The untimely death of Windows Media Center has become something of a self fulfilling prophecy for Microsoft as they skate to where the puck was rather than it could go… under their care. No, Media Center hasn’t actually been EOL-ed. But it’s been banished to a higher tier Windows 8 package or “Pro Pack” upgrade. Hoping for significant updates? Good luck with that:
What version of Windows Media Center will be included in Windows 8?
The version of Media Center included in Windows 8 is what we shipped in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. It is much consistent with what shipped in Windows 7.
Adding insult to injury, Microsoft will no longer fund MPEG2 codec licensing under Windows 8… meaning no DVD playback for you (without third party software). It’s a real shame as Media Center has been and remains a stellar product. But, as Microsoft did with Windows Mobile, they’ll let it atrophy and whither away as they’re lapped by their competitors. Or will they? As MS is wisely doubling down on the Xbox brand and ecosystem. Unfortunately, Microsoft missed their opportunity to merge the Media Center, MediaRoom, and Xbox divisions into a unified living room juggernaut as we begged years ago.
Assuming you’re less doom and gloom than I am regarding Media Center’s future prospects, you can always download the free Windows 8 Release Preview and follow these steps to take a remarkably familiar Media Center for a whirl:
Windows Media Center is not preinstalled in Windows 8 Release Preview. If you want to use Windows Media Center, you need to add it by following these steps:
- Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)
- Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Add features to Windows 8.
- Tap or click I already have a product key.
- Enter this product key: MBFBV-W3DP2-2MVKN-PJCQD-KKTF7 and then click Next.
- Select the checkbox to accept the license terms and then click Add features. Your PC will restart and Windows Media Center will now be on your PC and the tile will be pinned to the Start screen.
We’re not yet sure if or when the Windows 8 Preview expires and if you’ll be able to upgrade from the Preview Release to the commercial shipping version. So please experiment with caution.
(via Ed Bott)