Microsoft: Xbox One won't be a Windows Media Center Extender

If you own an Xbox 360 console and a PC with Windows XP, Vista or 7 installed, you can use the console as a Windows Media Center Extender to stream content from a PC to a big screen television. However, that same functionality will not be supported for the upcoming Xbox One console.

In IGN's regularly updated "Ask Microsoft Anything" column on the Xbox One, one of the questions pertained to the Xbox One having the same Windows Media Center Extender support. In his answer, Microsoft Xbox executive Marc Whitten offered up some bad new for fans of Media Center:

Xbox One isn’t a native Media Center Extender. We’ll continue to work to enable more ways for everyone to get the television they want over the life of the program.

It's possible that Microsoft decided to not add this feature to the Xbox One due to the fact that most of its capabilities are offered in the console's operating system; additionally, Windows 8 offers Media Center support as a paid add-on to the OS, which may have factored in the decision. In any case, it would appear that Microsoft is concentrating on its Xbox SmartGlass features to stream content from tablets and smartphones to the console, which is due to be released sometime in November.

Source: IGN | Image via Microsoft

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I have come to the conclusion that Windows 8.1 is an abomination, in my opinion it makes Windows 8 seem like heaven

* Plus Windows 8.1 now tracks items you search on your own computer and then reports it to Bing for advertisers (whatever happened to Personal in computers)
* Windows 8.1 doesn't support 1/2 my software (the same software I use on windows 8, whats up with that - even in compatiblity mode)
* I also think it is far more difficult to manage Windows 8.1, why not make apps asks on install where you want it.. Start menu, Taskbar, Desktop Icon (so easy)
* the App Store got even more cluttered and now you can only scan at 2 rows at a time
* and why make the updating of apps in the background, I want to know when my apps change and let me choose when to install
* they removed WEI Windows Experience Index because the Microsoft Surface would only score 5. something, they didn't want people to know
* I personally think the new displays are hideous
* the start button is a joke (enough said) ... I still don't see how removal of the start menu is progress (let people have choices)

For these as starter reasons, I see no reason even to bother with Windows 8.1. this version may never even make it to the stage, I wouldn't waste your time.

After Thought: I have my doubts about Windows 8 and about Microsoft itself, it as though they have almost lost total direction

If they can just allow the One to support NTFS, then I can just plug in my drive and copy my media over, which is what I wanted to do with my 360, but couldn't. I dont want to have my PC on and Xbox at the same time. That's stupid.

I have a cable card and record shows on my computer and watch them on my 360 in the living room via the extender. I guess I will hold to see where it goes but I am a frequent user and was waiting for the news on this topic - hoping for better, not none. Disappointed for now until we have a X1 and know what it allows us to do.

The Xbox 360 works with Win8 fine. I use it as an extender with Win8 here. Only prob (well with me anyway) is the latest system update that came out for the Xbox), it keeps trying to find MCE (and it wont, obviously if the PC is off). It didnt do this before, and I wish MS or whoever makes the updates would fix it!

Our family uses the Media Center Extender to stream our music with a slideshow of our family pictures. Love doing this. What replaces this functionality with the XBOX One? I used to be able to do that through the music and video options in the dashboard on the XBOX 360 but it doesn't work anyone...either because of the latest dashboard and/or Windows 8.

Ill be sticking with my 360 then as it's main use over the last few years has been to boot straight into media centre. The reason being is that it would be a nightmare to put a TV coax cable and freesat cable to where my main TV is. So instead I've got them going to my media centre PC and then via wifi to the xbox, makes it easy for people to control the live TV and media shares. I understand my case is pretty rare though. I don't know any other way to do what I do.

Also Win 8 and 8.1 has 5 years main support and 5 years expended support so Mce is not dead yet keep the 360 running till then

This will definitely keep me from getting an xbo. I became a cord cutter in may and use OTA with an hdhomerun. My setup is great with the extender. So unless silicondust does an app for it, I won't be upgrading.

I have a HD homerun, and they're going to be releasing a new one any day now that is DLNA compatible, so in theory you should be able to access it via the Xbox One, assuming the One is fully DLNA compliant. You won't be able to DVR shows, though, sadly, so you'd still need an extender to be able to record shows.

What I was saying you now need stb in all the rooms in your house to Watch tv with it and record with it Right now with Mce I can watch Tv and record Show To the PC anywhere in the house with Xbox 360 Also Have HD Home Run In one spot and feed the 360 for $5.00 a Month $ 45.00 A Month With Stb's 5 Tv's in house And more for dvr's and the cost's of the Xbox one in 5 room's is to much !

I currently use WMC to record OTA shows I want to watch - I don't want to pay for cable, especially since I rarely watch TV as it is. Viewing live TV should be possible with DLNA streaming via the new HD Homerun tuners that are coming out, but I don't know what I'm going to do about the DVR capabilities of WMC - it was a great solution for those of us who don't watch cable enough to be willing to pay the exorbitant cable fees. I may be able to work something out with my 360 and the HDMI In port on the One, but it will hardly be ideal.

NateB1 said,
I currently use WMC to record OTA shows I want to watch - I don't want to pay for cable, especially since I rarely watch TV as it is. Viewing live TV should be possible with DLNA streaming via the new HD Homerun tuners that are coming out, but I don't know what I'm going to do about the DVR capabilities of WMC - it was a great solution for those of us who don't watch cable enough to be willing to pay the exorbitant cable fees. I may be able to work something out with my 360 and the HDMI In port on the One, but it will hardly be ideal.

Doesn't your TV have more than one input? Just put the 360 on a different input.

There are also dedicated WMC extender boxes but they're over $100. At that point it starts making sense to build a whole HTPC as it is much more versatile than a simple WMC extender.

It does, but I'd like to take advantage of the One as much as possible, including turning on your entire home theater system with one command. If I route the 360 through the One, all I need to do is turn on the 360 separately, with the command that sends it straight to WMC. If I route it to another input, it would require more configuration, since I'd route the sound through my AVR, and have to switch inputs as well. It's not a big deal, since I have a Harmony remote, but the Harmony doesn't work 100% of the time due to IR signals not being received depending on the angle it is pointed at my home theater setup.

The less configuration, the better.

HTPC is a cool concept, but since (I'm assuming) I'll be able to access DLNA compatible video/audio/photos from my DLNA media server via the One, and combined with the Netflix/Amazon/Hulu apps, I don't see much need for it.

NateB1 said,
It does, but I'd like to take advantage of the One as much as possible, including turning on your entire home theater system with one command. If I route the 360 through the One, all I need to do is turn on the 360 separately, with the command that sends it straight to WMC. If I route it to another input, it would require more configuration, since I'd route the sound through my AVR, and have to switch inputs as well. It's not a big deal, since I have a Harmony remote, but the Harmony doesn't work 100% of the time due to IR signals not being received depending on the angle it is pointed at my home theater setup.

The less configuration, the better.

HTPC is a cool concept, but since (I'm assuming) I'll be able to access DLNA compatible video/audio/photos from my DLNA media server via the One, and combined with the Netflix/Amazon/Hulu apps, I don't see much need for it.

You'll be able to access DLNA, but so could 360. Didn't make it a good box to use for streaming local files though. It had pitiful codec support. Hopefully the XB1 has better codec support.

actually I have been thinking of building a nice HTPC anyway...will go nicely with the new XBOX One... at least that way I can do everything I want and not have to rely on the XBOX for anything but gaming... =)

Ravensky said,
actually I have been thinking of building a nice HTPC anyway...will go nicely with the new XBOX One... at least that way I can do everything I want and not have to rely on the XBOX for anything but gaming... =)

Do it. HTPCs are AWESOME. Just don't go too crazy in terms of hardware. I kept saying "oh but only $20 more gets me this!" and my HTPC ended up costing $500 and I don't use it for anything that a $250 machine couldn't have done.

Ravensky said,
PS4 will stream all my mv4's so I guess I will buy that one...

Your topic has NOTHING to do with the story. DLNA, MiraCast, File Share access has nothing to do with Media Center and hasn't changed with the Xbox One.

Unless the PS4 is going to become a Media Center Extender and license the technology from Microsoft, I don't see any benefit to the PS4 here.

Ravensky said,
PS4 will stream all my mv4's so I guess I will buy that one...

This makes absolutely no sense in this article. You will be able to stream files with the XB1 - just like PS4, only that you don't use the MCE.

Jaybonaut said,

This makes absolutely no sense in this article. You will be able to stream files with the XB1 - just like PS4, only that you don't use the MCE.

You can't watch live TV and use a guide on multiple devices at the same time, which makes perfect sense. If you install the right codecs, it plays everything through the TV interface too. I seriously doubt you have ever used it. Just think of it as having a all of your televisions in your house hooked up to the same TiVo.

Using your Xbox as an Windows Media Center Extender was a big deal back in the Vista-era. Why are they purposely killing Windows Media Center?

Ian William said,
Using your Xbox as an Windows Media Center Extender was a big deal back in the Vista-era. Why are they purposely killing Windows Media Center?

Because no one used it. The masses aren't very smart and even though it's pretty simple to set up, it's still too complicated for most people.

One gets the feeling that 'Windows Media Center' is almost a curse word to people at Microsoft these days. They can't wash their hands of it quickly enough.

It really was a beautiful piece of software. Does DVR way in such an elegant way.

Try setting up DVR on something like XBMC and it's a complete mess involving two pieces of separate software.

Walrush said,
One gets the feeling that 'Windows Media Center' is almost a curse word to people at Microsoft these days. They can't wash their hands of it quickly enough.

It really was a beautiful piece of software. Does DVR way in such an elegant way.

Try setting up DVR on something like XBMC and it's a complete mess involving two pieces of separate software.

It really was great. Unfortunately for Microsoft it wouldn't look good for them to make it as friendly to users as XBMC is with unprotected MKV or other downloaded files.

Hardly anyone does OTA, seriously. That went out in the 1970's when we had roof top antennas and rabbit ears. I haven't used those since my parents went cable in 1977.

Cable or satellite is all that matters now.

Windows Media Center is out of date. All you really want is to play media from your computer like music, video, and photos and to make playlists and such and that is all.

You don't need Windows Media Center to do that.

Yogurtmaster said,
Hardly anyone does OTA, seriously. That went out in the 1970's when we had roof top antennas and rabbit ears. I haven't used those since my parents went cable in 1977.

Cable or satellite is all that matters now.

Windows Media Center is out of date. All you really want is to play media from your computer like music, video, and photos and to make playlists and such and that is all.

You don't need Windows Media Center to do that.

LOTS of people don't have cable. It's ridiculously expensive and not something I'm willing to pay to get 2-3 channels that I'll actually watch and then be bombarded with commercials 1/4 of the time. I use a combination of OTA, Netflix, and other online sources to get my TV fix. Way cheaper and more enjoyable than cable.

Okay, one person. Not a big deal to be honest. I guess you spend all that money on your smart phone and that would be why you are broke.

Yogurtmaster said,
Okay, one person. Not a big deal to be honest. I guess you spend all that money on your smart phone and that would be why you are broke.

You act like a child.

I could afford cable if I wanted to, but I find it insulting that I'd have to pay $80/month to get said handful of channels that I want to watch yet be bombarded with commercials. The cost just isn't worth it. Do you buy things that you believe are a waste of your money?

And yeah do I spend money on smartphones. Those, to me, are worth it.

And I'm not just one person. LOTS of people are cutting their cable and satellite subscriptions. You only really need it if you're a big sports fan.

"And yeah do I spend money on smartphones. Those, to me, are worth it."

LOL, you say that I act like a child and then you go on to say exactly what I said you would. Congrats you proved my point.

Media Center was a GREAT technology, that Microsoft BORKED from day 1. Even when Ceton and others FINALLY were able to release CableCard tuners that could be added to existing systems, MS did NOTHING to promote MC. In fact, they have been doing their level best to kill it!

While I am not surprised that they are omitting MC support on the Xbox One, this lack of functionality just gives me one more reason NOT to buy their new console. Good job guys, what are you gonna do for an encore? Make Elop your CEO? Oh wait...

chrisj1968 said,
well, thanks for the step backwards MS. You add media center to windows 8/8.1 and can't even bring it forward

What? Media Center was removed from being available by default in Windows 8. You have to have Pro and then pay for the Media Center addon (codec licenses). The Windows 8 and 8.1 version is IDENTICAL to the Windows 7 version - it hasn't been worked on at all since Windows 7 RTMd. Unfortunately it's too complicated to set up for most people so even though as awesome as it is it seems like it's going away.

I've been using several 360's in my house for years as extenders. Accessing content stored on my WHS2011 box and previously the HP WHS V1 box. I guess I'm the dinosaur in this equation. Have to say, this was the only feature that made the Xbox a no-brainer choice when choosing consoles. I'll have to take a more serious look at the PS4 now.

Exactly! I just told my wife the other day that no matter what, I would still be sticking with the Microsoft/Xbox ecosystem because of the extender capability. Now I'm not so sure. I guess it's more likely that I'll just hold onto my 360s for awhile. Otherwise I would need to spend extra money on Rokus (or similar) to get the same functionality.

This is realy sad, WMC has the best music player, Very easy to record/view live tv and with the movie browser add on it's realy fun to find your movies.

Im curious how many users actually used the feature? It might not have been viewed as a worthwhile use of resources if usage was too low.

TCLN Ryster said,
Not many. It's why they ceased development of WMC several years ago.

I would say that it is the other way around.... Media Center was a brilliant concept that got butchered over and over.

Windows Media Center is already in its coffin, this is no different then Microsoft neglecting Silverlight in Windows Store.

As long as the xbox can view and play my shared videos/music library I set up in my home network - I'm golden.

ekw said,
As long as the xbox can view and play my shared videos/music library I set up in my home network - I'm golden.

You're only golden with an Xbox Live Gold membership.

Crisp said,
The year of the Plex

Nope. The year of MediaBrowser3. And they plan to have a Windows RT app along soon (currently Beta) that will also hopefully run on the XB1 with Kinekt support.

b_roca said,
Nope. The year of MediaBrowser3. And they plan to have a Windows RT app along soon (currently Beta) that will also hopefully run on the XB1 with Kinekt support.

Plex has had a Windows app out for quite some time now.

Yes but this isn't nice to look, that is why I like WMC it allowed you to incorporate the movie poster using folder.jpg method so you could visually see what movies you have.

It is pretty disappointing, I use that feature on my 360 frequently.

But it sounds like they are working on other methods to accomplish the same thing, correctly pointing out that WM Center is an addon (and pretty crappy), so I presume they are just moving the function to easier to use systems.

Zagadka said,
It is pretty disappointing, I use that feature on my 360 frequently.

But it sounds like they are working on other methods to accomplish the same thing, correctly pointing out that WM Center is an addon (and pretty crappy), so I presume they are just moving the function to easier to use systems.

It was abandoned from Vista (at least from a development pov). Such a waste really.

Of course not. They want complete control over the content shown on their console. They want to be able to charge you every way they can for any sort of content.

Caleo said,
Of course not. They want complete control over the content shown on their console. They want to be able to charge you every way they can for any sort of content.

I bet the default video and music apps can still access any network shares and play the supported file formats that way, or you can run a media server and stream to the XB1 like you can to the 360. None of those used media center either and work fine. Or you can use the built in Play To Xbox option on Xbox Music and Video which isn't limited to what you got through the store but any content in your library, again, if it's a supported format that they play.

If you're talking pirated videos, depends, most are avi or mp4 and play fine, if they're mkv then it's a bit tricky.

Caleo said,
Of course not. They want complete control over the content shown on their console. They want to be able to charge you every way they can for any sort of content.

QUICK! Find something to cry about that's totally un-founded. Ah that's better... /s

nobody wants this media crap on a gaming machine......

looks around and sees all the outrage because its not included

hypocrisy at its finest

I don't know anything about your fat friend Crisy, but seriously? The One is a media machine that plays games or vice-versa if you prefer.

vcfan said,
nobody wants this media crap on a gaming machine......

looks around and sees all the outrage because its not included

hypocrisy at its finest

Lol! Yeah bro! Like that first reveal when they were showing the Halo TV series and that live TV mumbo jumbo. That's not media, that's gaming! Xbox One man, stands for one thing man = gaming!

vcfan said,
nobody wants this media crap on a gaming machine......

looks around and sees all the outrage because its not included

hypocrisy at its finest

I'll bite.

Who here said that they didn't want media crap on a gaming machine, but are outraged because the media center extender functionality was removed? The straw man?

If you paid attention to what was being said after the announcement, people were critical of Microsoft because they spent a lot of time during the XBox One's reveal talking about the TV side of things, and not enough about gaming. Kind of like how people were critical of Sony for not showing what the PS 4 looked like.

But keep trying to make Microsoft look like a victim.

omgben said,

<snip>

Totally agree. No one is against television here at all! It's just that when there's a console reveal, it's not exactly what you want in the spotlight.

It'd be like BMW spending too much time talking about cup holders. It's just not what we came for.

The worst part is that fans of the Xbox or Microsoft seem to think they're winning the argument by bringing this up every time something related to television is brought up. In reality, they're just reminding us of where Microsoft screwed up. That's the part that boggles me.

vcfan said,
nobody wants this media crap on a gaming machine......

looks around and sees all the outrage because its not included

hypocrisy at its finest

It's OK, i get what you're saying. Unlike just about everyone else

vcfan said,
nobody wants this media crap on a gaming machine......

looks around and sees all the outrage because its not included

hypocrisy at its finest

I know, what's that about. It's as though different people have different opinions or something.

Kushan said,

I know, what's that about. It's as though different people have different opinions or something.

More like people will go out of their way to find any excuse to bash

rfirth said,
That's really really disappointing to me.

Perhaps it will offer it in a different way.

In theory, you should be able to access recorded content via file sharing. So you are only losing the ability to control live content, which the Xbox One already does inherently.

Mobius Enigma said,

In theory, you should be able to access recorded content via file sharing. So you are only losing the ability to control live content, which the Xbox One already does inherently.

Um no. XBOX One is nothing like WMC Extenders, unless I'm mistaken. With Windows Media Center and XBOX 360s, you can have multiple 360s in your house connected to the same WMC PC, each either watching the same channel, or different channels, depending on the number of tuners it has.

The capabilities of WMC are quite vast, and to this, this is a huge step backwards and very disappointing.

Ideas Man said,

Um no. XBOX One is nothing like WMC Extenders, unless I'm mistaken. With Windows Media Center and XBOX 360s, you can have multiple 360s in your house connected to the same WMC PC, each either watching the same channel, or different channels, depending on the number of tuners it has.

The capabilities of WMC are quite vast, and to this, this is a huge step backwards and very disappointing.

Having used Media Center going back to its release in 2004 and still having a Media Center PC server that is used on Xbox 360s around the home, I do understand that the functionality is NOT the same.

I also do not agree with Microsoft pulling back from Media Center as it was the ORIGINAL platform for development that was intended to host applications like the Xbox and Windows 8 Apps accomplish.
(Sinosky is an idiot. PERIOD - He was behind the lack of support Media Center and his removal of Pen/Stylus features from Office was a major blow to Microsoft and their ability to compete with the iPad as well.)

However I do understand why Microsoft is not supporting Media Center, even if I don't like it.

With the Xbox One, some of the functionality can be replaced by using file sharing and the pass through functionality for live content.

With the addition of 'cable' provider Apps for the Xbox One, as are now starting to appear for the Xbox 360, privately recording and hosting TV content is becoming a thing of the past, as you can use the providers VOD services instead of dedicating a system to do the DVR work.

At this point with Apps and HDMI pass through even without a Media Center PC the only 'loss' is in transferring recorded TV to a portable device, which is something I hardly do anymore, yet just 2 years ago I would load hours of content on a ZuneHD or WP7 device.

With regard to 'media', the Xbox One has more advances and advantages than it is losing with the lack of Media Center 'interface' support.

PS Media Center is just an RDP (Remote Desktop) session to the host system. Depending on how development is allowed for Xbox One, which looks promising, there is no reason a user could recreate a RDP client specifically designed to access Media Center.

Wouldn't is be easier to simply say what it will do? Might a be a shorter list. Right now I feel like it's "Xbox won't do <insert feature here>" and the list is getting long.

I disagree but that comment made me lol. It really doesn't matter though, without 802.11ac you're not going to be able to stream HD channels anyway without a wire and I'm over wires.

Yeah, WMC was far too complicated for the iPad generation. I still use it though, but I have MediaBrowser3 running in it, but as soon as it's standalone MediaBrowser Theatre is out I will be ditching it. WMC is dead now and totally broken in Win 8.1

not a problem, I've used xbox 360 as a media extender in the past, and the experience in UNDERWHELMING. There are always issues, it rarely works flawlessly and is just a pain to use. I actually threw my xbox 360 in the bin when I got my WD TV live.

MorganX said,
I disagree but that comment made me lol. It really doesn't matter though, without 802.11ac you're not going to be able to stream HD channels anyway without a wire and I'm over wires.

Dude, even if you were to stream HD content at the same bitrate used on Blu-Rays the highest it can be is 53Mbps. Even a slow 802.11n network card could handle that no problem.

54Mbps was the limit of 802.11g, not n. 802.11n's bitrate depends on a few things but its weeeeell over 54Mbps.