Windows 8 Media Center add-on now available, costs $10

If you have been waiting to for the Windows Media center add-on to become available, wait no more, as the download is now available and it will set you back $10. As the name describes, the Media Center pack adds-on the much loved, but rarely used, Media Center functionality to Windows 8. We know there are a few die-hard fans out there but for the most part, the average consumer rarely used this tool.

Microsoft chose not to include the Media Center product likely to keep the entry cost of Windows 8 as low as possible. Seeing as Media Center uses many third-party codecs, Microsoft is forced to pay licensing fees to those respective companies. By removing the functionality, for those that do not need the software, Microsoft can then lower the cost of Windows 8 to all consumers.

Interestingly, you can pay via credit card or paypal. For those that love Paypal, and we know you are out there, you will enjoy this addition as it will make it easier to purchase the product.

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72 Comments

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Scorbing said,
I didn't think anyone used that anymore. It seems outdated. There are better, free options out there such XBMC.

Not if you have a cablecard and want protected content.

I haven't received the key yet. Tried requesting to my Windows 8 registered outlook.com address around 11:45AM CST. Anybody else?

aniv said,
I haven't received the key yet. Tried requesting to my Windows 8 registered outlook.com address around 11:45AM CST. Anybody else?

same here, I think the system is really backlogged as I registered about 5 or so hours ago and haven't received anything yet

They still can't figure out that people run this thing on multi-monitor systems. If you full screen it on monitor 2, it locks your mouse into monitor 2 and you can't get back to the desktop on monitor 1... FML

xendrome said,
They still can't figure out that people run this thing on multi-monitor systems. If you full screen it on monitor 2, it locks your mouse into monitor 2 and you can't get back to the desktop on monitor 1... FML

This is the only annoyance which made me dump WMC. I wont be spending ₹510 for a useless feature.

About these keys: are they one-use keys or can they be reused on the same computer? The activation condition seems to suggest the keys will be marked invalid after January 31.

Denis W said,
About these keys: are they one-use keys or can they be reused on the same computer? The activation condition seems to suggest the keys will be marked invalid after January 31.

That would be a real pain if it was... I don't plan on installing Win8 before then.

Edit: Yep, it seems that is the case:
"Your product key must be activated no later than January 31, 2013. Microsoft will only contact you at the email address you provide to send you your product key and to remind you when the activation period for your product key is ending."

WMC is great for watching TV and as a DVR. Can't wait to get my free key.

Been using Hauppauge's WinTV 7 for the last several months for TV. The picture is horrible compared to WMC and even Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (although better than any other Media Center product I tried). As for DVR, the scheduling interface is clunky, and it only schedules blocks of time rather than a series or episode so even if your show isn't on that week it still records it. There's also no way to manage recordings, so you can't record Jimmy Fallon every night and only keep the last three shows. WinTV just keeps every show until you manually delete them.

I suspect $9.99 USD will equate to £9.99 GBP by Microsoft's logic(!) It does annoy me when something is sold by Microsoft outside of the UK, rather than it being sold for an GBP equivalent rate i.e. ~£6.20 in the UK, all Microsoft tend to do is change the currency symbol and charge us the same i.e. $9.99 = £9.99 (approx $16.10)

Microsoft is starting to learn their leverage by connecting XBox to other devices via SmartGlass, but they're totally missing out on leveraging WMC.

Using some Ceton tuners, my WMC server delivers HD content to 5 Xboxes in the house. All Xboxes have the same access to live cable TV, pics, music, videos, movies, DVR content. It's very powerful. Yet Microsoft doesn't promote it.

Huge mistake Microsoft.

willgill said,
Microsoft is starting to learn their leverage by connecting XBox to other devices via SmartGlass, but they're totally missing out on leveraging WMC.

Using some Ceton tuners, my WMC server delivers HD content to 5 Xboxes in the house. All Xboxes have the same access to live cable TV, pics, music, videos, movies, DVR content. It's very powerful. Yet Microsoft doesn't promote it.

Huge mistake Microsoft.

Because WMC actually costs them money to license all the codecs and they feel not many people use it. I fear this is going by the wayside like Home Server did.

willgill said,
Microsoft is starting to learn their leverage by connecting XBox to other devices via SmartGlass, but they're totally missing out on leveraging WMC.

Using some Ceton tuners, my WMC server delivers HD content to 5 Xboxes in the house. All Xboxes have the same access to live cable TV, pics, music, videos, movies, DVR content. It's very powerful. Yet Microsoft doesn't promote it.

Huge mistake Microsoft.

Hardly anyone used it, and it's a real shame. I think what Microsoft is doing is probably the right thing, from a business/efficiency standpoint, despite the fact that I love WMC. It would be nice if they would release the source, however. I'd sign up on CodeProject immediately to keep it rolling.

briangw said,

Because WMC actually costs them money to license all the codecs and they feel not many people use it. I fear this is going by the wayside like Home Server did.


WMC is definitely going down the same way Home Server did: WMC apparently is the same in W8 as it is in W7 (not to mention that it's no longer included!). I bet W9 won't have media center => live tv on Windows is dead for me (all those hardware manufacturer's tools suck compared to WMC IMHO) Whilst stuff like XMBC may be better for general media playback the tuner configuration is horrendous compared to WMC...

Lord Method Man said,
Do you need to be using a Windows 8 PC to request a key? I have Win 8 at home but I'm at work right now.

Nope, just an email address. Although I haven't received mine yet so maybe I'm wrong.

patseguin said,
Is it any good? Can it play MKV's and is it in the same league as XBMC?

bahahaha. Clearly you have never used WMC It is just like WMC from previous versions of windows, now you have to pay for it though. It will playback dvd's and other such things but not .mkv.

Lol thanks for the info ;-)

torrentthief said,

bahahaha. Clearly you have never used WMC It is just like WMC from previous versions of windows, now you have to pay for it though. It will playback dvd's and other such things but not .mkv.

torrentthief said,

bahahaha. Clearly you have never used WMC It is just like WMC from previous versions of windows, now you have to pay for it though. It will playback dvd's and other such things but not .mkv.

WMC will play anything (including MKV) as long as you have the correct filters and codecs installed. It uses the DirectShow API just like windows media player.

giantpotato said,

WMC will play anything (including MKV) as long as you have the correct filters and codecs installed. It uses the DirectShow API just like windows media player.

Correct - clearly he's never used it..

patseguin said,
Will it handle hi def audio like True HD?

Personally I havent tried it, but I did a google search and if you install LAV Filters, TrueHD should work.

patseguin said,
Is it any good? Can it play MKV's and is it in the same league as XBMC?

I love WMC, but vanilla out-of-the-box it's fairly incapable. Install Shark007's codecs and MediaBrowser, and it's an awesome system that I wouldn't be without.

Skwerl said,

I love WMC, but vanilla out-of-the-box it's fairly incapable. Install Shark007's codecs and MediaBrowser, and it's an awesome system that I wouldn't be without.


MediaBrowser does not work in Win8 and will have to be completely re-written for it to work, unfortunately.

b_roca said,

MediaBrowser does not work in Win8 and will have to be completely re-written for it to work, unfortunately.

I thought only the installer needed to be altered.

win2k3man said,
interesting i got this
If your PC is running Windows 8 Pro and you'd like to get Windows 8 Media Center Pack so you can watch and record live TV with Windows Media Center, you can take advantage of the following special offer:

For a limited time, get Windows 8 Media Center Pack for free **

Source http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows-8/feature-packs


You're a bit late. Already posted above ^

Be nice to know where it came from though. I didn't get any offers like this.

Been doing that with Apple's App Store for years...

thealexweb said,
Paying for windows components with Paypal? That's a new one, yay for choice

NeoPogo said,
Been doing that with Apple's App Store for years...

In the UK when you make an iTunes account these days you absolutely have to have a debit card linked to it even if you only won't to download free apps, is very annoying.

NeoPogo said,
Been doing that with Apple's App Store for years...

I believe only Americans can do that. The other regional App Stores are debit/credit only.

Denis W said,

I believe only Americans can do that. The other regional App Stores are debit/credit only.

Yeah only Americans can, would be nice to pay by Paypal in the UK store as it gives you extra protection.

liamdaly said,

how long did it take you to get a serial emailed? I filled the form out an hour ago and havent received anything yet

Doesn't actually start sending e-mails till tomorrow apparently.

xendrome said,

Doesn't actually start sending e-mails till tomorrow apparently.

Update, I just received my key. So it must be active, or backlogged now.

liamdaly said,

how long did it take you to get a serial emailed? I filled the form out an hour ago and havent received anything yet


I got my email about an hour later. I'm going to use it later when I install my copy of Windows 8 Pro

briangw said,
Anyone know if it works with the MSDN copy? I sent my email at 6am and it's now 11:00am and nothing yet.

Maybe you misspelled your email address? If you're running activated Windows 8 Pro it'll work.

matejs said,

Maybe you misspelled your email address? If you're running activated Windows 8 Pro it'll work.

do you have to request it in IE while running Win 8? as I still haven't received it.

matejs said,
Media Center Pack is actually free until January 31. Visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs

I'm a little confused by the wording on this site - it would seem to indicate that this is a free upgrade from Windows 8 "standard" to Windows 8 Pro + Media Center!!? (I assumed it would just be a free upgrade from Windows 8 Pro to add on Media Center?)

From the site:
"If you were running Windows 8, your PC will restart automatically and Windows 8 Pro With Media Center will be on it."
"If you were running Windows 8 Pro, your PC will restart automatically and Windows Media Center will be available for use."

Can anyone confirm this? i.e. can this free key be used to upgrade from Windows 8 "standard" to Windows 8 Pro?!!

liamdaly said,

do you have to request it in IE while running Win 8? as I still haven't received it.


No, I even did it om mobile Safari actually. Maybe everybody is sending requests and the servers are busy

GreatMarkO said,

I'm a little confused by the wording on this site - it would seem to indicate that this is a free upgrade from Windows 8 "standard" to Windows 8 Pro + Media Center!!? (I assumed it would just be a free upgrade from Windows 8 Pro to add on Media Center?)

From the site:
"If you were running Windows 8, your PC will restart automatically and Windows 8 Pro With Media Center will be on it."
"If you were running Windows 8 Pro, your PC will restart automatically and Windows Media Center will be available for use."

Can anyone confirm this? i.e. can this free key be used to upgrade from Windows 8 "standard" to Windows 8 Pro?!!


Windows 8 can only be upgraded to Pro WMC with the Pro Pack ($60). To use this offer, you'd need Windows 8 Pro already on your system

matejs said,

Maybe you misspelled your email address? If you're running activated Windows 8 Pro it'll work.

I did not realize that you had to be on Win 8 to do this; nowhere did it say that you have to send it from a Windows 8 PC. That being said, yes, I did run it from an activated Windows 8 Pro PC in IE and yes, my email address was correct. Since only my Desktop was on and not my Win 8 Pro laptop, I requested a key from IE and one from Firefox using two different email addresses.

briangw said,

I did not realize that you had to be on Win 8 to do this; nowhere did it say that you have to send it from a Windows 8 PC. That being said, yes, I did run it from an activated Windows 8 Pro PC in IE and yes, my email address was correct. Since only my Desktop was on and not my Win 8 Pro laptop, I requested a key from IE and one from Firefox using two different email addresses.


I was actually talking about the key being able to work in Pro, but glad that it worked for you. I did it on my iPhone while i was in the city

matejs said,

I was actually talking about the key being able to work in Pro, but glad that it worked for you. I did it on my iPhone while i was in the city

At that point, I had not received my key, but I just got a notification on my phone that the email arrived with the key. So time to activate it on my MSDN copy and report back

briangw said,

At that point, I had not received my key, but I just got a notification on my phone that the email arrived with the key. So time to activate it on my MSDN copy and report back

how long did it take to get the key? I still havent received it : /

liamdaly said,

how long did it take to get the key? I still havent received it : /

Yeah, the key hasn't arrived yet. Perhaps the form does need to detect Windows 8 in the UA before it'll do anything, heh.

liamdaly said,

how long did it take to get the key? I still havent received it : /

Mine took a few hours to arrive. I think the system must have a large backlog.

liamdaly said,

how long did it take you to get a serial emailed? I filled the form out an hour ago and havent received anything yet

Mine arrived in about 2 hours.