Media Center enthusiasts still waiting for promised Windows 8 update

Media Center enthusiasts still waiting for promised Windows 8 update

Summary: If you're waiting for the Media Center update for Windows 8, I've got some bad news for you. You can't get it now, and Microsoft's terse "no comment" probably you'll have to wait till the official consumer launch on October 26.

TOPICS: Windows

Microsoft’s small but enthusiastic cadre of digital media enthusiasts got a double whammy with Windows 8. First was Microsoft’s decision to stop development when Windows 7 shipped and delivering functionally identical code in Windows 8. Then, to add insult to injury, the one-time killer feature now requires Windows 8 Pro and is an extra-cost add-on.

Or it will be, when it’s finally available.

The Media Center code was available for the Windows 8 Release Preview, but it’s not publicly available for the RTM code that was released for Volume License customers, partners, and TechNet and MSDN subscribers in mid-August.

To unlock the Media Center features, you need a separate product key. Those keys aren’t available for sale or distribution even to the limited subset of Microsoft early adopters yet.

I’ve been bugging Microsoft for weeks to get an answer on this question, and today I got an answer. Sort of. A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had “nothing to announce at this time” about when the special product keys will be available.

Microsoft is on the hook for an undisclosed amount of license fees for each copy of Media Center it sells (my guess is that the number is around $10, but I’ve never received official confirmation). The license holders, notably Dolby Corporation, get paid for every copy, so giving the update away isn’t a palatable option.

The most likely scenario is that the Windows 8 Media Center Pack and the Windows 8 Pro Pack will be available on October 26, the same time that downloadable Windows 8 upgrades and OEM Personal Use Licenses will go on sale to the general public.

If that's true, the Media Center community can get some slight comfort from the wait. A limited-time upgrade promo allows users of any currently supported Windows version to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $40, with the Media Center Pack thrown in free. That promotion starts on October 26 and ends on January 31, 2013.

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Topic: Windows

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  • Another reason

    I'm sticking with Windows 7 Ultimate for the desktop.
    • Windows 7 is great and all...

      But Windows 8 really fits the bill as the perfect HTPC OS, where Media Center is the most valuable. Why they didn't upgrade it to become a Metro app is beyond me, but at least it's still there. Come Oct. 26th, I'll be ditching Windows 7 across my devices and dual boot on my desktop.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • The best thing about Media Center is using it with an XBox

    My PC running Media Center upstairs combined with my XBox downstairs (next to the TV and Stereo) make for a nice A/V solution.
    • Questions: since I have an Xbox and a Windows PC

      Do you NEED to run Media Center in order to use your Xbox as an A/V solution? Can you use Zune as a back end (like you can use iTunes as a back end to Apple TV)? Can you point your Xbox to a shared folder with HomeGroup? Or is content local to your network completely unavailable to you without Media Center?
      • Don't know the answers to all your questions

        But as far as pointing the Xbox to the HomeGroup, you can do that (in fact you can point a number of devices to the HomeGroup from smart TVs to Bluray players), but if there is a codec issue as far as the Xbox (or any other device) not having the right one, it's a problem. But somehow it works when you use the Media Center as long as the Media Center on the PC has the codec. That's not a problem on Windows 7 since they all have WMC anyway and Xbox always works as an extender.
        Michael Kelly
        • Thanks for the reply

          I'll have to give that a try although yeah, I'm pretty sure the codec issue will be a drag. Do I even need to guess that Xbox won't play Apple's proprietary AAC Lossless format or videos taken with an iPhone?
          • Nope

            Never did but I've incorporated a Mac-Mini into my baby as well. All bases are covered, and at least so far Apple hasn't reneged on on any of its' capabilities.
          • Agreed

            At times, I'll readily loathe certain policies Apple proffers, but - by and large - any promises that company has met have been kept.

            and, as I recall, Microsoft - thanks to ZDNet and an article of recent - pointed out how MS's EULA will stipulate that customers will agree not to sue or be part of a class action suit. Gee, may as well give a murderer a free pardon in advance of the crime, if that hideous, monstrous mindset becomes the norm...
          • Then the solution is extremely simple

            partman should dump the whole Microsoft solution and get the hi-def and THX surround sound decrypters from Apple.

            He'll get a system he loves from a company he loves and he'll be able to really hurt MS where it counts: in the bank account.
          • I own 1XP, 1 Vista, 3(yes 3) Windows7 and 2older pcs with linux!

            Only 1 Apple laptop and an iPod Touch. I have been very happy with all technology companies until the so called improvements of Windows 8. I have mashed keys since before DOS. Everything has improved until the GUI (Metro or whatever it's called now) and removal of cable decryption capabilities that have hindered 8. I don't foresee your conclusion of my not purchasing Windows as an option, however like many, I feel user opinion may eventually sway any company for better products.
          • I forgot

            I forgot the Mac- Mini. Ok 3 Apple manufactured devices.
          • It Has

            Microsoft is not the only company that does that. Alot more EULA state you cannot sue, the thing is most people do not know you cannot sign away your rights.
          • Gee, my iTunes AAC files play in my car's automobile,

            whose software was slopped together by Microsoft. It's called "My Ford Touch". Find a forum where people are pissed off at Microsoft's clearly sloppy implementation of it... customers are not happy...

            So not only did I refute your point, but I gave you something to think about.

            I don't disagree on many of your anti-Apple posts as that company is becoming very customer-unfriendly, but Microsoft isn't a saint... never was, either...
          • AAC is open

            What I wrote was: Apple's proprietary AAC Lossless format

            Apple's lossless AAC is proprietary and, from what I've read, doesn't work on very many devices. That's why I was asking about Media Center.

            Edit: See, I can admit when I'm wrong, I'm about to do it now. While getting the link to show you how evil and proprietary this was, I discovered that I'd made 2 errors.
            First, it isn't called AAC lossless, it is simply called Apple Lossless. No AAC. My bad.

            Second, Apple has open sourced the code and made it royalty free as of late 2011. Good for Apple. Kudos to Apple.

            So I take it all back. Thank you Apple. MS, if you don't support this, you have no excuse. Boo MS. Hiss MS.
          • You're pretty dumb

            AAC stands for "Advanced Audio Coding"


            Apple didn't develop it or own it. They just use it as the default for iTunes instead of mp3.

            Go back to school where you belong.
            Cylon Centurion
          • You do realize...

            that despite your internal dialog as some uber knowledgeable transcendent being, your cynical responses betray you as a hateful, obnoxious troll, right?

            For instance, what portion of your response was truly meant as being helpful? Only the areas that you took some odd comfort in by strutting information around as prideful condescendence. Take note of that behavior. It is who you are to the rest of us.
          • What I do realize FuzzyWuzzy...

            is that I can't stand slavering windoze fanbuis like yourself and yes I do take prideful condescendence knowing your fellow shill doesn't know what the hell he's talking about when he's talking about something other than windows.

            If you hate my guts then so be it. I don't like liars who come on here and pretend to be something else, anyway.
            Cylon Centurion
          • Please explain?

            "...I can't stand slavering windoze fanbuis..."

            Me neither, and Apple or Linux zealots are equally annoying - especially when their posts are merely assertions along the lines of "ABC is wonderful and XYZ is just crap" without any reason as to why they hold that opinion. (I am intrigued as to just why there seem to be so many *more* MS fanboys on here than the other varieties though...)

            However, I am at a loss to reconcile your excellent statement above with your apparently heavy bias towards Microsoft, which makes you look rather like the very fanboys you deride. (I sincerely hope you are not; I much prefer to read serious comments and contributions from those who can think.)

            BTW, I may be mistaken (it is not entirely unknown...) but I thought Fuzzy Bunny was having a go at toddbottom3; it seemed like a more appropriate response to his posts than to yours.
          • Explain what?

            You're too much of a fucking idiot to understand.
            Cylon Centurion II
          • Food for thought

            (I am intrigued as to just why there seem to be so many *more* MS fanboys on here than the other varieties though...)

            I would guess that the ratio of Apple users to Microsoft users would suggest mathematically that you will have "*more* MS fanboys".