Media Center will be a “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro

With the announcement of the Windows 8 SKUs, if you took a look at the feature matrix, you would have noticed that one item major feature is missing. That feature is Media Center which still has a loyal following and if you want to know how the product will be utilized with Windows 8, it will be a "media pack" add-on to the Windows 8 Pro SKU.

The Windows blog states that "Windows Media Center will be available as an economical “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro" but unfortunately does not state anything else such as if there will be additional fee to use the product.  

It would appear that the Media Center add on will only work with the Pro SKU which leaves those who purchases the vanilla version of Windows 8 out of luck. This is an interesting twist as the blog states that Windows 8 Pro is for enthusiasts and in the business environment which means that Media Center is not targeted at the casual consumer anymore. 

With the removal of Media Center from the native experience and requiring an additionally step to install the feature, it would seem that Microsoft is not keen on making it an integral part of the OS and this most likely marks the beginning of the end of Media Center.

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Hmm interesting. Wonder how as a paid addon it will be licensed. Like do I enter another product key to install Media Center on Windows 8 Pro.

I just think the Music & Video Metro apps seem redundant. It would just be easier to integrate them into a MCE in Metro (I should patent this idea) and also include podcast app - otherwise known as Zune App!!!

It could be free. They'd save money on licensing certain codecs since it would be per download instead of for every copy of Windows.

Wait guys, I just saw a comment over on the blog and we MAY be reading it wrong.
It mentions that WMC is in Windows 8, but it's a add-on for Pro, due to it being more business orientated, and not that many businesses I use do use WMC.

wotsit said,
wtf? MC is a consumer thing, not a business thing?!

And this effectivly takes MS out of the home media hub game? EPIC FAIL!

GP007 said,

*cough*Xbox*cough*

hehe - true - but the other way round you can use an xbox as a WMC extender and that's pretty cool too

Sad, but expected. As an enthusiast, i have built our home entertainment hub around Media Center (live satellite tv, pics, music, etc.) and on one side i do understand that from MSFT point of view, WE represent a very small fraction of their user base which doesnt really justify the investment in further development of Media Center. Now the criticism - MSFT have done it once again - they have built a great technology and they have been really lousy in marketing it. Why not join forces with the LGs, Samsungs and Panasonics of this world and install Media Center embedded directly on the TV? Everyone is happy? This will end the fragmentation in the "smart TV software" market as manufacturers are lousy at differentiating themselves there, MSFT is happy as it has now a huge user base and most important - customer are happy as they can instantly stream all their media content from various devices out-of-the box directly on the TV

I built myself an HTPC 3 years ago and used WMC for a bit. WMC is great for a hobbyist but not easy for the average user, say your wife or 6 yr old to make sure everything is turned on and on the right setting to make sure it works. I do have a Harmony remote to get all the components turned on and in the right settings but it is not as easy as turning on an xbox. my HTPC is collecting dust and only turn it on when I have company over and want to show off my digital jukebox since i have a touch screen attached to it. For all my movies, tv shows I use my xbox and so does the rest of my family. It is just much easier to do imo.

dbdmora said,
I built myself an HTPC 3 years ago and used WMC for a bit. WMC is great for a hobbyist but not easy for the average user, say your wife or 6 yr old to make sure everything is turned on and on the right setting to make sure it works. I do have a Harmony remote to get all the components turned on and in the right settings but it is not as easy as turning on an xbox. my HTPC is collecting dust and only turn it on when I have company over and want to show off my digital jukebox since i have a touch screen attached to it. For all my movies, tv shows I use my xbox and so does the rest of my family. It is just much easier to do imo.

Setting up WMC itself is really easy - it's all wizard driven after all - but there are a few stumbling blocks for the more advanced stuff (codecs for example are always a bit of a nightmare on Windows at times - I use the Shark007 ones though which does [mostly] make this trivial). You're right though, the XBOX is much easier (less capable mind). I think the guy above hit the nail on the head - MS could of pushed this with 3rd party manus to get ready-built boxes shipped to end users etc. It will always remain a niche product (plenty of MS software is in some respect) but I don't think MS can really afford not to be in the media arena (even if that's a new app altogether) when Google and Apple are.

so i guess this means media center doesnt go with the windows 8 principles in mind, and they have something else in store for windows 8.

I tried so hard to enjoy using Media Centre just because i had an Xbox 360, but the fact is... its horrible. Its slow, doesnt support alot of the decent video formats unless you go through installing Addons and doing various tweaks.

I reckon MS will include a way to link an Xbox 360 to a Windows 8 Home PC, they know alot of people use this.

It must be nice to be someone so sanctamonious that they can declare WMC dead and put down the minority of users. I work evenings so I have 3 tuners. It's the only way I can watch new shows. I bet I'm far from the only one. Go get a real job Joshie and work evenings or shift and see how you like not being able to watch your shows.

We use Media Centre at home but only for music stored on the HDD. Hopefully they'll make it so the metro interface and music apps etc can be controlled by remote. From my brief experience with the music app it seemed a plausible idea. I guess fullscreen metro apps from the people of Spotify/Netflix will fill in the gap.

I still feel WMC is undervalued though

How many people bitching that they're losing Media Center actually participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program and send their error reports when programs fail?

^This is why you're a 'minority' in MS eyes.

deadonthefloor said,
How many people bitching that they're losing Media Center actually participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program and send their error reports when programs fail?

^This is why you're a 'minority' in MS eyes.

This. Personally, I opt in, send feedback and even post on MS' own forums. But then i'm a dev, and enthusiast and not intrinsically paranoid
Tis true though - MS do use all that data in their decision making - they regularly tell us that on their blogs.

The idea is probably Windows Home Server 8 (or Pro acting as sever for now) with large storage pool and tuners farm as the back end and tablets or HTPC's as extender front end.

This is a shame. I've tried some other HTPC applications, and I have never liked any of them as much as I like WMC (even though they are able to play more files with less configuration). Maybe it's time to look at those alternatives that are still being developed again.

I've had a Windows MCE PC under my telly since 2005 and upgraded it to use Vista MC and currently Win7 MC. I also have an Xbox as an extender in another room. It works well and I love the native support they added for many popular codecs. I agree it passes the WAT (Wife Approval Test) as it's easier to use than Sky (IMHO). I used to use the Sky Player app within Win7 media center but sadly they dropped support for Win7 MC when Sky moved to Sky Go. The lack of interest in development of add-ins for media center by leading players is a worry. Wish it properly had Netflix add-on in the UK. Also, the new Xbox remote doesn't even have a green button which tells me that MS is winding down media center. Making it an add-on to Win8 is more evidence of this. Streaming is the future, but nowhere near being the standard in the UK yet due to hardly any fiber to the home broadband services, but that's. Windows could have owned the PVR home market if they wanted to, but the strategy wasn't there. Such a pity. I'll likely use MC to the bitter end, but it sounds like I don't need to upgrade my dedicated PVR from Win7 to Win8 as I thought I would if it's going to cost extra only to get the same app. Madness Microsoft! Madness. Where's the love? (Shareholders aren't interested in love)

I've had a Windows MCE PC under my telly since 2005 and upgraded it to use Vista MC and currently Win7 MC. I also have an Xbox as an extender in another room. It works well and I love the native support they added for many popular codecs. I agree it passes the WAT (Wife Approval Test) as it's easier to use than Sky (IMHO). I used to use the Sky Player app within Win7 media center but sadly they dropped support for Win7 MC when Sky moved to Sky Go. The lack of interest in development of add-ins for media center by leading players is a worry. Wish it properly had Netflix add-on in the UK. Also, the new Xbox remote doesn't even have a green button which tells me that MS is winding down media center. Making it an add-on to Win8 is more evidence of this. Streaming is the future, but nowhere near being the standard in the UK yet due to hardly any fiber to the home broadband services, but that's. Windows could have owned the PVR home market if they wanted to, but the strategy wasn't there. Such a pity. I'll likely use MC to the bitter end, but it sounds like I don't need to upgrade my dedicated PVR from Win7 to Win8 as I thought I would if it's going to cost extra only to get the same app. Madness Microsoft! Madness. Where's the love? (Shareholders aren't interested in love)

I dont know why people are weird about this, Microsoft done this before with XP and has since merged this with the Xbox, but they have stated that they found that most people don't use the software i.e myself a avid Windows user. i mean Media Center software are mostly for set top boxes nowadays anyways. Apple removed Front Row so not a surprise that Microsoft is removing Windows Media Center too

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