Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8

  1. #1

    Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8

    In this post we wanted to update you on Media Center and Windows 8, specifically how we will make sure Windows 8 fully supports the capabilities of Media Center as it is in Windows 7. We took the feedback about maintaining the functionality very seriously, and we clearly understood what we’ve heard many of you saying around the value of Media Center for movies, Internet TV, broadcast TV, optical media, music, photos, and all the other scenarios it covers today. Many said in comments and email to us, that so long as the feature is available somehow it is fine. This post is how we will deliver on that and continue to support Media Center for another product lifecycle. This post was authored by Bernardo Caldas in the Windows Business Group, with help from Linda Averett who leads program management for the Developer Experience team.
    If you saw our recent post on the Windows 8 editions, then you know already that Windows Media Center will be available in Windows 8. You might also have noticed Windows Media Center is included in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Media Center has always been subject of a lot of discussion and feedback in these forums as well as email. Today we would like to share more details about our plan and the motivations behind it.
    First let’s step back and talk about media experiences in general. Windows 8 will deliver a world-class video and audio entertainment experience. Our focus is on providing a comprehensive video and audio platform for developers to build engaging and differentiated apps. The Windows 8 developer platform will contain a wide variety of industry-standard media formats, along with Internet Explorer 10, which supports the standard HTML5 web platform. It also includes the set of decoders (shown in the table below) and new developer functionality to deliver these modern media experiences.
    Metro style apps can use any of the decoders included in Windows. These decoders are optimized for system reliability, battery life, and performance, and cover all key playback scenarios for mainstream content such as YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, H.264 web browsing/streaming, Hulu video, MP4 video, AVCHD video from camcorders, Ultraviolet video, and the HTML5 video tag. Metro style apps can also include additional decoders (such as FLAC, MKV, OGG, etc.) in their apps package for use within the apps.
    MP4 Pt 2
    DD+ (non-disk)
    Format container
    MPEG-2 TS
    In the process of building a robust platform, we’ve also evaluated which in-box media playback experiences we want to provide. The media landscape has changed quite significantly since the release of Windows 7. Our telemetry data and user research shows us that the vast majority of video consumption on the PC and other mobile devices is coming from online sources such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or any of the other myriad of online and downloadable video services available. In fact, consumption of movies online in the United States will surpass physical video in 2012, according to this recent IHS Screen Digest research.
    On the PC, these online sources are growing much faster than DVD & broadcast TV consumption, which are in sharp decline (no matter how you measure—unique users, minutes, percentage of sources, etc.). Globally, DVD sales have declined significantly year over year and Blu-ray on PCs is losing momentum as well. Watching broadcast TV on PCs, while incredibly important for some of you, has also declined steadily. These traditional media playback scenarios, optical media and broadcast TV, require a specialized set of decoders (and hardware) that cost a significant amount in royalties. With these decoders built into most Windows 7 editions, the industry has faced those costs broadly, regardless of whether or not a given device includes an optical drive or TV tuner.
    Our partners have shared clear concerns over the costs associated with codec licensing for traditional media playback, especially as Windows 8 enables an unprecedented variety of form factors. Windows has addressed these concerns in the past by limiting availability of these experiences to specialized “media” or “premium” editions. At the same time, we also heard clear feedback from customers and partners that led to our much simplified Windows 8 editions lineup.
    Given the changing landscape, the cost of decoder licensing, and the importance of a straight forward edition plan, we’ve decided to make Windows Media Center available to Windows 8 customers via the Add Features to Windows 8 control panel (formerly known as Windows Anytime Upgrade). This ensures that customers who are interested in Media Center have a convenient way to get it. Windows Media Player will continue to be available in all editions, but without DVD playback support. For optical discs playback on new Windows 8 devices, we are going to rely on the many quality solutions on the market, which provide great experiences for both DVD and Blu-ray.
    We will offer two ways to acquire Windows Media Center:
    Starting point
    OEM pre-installed, clean install, or upgrade
      End-user upgrade
    Acquire & install via Add Features to Windows 8
      Ending point
    Windows 8 Pro >  Windows 8 Media Center Pack >  Windows 8 Pro
    with Media Center
    Windows 8 >  Windows 8 Pro Pack > 
    Windows 8 Pro is designed to help tech enthusiasts obtain a broader set of Windows 8 technologies. Acquiring either the Windows 8 Media Center Pack or the Windows 8 Pro Pack gives you Media Center, including DVD playback (in Media Center, not in Media Player), broadcast TV recording and playback (DBV-T/S, ISDB-S/T, DMBH, and ATSC), and VOB file playback. Pricing for these Packs, as well as retail versions of Windows 8, will be announced closer to the release date. To give you some indication of Media Center Pack pricing, it will be in line with marginal costs.
    We are incredibly excited about the future of entertainment in Windows. We hope you have had a chance to try some of the new Windows 8 Metro style media applications such as the Video and the Music apps. These apps embody the characteristics that make Windows 8 great for both end users and developers, and are included with the Consumer Preview install, ensuring a great local media playback experience on Windows 8. There is much more to come, as developers embrace the power of the Windows 8 platform to delight media enthusiasts around the world!
    --Bernardo and Linda


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  2. #2

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Yet another backwards step offered by Windows 8 - Add Windows Features becomes what used to be Windows Anytime Upgrade in Windows 7, and no more DVD playback in Media Player.

    It will have to be dirt cheap for anyone to bother to buy it.
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  3. #3

    Posts : 738
    1st W10 Professional x64/W7 Ultimate x64 - 2nd Remote system: W10 Insider Builds/W7 Professional

    It fits the bill! I just ran into a simlar report on how the WMC won't be included in 8 but an extra pay for item. Microsoft: Media Center not part of 'the future of entertainment' | ZDNet

    VLC time for W8 it seems! That will play dvds without problem. All I know is that 7 will likely gain even more in popularity once MS finishes cutting it's own throat! 7 will soon get the rep of being the last as well as the best "working OS" MS ever came out with.
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  4. #4

    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    Wow, no native DVD playback. Wow.

    Then again, I can't even tell you the last time I watched a DVD on my PC or even KNEW someone that actually did that.

    My concern with WMC is that it will be a meager port from Windows 7 to 8. It sucks quite honestly. It has NO place be in an operating system that is redesigned with metro guidelines. I once actually tried it, and it felt like using an early iteration of Windows vista: very animated verbosely, not very dynamic, and just somewhat decent looking. WMC needs the Zune software design to make it something worthwhile, along with online media streaming. It also seriously needs a dumping of codecs. It also needs to be the piece of software that unites the Microsoft Trifecta of Xbox, PC, and Windows Phone (maybe even iphone or additional devices).
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  5. #5

    Posts : 148
    Windows 8 RP, Windows 7

    I think we should forgot Windows 8 and remain happy with Windows 7
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  6. #6

    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1

    No DVD playback? Holy CRAP!

    On the other hand, Ultrabooks and tablets won't come with dvd drives, and there wouldn't be Blu-ray playback anyways.
    Theoretically Cyberlink or someone was to make a decent ( ideally clean interface, simple, relatively inexpensive) Metro Bluray player, it could do DVDs fine without app mashing (like how WMC currently hands off Blu-ray support to a third-party application).

    After thinking about it, I'm actually OK with the lack of WMC. With a decent controller (like a remote or a smaller keyboard with built in track pad), the Metro interface is very HTPC friendly. I just need a decent Blu-ray Metro app (with DVD support) and I'm good.
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  7. #7

    Posts : 288
    Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Developer Preview, Linux Mint 9

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    Wow, no native DVD playback. Wow.

    Then again, I can't even tell you the last time I watched a DVD on my PC or even KNEW someone that actually did that.
    My friends use WMP to watch DVD's on a laptop every night. Don't make it look like as if native DVD playback on WMP is not significant and that few people actually use it because from what I see, native DVD playback is very important to WMP if it wants to stand in the competition against other media players which it is sadly losing right now against competitors like VLC. I have used WMP decently too and I don't want to install other players. I think M$, wanting more pay for the extras, are only destroying their place in the Market because if I were MS, I would improve every single preinstalled program available since Windows 7. Heck I want Paint improved and WMP and WMC even better but now they wanted to sell those as well even if free alternatives are widely available. Its a very wrong business strategy.
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  8. #8

    In fact I use WMC everyday, and blanket statements from uninformed sources aren't going to make the bad aspects of this go away. Lots of people use WMC all the time, just because one person says they don't doesn't make it true.

    This is just another way they are going to be squeezing the consumers, just like the App store. Instead of making WMC better they just remove it and start charging for it? No doubt there will eventually be an expensive App, or a few different ones to replace it. It's all about money.

    This pretty much seals the fate of Windows 8, and as others have mentioned and as I said months ago, Windows 7 will become the new Windows XP and will remain so for a very long time to come. Windows 8 will fail more bitterly than any previous Op system. This is a deal breaker for me, the last straw, in fact it's the one that broke the camels back. I won't be purchasing Windows 8.
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  9. #9

    Posts : 738
    1st W10 Professional x64/W7 Ultimate x64 - 2nd Remote system: W10 Insider Builds/W7 Professional

    I can't blame you one bit on that decision! It's like I was saying before MS seems to be cutting their own throat as far as 8 is concerned! Taking away the Media Center included in Windows since the XP Media Center edition as well as the dvd playback support in WMP which has been with Windows since the Legacy versions won't be a selling point for the new version to come.

    WMP 4 started media playback support off to note as an option for 95. 95PLUS! saw the player included it. Just like IE that's a Windows feature people have grown accustomed to seeing in each version now to be cut out to some extent?

    There's one thing for certain. You'll be hearing a lot of mixed reactions to where MS is going with 8! As for just the Metro UI alone thta could worked around easy enough with Start menu 7 and a few manually created Shutdown, Restart, Logoff shortcuts placed in the "C:\users\user account\AppData\Loca\Microsoft\Windows\Start\Programs\" sub folder to take care of things.

    Once you start stripping features people have grown accustomed to and expect however that's a whole different ball park!
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  10. #10

    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    I can see how people making assumptions about a broad topic like DVD usage, but then again, most of the top users on Windows 8 Forums and 7 Forums usually use Windows Media Center at least once a week I would guess.

    But counting the stats from Microsoft on how MOST people are actually using Media Center, it shows that MOST people don't use it. DVD playback should be standard by default, but there are decoder licensing issues Microsoft would face further for a feature of Windows MOST people don't use. I kind of see that logic, this is primarily capitalist than anything. Frankly, if Media Center is redesigned, rebuilt, and is glorious, I would pay for DVD playback if I needed it. But since all my films are usually digital, I wouldn't care for it. If I need to pay for DVD playback of ISO files of shows like 24, then I would probably consider that additional cost if WMC is rebuilt, redesigned and is glorious; if not, bleh...
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Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8
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