not a Media Center PC i got a i5 with an after market cooler, a dual fan 6950 and 5 case fans. I have a fan controller reducing the rpm of the fans while i'm not playing games and the PC is almost silent.

I tried to use my 360 to watch DVD and stream movies from my PC when i got it but the noise was simply unbearable while watching movies like Monster ball, Moon or Another Earth.

If MS really wants to make the next xbox the best Media Centre PC they will need to use bigger fans and make them spin slowly when not playing games. Cause right now the 360 sound a jet.

W7MC is a really good piece of software (with plugins). And a well build HTPC is almost silent. MS as a long road to climb to make the next xbox as good as a well built HTPC using w7mc.

I dunno, there's that much integration in modern TV's media center isn't required anymore. I mean, with my TV it can connect wirelessly to my home network and I can access all my media without using anything other than those things.

jamesyfx said,
I dunno, there's that much integration in modern TV's media center isn't required anymore. I mean, with my TV it can connect wirelessly to my home network and I can access all my media without using anything other than those things.

Its not about playing media over network, the whole point of Media Center was being able to watch and record TV.

TheLegendOfMart said,

Its not about playing media over network, the whole point of Media Center was being able to watch and record TV.

Well, that was just an example. My TV can do all that too, as long as I attach some storage or use NAS.

Or they could develop WMP to have some of Media Center features and UI. Oh wait I forgot how lazy Microsoft are in developing WMP! It's still that unfinished non intuitive piece of garbage which cannot play mkv files.

sanke1 said,
Oh wait I forgot how lazy Microsoft are in developing WMP! It's still that unfinished non intuitive piece of garbage which cannot play mkv files.

Not a fan of WMP either, but sure it does, just doesn't do it out of the box. Install the proper codec and it'll play MKV's just fine.

Max Norris said,

Not a fan of WMP either, but sure it does, just doesn't do it out of the box. Install the proper codec and it'll play MKV's just fine.
*Splitter. Install the correct splitter and it'll play MKV Files.
There's Haali as a standalone splitter, or you can get the DivX package with also includes their codecs, thumbnail support, etc.

sanke1 said,
Or they could develop WMP to have some of Media Center features and UI. Oh wait I forgot how lazy Microsoft are in developing WMP! It's still that unfinished non intuitive piece of garbage which cannot play mkv files.

Yep, almost as lazy as the XBMC devs who cant even make theirs record

Max Norris said,

Not a fan of WMP either, but sure it does, just doesn't do it out of the box. Install the proper codec and it'll play MKV's just fine.

I know that codec bloat. I mean native MKV playback.

That sucks Media Center is something our family has used a lot since 2005. at least the current version on Windows 7 supports DVB-T2 tuners so were set for HD free to air channels.

Hopefully XBMC will have DVR functionality by the time Windows 7 + Media Center is no longer a viable option.

Very disappointing its basically been abandoned.

I can hear the cries now " Man the life boats it's going down "....LOL

no one is forcing you to upgrade to win8 if you want, like or need Windows Media Center then just stick with win7 simple as that

Athlonite said,
I can hear the cries now " Man the life boats it's going down "....LOL

no one is forcing you to upgrade to win8 if you want, like or need Windows Media Center then just stick with win7 simple as that

You should take that crap over to "Angie's list" and tell them that BS. LOL

I am Not PCyr said,

You should take that crap over to "Angie's list" and tell them that BS. LOL

first part of my post was Sarcasm the second part is truth MS or anyone else for that matter are not forcing you to upgrade just because its an new OS doesn't mean you HAVE to have it

After having to deal with the limitations of DVRs from Time Warner and Verizon I finally built my own using WMC and CableCards on Windows 7. I do not understand why MS would abandon, or partially abandon this software.

James Rose said,
After having to deal with the limitations of DVRs from Time Warner and Verizon I finally built my own using Windows 7 WMC and CableCards on Windows 7. I do not understand why MS would abandon, or partially abandon this software.
I still have a Brighthouse dvr (Scientific Atlanta (now Cisco) 8600 series) in my living room but in my bedroom I have a WMC dvr. It's superior in every way to the stock dvr from the cable co, and I have the ability to play blu-ray and dvds and tons of storage.

ahinson said,
I still have a Brighthouse dvr (Scientific Atlanta (now Cisco) 8600 series) in my living room but in my bedroom I have a WMC dvr. It's superior in every way to the stock dvr from the cable co, and I have the ability to play blu-ray and dvds and tons of storage.

The limitation on storage and lack of being able to watch a show in either room (Verizon finally got that ability when I was turning them off. I don't know if TW has that feature)

I also prefer to have a computer on my tv so I can use it for other abilities. For example I wrote an app for media playback using a mouse as the remote. It's free (this version) http://www.blissgig.com/display.aspx?id=13

James Rose said,
After having to deal with the limitations of DVRs from Time Warner and Verizon I finally built my own using WMC and CableCards on Windows 7. I do not understand why MS would abandon, or partially abandon this software.

Do not you have to pay a membership to use Netflix with the Xbox?......

drazgoosh said,
I never really used Media Centre...
Can someone properly explain to me the benefits of using it?

It's the best DVR software known to man. Microsoft stopped actively developing it because it never too off and they see the Xbox 360 and anything else after it as the future. No one really sticks HTPCs in their living rooms in significant numbers, and since it's still Windows, you can't get a pure 100% 10ft UI experience (I still have a keyboard in my living room, which is horrible).

dagamer34 said,

It's the best DVR software known to man. Microsoft stopped actively developing it because it never too off and they see the Xbox 360 and anything else after it as the future. No one really sticks HTPCs in their living rooms in significant numbers, and since it's still Windows, you can't get a pure 100% 10ft UI experience (I still have a keyboard in my living room, which is horrible).

I have tried using MC plenty of times and it always falls short in some significant way. Now XBMC on the other hand....

dagamer34 said,

It's the best DVR software known to man. Microsoft stopped actively developing it because it never too off and they see the Xbox 360 and anything else after it as the future. No one really sticks HTPCs in their living rooms in significant numbers, and since it's still Windows, you can't get a pure 100% 10ft UI experience (I still have a keyboard in my living room, which is horrible).

This really does sadden me. It truly is the best dvr software out there. It's very responsive compared to the lagfest that is the stock cable company dvrs. Plus, the stock dvr dies at least once a year and I lose everything that was recorded and all of my scheduled items.

Kushan said,

I have tried using MC plenty of times and it always falls short in some significant way. Now XBMC on the other hand....

You cant directly the two, I agree XBMC is better however it has no DVR functionality. I have an Windows Media Center PC in the living room for recording and various XBMC devices around the house.

Kushan said,

I have tried using MC plenty of times and it always falls short in some significant way. Now XBMC on the other hand....

XBMC falls short in the worst way possible... no DVR? That's the main feature I'm looking for!

ahinson said,
This really does sadden me. It truly is the best dvr software out there. It's very responsive compared to the lagfest that is the stock cable company dvrs. Plus, the stock dvr dies at least once a year and I lose everything that was recorded and all of my scheduled items.

And how much have the OEMs embraced it?

The reason Microsoft has retired these programs is due entirely to OEM/IHV intransigence; the only OEMs which have even remotely embraced it are AMD and their AIB partners (HDTV Wonder/TV Wonder and their progeny) - even Hauppauge and KWorld (and their OCAP solutions) have mostly tried to end-run WMC, despite its capabilities. Throw in HDCP pretty much roadblocking even OCAP (HDCP requires any OCAP-containing PC to be certified as a complete system - i.e., individually - and that is unworkable) and while the solution may be usable by end-users, a lot of capabilities are walled off. (Real-world data point: I have a GPU that supports HDCP; however, I am *not* permitted to add an OCAP solution that leaves HDCP intact due to the certification requirements of HDCP+OCAP/OCUR - that includes OCAP solutions that work with CableCARD. The only way around it is to use an external extender (such as XB360 or DVR). Rock and a hard place.)

rfirth said,

XBMC falls short in the worst way possible... no DVR? That's the main feature I'm looking for!

How many formats does MC support? You maybe need a DVR, but for everything XBMC is much better,

farmeunit said,

How many formats does MC support? You maybe need a DVR, but for everything XBMC is much better,

With a few extra codecs MC does it all, without recording XBMC is just another MC wanna be, granted it looks good but thats all

drazgoosh said,
I never really used Media Centre...
Can someone properly explain to me the benefits of using it?

It provides a good way of viewing downloaded tv shows and movies
and combined with a tv tuner or a game pad + extra software
you can use your pc like a super tv. i have to say it was the major reason for
me switching to Win7 and why i use it now.
I disabled microsoft's audio and video codecs and use FFDShow for 95%
audio/video content on my machine so WMC plays EVERYTHING.
Also made my own custom theme, patched a few images in one .dll

The interface of WMC is a million times better than WMP for watching videos
WMP sucks !

C'mon, if you can't even boot directly to the Desktop, but instead the idiot Start screen, of course you can't boot directly to Media Center Home!

devHead said,
C'mon, if you can't even boot directly to the Desktop, but instead the idiot Start screen, of course you can't boot directly to Media Center Home!

Why not just think of the new start screen as the new windows media centre?!? and it boots directly into it.. they showed that only 2% of windows 7 users have ever opened windows media centre and that they use it on average of 5 minutes.. They will obviously have a TV hub when windows 8 comes out anyways

Lachlan said,

Why not just think of the new start screen as the new windows media centre?!? and it boots directly into it.. they showed that only 2% of windows 7 users have ever opened windows media centre and that they use it on average of 5 minutes.. They will obviously have a TV hub when windows 8 comes out anyways

2% of users is still MILLIONS of people. Me being one of them, I use Media Centre for my satellite TV, even though the support from Microsoft is ludicrously bad. As soon as more game makers support Ubuntu/Linux I'm gonna dump Windows like a bad habit

PsYcHoKiLLa said,

As soon as more game makers support Ubuntu/Linux I'm gonna dump Windows like a bad habit

So, you're gonna use Windows forever?

THolman said,

So, you're gonna use Windows forever?

Actually more game makers are supporting Linux. That's the only reason I'm still Windows, myself.