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.
–Steven

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.

 

Video

Audio

 

Decoders

H.264

VC-1/WMV

MP4 Pt 2

DD+ (non-disk)

AAC

WMA

MP3

PCM

 

Format container

AVI

MPEG-2 TS

MP4

ASF

M4A

ASF

MP3

WAV

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

Comments (265)

  1. cami says:

    your good 🙂

  2. pmbAustin says:

    Any plan to include open-source video and audio formats built in to Windows 8?  Like Ogg/Vorbis and Webm?  So that things "just work"?

  3. EDDS says:

    So we are basically getting the same WMC that was with Windows 7? No upgrades?

  4. Josh says:

    what about Zune?

  5. Masahiko says:

    Is there any plan about DTCP-IP support on Windows 8 ?

  6. This was unclear. Is this "Add Feature" / "Pro Pack" free? If this is a renaming of "Windows Anytime Upgrade", it isn't free. So, basically, you are saying that Windows Media Center will be a part of Windows 8, just not free?

  7. Livio says:

    Pretty please, support "disk number" tag within WMP and Metro Music apps…

  8. Bryce says:

    please tell me you didn't introduce another windows 8 name…. "pro with media center"…..btw, call RT, Metro instead. Windows Metro if you must.

  9. tN0 says:

    So does this mean you will charge again for the same software version? Is this even legal?

  10. davidacoder says:

    This packaging is VERY confusing. If I buy Win8Pro, I don't have Media Center. If I buy Win8 and upgrade to Pro, then I have it. What?!? This really is a shame because you have finally streamlined the packaging, and now this…

    I also find it quite absurd that Win8 will not support DVD playback out of the box, whereas Win7 did. Really???

  11. Brendan says:

    So what exactly is the "Pro Pack" for regular Windows 8? Are you going to force household customers to upgrade to Win 8 Pro just to get Media Center and DVD playback? Not everyone out there is familiar with downloading 3rd party software like VLC. This completely goes against the "just works" mantra you want us to believe.

  12. Insignificant says:

    So its safe to assume this will be the last Windows Media Center version, right?

    I think DVD Playback is in Windows 8 but just not with the Windows Media Player. The focus is on the metro apps, so there will be the DVD playback?!

  13. chris says:

    @HongCho

    It actually was stated in the post. Both the Media Center Pack, and the Pro Pack are paid packs.

    @davidacoder

    That is a little confusing. I suppose MS could actually have a Pro Upgrade Pack that doesn't include Media Center as well. They did mention in the post that codec licensing costs could be part of the reason why Windows 8 won't have DVD playback. Shame though…

  14. Steve says:

    This is an excellent post.  Thank you for making it clear, and describing the reasons for the changes in a straightforward manner.

  15. @chris Thanks. This probably means that I will stay with my Windows 7 Home Premium for as long as possible…

  16. For those of use wanting what Media Centeer offers but NOT wanting same old Media Center app that specific  Media Center features "Record Live TV" and , "Media Guide" , will be able to be added to the Metro Desktop

  17. kerry says:

    @HongCho the way I read it, the "Player" (thing that can't play DVD's or watch TV) will be included in all Windows 8 editions for whatever the cost of the OS is.  The Media "Center" (thing that knows how to play DVDs/watch TV/and other royalty happy things) is the application that you will have to pay something extra (cost TBD) to upgrade to.  The diagram implies that if you already have Windows 8 Pro edition, you pay a nominal fee to get Media "Center".  If you don't have Pro yet, they will sell you one (probably more expensive) upgrade to convert normal Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro and ALSO include the Media "Center" application with that upgrade.

  18. Please ensure the video application supports tagged mp4 files (the consumer preview did not) and the decoder is updated to support timed text subtitles this is a essential in 2012.

  19. Dump WMP all together and instead bundle the Zune client software. That would help promote the Zune music pass and store. Almost everyone who uses Windows knows about iTunes but I would say less than a third would even know about Zune. The Zune music player is much better than WMP and it even follows the Metro UI guidelines.

    So just update the Zune client with FLAC, OGG, better ID3 tag support, lyric support.

    For video players, I just use MPC-HC with madVR anyway.

  20. de@iru.ch says:

    Seriously hope that you can add built-in support for the DivX/XviD codecs and the MKV container format with Windows 8.

  21. David says:

    If one starts with "Windows 8" and adds the "Windows 8 Pro Pack", the naming of the upgrade doesn't obviously indicate the inclusion of Media Center. If the end result is "Windows 8 Pro with Media Center", would it be more clear to name the upgrade "Windows 8 Pro with Media Center Pack" to clearly state the inclusion of Media Center?

  22. Mulga says:

    Looks like a retrograde step to me, yet another reason to stick with Win 7.

  23. NP says:

    What about MOV file playback, i.e. Quick Time video? It was available in Windows 7. Many of the computers in academia and designer offices use Macs and iMovie, etc. Being able to play these videos on Windows 7 was a big plus of that OS for me. And now you are going to remove this functionality even from the Media Center Pack? If you will make me to pay extra for the Media Center Pack, then why don't you give me the full experience, i.e. MOV file playbak and recording, OGG playback and recording and DVD playback from WMP?

  24. dthek says:

    So basically when I paid to get windows media center when i upgraded to a windows 7 machine, it was useless because now if i upgrade to windows 8 it will be TAKEN AWAY?

    I hope this gets changed and in not Windows 7 with media center–> Windows 8 without media center.

  25. Andre says:

    Media Player with Support vídeo files dual audio???

    Please, say yes…

  26. TechnoTim says:

    Good and Bad.

    Bad – I don’t want to pay more, but I understand you have to keep costs down.

    Bad – NO DVD playback OOBE – but who plays dvd's anymore.  My media center uses Blu-ray, which needed purchased software anyway

    Good – windows should be cheaper

    Good – windows media center might actually get some decent features now that it can generate income.  It has pretty much been the same since XP MCE.

    Please do WMC some justice.  My WMC is ready for Windows 8 action, but not if it is just going to be a carry over from 7.

  27. It is very disappointing that Windows Media Centre, or at the very least, LiveTV/EPG Guide/RecordedTV METRO Apps will NOT be OFFICIALLY supported on Windows RT (Tablets/Slates/Hybrids).

    LiveTV/EPG/RecordedTV is the ONLY functionality missing from the Xbox Media Apps.

    Very disappointed 🙁

  28. I've been confused by and unhappy with Media Center vs Media Player, typical Microsoft old and new, regular and Live overlap.  Additionally I never could get Media Center for Windows 7 to include just the Media that I wanted and the definitely exclude the media I don't want.  I also don't want to load the various libraries with files just for the Media Center just to make the darn thing work.  The choice of files I select to include in  Media Center should be totally independent of where those files are located in the file system. I do like lots of folders, subfolders, etc.

    I see my Windows desktop installation as a full-featured, full-powered OS ready to handle any task I ask it to undertake.  Because of that I'd like to avoid the "doesn't play this", "won't play that" mess that both Windows 7 and Mac OS X currently are. I mean how lame is it that in 2012 an OS cannot natively support all of the popular codecs and ODD encryption methods?

    Mainly I want Windows 8 (and 7 BTW) to handle FLAC, BR, other hi-def audio and all the variations of mpeg like M4V, M4A and MPE.  Additionally BR decoding ought to be built in and available to the Media Center .  I do not expect to obtain all of the above for free either.  Paying Microsoft for the codecs and decoding license is much preferable to installing a bunch of third-party bloat just to get a job done. Right now I'm using PowerDVD just to play Blu-rays, MakeMKV to make a digital copy of BR movies I own, and VLC to play the MKV files.  I think at one time I had FLAC playing though Media Center but I've forgotten. It's just a mess.  I also recall that MOV files are a problem.

    Please, make Windows 8 handle it all. If devs want to offer third-party solutions with improved function that's great.  However Windows ought to be able to handle all media right out of the box (understanding that "out of the box" means additional payments to Microsoft when the system is set up.

    Simply put if it plays on iTunes, plays on PowerDVD, plays on my HT DVD player or is available from HDtracks.com it out to just work.

  29. Can you define "marginal cost" of Media Center Pack?

    Is it $/£/€ 20-30?

    What about the pricing for the Windows 8 Pro Pack – marginal cost too? 🙂

  30. jmwills says:

    rumored to be around $50

  31. hamakaze japan says:

    I am allowed to always read.

    I would like you to strengthen Windows Media Player.

    Please let me reflect the following two points.

    Incidentally 8 goes with the version 12?

    – Make flv form correspond as standard.

    – Revive an extended tag

  32. Richard says:

    Wow…what a confusing post. I think I have more questions now than I did before reading this. So is this saying that Windows 8 will not be able to play DVDs or Recorded TV files unless you have Pro with the Media Center Pack? Seriously, this is probably one of the least clear posts I've read on this blog, and this is at the heart of the issues our readers care about.

  33. "rumored to be around $50". I'll raise you.

    Get me the clean beauty that is QuickTime X, the ease of use and function of iTunes, the simplicity of popping any kind of commercial disk into a great ODD, FLV (of course) plus all other modern codecs and I've got $100 for an all-comprehensive, flexible Media Center Pack.

  34. Optical says:

    So if I upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate, it will actually downgrade me to some basic Windows 8 without DVD support. I guess I'll just stay away from Windows 8 then.

    It is also ridiculous to be forced to download and install WMC every time you set up a new or reformatted machine.

    There should be a SKU with WMC and DVD playback working right out of the box.

    It's already bad that Microsoft does not offer native Blu-ray support (in one of the more expensive SKUs) but no DVD playback is a huge regression. I would like to know what's the real cost of DVD decoder licensing, it doesn't seem to be more than a few dollars. And again, that's no reason not to offer it at a price on a more expensive multimedia SKU.

  35. I've long since said I would be willing to pay for WMC; however, the need to have (or upgrade to) the Pro SKU is insane.  I will install Pro on my desktop and might want to add WMC.  The computer in my living room has no need for any other Pro features so I should be able to buy the cheaper version and add WMC for the same price.

    Also, I'm willing to pay for WMC because that would provide a customer base and would encourage new updates and features.  I'm not willing to start paying for something that is identical to what I have now for free.

    I never found a program I like as much as WMC with the MediaBrowser plug-in, but a paid product needs to compete better so I'll look again.

  36. Also, why use the Windows Anytime Upgrade idea to add a new program (WMC)?  Isn't this what customers would expect to find in the Windows Store?  The store would allow people to find, try, and purchase stuff like this and would make it easier on everyone.

    In fact, most of the stuff on "add/remove windows features" should appear as apps in the store (even if they are already built into windows).  This way users only need to go to one place to do anything (the place where you get a 30% cut).  Wouldn't more eyeballs in the store be a good thing (for you)?

  37. You can't seriously expect us to pay for the EXACT same software again??? All Windows 8 METRO requires is the following:

    (a) LiveTV App

    (b) EPG Guide App (Centralised guide powered by SkyDrive) – Allow plugin services for missing Data: e.g. DigiGuide

    (c) Recorded TV App

    Everything else is already supported.

  38. @Steven Sinofsky

    So will new Windows Media Player (v.13) make its way to Windows 8?  I think Consumer Preview still uses v.12 (same UI and features) from Windows 7. By the way, what are the new features in Media Center. We don't see any screenshot or demo for this product yet. I checked WMC on Consumer Preview but its UI and UX are exactly the same as Windows 7's one. Team can't charge more just for us to buy the out-dated stuff that we already have in the previous version of Windows unless you make something new, innovative, and worth paying this time.

  39. I don't have any worrying about not having Media Player play DVD since there are many free and better quality out there offer this features. Doing this seems like another disadvantage for users which prevents from upgrading to Windows 8. It reminds me Windows Extras thing in Windows Vista which is a big mistake. I have the feeling that they are following trend which is Vista-fail>Seven-success>Eight-fail again>Nine-success!!!!

  40. John Hay says:

    What about xbox support? Will Windows 8 Pro Media Center be required for it?

  41. Frank says:

    Wait, you're going to have to pay for a DLC pack to enable DVD playback? In 2012? HAHAHAHA. What an asinine thing  this windows 8 is.

  42. Joe H says:

    Honestly, the idea of releasing something unchanged and expecting people to pay for it is ridiculous.  If Media Center was going to be an improvement over the version in Windows 7, that'd be one thing, but you say yourself that it's the same thing.

    Now, split out the parts of Media Center so that I can pin things like Live TV and Guide to my Start Screen (where I assume they'll be next to things like a Hulu Plus Metro-style app), and add in native mkv support (including subtitle/audio stream switching) and then maybe I'd be willing to pay for it.

  43. sparticus1701 says:

    I'm quite disappointed to have to pay for an additional package.  Is the margin on Windows too slim that you have to charge me more for a decoder?

    At least put Blu-ray in there!

  44. Jeremy says:

    Not many people use Windows Media Centre, mainly because of the limited playback support, poor interface, and the fact that very few people have connected their Windows 8 PC’s to a TV.

    Hopefully the first few issues will be resolved to make this a worthwhile paid upgrade.

    evonet.com.au/microsoft-planning-on-charging-for-windows-media-centee-in-windows-8

  45. Matt says:

    In general, I've been very happy and excited about the news surrounding Windows 8.  However, this post completely turns me off to the idea of upgrading to Windows 8.  When MS hears "I'll pay extra for Media Center, just include it", that doesn't mean "I'll pay extra to upgrade to a new OS, then another extra to get the SAME Media Center I already have with Windows 7".

    As far as we know W8 Media Center will be an identical port of W7 Media Center.  Why on earth would anyone pay (twice) to upgrade to the exact same thing they already have????  I love Media Center, but unfortunately, I see this as the beginning of the death of Media Center.  MS will be charging people to get something they already own, therefore nobody will buy it, therefore MS thinks nobody is interested and stops supporting it all together.

    On the other hand, if MS improves and updates Media Center for Windows 8, then I will be happy to pay an additional fee to get it.  But I'd have to be mentally insane to "upgrade" to the same version I already have in W7.  It sounds more like asking for a donation than asking us to purchase an upgrade.  W8 was coming together so nicely so far, how could MS miss the mark so badly on Media Center???

    One question…  Since Media Center will be available for W8, does that mean that we will be able to boot directly to Media Center like we can now?  Or will we be forced to enter the Start Screen and navigate to Media Center from there?

  46. So, this post contains mainly bad news:

    1. Media Center will only be present in Windows 8 through optional add-in packs. Why do you not just build these features into Windows 8 Pro?

    2. DVD support is removed from Windows 8. What?! That is a step backwards to 2001, when Windows XP was first released and did not contain a DVD decoder (DVD decoding was added in Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate). Again, these features should be built into Windows 8 Pro, not purchased through an optional add-on pack.

    3. DVD playback will not be supported in Windows Media Player on Windows 8 under any circumstances.

    "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. "

    I hope that you are not really talking about the Music and Video apps included in the Consumer Preview. These apps are absolutely horrible and are some of the worst media playback programs I have ever used. If I want to listen to my own music, why to I have to look at a bunch of album covers that I will never, ever listen to? Why is so much emphasis placed on a "marketplace' full of music that I will not buy?

  47. cjmccarthy72 says:

    In Windows 9, will the ability to play audio CDs be removed? I am hoping Windows 9 will only have the ability to play VHS tapes, or perhaps just Super8 😉  !!

    Seriously,when the average Joe puts a DVD in a PC and it does not play….

    I think there are some guys in Microsoft who want Steve Ballmer fired on day 1 of Win8's release. I thought Windows 8 was starting to look like a car crash for us desktop users- now it's looking like an 8 lane motorway pile up! I am going to stick with Win7 unless there are some major improvements for WMC

  48. Alonso Busotz Armengot says:

    When do to to make spanish version? do you can to use translate lenguage????

  49. Tudor says:

    This is incredibly disappointing news. I don't care about DVD playback, so I say good riddance to that.

    But Media Center I absolutely love. Every time I have to switch to the cable box or the TV's native interface I feel like I'm traveling back in time. As many commentators already pointed out, I will not be paying for Media Center and Windows 8 Pro if it includes no (or minimal) changes. You will analyze your data on Media Center sales and conclude people don't want it, and you will end up killing it.

    I WILL gladly pay for Media Center if it includes some additions like a native Hulu client, or native Skype integration or at least a broader API set to allow 3rd parties to integrate better with the system. I know you probably think XBox is the future of home entertainment, but it isn't (not for the next 10 – 20 years or so). Cable companies won't give up so easily, and people will still be using CableCard tuners to get their TV content for the foreseeable future.

    You're throwing away the bird that you have in the hand now for 2 hypothetical birds that won't show up in the bush until after you're half way to being obsolete.

  50. What Microsoft is saying – "We do not make decisions based on telemetry" and "no compromises approach" are all straight to the face lies.

    Will the DVD tab re-appear in Windows Media Player with the addition of a third party decoder? Or you are entirely yanking the ability of Media Player to play DVDs even with the addition of third party decoders?

    I would also like to buy an "Add-XP-Vista-Windows 7-and-other-missing-features-to-Windows 8 pack". Unfortunately, such a pack doesn't exist.

  51. @Bernardo Caldas

    Pretty gutted about this. I have no trouble paying for WMC. It’s a great bit of software and understandably you need to recover your costs in putting this to market. That’s fine.

    But I’m not going to pay for software that is identical to the free version I have already. That’s really really disappointing. I will pay for the software if you upgrade it. If you give me native Blu-ray support. If you allow developers more access to the architecture so programs like MyMovies work better.

    I’m absolutely happy to give you my money, but only if I see value. Asking for money for the same version we currently get for free is just a slap in the face. On my HTPC, I’ll be sticking with Windows 7. Which is just a huge shame.

  52. LoveWindows says:

    Will installing "Windows 8 Pro Pack" add the Start button back?

  53. MetroSucks says:

    Wow what a rip

  54. With this announcement, in my opinion, MS has proven that is doesn't understand nor want to win in the home market.  Today's Windows 7 customer has Media Player, Media Center and potentially Zune.  3 different clients with 3 different experiences and support.  Add to that the now defunct Media Center Extender, fragmented XBox experience and after thought Home Server and no wonder consumers are looking at alternatives.  Now here comes Win8 with seperate metro panel music, picture and videos which can barely work with Windows Server 8 and an "upgrade path" to what is now a legacy app.  So I guess this annoucement is also to announce the death of the HTPC.   And now you're try to get into Home Automation with HomeOS – please…  spare us…

  55. Scott says:

    Cant wait for Windows 8 to fail, so MS can produce a product that includes DVD playback, Start Button and a built in updated Media Center, Windows 9!  Maybe Apple will create such software so I can switch operating systems.

  56. Hardly anyone uses Media Center anymore. Certainly those few that do are going to be upset at the lack of Media Center developments, but it would be a bit like them expanding horse and buggy development at this point. I do think it wasn't highlighted properly in Windows 7 though. Many people didn't even know they had that kind of capability in the first place. It would be more popular if it was marketed better. I think it may be worthwhile to look at integrating services like Netflix and Hulu into Media Center. Being able to access all your video content (including cable, DVD, etc) from one place would be a win for everyone involved.

    Obviously, Microsoft can't just sink tons of money into Media Center and sell it at a loss, but I am confused as to why we won't be able to add Media Center to the standard edition of Windows 8. For a little less than the cost of both Pro and the Media Center Pack combined.

    I'm also starting to find the name "Windows 8" for the regular edition to be a big annoyance. I have to keep wasting time describing whether I'm talking about Windows 8 in general or Windows 8 the SKU every time I use the term. We should all just start calling it Windows 8 Standard, and Microsoft can catch up with us eventually 🙂

  57. There is the world we’d like and the world we got…  I think we are just in an awkward stage of the technology in this space.  Streaming is where it’s currently at…  The cost of codecs that have a low duty cycle makes no business sense to incorporate into the OS.  

    Personally, I have TB's of movies and MP3’s ripped to a WHS… Those files rarely get used.  

    I stream from Netflix and HULU and Pandora. Of course if the “Extender” story was better, things might be a different but in hindsight… that’s where the codec issue first appeared to me. So I stopped fighting that battle back then and started streaming.

    I actually have trouble justifying the energy that the WHS uses to keep those movies at the ready..  

    Most TV’s come with the apps built in… no extender of box top…  less power consumption…

    Buying WMC just to play a BR disk…  yeeesh…  WMC was never a nimble app, it always seemed like a world of its own to me.  Not something to be spun up and shut down like WMP.  I am not sure how I will address address that issue yet.  

    Streamer… your nothing but a steamer…  (said rhythmically to tune of “dreamer” by Supertramp)

  58. Jod says:

    I think this is exactly what should be done with MC. I hope by separating it out it will be updated more frequently. It really needs a lot of work in Canada as it doesn't even have proper ATSC support without a crazy hack! Thanks for taking proper care of our beloved Windows Media Center, I can't wait to try it out on Windows8!

  59. cjmccarthy72 says:

    Although of course we have our own take on WMC and perhaps our favourite alternatives, I am thinking about the majority of my co-workers with no interest in it, trying to work out why their DVD will no longer play on their laptop with Windows Media Player on Win8- this is going to be an epic fail.

  60. Dissapointed - oh soooooo Disappointed .... says:

    Where do I start….?

    Infact, why bother with the effort of starting?  It's over.  WMC is dead.  

    It's cruel and unusual punishment for Micro$oft to drag it out like this.  Just come out and say it – you want WMC to die, and die soon.

    We all need to look for the best alternative and give it all the support we can.

    I feel so sorry for the likes of Brian Binnerup who have sunk so much effort into WMC add-on products.  (Oh and all of us who have invested in MyMovies etc!)

    Micro$oft is truley unique in the commercial world in its ability to confound its most loyal and dedicated customers.

    Now, where's that Apple Store….???

  61. t@speot.is says:

    Pretty disappointed that Windows Media Centre is being taken out of the operating system and turned into a paid product.

    Unrelated to that, removing DVD playback won't affect me. I haven't used an optical disc in years.

  62. OK says:

    Why are my posts getting filtered out?  We'll see if this makes it…

    In any case, I'm OK with this decision, but I'm glad there will be an WMC option or else I wouldn't be able to upgrade to Win8 from Win7.

    The missing Start button, on the other hand, that's just stupid.  You'll end up with hundreds of millions of Win8 machines with a variety of different Start button replacements installed, causing more problems than whatever imaginary problem you're trying to solve by getting rid of it.  

  63. Where all da windows at??? says:

    This is absolutely pathetic, you can buy a physical blu-ray player that plays everything for under 80 bucks, what excuse do you have to not provide this functionality with every version of "Windows" 8? Way to rip off your customers Micro$oft.

  64. Leon C Scott says:

    I understand the importance of media center to the whole MS consumer environment and all, but at some point I think it would a lot more effective to unify the upcoming 'woodstock' /newzune service with the media center to avert confusion. I feel like yall at Redmond are really 'pushing' things in the right direction, but there are (understandably) still a few aspects that could be refined, slimed, and meshed to achieve that more unified experience with Microsoft products.

    Down the road, I would expect, that windows media player's product lifecycle will be discontinued all together, or its key features will be integrated into whatever the next music service is that yall are working on, because its really no mystery that you guys are leaning towards debranding* it, like planning a break-up, so to speak, and I 'ironically in this case lol' look forward to these future break-ups/compromises of (older) products and software

  65. I agree with all negative comments about this thread. Really, I always think being able to play DVD is a basic, elementary feature that any media software nowadays must offer especially WMP. Now come to Windows Media Player, we need to pay more to get this kind of functionality? What a shame for Microsoft!!! They just made us disappointed about many things in Windows 8 already. With Apple, we don't have to comment or ask for any changes or improvements because they really know what their customers want and need. If Steve Jobs were alive and CEO of Microsoft, he would fire a lot of these people who made just crappy decisions.

  66. Leon C Scott says:

    Oh, btw, I love that comment that says that they cant wish for windows 8 to fail. It sums up all of the negativity about Microsoft lol. Really, people just can't wait for their things to die, for what reason, I sorta know but don't want to get too caught up with it. But besides the fact Windows 8 is the most innovative OS to be on the market in a few months, and how much it will change the game of PERSONAL COMPUTING for the Btr,  Windows 9 would be implying an upgrade from previous builds. What that comment describes sounds like XP, Vista, Windows 7….. There is a place for that stuff, in the clearance section, while the rest of the world uses their time travelling machines, unfortunately there will be those gloating at their 500 pound laptop playing the DVD version of the little mermaid like its the best thing sense… sliced bread.

    Go MS,

    Go Windows 8

    Go Innovation

  67. Leon C Scott says:

    And if Ben Franklin were alive, we would have had more power efficient light sources. lol one of the worse things to do is to talk about what isn't as if it was. There are too many people with so many great ideas to feel that you have to pull someone from their gravestone to make a difference. Think of it this way, would you rather spend 800 extra dollars on a MacBook to achieve DVD playback, or less than 50 dollars on an upgraded software (W8), No matter how you piece it up, Mac OS is doesn't have all of the essential TOOLS to true computing productivity.

  68. k4kaliazz says:

    What I (seemingly) understand:

    OEMs don't want to have to include a pricey Windows that includes royalty fees for decoders, when they don't even support it. Since the price shown to customer is device price + Windows price, they see a more expensive one. The royalty-less Windows makes that whole sum go down.

    So, if someone buys a Windows directly at retail, s/he will get this WMC pack automatically, but not if they buy a device like laptop, tablet etc.

    // This might be bad business but I'm not commenting on that.

    What I don't understand:

    Why are you doing this whole WMC pack dance? This will only confuse customers. Why don't you make WMC as a metro app? It will be better for the ecosystem and the future of Windows too. It already is Metro-esque, yet seems dated. To port it to Metro seems obvious, but time-consuming, step.

    P.S. – This text box is acting oddly: The text goes out of the border and when it does, some words go missing. I'm using Win8, so there's some feedback. 🙂

  69. Leon C Scott says:

    2nd that, with the text box thing. I think it may have more to do with either IE10, or this page in general

  70. I love windows too says:

    My post didn't show up either….

  71. cjmccarthy72 says:

    Last 2 commentators- problems typing with IE10 and Win8! LOL!

    So none of these expensive royalties with Windows 8. Great! Will Windows 8 therefore cost like a new Apple OS then- $20ish. Hmmm!

  72. I love windows too says:

    As I was saying… I just bought a Win 7 3 user pack from a Vietnamese guy at Amazon for $150, $50 a license.  That should get me through all this Win 8 unknown.. notice they added back the up folder button on explorer, missing on Win 7.

  73. BenM says:

    +1 to for making WMC as a metro app.  Makes much more sense.

    Metro on the TV is the second thing is it only good for (other being a tablet).

  74. Ravendra says:

    its great

  75. Windows 7 = Windows XP…The next OS that will not die!

    You are only shooting yourselves in the foot, you are creating another support nightmare like Windows XP currently is…You are still having to extend support for XP because Vista sucked, now looks like Windows 8 might suck so looks like Windows 7 is gonna be around for a loooooooooooooooooooong time

  76. Jim says:

    Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Whew, thanks for letting me get that out of my system.

    Microsoft, I have stood by and defended you all these years… I've been a proud PC, nerd glasses and all. But now you want me to pay extra in Windows 8 for something I already have in Windows 7? Otherwise no DVD support, period? And even then, DVD support only for the Media Center product you're not going to update or upgrade at all? You're killin' me. I don't care what your telemetry says… you had to know this wasn't going to come across well. I think I'm done here. Hellllooo Macintosh.

  77. I love Windows too says:

    I love it so much I just right-click the bottom left screen corner, and in place of the start button is a text menu; just click run and type notepad.exe, who needs Metro?  

    I'm running build 8250 and the video app doesn't work at all for me, just a bright red ugly screen.  I'm downloading Win8CP again to see if there's a newer build.

    And who needs a Start Menu with a Shutdown button?  Just push your power button; or run Run and type shutdown/s… I love DOS too!

    talk about going backwards!!!

  78. Eric says:

    Wait so Windows 8, won't support DVD playback out of the box? Your not going to support something so redimentary, something that shouldn't even be listed as a feature, something that every single freaking user will try and do and be confused why it's not working? You can't be freaking serious? This is a freaking joke…

  79. DVDGuy says:

    We don't need WMC but native built in DVD playback

    Do not spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar.

  80. B8Blog says:

    @Eric — Today when PCs ship with DVD drives there is a combination of software and licenses between Microsoft and PC makers that enables DVD playback.  Tomorrow when a PC ships with a DVD drive (or a DiY DVD drive is added to a PC) it will be able to play DVD movies just fine if, as is the case today, the PC maker includes the software and licenses that build on the software and licenses Microsoft provides.  Similarly, on upgrade the software and licenses will remain on upgrade.  The way this works is to consider that to play a DVD you need a DVD drive and the software and licenses required for that will come with the DVD drive.  To legally play a DVD the software and associated licenses need to be acquired somehow and the most straight forward way for everyone is at the time the DVD drive is acquired.  For the vast majority of people, this will be seamless as they experience a PC with an optical drive and DVD playback just works.

    This post described the changes to Media Center and how we will provide Windows Media Player, but that is separate from the way things work today and will continue to work.  We're just adapting to a world where the customer need and usage have changed as much as the shipment of optical drives has shifted.  While I recognize how folks are talking about their usage, there's a lot of data to support the change in video consumption, DVD sales, and DVD playback in Windows.  It just isn't the case that "every single freaking user will try [this]" given the fairly dramatic changes in media playback.  This is a genuine and significant change in the overall ecosystem around PCs when it comes to media playback.   Even in this blog several people have commented that plastic discs are not part of their usage scenarios any more.

    We made the change to distribute Media Center based on the above licensing requirements combined with the expressed desire by folks commenting on this blog to make it available even at marginal cost (marginal is small, honest, and we just haven't determined the final prices yet based on ongoing work but we are aiming for single digit dollars but we don't control the truly marginal costs).  We wanted to include Media Player for everyone without everyone incurring the cost even if they don't even have an optical drive (see http://www.zdnet.com/…/4944 for some commentary for example with some of that author's views of the overall cost) which is why WMP does not include all the software and licenses for DVD playback.  

    For what it is worth, I'm a person with two "HTPCs" and a server with 500+ DVDs (and CableCARD tuners).  I plan on the Media Center solution here but I recognize that most people are not like that and things have changed to a streaming model for most people I know.

    Finally, for those interested, the use of Blu-Ray format discs is even more complex since it imposes a set of hardware requirements and software requirements as well.  It is not simply another CODEC and all the software and licenses are different.  No other OS includes this format.  But again, if you buy a PC with a Blu-Ray drive, chances are the PC maker (or drive maker) includes the software and licenses required for playback just as you would expect.  

    Steven

  81. agree with Matt and WindowsVista567

    WMC users will never upgrade to windows 8 to pay for the same thing that's already built in and free in windows 7.

    Windows media player has been my favorite media player since I stared using Windows. But, without DVD playback support, it sucks.

    DVDs still play important role in home entertainment and movie experiences, though US and  few other countries are moving to video streaming services over the internet.

    WMP is vastly superior to both Video and Music app for the desktop users. And, I think you are letting desktop users down by downgrading WMP.

    And I have to download additional software to play my movies, that's frustrating.

    I think I will be waiting for Windows 7 service pack 2 and skipping Windows 8

    Thanks to no DVD support in windows 8.

  82. dividebyzero says:

    Nice of you folks to censor comments you don't like.

  83. dividebyzero says:

    Let's try this again.

    We all know metro only exists so Microsoft can leverage its desktop monopoly to help push their phone OS.

  84. I think not being able to play a DVD in Win 8, without paying for something, whether through MC OR Media Player is a giant step backward in Sanity. If Windows 8 has to cost an extra 5 bucks to have it included, it's better to have it then face the angry face of the consumer who will be STUNNED, that they cannot do something they have been doing for YEARS.

  85. Cameron_Eldridge says:

    This is another extraordinarily bad move with Windows 8. What will happen to people who upgrade from Windows 7? Will the lose the ability to playback DVD's with Windows Media Player? Will they lose Windows Media Centre? What happens to their recorded TV shows? What about their schedules, libraries? Media Centre Extenders?

    This edition of Windows seems to be removing more features than it adds. Even then the features added are not actually wanted. This will only drive people away from the PC, to tablets and Macs. Don't expect Windows 8 to blow away the tablet market, just like Windows Phone, it will be far too little, far too late. The PC is the only thing you've got right now, don't throw that away as well.

  86. Someone says:

    It is ok to make WMC an addon. But it should be available to all Windows versions.

    But there is another main thing. It is ridiculous to have a computer running all day and night only to watch Tv for some time or to record a movie. With rising costs for energy everywhere this is very expensive. Given the quick Win 8 boot times there should be a feature that wakes the WMC pc up only when it is really needed. Starting a scheduled recording -> WMC wakes up. Watching TV -> WMC wakes up.

  87. And what about WebM and Matroska?

  88. Matt Sharpe says:

    "Windows 8 will deliver a world-class video and audio entertainment experience…" "but without DVD playback support."

    Add this to the already long list of reasons not to buy Windows 8.

  89. Jake says:

    Sigh. A lot of wishful thinking here.

    Folks. Win8 MC looks to be identical to Win7. MS has stated as such many time. So get used to it.

    OGG? MKV? WebM (LOL. WebM.) Dream on.

    I agree that the lack of legacy media support (IE:DVD) out of the box is a complete and utter joke.

    For media fans there is ZERO reason to upgrade to Windows 8. Zero.

  90. @Steven Sinofsky So I purchased a Desktop computer (Dell and OEM Windows 7) with a Blu-ray drive. If I purchase and upgrade to Windows 8, will I have to pay more just to get Blu-ray and DVD playback to work or Dell will have it covered also?

  91. Folks keep cool! Cyberlink is currently developing a MetroStyle version of it's PowerDVD software for Win8 and i bet that most OEMs will preload it! So we don't need really native DVD support!

    http://www.cyberlink.com/…/press-news-content.do

    Here you can see the software in action it starts at min 0:54 http://www.youtube.com/watch

    Could the Media Center be available as an addon package to download like it was for the N versions of Windows?

    Than we would save some space on the HD and in the ISO.

  92. I have no problem, in principle, about paying for Windows Media Center in an add-on pack. But it seems to me, reading this post, that the Windows 8 Pro Pack also contains BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, Boot from VHD, Client Hyper-V, Domain Join, Encrypting File System, Group Policy and Remote Desktop (host) as well as Windows Media Center.

    I don't want or need these, and I assume that I'm going to be expected to pay for them as part of the Windows 8 Pro Pack. I'm still having a facepalm moment here…

  93. Martin says:

    Subtitle support, DVD playback and open format support (MKV, Ogg, WebM) is essential, otherwise users will still download VLC or other apps.

  94. Thanks for the note Steven. I'm also part of the "I'm willing to pay for Media Center just include it somehow" camp, and I will fork over for  Win8's MC. My Win7 media machine doesn't get much Media Center usage as I haven't run a cable over to it yet, but I've been a VERY happy user of Media Center in the past and definitely want to support it. Plus, this might finally get me off my duff to install that cable, heh.

    I hope that there is a way to tack on a license for Media Center to a clean install of a machine. I'm the sort of person that vastly prefers a clean install to any sort of repair/recovery/rollback feature since I understand better what I'm getting at the end. I would be displeased if I had to re-purchase a Pro Pack each time I reinstall the machine. Admittedly, this is not a common occurrance, but it is something that happens ever. I suppose if such a purchase were tied to a Live account it would just re-install it when the account is reconnected, similarly to when I put a new ROM on my Android tablet and my apps are all reinstalled.

    Media Center really is the best at what it does. There was a post by a Canadian author I follow requesting DVR advice. Of the responses (by myself included), many of us were supportive of Windows Media Center: http://www.rifters.com/crawl (caution, often strong language). People may not use MC very much, but those that do really enjoy it and its utility.

  95. Please extend support for internet TV on other countries especially in Asia.

  96. George says:

    Well you just lot my support. I'm sticking with 7 if I have to play extra just to play a DVD.

    Bad job MS.

  97. H says:

    Will is remember I've purchased te MCE pack should I have to re-install Windows 8?

  98. canouna says:

    Windows Codename "Titanic"

  99. Kevin says:

    I'm a lifelong Windows fan and can see so much potential in Windows 8, but with this I think you're really shooting yourself in the foot.

    Wow. I get that the codecs and royalties cost extra but don't make us pay for what we had before! Charge us for a really nice metro friendly Live TV/Recorded TV/EPG app. Imagine that hooked up to Kinect. You wouldn't need a remote, you wouldn't need to maintain the closed WMC environment, and you'd still get the best of the WMC 6 foot experience. Where is the incentive for people to upgrade?

    Even worse is the decision around DVD. You're telling me that my Dad could go and buy a brand new Windows 8 machine, with a DVD drive, and not be able to play a DVD? Tell me why he wouldn't just go and buy a Mac.

    I'm now not considering Windows 8 for anything other than a tablet experience. This from someone who has 4 Windows machines in the house.

  100. bp says:

    Way to fail at localization.

    > the vast majority of video consumption on the PC and other mobile devices is coming from online sources such as YouTube

    …which does not cover the use cases of DVDs or Live TV

    > Hulu,

    …which is US-only

    > Netflix

    …which is US-only

    > or any of the other myriad of online and downloadable video services available.

    …I can only think of Amazon (US-only) and the iPlayer (UK-only).

    But clearly if it's okay in the US, it's okay everywhere.

  101. Philip Colmer says:

    I understand leaving the DVD codec out of Media Player. As Steven Sinofsky says, new PCs will come with 3rd party software to handle DVD playing.

    I understand leaving WMC out of the core Windows platform … but here is the crux: SO LONG AS IT IS IMPROVED! As others have said, if you want to charge for it, you better have improved it!

    As I understand it, WMC in the Consumer Preview is UNTOUCHED. It still doesn't handle the surround sound format used by UK Freeview broadcasts. The bug around search-based recordings isn't fixed.

    What really boggles my mind, though, is that I can't help but wonder if this isn't Windows Mobile all over again. Microsoft have had a great PVR product in Windows for years but let it decline gradually. In the meantime, Apple and Google are ramping up their efforts in this area.

    We need MORE from WMC. We need a full-fat version that we can boot straight into like we do now. We also need a WinRT version so that – shock, horror – we can use a tablet to watch recordings stored ELSEWHERE. You know, like the expanders used to be able to do, or the "soft sled" concept that has been talked about for so many years.

    Come one, Microsoft. PLEASE don't drop the ball on this one.

  102. David says:

    NO DVD PLAYBACK!!! THIS IS AN F***ING JOKE!!! NOT EVERYONE HAS SUPER FAST BROADBAND YOU KNOW, AND WHAT ABOUT WHEN TRAVELLING!!! dDVD'S ARE UNIVERSAL!!! MICROSOFT FAIL!!!

  103. Fleet Command says:

    This post was full of bad news indeed. As always, Windows is unable to fulfill my media playback needs without third-party tools and as always, Microsoft's assessment of what users need is faulty. For instance, it is true that DVD sales has declined and I myself have not purchased any DVD film recently. However, I still have a large collection of DVD films, bought when DVD was fashionable and I still need to be able to watch them. People around me all have camcorders which output DVD-Video or MPEG-2.

    The other bad news is about continued lack of support for open media types that do not cost Microsoft any royalties. Yes, they need time and effort for development and testing but so help me, isn't that Microsoft's job and business?

    The end result: Nothing has changed; I still need a third-party codec pack.

  104. Raphael says:

    Just because there is Youtube, I don't throw away all my DVDs. Not again the problem that mostly older and non professional user have: They buy a new PC and they put in a DVD and nothing works (->pure frustration, because it worked on the old PC). Not everyone (especially in Europe) has a credit card to purchase an addon to play DVDs.

    I also think you should streamline the interface of WMP to make it more like the Zune Player, but a lot faster and with a smaller cpu footprint.

  105. Fleet Command says:

    P.S. If Microsoft wants to turn Windows Media Center into a separate commercial products, be advised: We are surrounded by innumerable third-party media center programs, both freeware and commercial. I expect competition.

  106. Peter Huppertz says:

    Interesting to see how this decision is based on research that ONLY COVERS THE USA.

    Hello, Redmond, this is Rest Of World speaking. It looks like Windows 7 is going to do the same refuse-to-die trick that XP pulled on MS earlier.

    Talking about waking up the competition…

  107. Jacksoft says:

    ROTFL, useless. Where are the MKV?

    I use XBMC. WMC REALLY SUCKS!

  108. Microsoft is clearly thinking ahead here.

    The only major features found in Windows Media Center not covered already with other Metro apps are TV/DVR (with TV Guide) and DVD playback.

    TV functionality is clearly legacy functionality with the advent of IPTV in its various forms (MS Mediaroom/video streaming sites/Netflix etc) but is still something that will be needed by some users for a couple more years (at least until IPTV will be available to everyone)

    So why doesn't Microsoft make or help a 3rd party make a TV/DVR Metro app (and sell it through Windows Store at the economical price announced) to replace WMC?

    Combined with Pictures/Music/Video available now we would have all the WMC functionality right on the Start Screen (which loads a lot faster than WMC).

    With WMC Remote control / Kinect navigation of the new Metro Start screen we would have a far better HTPC interface than WMC is now.

    (3rd party apps in WMC (called extras) never took off anyway. This way HTPC with Metro start screen would be a great opportunity for HTPC app devs also).

    It would also add functionality to the future IPTV app users and for the Video app users. (Personally if I could control Video app with remote control I wouldn't need WMC at all)

    DVD playback functionality will be provided by 3rd parties anyway. I see no loss here.

  109. Windows7 says:

    LMFAO…Windows 8 users need to pay extra for basic functions built into Windows 7.

  110. Three Questions

    1) If a user upgrades Windows 7 Professional to Windows 8 Pro will they lose DVD Playback and Media Center?

    2) How is Microsoft going to address "Downgrade Rights" with the Mpeg2/DVD Codec being split from the OS?  Going by their own policy of an 'equal edition downgrade' (ie Windows 8 Pro > Windows 7 Pro) would create a licensing issue since the user would "Magically" get both DVD Playback as well as Media Center in the legacy OS without ever "paying" for it.

    3) How far back will downgrade rights be offered? You cant say that downgrade rights will not be offered as this would create an increased nightmare for sysadmins everywhere when we can no-longer purchase Windows 7 Licences.

  111. Ryan says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    First, I'll counter the trend here and say thank you for keeping WMC alive. I think what most here may not appreciate is that it's likely a situation where they were probably not going to get WMC at all. Now at least there's an option. If those folks are willing to pay extra, I don't think the inclusion of Domain Join, BitLocker, etc. are going to negatively impact them. It does sound like WMC is on life support, though, so the level of ecosystem support seems uncertain at best. For example, what about the Xbox 360 media extender and other connectivity? Even with the way the post starts ("we will…  continue to support Media Center for another product lifecycle"), the writing is on the wall.

    Secondly–and much more importantly–I have a comment/request about DVD playback in WMP and business use. I get that DVD viewership is down (even among those on this blog). I also get that there are 3rd party solutions. However, I absolutely do not agree that there are "many quality solutions on the market"–we've used many, and frankly, they're quirky at best and destabilizing at worst. Perhaps worse still, there are definite hard costs to these 3rd party apps: testing–and often considerable tweaking (turning off auto-update prompts, etc.)–of these apps for imaging and deployment; separate security concerns; patching, updating, and deployment issues; training costs; and ongoing licensing costs. DVD playback through WMP provides a consistent media experience across a huge variety of formats for end users, and all the patching, updating, security updates, licensing issues, etc. are handled as part of Windows. It's beautiful in comparison!

    Does Microsoft realize that this just significantly raised costs for businesses? Keep in mind that DVD playback is NOT just for entertainment–clients often send us discs with DVD video content that our employees need to watch as part of their jobs. In our case, paying something extra to playback DVDs in WMP would be far better than a 3rd party solution. My hope is that this functionality could be offered as part of Windows 8 Enterprise.

    Please, please, please don't forget your business customers!

  112. Gergy says:

    Highly disappointing to see we get less with the high amount of money a new version of Windows costs. Doesn't even support DVD playback? What's that about?

  113. Mydien says:

    i think less people will buy it and most of them will get an Apple 😀

  114. Detergent says:

    If I cannot play DVD's in windows without paying an additional fee, then you're asking me to switch to another OS.

  115. Maxxy says:

    1) Essential decoders should stay alive in any Windows8 SKU, because how can you prove that they are useless, and if you remove them, the price will relatively go down?

    2) Why are there so many apps, video, music, wmp, zune, wmc? Why can't they be one integrated app, like itunes?

    These shouldn't be problems after all!

  116. 123321 says:

    what about zune?

  117. John says:

    Thank you so much for this explanation. It makes the choice not to get windows 8 so much easier!

  118. Chriswin says:

    We understand the reasons but our concern is the 'cost of download' which will add to the cost of the product or the feature anyway for a normal user globally, not including the feature will increase the costs for the consumer to purchase the software and pay the ISP to download too, on top of that some users just want to a complete working system without having to download this or that, upgrade this and that this affects the user experience, and forces them to even bad mouth MSFT as a brand, you see this from anti windows articles and comments, and yes does affect the stock price. The best option you have is 3 editions of windows 8, windows 8 pro and windows 8 ultimate (which is just windows 8 pro + windows media pack + other features you think it must have, for media PCs  a truely no compromise edition you can see from the comments that you already have "give us full features OS" camp).

    Also the number of payment methods (paypal and credit card) will also affect the user experience and MSFT and developer revanue, so please make sure you have network carrier billing option too, this the best option payment method for countries outside US where most users dont have access to credit, like in developing countries and a more potential windows users of over 2 billion way more than US or UK combinded, cater for this user too, make sure they have and easy way to pay for the apps they need.

    Windows 8 is wonderful product, but the metro and desktop hybrid nature pushes for dual monitors on the desktop, we recomend that you share this with OEM parnters, to standadize dual monitors when a desktop is baught, the reasosn for this is increases productivy (scientific research proves that dual monitors improve work output per hour) and also the new technology and ui in the OS itself, its works better this way.

    We also recomend that media centre and Zune be merged into one product and make sure you keep zune pass. Zune pass has huge potential on the advertisng revanue and the user entertainment side satisfaction level, if this product goes global with localization features, both MSFT and its user both win.

  119. Funny that you talk about licensing costs while at the same time refuse to back or at least support free (as in NO licensing fees) formats for which code is already readily available, such as WebM. Someone is not being honest here.

  120. Rob M says:

    I can only assume that these decisions were taken with an eye to annoying the few customers who were not already highly fed up with the stupid changes to the desktop environment.

    Stroll on to Windows 9 where some of the stupider choices being made here might get corrected.

  121. Henrik Nordgren says:

    I have been a long time WMC user, and in our hosehold media consumption is centred around the HTPC in the livingroom. It runs WMC + a DVB-T tuner along wiht the original XP Media Center Remote.  Baically we all love W7MC…

    But reading the above post, and reading Steven S's comment, we also understand that the landscape is changing, and the change is different depending on where on the Earth you are living. For example, here in Sweden we get the tv mostly through terrestial, cable and satellite + some of the channels also made some of their shows available on the web or by an iphone/android app. Media Center in any form is almost unheard of. And we have almost no freeview content at all, and the media providers don't know abour or support watching tv on a PC at all, so we rely on small companies such a sdigital everywhere or anysee to design tuner cards with decoder capabilities. Most of these companies go bancrupt within a year or so, because the market is so extremly small.

    In the states, you have a whole different set of media, you have netflix, internet tv and a  lot more freeview content, where media center may survive a little bit longer, provided that the providers (netflix etc) continue to support W7MC as a platform.

    I fully understand that less and less people watch conventional tv (dvbs/t/c) through W7MC, because of  a number of reasons:

    * web based tv/content has grown a lot the past years, even here in Sweden

    * competitors such as appletv, boxee etc has made it onto the market and provide lots of nice native apps for web based content.

    * the technologies for broadcasting tv has changed, with the advent of HD TV some conent providers want to support the new CI+ standard for smart cards, and as far as I know, it is not even possible to market a CI+ compatible PC TV tuner card, because that licence is not given for PC cards, only set top boxes.

    * Most internet providers also market IP TV, so basically you get the tv through a set top box from the same company that provide your telephone and internet service. Many people find this very convenient.

    All the above alre perfectly valid reasons as to why less and less people use W7MC to watch tv. And I realize that MS can't support every single market as they have tried to do in the States.

    What would be interesting to know, that no one has said anything about is: "what is the future of W7MC?"

    It is clear that MS will copy it from W7 to W8, and that you have to pay a fee to get it. Thats reasonable of course. But it is not clear if MS will continue to upgrade it with new features/fix old bugs or if it will simply tag along "AS IS". If that is the case I have no interest to upgrade to W8, since then I pay for something I already have. And I think that is the case for most usrs of W7MC, if they don't get anything extra if they buy the pack, then they have no reason to do so, and the question is that MS will do then? I mean, if you notice that hardly any people buy the Media Center Pack, what conclusion do you derive from that?

    * No one uses W7MC anymore

    * Almost all MC users stick with W7 since we don't update MC any more

    Both the above are perfectly valid reasons for MS not to throw a cent into development/maintenance, rather than including it to keep the crowd happy, and when the time comes, kill it off completly. What I don't understand is why they go through all this effort to make media center packs etc, if they don't plan to update it?`It makes no sense at all, at least not for me. And also, apart froma  few annoying bugs, what more functionality is there to include that can be done with a few lines of C# and MCML that doesn't include rewriting the whole application? I doubt if there is much.

    Finally a few lines about what I feel would be a much better approach for MS:

    I and many like me use MC because we love the nice and slick UI, no other set top box that I have used has even come close to that. I also love that I have all the file media right at my fingertips, ready to be consumed with my remote, no keyboards, mouses or crap like that in the livingroom. Sure, Samsung has that in the TV as well, but it doesn't handle all formats, and is clumpsy as hell to use. And Boxee has it as well, but doesn't support conventional DVB-TV. This is what makes me want to use W7MC, I get EVERYTHING. Granted, if I didn't watch conventional TV I probably would buy a Boxee instead.

    So now when you market W8, with marketplace, apps in HTML5, XAML etc, why not split up the parts of media center into nice metro apps. The core functionality for libraries, tuners etc is there to use, and as far as I understand most of MC use MP for playback. And the livetv, guide, recorded tv apps could be marketed in the appstore? Sure, it would require a few 100 dev hours each to make this happen, but it would make a whole lot of more sense than just keeping it as it is now in Win8. Then we could adapt the metro experience just for the livingroom, removing all unwanted tiles and just have the ones we use (and bought). Hopefully the new framework in Win8 would make it easier for 3rd party providers to write apps for w8 rather as it is now, for just media center (which no one knoes or cares about). Then the app could be used my anyone, a tablet user, a livingroom user and a desktop user.

    And what about Zune? It has a metro interface, is designed for the big screen, has media playback functionality. Merge, WMP, WMC and Zune into a bunch of metro apps to avoid insanity when the customer trying to figure out how to playback the media… I also assume that your w8 metro will support the remote control for navigation, media playback etc… anything else would be crazy of you ask me.

    There you have it, a rather lengthy post, but I think it summarize a lot of my own ideas as well as what I have read in the MANY posts on different forums. Hopefully Mr Sinofsky is reading this and maybe comment on aspecially what the plans aew for W8MC, since this will make or break the reason for why we want to buy the media center pack or not. Its pretty obvious if you ask me.

    kind regards and a happy weekend.

    Henrik

  122. Chris B says:

    I think people are missing something, this is all to do with licensing.  For DVD (and blu-ray) playback there a numerous licenses you require (MPEG-LA for most of the video, Dolby and DTS for the sound are the main three), and Microsoft can not afford any ambiguity or question marks over the 'legality' of Win8.

    So instead of risking being hit with some infringement case (Hello Moto 🙂 ), they've taken the safe root and chucked it all out of the core product.  You can buy it as a separate product from MS or any other company, or you can download open source 'alternatives', that might or might not be legal depending on your point of view.

  123. far says:

    i have powerdvd to play dvd what i really want is mkv and subtitle and dual audio channel from windows media player

  124. Triballity says:

    Now the customers will expect that all Editions of Windows 8 will be much cheaper than Windows 7 – at least 50$

  125. nixer says:

    $sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

  126. Attila says:

    "And what about Zune? It has a metro interface, is designed for the big screen, has media playback functionality. Merge, WMP, WMC and Zune into a bunch of metro apps to avoid insanity when the customer trying to figure out how to playback the media…"

    This. The zune software is so much better in usability than Media Player or WMC that is not even funny. It should have been replaced WMP long time ago, even in Win 7.

    Also, at least the Win8 Pro should be able to play DVDs out of the box. I can see the reasoning behind your decision, but I think this will only result in online news sources filled with "Windows 8 cannot even play DVDs" style pseudo-news…

  127. Henry Boehlert says:

    Fragmentation.

    I really like Philip Colmer's comment on how that is WM Reloaded.

    Is that some rule of the universe, somehow? Once an affordable, single device is created capable of aggregating all sources at the user's convenience, it is bound to vanish and be replaced by some complex maze of expensive, flawed, non-interoperable and deliberately incompatible devices that elude control by the user.

    This is a brick in the wall of the ever-tightening buck-squeezing of the content consumer's pockets.

    It'll end in tears.

  128. Neticis says:

    When will windows media center support ogv/oga format?

  129. dude says:

    What the dick? No DVD support at default?

  130. Walt says:

    This is simply another retarded decision by Microsoft.  

    Sure physical media sales are on the decline.  But most everyone has a large library they STILL WANT TO WATCH.  If you make it difficult to do what we want to do with our computers, then we will find ways to do it for free.

  131. Hmmm. Clever stuff here.

    Basic media support is being pulled because of licence and codec costs.

    >>> VLC and other solutions support more formats, for free, without any codec installations. Apparently this

    >>> approach is impossible with Windows. Wait, VLC runs fine on windows. Hmmm.

    OEM's don't want to pay for capabilities their hardware doesn't support

    >>> That hardware is covered by a different SKU already (windows metro, or WART), so there's no reason to pull it

    >>> from Pro versions. Hmmmmm.

    >>> Will the cost of a windows SKU direct to consumers go down compared to Windows 7? (spoiler: No.)

    >>> Will the cost of a pre-installed Windows machine go down? (spoiler: No.)

    >>> Will consumers be charged at "cost" for these codecs and licences, or will the price of a 30c licence increase to a fiver?

    Microsoft apparently cannot reconcile the need to have pointlessly huge numbers of in-house apps which do the same thing (WMC, WMP, Zune, XBoxMC, Metro players, Windows Phone players etc etc) vs. the "cost of supporting lots of codecs").

    Spoiler: Integrate all these spammy apps into two apps (WMC type and "VLC like") and only pay for licensing/development/support costs once?

    Too clever, evidently.

  132. Another reason to stick with Windows 7. Just saying….

  133. Microsoft wants to kill every Desktop app and go with stupid Metro which is going to be end of relationship between me and Windows if Metro is the only future. There are other alternatives Linux!

  134. what's all the fuss about says:

    every god damn dvd drive/bluray drive out there that you can buy comes with dvd/bluray playback software…

  135. The Martian says:

    Hi Steven, please don't assume everyone on earth has access to online/internet entertainment.

    Let me explain: My "HP Pavilion Entertainment [Notebook] PC" came with HULU and PANDORA INTERNET RADIO preinstalled. But when I tried to use them, I was heartbroken. The following messages came up:-

    PANDORA INTERNET RADIO

    "We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S."

    HULU

    "We're sorry, currently our video library is only available within the United States".

    This means, for the majority of your music/video/movie loving customers, a system with an optical drive should be a must.

    I also want to suggest that, if the size of the current optical disc and drive is part of the problem, we do this: discard the 120mm size and stick to a mini DVD/Blue-ray size (80mm) as the new standard (way forward). In this way, new INTERNAL disc drives can be scaled down to fit Ultra-thin notebooks PCs and even Desktop PCs; while the 120mm drive will be produced as EXTERNAL drives only for backward compatibility.

    Perhaps there may be some other benefits too. Give it a thought.

  136. Thunderdome says:

    Horrible idea.  Instead of adding new features to mce, you're charging extra for what W7 mce already offers.  You've not only removed any enticements for an HTPC owner to upgrade to 8, but you've actually made it worse(more expensive).  The introduction of the Metro UI was an ideal opportunity to redesign the decade-old mce interface with a fresh look and feel.  You could have taken mce to the mobile/tablet market.  You could have added blu-ray support.  You could of brought out ARM/embedded products.  You could have added so much…yet all you did was subtract.  As other tech companies race to the living room (Apple and Google are about to eat your lunch) and TV manufacturers continue to increase the "smart" functionality of their sets, Microsoft is moving in the opposite direction.  Unbelievable.  You can rationalize the decisions all day long in the board room, but the reality is that your customer base does not support this decision.  I'm in the forums.  I'm reading the blogs.  There are a lot of guys just like me.  I AM your typical mce customer..and I will be sticking with W7…or maybe I'll give Google TV another look.

    As a current W7 mce user, sell me on the idea of upgrading to W8.  Go.

  137. Apple says:

    no problem osx does have a support for such things. Thank you

  138. newschool says:

    @Microsoft

    To omit the DVD Codec is not a good idea.

    But it will be ok if you:

    1. Force third-party manufacturers to create good quality MSI pakets which are deployable without modifications

    2. Create a solution like WSUS for non microsoft updates or a paket management system for third-party manufactures where it is

    possible to use different paket sources (Please no Solution like on Windows 8 Metro or OS X Lion where you have to pay 30% to the

    operating system manufacturer)

    We use Windows 8 Enterprise, so we don't need to pay for new Windows versions. But why should we upgrade

    from Windows 7? On most Computers we don't need  Metro, The new Desktop isn't much better, maybe worse.

    Give us something like Remote Search for DFS Shares it is inbelievable that this is not possible with Windows 7

  139. AngryTechnician says:

    Will either of the packs that give us Media Center and DVD playback be available for volume licensing? I know it's too much to ask to bundle it with the Enterprise edition (which you continually ignore here), but schools need DVD playback for use in classrooms, and we need something we can buy on our OVS agreement and deploy en-masse, not a consumer upgrade that requires installing manually on each machine.

  140. @Steven,

    I fully agree with Gergy, please make sure you include the option in the Enterprise Edition or make it available from VL licensing site at no cost. Otherwise Windows 8 will bring additional costs for your enteprise customers which makes it less valuable.

    But I do understand your decision for not including it in the consumer and pro editions.

    Kris

  141. nrf says:

    to me this scheme is really odd. you can't just by a windows 8 with media center, you have to futz around with addons and one of thiem is a big gulp (having to upgrade to pro to buy mc)

  142. Tom says:

    "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."

    Windows dvd (and file / video_ts) playback is awful and confusing as it is, but now we're going to have to rely on OEM bloatware???

    It's the same with a launcher. Much as I like metro and the start screen – I really do – we're going to have to rely on bloatware or 3rd party tools just to easily launch apps from within the desktop. And there are times where people will want to do that.

  143. I bet the price of Windows 8 will be same as Windows 7, just saying. I could be wrong though. I believe Metro Video App will have ability to play DVD and Blu Ray. This is just a step to kill Windows Media Player and force people on Metro. There are much bigger things behind all this. Speaking of licensing problems, that's just bullshit. Windows Vista, 7 supports DVD and no company ever bitched about it. I thought Windows will bring support for blu ray so i can use Windows Media Player to play blu ray movies instead of bloated pile of crap called Cyberlink PowerDVD and other similar software.

  144. Concerned says:

    here we go again, as soon as one foot gets healed up, MS goes and shoots themself in the other foot. jeebus, walk off shaking head. I'm so effin embarrassed.

  145. @Windows7

    'LMFAO…Windows 8 users need to pay extra for basic functions built into Windows 7.'

    I agree, i wonder what's the next. It is quite laughable.

  146. Windows Media Player update? says:

    Will Windows 8 come out with a new version of Windows Media Player?

    Which looks more like Metro or just a cutted Zune software or so as new WMP 14.

  147. Tom says:

    >>>>here we go again, as soon as one foot gets healed up, MS goes and shoots themself in the other foot.

    That's about the most accurate assessment of microsoft I've ever read.

  148. Steve says:

    Windows 8 won't play DVD's ! !?

    … well that's the most absurd thing I've ever heard from Microsoft!

    Linux here we go..

  149. B8Blog says:

    Just a reminder, if your PC has an optical drive when you buy it or when you buy a retail optical drive, it will almost certainly include DVD playback software and license (unless the drive is sold to be used only as a data drive).  There is little chance a mainstream retail PC is made available with optical drives that do not have the option of DVD playback.

    @Titeca K and @Gergey — In various past releases of Windows, DVD playback was not included in either Enterprise or Professional editions (there is no single answer here since each release of Windows was different in this regard).  In fact we had complex arrangements to understand how many enterprise PCs were deployed with optical drives in order to support the proper licensing of the software — so it was never "always included".

    Just a note to folks, there are no "free" downloadable DVD playback solutions that are properly licensed (unless they are paid for and just made available for free as part of some other service or advertising support).  That's why the DVD playback solution is part of the inclusion of an optical drive–just like when you buy a stand-alone DVD player.

    Without getting into a completely unrelated debate, the whole point of these licenses is to respect the intellectual property of various parties and organizations and their inventions.  Several of the alternate formats mentioned have yet to demonstrate the completeness of the IP license within them.  We talked about this quite a bit during the development of Windows 7.

    @Tom Windows already relied on components and licenses from these third party solutions in all PCs.  

  150. Alex says:

    Do you care about consumers at all?  Your business unit may be earning you money now, but consumers are just as important.  Consider this logic: consumer sales decline due to poor Msoft decisions, consumers move to Apple platform, children who grow up on Apple platform choose to use Apple in their workplace when they grow older, Apple wins.

  151. Kirk says:

    Windows 8 is dead to me.  I'll stay on Windows 7 until I die (or switch to OS X or Linux…)

  152. BenJ says:

    Why would I pay for such a bad media player, VLC is free and wayyyyyy better than WMC

  153. imouse says:

    I'll wait for a ripped .torrent version before i pay microsoft again

  154. jeam says:

    I'm using the Win8 Consumer Preview, which does come with a working Windows Media Center. What I want to know is: Once the CP license expires, if I buy a regular Win8 license will WMC get uninstalled from my computer?

  155. Ben Beck, MCTS, MCITP says:

    While this seems a bit annoying initially, I think they are simply trying to keep costs down, which translates to better price points. With that said, I am not too excited about having to pay to get media center. Right now, I use this to stream things to devices around my house. There are other options, but this is still going to annoy some people. I don't think it should be quite as big of a fuss as it has become. Like Steven has pointed out, your manufacturer will most likely include what you need on the playback side of things. And for the tech people such as myself, you are likely smart enough to find another way to do exactly what you did in Win7.

  156. David says:

    Windows XP did not have DVD playback built-in, you had to buy a decoder or thrid-party app for it.  It's funny, MS end up in court for bundling software/features with Windows.  They take one out and people still compain.  Hands-up if you actually use your PC to play DVD's…anyone?  Media Centre only gets used by a handful of users, so if you use it just get the version that includes it.  There is no issue here, just whining people with very short memories.

  157. TR says:

    So once again, MS is ripping everyone off.

    Thank you for making clear that MS is dead.

    Long live Linux.

    Long live Mac OSX.

  158. David says:

    By the way, why are people going to upgrade to Windows 8 anyway.  It's jsut Windows 7 with a Metro interface, so unless you have a touch screen there really is absolutely no point to upgrade at this time.

  159. pat says:

    my entire house is running broadcast/cable tv via windows media center.  if i have to pay additional $$$ to get windows media center on windows 8, then i will NOT be upgrading from windows 7 anytime soon.

  160. Jeff says:

    I'm with Pat.  I've already spent a TON of money on MC and the components that are required with today's broadcast, namely the Ceton cards that MICROSOFT touted at CES and now doesn't seem to want to support.  I'll happily stick with Windows 7 for the time being, until my tuner cards finally die.  At that point I will probably go with whatever my local cable company is offering to record TV.  

    Microsoft, I love your products, but if you could only FINISH what you start, you would make me a happy man.

  161. Andy says:

    When you buy a new computer with Windows pre-installed just remember to mentally add on the price of the necessary MC add-on.  In other words, the store price is just your down payment.

  162. S Johnson says:

    For me, Media Center is the best thing about Windows operating system.  I use my pc as a dvr to record OTA programs.   It's frustrating to know that it's essentially being abandoned by Microsoft.   I'm in no hurry now for Windows 8 🙁

  163. Tom says:

    Hi @Steve Sinofsky, regarding this comment:

    @Tom Windows already relied on components and licenses from these third party solutions in all PCs.  

    There's a huge difference between "3rd party components and licenses" and the bloatware shipped with PCs for media playback and every "useful" feature the vendor can think of. Look at the mac, far from perfect (very far from perfect, I have used them a lot and owned several but I prefer windows) but a new mac is a thing of beauty. For essential / enjoyable use everything is there with a consistent UI and there is absolutely no bloatware. It's horrible trying to say burn a DVD or mount an ISO on windows and the splashscreen appears for whoever paid the OEM the most money to get their bloatware added.

  164. davidacoder says:

    Here is what I don't understand: when I buy the Media Center Pack, I can play DVDs in Media Center, right? So at that point it seems that the license for DVD playback is bought, right? And the codec comes from MS? Why can't I then play DVDs in Media Player and some Metro media app as well? Surely licensing at that point can't be the reason, after all the license is there for Media Center already? I don't really care about the cost aspect here, but I REALLY care about not having to install third-party codecs and playback software. We all know they are crap, don't have good auto updates, bug you every three seconds to buy something else and squarely belong in the "crapware" category of stuff pre-installed that soooo harms the Windows.

    So, here is a scenario I think would be perfectly fine: in the app store offer Media Center pack (and that includes DVD playback for all media apps in Windows), also maybe offer a pure DVD codec in the app store from MS for a small amount. I want your DVD codec (that was in Win7 already) and not some third-party crap.

    Finally, please offer all these upgrades/packages in the app store. Why have that hidden at a place that no normal user will ever find?

  165. There's not a lot in Windows 8 which would make me want to upgrade from 7 and here's another reason to dissuade me to upgrade.

    Frankly, Windows 8 is starting to look like Vista pt. 2.

  166. Tim says:

    The media player loses the ability to play DVDs.  This is a huge step backwards.  Microsoft should be looking to add Bluray playback capability.  It's amazing how Microsoft talks of the PC being the center of the living room and now they do this.  What good is a PC in the living room if it cannot play DVDs and does not have the media center.  I will stick with Windows 7 or go get a mac.

  167. Mark says:

    Thank you for the information. I fully understand where you are going with this. I personally think it is too early to pull the plug on 40% of all users (DVD) but that is your decision. From what I gather there are two issues with the information presented:

    1) no DVD CODEC installed. Although the post made it sound dramatic (with the obvious resultant responses,) it appears this is a non-issue for most people as they will receive a legal license for the CODEC when they purchase a drive, either aftermarket or as part of a bundled system.

    2) WMP will never play DVD, users must use WMC. I urge you to reconsider this. Unless WMC will auto-play and simply come up without trying to reinvent my entire media experience when a disk is inserted, I would much prefer a simple easy-to-use-and-understand player. If the CODEC is installed on the system, I assume you will have to actively remove the disk-playback capability in the next-gen WMP which is dissapointing. Again, I urge you to reconsider.

  168. DarkUltra says:

    Hi!

    Microsoft, please consider the Windows 7 Start Menu as an option in Windows 8. It has certain features that is impossible with a full-screen menu, like drag and drop. It can also search for several different types at once.

    jooh.no/…/Windows_7_Start_Menu_summary.jpg

    The classic start menu can also bring up the task bar if a fullscreen app is blocking it. I look forward to the new explorer in Windows 8 so I can minimize the ribbon and use the quick access toolbar, the up button, and the unified file transfer dialog. Unfortunately these vanish if I enable the classic Start Menu. I hope this will change in the final version. Best of both worlds.

    jooh.no/…/windows-8-metro-no-grow

  169. cami says:

    excuse mi !

    you are  good

    but in deteriorate 🙂

  170. Eirik says:

    Best solution is to buy an extra licence for windows 7 .

    If you have to buy a new PC you can overwrite this w8 to obtain a good working machine.

    W8 previeuw showed that this is mainly a design for a smartphone,so a poor solution for a desktop.

  171. jader3rd says:

    If Microsoft pushed the Media Center Internet Channel, I don't think that Hulu would have gotten much marketshare. I don't use Media Center for DVD playback at all. I use it for the Internet Channel (which is screaming potential), Netflix plugin, and recording live TV. If everyone who uses Hulu on Windows Vista/7, could have received the same the content through Media Center, Media Center would be an even bigger success than what it is today.

    I assume that the Pro pack will cost more than the Media Center pack.

  172. Add says:

    Can you please add support for MKVs?

  173. UnSub says:

    Can you please add support for being able to watch Windows Media Center from another Windows PC?

  174. Shyatic says:

    The real question is… did you bother putting any WORK into Media Center? If it's the SAME thing as Windows 7 MC, then there's no point in upgrading. I've yet to see any announcements about the new functionality and features in Media Center for Windows 8, and until I do I can't make it a reasonable choice to bother upgrading at all. My Windows 7 Media Center works great, and I love it; but if I'm not getting anything beneficial with the upgrade for Media Center, then it's simply not worth it. My Media Center PC works fine as it is, and I'm happy with it. Show me what's WORTH upgrading for. This is from a guy with CableCard setup as well Steve 🙂

  175. Neil says:

    Have been an advocate, and tireless defender of MS, and an early adopter of each new paradigm. But this move and the implications it has for my own tech stack at home means retention of Win7 as the end of the MS ecosystem and a move to the Apple stack, including moving from a win7 phone to an iphone. I may be only a small cog in the wheel, but if enough cogs leave the wheel it'll just spin and go nowhere. Bye and won't look back!

  176. Paying for nothing? says:

    I love WMC, I love Win7, and I love Metro.  But the CP build's version of WMC is _exactly_ the same at Win7's!  If it adds some semi-significant functionality, feel free to charge me for it, and I'll happily pay it, but why would you think that you should start charging for something that you've clearly not invested ANYTHING in?  WMC7 is good, but it's missing a bunch of fundamentals for the world as it is today.  If I'm paying $50 for a piece of software, it ought to understand that MKV's exist, it also ought to support automatic transcoding with easy commercial cutting & better organization of ripped media, and improve navigation through a large library of music.  But charging $50 for installing WMC7 SP1 on Windows 8 just makes MSFT look bad.

  177. Colby says:

    As a former windows user, i just cant believe people cannot  watch a dvd without having to pony up more cash to add media center. Im so glad i switched to mac, you have litterally confirmed that I made the right decision to switch.  Good luck microsoft, your going to need it.

  178. Wow, I hate all this destructive criticism on this blog. But what can you expect from blog comments? Perhaps the saddest thing about angry people writing this stuff is that they have a point, but no one will take them seriously because of the quality of the post. In fact, I agree with most of these comments, even if they are painful to read. At this point, I am VERY worried about windows 8, and I think that if Microsoft doesn't do something, then Windows 8 will flop just like Windows Vista. I don't want that to happen, so maybe ms should follow up with another blog devoted to gathering user feedback on the changes. Believe be, I'm excited for windows 8, but right now I am afraid it's going to fail 🙁 Please reply if anyone has any thoughts, agreements, or respectful disagreements/constructive criticism.

  179. "Several of the alternate formats mentioned have yet to demonstrate the completeness of the IP license within them.  We talked about this quite a bit during the development of Windows 7."

    It's not a big deal but, at the time, people said similar risks were probably lurking in the mainstream formats as well. That seems to be the case with H.264 (although the outcome is not known, there's certainly patent *risk* there):

    http://www.joystiq.com/…/motorola-granted-injunction-against-xbox-360-sales-in-germany-n

    Not that adding even more formats into the mix would reduce the risk of lawsuits, of course, and it's much more useful to have H.264 built into the OS than WebM, so I am not really complaining about that. As long as we can add 3rd party codecs, it's fine, really.

    Not including DVD playback on the grounds of licensing seems a little bit strange to me when the OS seems to include most of the codecs DVD requires anyway, unless I am wrong in assuming the MPEG2 and Dolby Digital stuff in the chart includes the versions of those decoded for DVD. I know DVD has a couple of extra requirements, which I guess is things like the CSS decryption and maybe Macrovision (or is that a hardware thing? can't say I'm an expert in this), but not a lot. Seems like cutting corners to take it out.

    Losing MC when it was in Windows before also seems a bit wrong, but I'll wait and see what the pricing is before I make my mind up on that. Windows has a lot of features, for a wide range of people, so I can understand that you can't keep adding more and more features/components without making some tough decisions at times. Just don't charge too much for something people already had, and please, if you are going to charge for MC, look after it better…

    MC seems to get bug fixes about once every six months, and if those bug fixes don't work first time then there's another 3 to 6 months to wait for a new fix, while hoping it actually works this time. That's no way to develop software. If de-coupling it from the core OS and charging a little money for it allows it to be given more attention then that's great. OTOH, if you're charging money for old rope, then not so much.

    Also, please think about how people administrate their HTPCs. MC really needs remote admin capabilities as standard.

    – You should not have to buy Pro to get Remote Desktop server so that you can admin a keyboardless HTPC from another machine.

    – You should be able to admin a HTPC via another machine without kicking off whoever is in the living room watching TV on the thing at the same time. (Which you can't even do with Pro, due to the old single-active-login restrictions in Remote Desktop. If you are going to remove features from the OS, maybe loosen up some of the ancient restrictions which are making less and less sense these days, and for which the research & development costs have long been paid for.)

    – If you do have to pay for Pro, and do have to live with a single-login restriction for Remote Desktop, at least improve things so that (a) You don't have to wait 30 seconds for the TV account to respond to the "allow the other person to take over the machine" prompt, as often there is nobody at the machine at all; (b) after finishing the admin work, allow the TV's session to be unlocked again instead of leaving the TV at the Welcome Screen which cannot be navigated via a remote control.

    My HTPC was the one use-case where I thought Windows 8 might work well. I feel hate or indifference towards almost every single change in Windows 8 for the desktop, but I think it will work well on HTPCs (and tablets, but they don't interest me much). I am not sure it's a great idea to cripple one of the two good use-cases Windows 8 has out-of-the-box, to be honest. But if you can make the add-on really cheap then it won't be too bad, except for the people that it may put off even trying it out.

  180. ben says:

    hello sir..im from philippines..i just wanna ask if thw windows 8 can also be use at some laptop which runs with windows 7 but not a touch screen?thanks i wish you can answer me..pls send me an answer or email me at benarangorin1226@yahoo.com..thanks and godbless your team..

  181. Rich says:

    errrrrrrr im with stupid …. STUPID!

    Aidios WINDOWS

  182. Ryan says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    I understand that any PC with an optical drive comes with DVD playback software. The problem is that the software is often not very reliable or intuitive, and there is a cost just because it's not WMP. As a business, we want one universal, solid, easily patchable/updateable, built-in player for media content for our users, and we want to train them on only one. Every additional app–particularly a non-built-in app–has many associated additional costs, even when the procurement cost is free. Charge us for the codecs and licensing if you must. Just don't take away categorically the ability to play DVDs through WMP and force us back to 3rd party software when WMP can do it today.

  183. vader Jakob says:

    These developments make me rethink the replacement of all my windows pc's with computers from Apple.

    Already got a iMac, this makes the decision more easy.

  184. temp says:

    Seriously, you still don't support .MKV !!!!! 99% HD are MVK files.

  185. Kris says:

    Sorry but this is just sad.  In the instance that you have a dedicated Windows user utilizing WMC7, you'll give them no reason to upgrade any of their computers.  You're basically biting the hand that feeds you.  These are the die hard people that really understand the value of a good OS.  As a buyer of Vista Ultimate…which was a WASTE, Zune…which you dropped, you're burning your customers way too frequently.  How about…delighting a customer now and again?

  186. Chris R says:

    Honestly I think this is a poor business decision for a couple significant reasons: 1) The cost differential won't be significant enough to make it seem worthwhile to most users. Basically – end users won't see any real significant savings *and* they'll face a lot of frustration the first time they try to play a DVD because they just *expect* it to work. 2) It looks bad. Real bad. When the reviews come out *every single reviewer* will say "Unfortunately, Windows 8 doesn't support DVD's or BlueRay unlike *OS X*." Regardless of how many people use DVD playback in OS X or how many people want to play DVDs in Win8 this will be in every single review and *significantly* impact public perception. End purchasers will not say "Well, I rarely play DVDs on my PC so it doesn't matter" they will say "I want to be able to play DVDs if I want to. What are my other choices?"

  187. KHY says:

    I suppose the metro type apps is designed for Mobile devices and does not need capability to directly play DVD, hence M$ is ripping  them off from Windows 8 desktop for standardize their OS build.  But then, it probably work well with the European unions that think bundling software to OS is bad business.  With such reduce functionality, hopefully this will piss off enough users to boycott the Windows 8 altogether and move to some other more compelling friendly OS like Mac or Linux desktop.  It's definitely a shame for M$ to go this route, but if enough people get upset, they might revert their decision and make this available as a free download?

  188. Brad says:

    I would agree with the above comments.  I am a devoted Win 7 user with WMC running full-screen in my living room. We use it as DVR, as well as a great way to easily organize and view all of my HD home movies.  Upgrading to Windows 8 gains me nothing. Very disappointed.

    I have been showing off Media Center to my friends for years, showing them how this is the "dream" of a household with no physical media.  Everything runs through ONE box… I have a Ceton quad-tuner, so no need for a cable box, DVR, DVD player, or clunky cables going to my video camera. Everything just works.

    The only saving grace would be if you provide all of this functionality in a new XBox.  I'm not a gamer but I would buy this in a heartbeat if it provided a native way to store and experience all of the digital content we are getting now.  Gotta have CableCard support though.

  189. jader3rd says:

    For all of those people saying that they got something for free in previous versions of Windows, you didn't. You paid for it in the previous versions of Windows. But now, you'll have an opportunity to pay less for a version of Windows without paying for features you may end up not using.

    Also, this creates a possible new problem/opportunity. Someone will say "Ach! my Windows 8 computer doesn't play DVD's." to which their friend responds "My Windows 8 computer from super OEM does play DVD's." and the first person then thinks of their computer as less of a Windows 8 computer and more of a computer-from-inferier-OEM. Some OEM's will be able to capitalize on this.

    For those complaining about unsupported codecs. The codec authors can create different plugins/add-ons into Media Player/Media Center, but apparently they have chosen not to. You can blame them for not "supporting" Windows.

  190. pmbAustin says:

    Wow… so many of the posts here complaining and bitching are apparently from people who lack basic reading comprehension skills.  For example:

    "Even worse is the decision around DVD. You're telling me that my Dad could go and buy a brand new Windows 8 machine, with a DVD drive, and not be able to play a DVD?"

    No, that's NOT what you're being told.  Now go back and read, and stop whining.  Sheesh.

  191. kostas00t says:

    The Windows RT version will have Media Center?

  192. X says:

    Oh! man this is getting worse day by day. I am so disappointed in Microsoft.

    *sigh*

    Will look forward to version after win 8.

  193. Did I just read that?

    Did I FFing just read that?

    O.O

    You should read some of my previous comments. I absolutely loved windows 8.

    You just lost a fan + evangelist.

    No sane company can do this. Some insider must be hell-bent on sabotaging the project.

  194. FromEurope says:

    I agree that without Subtitle support and without multiple audio stream support, there is NO WAY I will upgrade to WMC8.

    I love the interface in WMC, but it only plays about 30% of my collection.

    FULL STOP:  Support MKV's, subtitles, and multiple audio streams and I will pay for it.

  195. Windows 8 is nothing new over Windows 7. In nutshell same OS with stupid Metro on top of it and improvements which are not worth any significant difference. If MS pushes Metro and other dishonest crap with Windows 9, Windows 7 is going to be last OS i will use since Windows 8 is no option for me not even if someone gave me brand new Ferrari. Gaming is huge part of what i do as well as professional work and with Steam coming up with Linux version and be able to play all games through it….as i said Windows 7 -> Linux…bye bye Microsoft and your bullshit.

  196. I appreciate Microsoft's effort in explaining the rationale behind the WMC changes. In some ways I understand the motivations behind making WMC a 'second-class citizen' in Windows 8… but, I think there is a better way. Please amuse me, and allow me to explain:

    Let me start off by admitting that I am one of the 'WMC enthusiasts'. A trip to my house would make Bill Gates proud, as my house has welcomed Microsoft into the living room. The Xbox rules the living room and is the only device that I have attached to my TV. It serves as my family's DVD player, game machine, Netflix portal, Hulu portal, ESPN3, music player, HBOgo etc. But, the REAL REASON that it remains as my media hub is its ability to serve as a guide and DVR (via the use of a computer with a tuner card running WMC).  Without the tuner/guide/DVR functionality moving forward, Microsoft will lose it's covetted place as the focus of my living room experience and will lose me as an unabashed Microsoft evangelist.

    That being said, I understand that WMC as it stands now is not fully inline with the propsed 'app model' in Windows 8 or the new Xbox dashboard. I would respectfully propose the following ideas moving forward which I think would appease the very important (albeit limited in number) WMC enthusiasts and also set a stage for future growth into the living room:

    1) Continue with the current app model; keep developing partnerships that allow for Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, etc apps. Include them in a video or media hub of Windows 8 (PCs, tablets, phones) and the Xbox.

    2) Develop a new 'Microsoft TV App' that supports Tuners/Guide/DVR functionality! This 'TV app' (even if used by a small percentage of people) will serve as a powerful gateway into people's living room.

    3) Make the 'TV App' available on multiple platforms. The obvious choice would be the XBOX. If the XBOX could find/use tuners on a home network, it could become the defacto cable-box/DVR for many XBOX owners. Microsoft might even design and sell an XBOX-branded USB tuner (+/- hard drive). A setup such as this would be very popular (a.ka. "cool") in college dorms (BTW, I can't think of a better demographic for MS to target). Thinking even bigger… if the 'TV App' ran on an ARM chip it could be included in smaller/cheaper living room appliances (cable/satellite boxes) and perhaps even incorporated into newer 'smart TVs'.

    In closing… too often Microsoft has been first to the table and then later relinquished the crown due to a lack of foresight and polish. Unfortunately, I see history repeating itself. At present, Microsoft is currently in the lead when it comes to tuner/guide/DVR functionality. This is a BIG DEAL. For all the new developements in media streaming, at the end of the day most people just want to WATCH TV FROM THE COUCH. Differing from the theme of the blog, I propose that one of Microsoft's major initiative's should be to make watching TV easier and more enjoyable. Windows Media Center was a step in the right direction… unfortunately, the changes to Windows 8 listed above appear to be deprecating the TV functionality which I think would be very regrettable.

    Good luck.

  197. Dennis says:

    You can do what you want I dont care anymore. this was the last straw when support of win 7 stops I go linux. I dont want apps I dont have tablets or smartphones for a reason. I dont want crap like x-box live in my system because I dont even have an x-box nor do I ever want one.  And I refuse to pay for something that should be standart.

    So microsoft I never ever buy any of your products again this was the last straw for me.

    I'd rather have no pc at all then 1 with windows 8

  198. Sandeep Agarwal says:

    Microsoft, are you sleeping. Apple is kicking your CEO's butt left and right. Samsung is ready to eat your lunch, Google wants to eat your dinner and all you will be left is the clown at the party. When is your CEO going to wake up, make this easy for customers. Apple is successfull not because its cool but because its easy and all part of one ecosystem. They do not have many confusing versions.

    Make one which is dead simple that even a child can plug in and update and you will leave everyone in dust. You have lot of money not lot of customers. Once the customers leave, all you will be left with is paper money for which google will provide a free shredder.

  199. gfking says:

    Come on Microsoft get your head out of the sand!  You are providing Movie Maker with Windows 8 that burns DVD movies.  But providing a function to play those DVDs.

  200. Jason says:

    I have 3 PCs, all using Windows Media Center with Windows 7, and WILL NOT BE UPGRADING to Windows 8 until you include it.  I would have to pay a unknown double added cost for the functionality I already have.

  201. Raul says:

    Bernardo and Linda come on, if you are going to make us pay for it  why in the world is it not upgraded?  I want to move over to Win8 but does it make sense to ?  Did you at least ask youself if either of you would move from 7 to 8 ? I doubt it .   I use MCE for TV ,DVR and Pictures etc.  Please upgrade the application if you are going to charge money for it. Premium price deserves a premium WMCE8 app.

  202. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is a rather idiotic move.  First of all, if the DVD-playback licensing was workable for Windows 7, it should also be workable for Windows 8.  Your rationalization in this blog makes little sense: first you claim that this move is taken in response to Microsoft's notion that essentially no one watches movies on DVD or BluRay anymore; but then you cite licensing expense as prohibitive for Windows 8 (when it never has been before in earlier versions of Windows.)  One person in this thread commented on the idea of that Windows 8 will cost less off the shelf than did Windows 7, because of making DVD/BluRay disk-based movie playback an optional, extra-cost feature.  Of course, I saw nothing indicating that in your blog…;)  I'll bet that Windows 8 will not cost consumers a penny less because of the removal of standard support for this feature.

    Here is what you need to consider:  Windows 8 should as a standard feature offer its user the highest-quality device support of any OS on the market, and it should do so ROOB.  DVD and BluRay disk-based movie playback is far superior to streaming in terms of both resolution support & audio format support.  This situation will remain so for the foreseeable future.  Many millions of families have expensive progressive-scan TVs coupled with Windows Media boxes in their living rooms, along with expensive home-entertainment 5.1/7.1  sound systems.   The point is they *expect* Windows 8 to *at least* offer the same level of hardware support–standard–that Windows 7 had, etc.  For people who seek the highest quality in movie playback, streaming doesn't yet cut the mustard in comparison to DVD and BluRay disk presentation.

    Here's the other big problem portable devices that depend on cell-phone carriers have to deal with in regards to streaming movies: at present data-cap rates of ~$10 per gigabyte downloaded after your first 5 gigabytes, few people will have the money to stream much of anything to their portable devices…;)  If you are dumb enough to try and stream movies on such a device, you are too dumb to own such a device for long; and if you are smart enough to know that streaming movies and portable wireless devices generally don't mix, then you aren't going to be doing much if any movie streaming with them.

    One of Microsoft's strongest selling points, traditionally, has been that it offers ROOB the best and most complete support of 3rd-party hardware that it is possible to purchase in a commercial OS. Period.   That's why lots of people prefer Windows, hands down, to OS X, for instance–or a desktop Linux distro.  If you start *reducing* the amount  of hardware you support–standard–a la Apple, then you are going to notice subsequent reductions in your Windows customer base that will soon start to follow.  Please don't ruin Windows by attempting to emulate, to even the smallest degree, what Apple does with OS X.  Apple customers are in the habit of paying more for less, whereas Microsoft's customers are in the habit of paying less for more–and that's another reason Windows holds ~95% of the world's consumer OS market and Apple sits perpetually pat at a ~5% share for OS X.  

    Last, your comments about Netflix and Hulu, for instance, are interesting.  My wife and I are Netflix subscribers and currently use a Windows 7 box to watch Netflix movies, and we stream them when it is possible to do so, BUT at the same time we keep actual DVD disks in our mail queue, for two important reasons:

    1) The visual and audio reproduction quality of the disk, even through our Windows 7 box, is far better than streaming quality at its best. Quality is very important to us.

    2)But even that is a moot point, because by far the majority of Netflix' AAA titles are simply not available for streaming at all!  If you want to watch them you *have* to order the mailers.

    Also, I'd just like to say that I pretty much think Hulu stinks, but that's just me…;)

    Microsoft does its best work when it sticks to quality and comprehensive *standard* hardware support–that's what has made Windows #1 on the planet in terms of commercial OS demand.   Please try not to forget that.

  203. _alex_ says:

    ha ha ha Windows 8 codenamed Titanic…… near future for M$…

    @ Sinofsky youare so great with words, try to convince to a win XP users(even large number abroad the world)

    1) Choose Windows 7 where you have already Windows Media center(great and marvellous program for media(TV, audio and video..)) for free

    2) Choose Windows 8 where you have to pay for media center, for domain joining(features for free in 7) and removed start orb and menu….

    Know what?

    Remove Taskbar too with RTM, and let's see 7 be the last succesful OS for Bill Gates history!!

  204. Ryan says:

    Ok I get the marginal costs for playback (codes and such), but what are the marginal costs for recording. From what I understand recording uses Microsoft's own format, so no cost. I use my media center machine for recording all my TV shows. If they phase Media center out then what are my options? Are they building this into the Xbox? I doubt it.

  205. dustbin says:

    Sorry, you've got to include DVD playback "out-of-the-box" with WMP–what a regression, to go back to third parties for this!  Otherwise, Win8 is just DOA, with plenty of other good options available.  –dB

  206. Sven says:

    OK, I've just tried it myself in the consumer preview. Put in a DVD and indeed, Media Player won't play it (says it's empty) and even Explorer shows it as an empty disc. This is totally insane and confusing and just plain wrong. Then I installed VLC and it plays the DVD just fine. Now Explorer lists also the video files, but Mediaplayer still does not play the DVD.

    You guys are really doing everything to make Windows 8 a total failure. Seriously, Vista will be a huge success compared to Win 8, which will be more in the range of MS Bob / ME. No way I'm updating to this mess, even if it would be free.

  207. -BattMan- says:

    and on to iMac ……

  208. Bimbo says:

    Why don't you include FLAC, OGG, MKV support by default? AFAIK they are license-free. Many users would be very happy and by not supporting those you're just pushing them away.

  209. Michael says:

    Goodbye Microsoft, I would say it's been nice knowing you but it hasn't been. You have abused your power to crush your competition, charged way too much for software even when it was terrible,  and now I can't wait to see others follow in my footsteps and buy a Apple MAC. I get OS upgrades for $29, 10x less then M$ charges!

  210. Joerg says:

    In my opinion it's MUST have for a modern operating system to play DVDs and Blue Ray discs!

  211. Crog says:

    Unbelievable – Why on earth do you make it more painful to use your new operating system? Someday an MBA school will do a case study on the failure that Microsoft has become. This will be part of the reason.

  212. Stefano says:

    I hope this move will lower the cost of Windows 8. May you already tell us that Windows 8 will cost less than Windows 7 Home Premium? That is less than 129 €, or $119.99 in your official online store. Strange, in euros it SHOULD cost less than in dollars… 🙁

    Windows 7 should be priced about 90 euros if in America it costs $119.99…

    Use a currency converter before deciding the price in Europe:

    http://www.oanda.com/…/converter

  213. Rich says:

    You guys say that broadcast tv and optical media are on a decline.  So why not continue to develop WMC and add new features?  My wife and daughter are not technical, but can easily use the remote control to watch Netflix through WMC.  Being able to do that with Amazon VOD, Hulu, etc would be great.  WMC is not heavily used, of course, most people aren't even aware it exists.  Add modern features, promote it, and maybe usage would increase.

  214. Dennis S. says:

    What about Blu-ray support?

    Since the cost of the decoding license is being pushed back on to the end users anyway, will upgrading to Windows 8 Pro

    with Media Center allow for both DVD and Blu-ray playback or just DVD only?

    I hope you will be including Blu-ray as well as DVD playback.

  215. Kazzan says:

    Please, make possible, that if i download (pay for) Windows 8 Media Center (Pack) it will add support for DVD playback for Windows Media Player! I do not want third party SW installed for this. Or make really easy to connect to other HW such DVD player or another streaming solution (Windows Home Server).

  216. Ben says:

    Your Blog is really good and i like it that your are telling something about Windows, 8, but in the most of your post you have to read between the lines. Please write a little bit more directly

  217. Pat says:

    Could I not just use VLC media player and disregard the Windows Media Center pack completely?

  218. Bartleby Scrivener says:

    It looks like you guys enjoyed shooting yourselves in the foot with Vista, because now you're preparing to take out a kneecap–or worse–with this Windows 8 debacle.

  219. I'm a big disappointment. Our house uses a mix of 4 desktop PC's and 4 notebook computers. All of them are used as second TV's or movie players from time to time using Windows Media Center. I DON'T want to have to install secondary software to play a DVD on a windows 8 computer as standard. I don't want to have to install addon packs to be able to simply play recorded TV around the house in various rooms as I now do with Windows 7. Have you guys really thought this though. I just read a review on 30 good things about Windows 8. The article in PC Authority Australia at 10 things they wish were including in the final version and one was blue ray playback. Now I read that DVD won't be playable without having to get some thirdparty software installed. It's a joke and this version is the first version of windows I might be buying. And I am old enough to have purchased every upgrade from windows 3.1. This house is all pc except for one ipod touch but that might change by the looks if piping recorded TV around the house through windows media center has ceased to be a priority in windows 8.

  220. Sam says:

    This is an embarassingly bad decision.  There's no amount of spin you can put on this decision that would make it more palatable.  Hire the top spinmeisters used by politicians and you couldn't turn this one around.  Just bizarre.  

  221. Looks like Windows became what used to be called Windows Tablet Edition. It is weird situation where Microsoft created lot of duplications.

    Windows Media Player

    Metro Video App

    Windows Media Center

    Zune

    Honestly all of them are crap, not doing or supporting what they should support. I don't think that Media Center Add On Pack will have support for blu-ray so you will end up paying Media Center + some bloated crap like Cyberlink Power DVD to get blu ray support ultimately costing you much more than buying Windows 7.

  222. John says:

    This is just another way to milk more money from your customers. I'll be waiting for you to try again with Windows 9, because I don't like what I've seen with Windows 8 anyway.

  223. FinalAnswer says:

    @stevesinofsky  Here's how to resolve this. Commit to putting an sp to MC out that is a WInRT metro app version of MC that a) fixes the hundreds of MC bugs that have been ignored for years.  b) includes the open source ip royalty free codecs or seamlessly gives a one click option to download/integrate them.  c) has reimagined easy detection/integration of local+network tuners.  d) combines the best of MC+Zune ui  e) seamlessly integrate popular web streaming av sources.  f) makes any W8 box an "extender" for a centralized whole home dvr/dvd W8 MC box.  Put in this effort and by and large the objections will go away. Happy to pay for the codecs for the centralized whole home dvr/dvd box. Ok with paying for them on the satelite W8 consumer MC boxes for HD, should be able to get SD video without them.  You will be so glad you put this relatively miniscule effort into this when the xbox strategy slams headlong into the real world of geofencing and bandwidth caps and goes down in a firey death spiral.

  224. W8CPUser says:

    I remember how Steve Jobs made fun of Vista home basic, home premium, professional and ultimate when he talked about OS X leopard.

    I'm sure Tim Cook is having a lot of ideas about how Mac OS X , and Mac OS X Pro will play DVD/Blueray disks, and also play youtube/netflix/amazon videos without any additional "pack" – reemphasizing "it just works"! May be it's time for Microsoft to "think different" 🙂

  225. L. says:

    You really should include support for Vorbis and FLAC audio and for Matroska and Ogg containers in Windows.

  226. "DVD sales have declined significantly year over year and Blu-ray on PCs is losing momentum as well."  So that is why people are normally lined up at a RedBox disk dispenser on the weekends, right?

    Never mind that some people, me included, have an extensive DVD collection (with expensive box sets) which we like to watch from time to time.  What do I use?  Windows Media Player with a gyration remote.  But I won't be able to do that with Windows 8–unless I get nickel and dime'd to death.  Wow.

    And this is not to mention that Media Player/Center STILL CANNOT SCRUB VIDEO.

    I really don't know what to say.  Almost all of the MSFT evangelism within me is gone.  So disappointing.  

  227. Torgo.434 says:

    I can't see myself even purchasing or recommending a PC with windows 8 anymore.  Especially a laptop.   And there are definately stronger tablet offerings out there.  

    Touch is great, execpt when you are out if it.

  228. Nick says:

    So the DVD playback thing is kindof silly, but I don't see it being that bad. The question to ask is what happens when you pop in a DVD? Does Windows Media Player simply say "You can't play this. Goodbye."  Unlikely. Most likely it'll say "you don't have a DVD decoder available, here are some choices: 1. Update Windows Media Player to play DVDs. 2. Try one of these apps from the store that play DVDs" is that really going to kill everyone???

  229. So, by removing certain features, you are now going to further enable OEMs to flood the market with Windows 8 PCs chock full of crapware.  Was this pre-planned?

    So, for even a new, MSFT Signature PC, the end user will have to go out and purchase several applications to finally get a full PC that has similar functionality as Windows 7.

  230. Kirill says:

    Do you guys remember all the positive energy and enthusiasm around the launch of Windows 7? Moves like this are the reason why Windows 8 is fast acquiring a reputation as the next Vista.

  231. Tink5150 says:

    @ Steven Sinofsky

    I Just got used to buying movies from the market place and have the ability to stream them to the XBOX to conitnue watching when I switched rooms.  Now I am going to have to pay extra for it since a media exentder is required which requires MC?

    Like @DarienHawk67 I also have a substational DVD collection that I also use my PC to play while working in the office I might like to have it playing on another screen.  Your customers should be the only investors you care about.  

    Thanks for killing windows!

  232. cjmccarthy72 says:

    In reply to Dan above: "So the DVD playback thing is kindof silly, but I don't see it being that bad. The question to ask is what happens when you pop in a DVD? Does Windows Media Player simply say "You can't play this. Goodbye."  Unlikely. Most likely it'll say "you don't have a DVD decoder available, here are some choices: 1. Update Windows Media Player to play DVDs. 2. Try one of these apps from the store that play DVDs" is that really going to kill everyone???"

    1) If you read MS's press release, WMP will NEVER be able play DVDs 2) and it might say "try this app from Cyberlink to play your discs"…….!!!!

  233. Rich_PW says:

    Steven, Bernardo, Linda, might suggest a little more detail e.g. it's not clear why future IE versions would include the MPEG licensing but Media Center which is moving to a premium purchasing model would not.  If you're planning on ending MCE development consider putting the bits out with a public license, we the community will take it from there and let your legal teams off the hook for the resulting forks and ports.

  234. Mike says:

    Tried to post already but it seems to have been lost (pretty common with this blog)…

    Could someone please explain how the upgrade process will work when you rebuild a machine at a later date?  Is the upgrade tied to the product key or a Live ID (sorry, Microsoft account) so that it can be re-obtained after a rebuild?  thanks

  235. GHTZ says:

    No DVD playback = no upgrade to 8

    Leaving there that the tiles dont exite me

    Lot of money spend by M just to make us all waste time relearning things

    Like the next car having steering leavers

    Dont get me wrong this is not M specific

    It is an epidemic within the industry

  236. Per L says:

    Hi Steven

    Great blog and Microsoft finally made a perfekt METRO style OS for my Media Center and my remote control.

    But you have done NO update of the Media Center at all? The perfekt METRO style but no new Media Center app. I would of course pay extra for Media Center. But I would also expect to get something new for my money.

    Maybe you will wake up when Apple and Google have stolen the entire market for HTPC like they did with phones. Right now you could have made your move. Mark my words and take a look at my post in 2 years.

  237. I'm amazed people don't understand this.

    Ultrabooks, netbooks, tablets, hybrids, you name it – none of them have optical drives of any kind.  Why include a dvd decoder/blue ray licenses for machines that aren't capable of using it? It's a waste of money.

    Desktops and larger laptops with optical drives are different.  But he pretty much said it, manufacturers will include dvd player software or you can buy the dvd pack for windows for a few dollars. DVD's definitely are on their way out of the market though I think windows 9 might have been a better choice to stop supporting them by default.

    I love Media Center (and still use it once or twice a week), but as others have said, what we really need is the key components available as metro apps, and not just an updated or the same media center.  In Canada, we can't get cablecards, so the TV stuff is mostly broken/missing anyways unless your hanging on to Analog cable (which is also on it's way out).

  238. Olivier says:

    I have a win7 PC under my TV. I use it to watch movies with WMC that are on a whs v1 server elsewhere in the house.

    Your move with whs 2011 and now win8 is a no go for me.

    Do you really think that I will pay extra € to buy win8 PRO and then the WMC add in ?

    It makes me sad that Microsoft cares so little about its customers …

  239. Dean says:

    So Windows Media Centre will not be available for free with Windows 8? I'm not impressed. This seems a very poor decision. I appreciate the costs associated with codecs and such, but seriously- the more you take away from the fundamental experience of Windows the less people will adopt it. Windows Media Centre has always meant that any Windows PC can immediately become a HTPC with ease- all you've done here is take something away meaning more consumers will adopt other alternatives for free, such as XBMC. Please stop removing features MS! Just because you've added the "metro" architecture, does not warrant removing and then charging for a feature that's become to be expected as part of Windows. We're not all using tablets MS! Some of us still use desktops- lots of us- and many of us like the HTPC experience of Media Centre- don't charge MORE for it- even after the (and let's be fair here) ridiculously high price for Windows alone!

  240. Dean says:

    To add to my previous comment- this is the same as the DLC issue in gaming- withhold a feature that people like just to sell it back to them after they've already bought the damn thing!

  241. For those of you interested, Cyberlink will be producing 'PowerDVD Metro' for DVD/Blu-Ray Play back on Windows 8….we should see a beta very soon.

  242. So the DVD/Blu-Ray department seems to be covered by companies like Cyberlink….

    However, I seriously doubt whether anyone can come anywhere near Media Center UI in WinRT, other than Microsoft themselves 🙁

    Please release METRO Versions for LiveTV/EPG (SkyDrive synced)/Recorded TV….you don't even need to provide Guide Data…just allow us to use paid services such as DigiGuide…+ other XML Services.

  243. InCharge says:

    Microsoft in charge of Windows 8.

    This will be the biggest failure since Vista. Can't wait for people's head to roll after this crap ships.

  244. Ryan says:

    @Shazad13: "For those of you interested, Cyberlink will be producing 'PowerDVD Metro'…."

    That's the problem. Many folks are not only not interested, they *deliberately don't want* it on their machine. Now Microsoft is putting everyone in position where they have no choice but to use that or similar 3rd party products to play DVDs. I think that for businesses in particular–where a separate DVD playback application would have to be maintained–this is just a nonsensical decision. At least provide an option to get what we had with Windows 7–play back DVDs directly in WMP. DVDs may be on the way out, but we're not there yet. Maybe this would get a less vocal response in Windows 9, but DVDs are still used–and even necessary on occasion for businesses–today.

  245. "Please release METRO Versions for LiveTV/EPG (SkyDrive synced)/Recorded TV."

    Right, because the six other Metro fans hadn't got around to asking that question.

  246. Microsoft seems to think that Metro will have everyone excited…    

    Guess what?  It doesn’t…

    Just look at WP, people couldn’t care less about the interface, they just care about functionality. Besides, metro is not as beautiful as you make it to be… it is just too plain and monotone.

    That is why Android still has more market share than WP, it has ALL THE NEEDED functionality.  Remember that programmers make Apps for successful platforms, not for platforms with nice IDEs.  Besides, WinRT seems to VERY limited at the moment (How come you removed features from XAML/c#/.NET???  You want everything to be on the same level as html/js? How pathetic), so Developers can’t make up for the missing features.

    Make Metro the greatest experience out there and people will adopt Windows > 7, fail to do so and people will move onto Apple or Google Products (I believe it won’t be long before Google makes a nice Linux desktop, or makes a partnership with Canonical (search for Ubuntu for Android) ) And remember that If people grows up with mac/androids, that is what they will want on the working environment.

    Windows will not be relevant if people don’t use it, and people won’t use it if Windows doesn’t:

    -Have all the basic functionality built in.

    -Have all the Apps users could have on other platform (Therefore WinRT must be full featured).

    -Look and feel awesome (remember that people has different tastes).

    Office is the last Microsoft product where the competition is still far behind. And it runs on mac too.   Windows (and Microsoft with it) will become increasingly irrelevant (even more than now) if they don’t make sure Metro has the absolute best experience compared with OSX/iOS and Android/Ubuntu.  The apps will come after we (the Developers) see people adopting Windows.

    It’s a real shame because I’ve been a Windows user since Win 95 (I was 5) (and I used Me and Vista). I will have to jump ship if Microsoft t does not make radical changes for the Release Preview (and I’m not excited about having to use Eclipse on Linux (and God forbid XCode on OSX) instead of Visual Studio on Widnows, but I will if I have to).

    Remember, Microsoft dies with Windows, every other MS product has good (or better) replacements, Bing:Google, WP:Android, Windows Server:Linux,  Xbox:PS, et cetera.

    -A disillusioned Windows Evangelist/Developer.

  247. I'm amazed at the incredible lack of reading comprehension on this blog.

    Do you people (commenters) actually read the posts?  

    If you buy a win 8 OEM pc which includes a DVD drive, the manufacturer will preload software and appropriate licenses so you can watch your DVD's.

    If you built your own pc, you can buy the licenses and software yourself.  And if you don't, you'll have a cheaper windows.

    This really isn't the disaster you people make it out to be…

    Chill the f*ck out…

  248. cjmccarthy72 says:

    To Aroush above

    I have a OEM PC with preload software for Bluray. And yet everytime I use it, it comes up with banner ads for the full version- at $80- and reminds me of how my version is deliberately crippled- no full 5.1 audio only stereo, etc.  Then their is the ease of WMP

  249. temp says:

    Agree the decision about WMC. But why don't you improve WMP to support more files like flac, mkv… and have better codecs ? HD movies don't render well in WMP. Why with every new Windows OS I do have to get another player ? Why don't you improve WMP to be a VLC killer ? Why don't support subtitles by default ? I just want a microsoft player capable of doing what other players are doing…

  250. "This really isn't the disaster you people make it out to be…

    Chill the f*ck out…"

    On the other hand when reading this blog, as well as many of the others, it really seems like MS is trying to oversimplify and narrow the focus of Windows 8.  Rather than based on what makes a great computing experience their decisions appear to be based (blamed) on some chart, graph or metric.  The whole process is unfolding as rather mindless.

  251. Aero says:

    Thanks for the clarification. You have given me another reason not to upgrade my existing systems to windows 8. I have to admit that now I will have to seriously entertain a Mac for my next system.

  252. hamakaze japan says:

    It comments again. There is that it is a little worrisome.

    Conclusions, such as an opinion with the greatest Japanese bulletin board and criticism, are published for Windows 8 in Japan.

    It is a Japanese site, so when unclear, please translate into suitable words and phrases, such as English, and have a look, after choosing the writing to worry.

    Although there is also superfluous writing in part, if the product which may ignore and may reflect the opinion can be made to such a thing, it is happy.

    toro.2ch.net/…/1335476818

  253. Hi Win8 Team,

    -Could you reconsider including native support for Matroska container (MKV/MKA/WebM), Theora/VP3 & VP8 video format, and also Ogg Vorbis audio? I understand about 'supposedly' potential risk should there be a real patent case in the future, but isn't the alleged infringing patents already licensed by Microsoft when you include MP3, H.264, AAC, etc. for playback with Windows? Shouldn't this be the case?

    -How about native MPEG-2 video codec (as included in higher-end SKUs of Vista and 7)? Will Microsoft removes it too? It's used in DVR-MS, and how would the owner of those files able to play them on Windows 8? How about MPG and VOB files with MPEG-2 video stream inside? Will they be left out too?

    Thanks & regards.

  254. so – this is like how the server group dropped Drive Extender from WHS. how's that working out for you, MS?

    well – i guess it's time to finally go over to XBMC – i was the last of my tech circle to rally around 7MC; with WHS ruined and now MC being a "separate" product, my media center responsibilities will be given to XBMC. you had to see this coming right? MS *DID* buy and essentially kill TheGreenButton …

    thanks MS – its been a good run…

  255. Primefalcon says:

    easy solution forget the media centre stuff and just download vlc media player which can play pretty much any format anyhow

  256. jv says:

    I never upgrade my PC operating system.  I have three PC's – one with win 2000, one xp, and one win 7.  However when I get a new PC I want the best I can get.  Win 8 and Metro – sucks.  Now no Media center – double suck.  I use media center as a DVR and love it.  But now you give me a reason to look elsewhere when I get a new PC.

  257. Danny says:

    linuxmint.com

  258. Alejandro Kotrswchunov says:

    nunca mas usare este programa despues de tratar de descargar laiso de 2 gb se tranca la descarga para el win 8 pre. no  lo compro y tampoco lo recomiendo son horas gastadas en conexion que considero un robo. nunca mas uso este sistema operativo.

  259. S.Tiger says:

    I rely on Windows Media Center in Win7 to handle all of my media playback & DVR needs currently with a Ceton InfiniTV 4. All I can say is, it A) better not be any more than a $15-20 add-on for Windows 8 (we got it already in the same price with Windows 7 alone, now you're asking more for it when you never update/enhance  it anyway?), and B) better stay supported for many years to come including future versions of Windows. I am quite tee'd off at this development of having it be a seperate, price-added product.

  260. ShelLuser says:

    When Microsoft decided to add functionality to their OS which in my personal opinion 'shunned' the market they were evil. People didn't get a chance to develop for Windows because "MS already did it".

    And now when they're going back on these steps they're evil as well?  Come on here…

    As many people mentioned above: get VLC. I also heavily favor the Media centre on Windows 7, in fact I think its even better than Zune (even though Zune has a build in volume control). Still; VLC goes a long way.

  261. paladin238 says:

    @ Steven can we get a post about included Metro Apps that will come to W8. Any chance we will get a Metrofied Windows Journal?

  262. SoHi says:

    This post doesn't make much sense.  Please clear it up in another blog post.  Also, we won't have windows media center??

  263. You still haven't answered whether the ability for Media Player to play DVDs is entirely removed or just the decoders so if we supply a third party decoder, can we play a DVD in Media Player? I am not talking about the ability to play DVDs in a third party player with a crappy UI, I am asking about DVD playback ability in Media Player when appropriate decoders are installed.

  264. Matthew.D says:

    I think it is funny that they don't want to pay for media codecs.. but they are happy to shell out for Dolby Digital.

    http://www.maximumpc.com/…/windows_8_will_have_built-_dolby_digital_plus_support

  265. B8Blog says:

    @SoHi and others  

    Please see the more recent post which is an FAQ on this topic.  blogs.msdn.com/…/q-amp-a-dvd-playback-and-windows-media-center-in-windows-8.aspx