Microsoft now has a lengthy blog post talking about Windows Media Center and how it fits into Windows 8. It’s pretty simple in the end though. Regardless of what version of Windows 8 you get, it won’t have Media Center and it won’t play DVDs out of the box. But you can buy the Media Center upgrade (that includes DVD playback) for the cost of the licensing of those codecs. “To give you some indication of Media Center Pack pricing, it will be in line with marginal costs.” The reason for this is because if they include it in Windows 8 then everyone has to pay the the codecs, even if you have a tablet or ultrabook that doesn’t have a DVD player. Also, most PCs ship with extra DVD software (HP and Dell always bundles something at least). End result is that we all get a cheaper license and if we want this, then you pay the fee.

No big deal interwebs and in fact, I think it’s a net gain.


  1. Eh I guess it’s not bad depending on the price. I use it for windows 7, maybe I won’t upgrade not really digging the new UI for a desktop computer.

  2. Thanks Microsoft for saving me money that I’d rather spend on an app or game in the marketplace.

  3. I use it only for the extender to my XBox…don’t need the DVD playback…wonder if we still need to pay for it then?

  4. Brian, my presumption is you won’t need it. I presume when you use an extender the decoding happens on the device playing it, the Xbox and that you stream the raw data to the device. It wouldn’t make sense for a computer to decode the data because you don’t know the ultimate resolution, etc. At least that’s my gut.

  5. @David K…my family enjoys the extender on the XBOX where we start Media Center, play a playlist (and it uses our ZunePass Music too) and then show pictures as it plays…that still requires Media Center unless the XBOX updates it’s music player to shuffle pictures too. Sounds like a small need but we absolutely love this feature.

  6. I guess we’ll ahve to see how Xbox works with W8 but you’re right – I forgot how the streaming works since I rarely use it. At least we know that MS is keeping it alive and paying for it is no different than if MS icnreased the licensing fee for all (which is effectively where we are today). So you end up the same place even though now you feel like you spent $5 more than you needed to;)

  7. I am really excited about the “ecosystem” Microsoft is (finally) building with Win 8, XBOX and Windows Phone. I went Android for my phone and tablets because the wait for Windows Phone 7 was long and Microsoft’s slow re-entry to the tablet market. I’d take a chance on it all now if it were out. But back on topic, I am glad the Media Center will see be an option. Was planning on keeping a Windows 7 box just for the extender. :)

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