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Microsoft Should Cut Windows Media Center from Windows 8 - Ben Wade

  1. #1


    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1

    Microsoft Should Cut Windows Media Center from Windows 8 - Ben Wade


    Yea I said it: Microsoft needs to remove Windows Media Center from Windows 8 and head down a new path. They need to burn that bridge, Indiana Jones with a machete style… Why Ben? Why would you publicly state something so outrageous and provoking on a Media Center focused site? Before you set Twitter aflame and curse Josh for signing a traitor on to the DMZ team, take a look at my eight reasons for wanting to ditch WMC for the new Windows 8 Start screen.

    Developing for WMC is an Atrocity
    You should congratulate Netflix, MyMovies and MediaBrowser for having successfully developed WMC UIs that work and look beautiful. Anyone who has seen MCML or looked at how many different files it takes just a get a basic WMC plugin knows that developing for this platform is a disaster at best. Eight different files using unique, unfriendly XML and .NET variant code are all it takes to make a WMC app with a button our two. Documentation for developers is relatively non-existent. This is why you don’t see lots of apps for Media Center, why it take forever to update the apps that are out there and why Media Center has not flourished like we all hoped it would.

    Clearly no one on the Media Center team was listening when Balmer said “Developers! Developers! Developers!” You can have an Android app up on the entire Android platform with a single XML file and a Java file. WinRT is what all Media Center apps should be based on. HTML, JavaScipt, C#, C++, Silverlight. Done. Programmers, n00b and veteran, can understand and learn these languages easily. File structure is greatly simplified. As seen in the developer preview, Visual Studio 11 will have great WinRT UI WYSIWYG tools for Metro UI development. WinRT removes or lessens the barrier to developing great home theater applications, thus we could finally get the home theater support and app market we Microsoft fanatics all want and deserve.

    Metro UI is WMC 2.0
    The hubs and tiles of the Metro UI Windows 8 start screen respond to remote commands much like in Windows Media Center. Hubs and tiles are easily customizeable through a couple clicks of the mouse in the sub-menus of the Metro UI. There is no need to start a separate application when Windows starts, it is Windows already.
    Today, Windows Media Center is pretty much uncustomiseable. If you install any new plugins, usually a new strip is created and eventually the whole system gets cluttered up. Yes, you can use Media Center Studio, an unsupported, crashy WYSIWIG editor for WMC. But that is for us hardcore Media Center fanatics, not the average Joe.

    The Windows 8 Browser
    You can have nearly the entire Internet at the buttons of your TV remote. Just hit the IE tile and up pops the Metro Internet Explorer. Now you can manage your streaming services, check your email or Twitter account, or pop up a YouTube video. The Win8 browser has its limits though. No support for plugins (not even Silverlight) will prohibit you from watching Netflix, VUDU or Amazon. Not to feer, that is what WinRT is for!

    The Windows Store
    Windows Media Center lacks a centralized location for managing, discovering and updating plugins. Yes, there is the Extras Gallery, but no one puts their apps there. Yes, the Digital Lifestyle had the right idea with their Made for Media Center app store, but it does not come pre-installed, it has no payment system for developers, and it is rarely updated. The Windows Store in Windows 8 comes pre-installed and provides a full-featured app store supported by Microsoft. This is where you will get your Netflix app and Your VUDU app and your Amazon Instant Video app and your MyMovies app. This is where you will get your ŕ la carte movies and TV from Microsoft once they kill Zune.

    Browsing Local and Network Media
    Music, Videos, and Pictures are all represented as hubs in the Win8 Metro UI. However, we all know that MediaBrowser and MyMovies have much prettier UIs. There is no reason why they can’t build WinRT hubs that look beautiful and function in similar ways. If they could hack together MCML to build their rich interfaces, then doing an even better job with HTML, JavaScript and C# should be no problem.

    Skype Integration
    In 2011, Microsoft bought Skype in an attempt to either block others from gobbling it up or to gain some serious brand recognition in the teleconferencing market. Either way, it is inevitable that a robust Skype app will appear in the Windows Store on Windows 8. While there is a WMC plugin for Skype, a free native Windows application has to give the user a better experience.

    Streaming Services
    Streaming services are a primary function of home theater PCs. Netflix is already built into Windows Media Center. But what about VUDU, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes and the soon-to-be Redbox/Verizon service? For that stuff, you either have to go through a browser or hack WMC to display an icon for a separate app that works with a streaming service. Ridiculous. Why not just replicate their HTML/JavaScript code from their websites into WinRT apps? Done. But why didn’t these companies make apps for Media Center? See my first point.
    Read more at:
    Microsoft Should Cut Windows Media Center from Windows 8 | The Digital Media Zone

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,851
    8250 x86 + 7 SP1 x86 + Ubuntu 12.04 LTS x86


    ...or simple reasons why they should not remove it: It works awesome for me and I think its awesome.

    Not interested in all that other stuff the author try to push and I suspect there are tons of people like me.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1


    Personally I completely agree with the first six points. The final two are irrelevant to me.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    No they shouldn't remove it. They should definitely improve it. I mean if they can remake it then fine but if they are gonna pull a start screen on us and removal of start button without a real solution then no.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Creating separate apps to replace WMC which already works perfectly seems pointless to me especially when you would need to pay for each and everyone of those apps and WMC "was" free.

    WMC rules and no single app will be replacing it anytime soon. I with GMAN on this one.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
    Creating separate apps to replace WMC which already works perfectly seems pointless to me especially when you would need to pay for each and everyone of those apps and WMC "was" free.

    WMC rules and no single app will be replacing it anytime soon. I with GMAN on this one.
    Currently I'm only using two WMC for two plugins, Media Browser (free) and a Blu-ray playback program.

    Currently they are working on a Metro version of Media Browser, which will cut out the middle man.

    Then all I need is a half-decent blu-ray disk player (which handles DVD)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by IceFire View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
    Creating separate apps to replace WMC which already works perfectly seems pointless to me especially when you would need to pay for each and everyone of those apps and WMC "was" free.

    WMC rules and no single app will be replacing it anytime soon. I with GMAN on this one.
    Currently I'm only using two WMC for two plugins, Media Browser (free) and a Blu-ray playback program.

    Currently they are working on a Metro version of Media Browser, which will cut out the middle man.

    Then all I need is a half-decent blu-ray disk player (which handles DVD)
    I don't doubt that someone is working on a version of WMC for metro, but why is it required when it already works as "free" software on all versions of Windows. Yes, I need a decent Blu-Ray player/burner for both my regular PC and my Media center PC, and they aren't cheap. I just play Blu-Ray's on my Sony Blu-Ray player for now.

    In the mean time I have yet to see any App that can replace "all of the" functionality of WMC, movies, music, streaming TV on and on.

    It would take one hell of an App to get me to exchange my current Media Center PC for Windows 8 and some type of Media player App. As is, I set my Windows 7 Media PC to open up with WMC already on full screen, I'm not so sure that Windows 8 will allow that even with WMC installed or with an App.

    I think it may be a while before we see such an App. I'm kind of hoping that the WMC add on for Windows 8 will only be a buck or two so this may turn into a non issue anyway.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 1,851
    8250 x86 + 7 SP1 x86 + Ubuntu 12.04 LTS x86


    Quote Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
    Yes, I need a decent Blu-Ray player/burner for both my regular PC and my Media center PC, and they aren't cheap. I just play Blu-Ray's on my Sony Blu-Ray player for now.
    Have you tried Media Player Classic Home Cinema? I know for a fact it can play the codecs very well with hardware acceleration. What I am not sure of is if it keeps the BluRay format so you can just load the disc instead of choosing the .m2ts files. I don't have any physical BR discs or 1:1 copies on my HDD to try.

    Basically, it for sure will play but not sure if can include menus or play "automatically" without selecting specific files in Windows Explorer...etc...

    If you ever go the purchasing route, PowerDVD 11 is the goods, once you tweak all its bloat to be disabled in the registry.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by IceFire View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
    Creating separate apps to replace WMC which already works perfectly seems pointless to me especially when you would need to pay for each and everyone of those apps and WMC "was" free.

    WMC rules and no single app will be replacing it anytime soon. I with GMAN on this one.
    Currently I'm only using two WMC for two plugins, Media Browser (free) and a Blu-ray playback program.

    Currently they are working on a Metro version of Media Browser, which will cut out the middle man.

    Then all I need is a half-decent blu-ray disk player (which handles DVD)
    I don't doubt that someone is working on a version of WMC for metro, but why is it required when it already works as "free" software on all versions of Windows. Yes, I need a decent Blu-Ray player/burner for both my regular PC and my Media center PC, and they aren't cheap. I just play Blu-Ray's on my Sony Blu-Ray player for now.

    In the mean time I have yet to see any App that can replace "all of the" functionality of WMC, movies, music, streaming TV on and on.

    It would take one hell of an App to get me to exchange my current Media Center PC for Windows 8 and some type of Media player App. As is, I set my Windows 7 Media PC to open up with WMC already on full screen, I'm not so sure that Windows 8 will allow that even with WMC installed or with an App.

    I think it may be a while before we see such an App. I'm kind of hoping that the WMC add on for Windows 8 will only be a buck or two so this may turn into a non issue anyway.
    There's XBMC . which does virtually everything WMC does.

    And do you use all of WMC's features? Do you actually have a TV tuner installed and record and watch all of your shows on it? Even then, those with services such as IPTV (like Telus TV) is completely incompatible.

    And WMC isn't completely "all in one." It doesn't do blu-ray without a plugin, nor does it handle your own movie and TV collections perfectly without a plugin. An "all in one" solution isn't really the best, anyways. Not everyone uses every single feature, such as sports lookup, Radio (which requires a radio tuner installed), or Recorded TV (which doesn't allow you to use your own videos.

    Metro, on the other hand, allows you to place components and third-party applications you use fornt and center, and hide those that you don't.

    Prove to me that you absolutely NEED WMC.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 1,353
    Windows 8 Pro/Windows 8 Pro/Windows 7 64 Bit64Bit/Windows XP


    Just rip out WMC, like Icefire said, it's not a complete all in one and only 6% of the population use it. Why would you use it on a laptop or a tablet, it's meant for TV's. The main reason I use WMC is for music and occasionally ripped movies on my NAS.
    For movies XBMC is the best and for BluRay the best paid solution is Power DVD. There are other free solutions for people who need free.
    I'm looking forward to what Metro can bring to the table, I get bored easily on computers so new Apps new OS's keep me interested. One of the main reasons I can't stand Macs, is that they bore me to death, if I want to rip out my motherboard I can do it, if I want a new video card I can do it, upgrading is simple and cheap.
    In my opinion rip out everything that is not necessary to the majority of the people and make the OS as as light and nimble as possible. Then offer either free features or low paid ones to the people who need them.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Microsoft Should Cut Windows Media Center from Windows 8 - Ben Wade
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