Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

Summary: Windows Media Center will be part of Windows 8, though it won't be in the first pre-release builds, Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky acknowledged in a new blog post.

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For all those wondering whether Microsoft would pull the plug on Media Center with Windows 8, the answer is no

Windows Media Center is a digital video recorder and media player developed by Microsoft that has been part of Windows since it debuted as part of Windows XP Media Center Edition.

.In a September 2 blog post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky addressed the issue head-on. (Scroll down about two-thirds of the way in his latest post to see the Media Center information.)

Media Center will not be in the first pre-release Windows 8 builds, Sinofsky acknowledged. Neither will some other features and capabilities, including Windows 7 games, DVD Creator, upgrade setup and "Dot Net 3.5" -- which means .Net 3.5 -- I guess? (Not sure why he's talking about .Net 3.5, when supposedly .Net 4.5 is being rolled out alongside Windows 8, according to what I've heard.)

Sinofsky said the rollout cadence was both an engineering and a business decision. He explained:

"Knowing how strong the support for Media Center is among pre-release testers, we still have work to do to make sure the quality and compatibility with add-ins is what you would expect even in pre-release (as with any release of Windows, compatibility is a major effort and when we work on the underlying video engine, as one example, we have to make sure features that push these areas receive adequate coverage)."

He also noted that the different editions, or SKUs, are not typically developed or announced until closer to market availability. (I guess that's "confirmation" that there will be more than one Windows 8 SKU, as I'd expected, but many had hoped would NOT be the case, preferring Microsoft to take more of an Apple-like approach.) With Windows 7, Media Center was part of three SKUs, not all of them.

Media Center is not one of Windows' oft-used features, according to Microsoft's own telemetry data. In fact, in July, Media Center was launched by 6% of Windows 7 users globally with the heaviest usage in Russia, Mexico, and Brazil (in terms of both frequency and time), Sinofsky said. And even when the feature was launched, most users were "just looking around," he added, with only one quarter (25% of 6%) of these people using it for more than 10 minutes per session.

"Interestingly, the feedback about Media Center was predominantly “we will pay extra, just include it” based on the input directly to me," Sinofsky said.

I am somewhat surprised that Microsoft is keeping Media Center, given that it is expected to provide DVR capabilities as part of its coming Xbox Live TV Service. I (and others) were thinking Microsoft might make this service available on Windows 8 instead of providing it via Media Center. That said, I know a number of Media Center enthusiasts who will be, no doubt, relieved, by Sinofsky's disclosure on Media Center today....

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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29 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    Why wouldn't .NET 3.5 be included in the first pre-release? I hope that doesn't mean we can't install the 3.5 runtime (even client profile) ourselves. That would really mean HTML5/JS is the only reasonable way to target these machines. Scary.
    amitballs
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

      @amitballs

      Noticed that too... Since .NET 4 is the latest version, I'm guessing its a typo (there were other little typos in the post too)... I'm taking this to mean .NET 4.5, which would make MUCH more sense.... I guess we'll find out in a feww days!
      krsanford
      • Typos

        @krsanford There is more typos in this on line magazine that a stressed out classroom in Florida these days.
        The Douginator
    • .Net 3.5

      Yes, that little bit is super confusing to me, too. I just added more to my post on that. I don't understand why .Net 4.5 wouldn't be what gets added later, and not .Net 3. Plus, as you note, is this just a ploy to wean folks from .Net? No idea... MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

        @Mary Jo Foley
        There are certain systems that need .NET 3.5 or previous. Good example is BizTalk 2006 R2. Since he didn't mention about .NET 4.x, it doesn't mean it will not be there. Let us wait and see. I am sure .NET 4.x will be part of the sytem and .NET 3.5 or previous systems would be rolled later.
        Ram U
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

        @Mary Jo Foley<br>It's not a mistake or typo. Steven Sinofsky says as much in the comments to the blog post. This is the exchange he had with Robert4WPF (comment number in parenthesis, @ tags removed for clarity, spelling unchanged).<br><br>= Robert4WPF (10205386): I assume that your mention of .NET 3.5 is a typo and you meant .NET 4.5? Otherwise I am very confused<br>= Steven Sinofsky (10205403): Not a typo. Windows 7 had 3.5 in it.<br>= Robert4WPF (10205523): Ok, I am confused then. Why wouldn't the pre-release ship with at least .NET 4? Please please please clarify the role of .NET/XAML in Windows 8, it is the most important question for developers. If the pre-release isn't even shipping a .NET runtime, it isn't exactly giving us a warm fuzzy feeling that managed code can play in the new UI.<br>= Steven Sinofsky (10205549): we're talking about the old version, that's all. No conspiracy or anything.<br><br>So it seems that Windows 8 pre-releases with initially be produced with the newest versions of .NET to allow developers to get started right away. The legacy versions will be released late, maybe when they're finished being updated for Metro compatibility?<br><br>Ryan
        WhistleHeat
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

      @amitballs

      they dont have to ship it with .Net 3.5. This .Net version is near obsolete.

      those pre release are usually for developper and MSDN subscriber for them to start developping on .net 4.0/4.5.

      As far i remember they did the same thing with windows 7 pre release. (it didnt shipped with .Net2.0).
      SylvainT
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    I sure as heck hope so or my HTPC stays on win 7 forever.
    ploco@...
    • i think so

      i think dragon nest game is good.so i wish u play with me. u can buy dragon nest gold from dragonnestgoldsales.com
      xiaopig
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    All I really want is a smooth, quick way to stream media from my PC to my Xbox via the network. WMC on Xbox has great potential but it's clunky and laggy at the moment.
    laserfloyd
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    Windows Media Center is one of the best kept secrets in Windows. Whenever I show people what it is they all say, how can I get that? And then I say....you already have it.

    Media Center is awesome.
    gomigomijunk
    • I have used it since it first came out

      @gomigomijunk And I always wondered why MS didnt do more to promote this product.

      I had a similar experience with 2 friends when I showed them how they could get media center on their xbox.

      MS was ahead of the game when they introduced this, but then they just let it flounder...
      otaddy
  • I for one certainly dont want to buy an xbox for every tv in my house

    Media Center needs to be there and to be enhanced with new features.
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

      @Johnny Vegas and it needs to be advertised more.
      grayknight
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

        @G Computer Network
        You so right about it. Most Windows users don't even know media center exist, neither what it does.

        They should just drop the media player and use the media center as default media player.
        SylvainT
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    I thought media centre, media player and Zune were to get unified at last. Maybe not after all.

    "As we get closer to market availability, we will make sure to explain how not just these specifically but all features of the product will be made available"

    "Interestingly, the feedback about Media Center was predominantly ?we will pay extra, just include it? based on the input directly to me"

    These two quotes can seriously be interpreted as Sinofsky saying that those softwares / functionalities are to be available on the app store. That would mean the end of the different SKUs and it would be a very logical (well... At least trendy) move.
    matthieunate
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    I like Rama.net's reconciliation with regards to .Net 3.5.

    As for Media Center, I may be saying something blazingly stupid here, but wouldn't it make sense to show the gee-whiz home tv/media software, and the hardware that will run it, for the first time at CES in January?
    DannyO_0x98
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    Little doubt that the future home of media center is xbox. If you it on Windows then prepare to pay more for it. I really don't like that xbox is becoming the center of Microsoft media universe, the pc- like design and all the wires going everywhere I just can't take in in my living room even though I enjoy the services. Between it and kinect, it just too much for me. I hope they can really look at these devices and put more industrial design into them to make them more living room friendly.
    windowseat
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows chief: Media Center will be part of Windows 8

    Great news, mce has powered my bedroom pc since it was introduced as separate xp sku, and has been upgraded to vista and 7 ultimate when they became available.
    sjaak327
  • Meh

    I too am surprised Media Center is being bothered with, considering XBMC is far more-feature rich and entirely free (and doesn't need a ridiculously expensive operating system, either).
    Jambe