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Why will we need Media Center in Windows 8?


edamiga1
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I have been confused by the backlash that Microsoft has gotten around Media Center in Windows 8. I have been a user of Media Center for 4 years and love it, but I think it has run it's course. The cost of the codecs is real and I understand why Microsoft is not including these, especially given that the codec cost of $2 would be a very significant part of the windows licesnse for OEMs given that they pay close to $30 a copy.

 

I look at Windows 8 and see it as a replacement for Media Center. The metro interface is basically Media Center evolved and looks great on a big screen. What needs to happen is that the applications in Media Center such as my movies and DVR functionality need to be converted to be Win8 applications. One of the issues with Media Center is that you installed applications, such as Weather, Netflix, Hulu, to get all of the functionality that you need. Why would I want to go into an application to launch other applications and also be limited by applications that are developed for Media Center. I fully expect that MyMovies will come out with an application for Windows 8, so the only feature in question is the DVR functionality. I really hope that they come out with a DVR application, but not holding my breath. The Music, Videos, and Picture applications are super limited, but I fully expect this to be fleshed out and have something closer to the Zune experience by release. I now have access to thousands of Windows 8 applications that will provide functionality that I cannot even image yet.

 

My plan is to convert my media center boxes to Windows 8. I will remove most of the applications from the start menu and only have MyMovies, Pictures, Videos, Music, Weather, Mail, and a couple of other applications on it. If a DVR application does not come out, then I will create a shortcut to Media Center to launch the current functionality. I mainly use it for movies, music and personal videos.

 

Other than the DVR feature, what do I lose and I gain access to a much larger ecosystem. They are still including access to Media Center for those that do not want to move, but not charging the majority of consumers the cost. The big question is will Windows 8 be cheaper than Windows 7?

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I don't think people are actually so concerned about WMC per se. What they're really concerned about is losing the functionality of WMC. I doubt anyone would be all that upset if that functionality took a different form. The problem is losing the functionality altogether. MS has provided some clarification of what Win8's media capabilities will be, but there are still a lot of questions. People are worried by that uncertainty.

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I for one don’t have a problem with WMC being made a separate product or even paying for it, but I don’t care for the requirement of having a PRO version of Windows to be able to use WMC. All of my current media centers are 32bit Home Premium OSs.

 

I won’t be pleased if WMC dies because I have a HD Homerun Prime which won’t work with any of the other DVR apps. None of the cable card tuners will work with anything other than WMC. The DVR feature is 90+% of what I use MWC for. I don’t care for Hulu and the other internet streaming services. I would also miss an interface that I can work, for must things, from a universal remove control. I would rather not use a keyboard to watch TV.

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That's a great argument edamiga. It does sound like a good media experience. I don't know if I'm crazy about the different experience from Metro to Media Center though. I need to set that up and test it. I use MC mostly for TV and DVR.

I wonder how MS will integrate remote handling of Win8 from a tablet? It would be nice if you could pick up a tablet and remote to the HTPC and see it on both screens. Then manipulate and play content instead of using remote buttons. Up, up, over, over, select.

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I for one don’t have a problem with WMC being made a separate product or even paying for it, but I don’t care for the requirement of having a PRO version of Windows to be able to use WMC. All of my current media centers are 32bit Home Premium OSs.

 

I won’t be pleased if WMC dies because I have a HD Homerun Prime which won’t work with any of the other DVR apps. None of the cable card tuners will work with anything other than WMC. The DVR feature is 90+% of what I use MWC for. I don’t care for Hulu and the other internet streaming services. I would also miss an interface that I can work, for must things, from a universal remove control. I would rather not use a keyboard to watch TV.

 

Interesting points.

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I have the HD Homerun also, 3 of them, so I will be very unhappy if they don't come out with some sort of DVR functionality. They have to have a plan around this, but the cable providers, might be pushing back on them to discontinue this capability. The problem with OTA is that their is only revenue from the initial sale of the application and no long term money from cable providers that they can get.

 

With Google and Apple coming out with tv products, this would be a great differentiator for MSFT. I trully hope that they create a metro TV application that uses the same tv technology that they currently have in media center. I hope/pray that this is also ported over to the xbox, but not holding my breath on that one. That would be ideal, but only time will tell. Hopefully their fall update will have new music, video and picture applications for the xbox, since the current ones are very limited. Adding TV would be ideal. I am not sure how similar the platforms are from a development perspective, but hopefully they are not too dissimilar.

 

Time will tell.....

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I really think Metro on the desktop will be a mistake.. time will tell.. It might work on the HTPC where you really don't need to multitask..

 

For me I'll continue to use Win7 with WMC beyond Windows 8, and at least I know I can use it until 2020 if need be..

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I am not sure why you would not like metro if you like media center. It is basically media center, but horizontal instead of verticle. These are the things I expect I will like more about metro.

 

Much broader and better set of applications. The user base of Metro will be several orders of magnitude larger and better than WMC.

Live tiles - things I envison and are possible.

  • tile will show image of most recent recorded tv show.
  • Number of shows recorded in last 2 days.
  • Number upcoming recordings in next 2 days.
  • Ability to pin particular channels to metro desktop
  • These will show current and next show and if recording a show.
  • Ability to pin show series that I can then watch, for example mythbusters,
  • Hulu could do very similar things.
  • Netflix could also do this.
  • Weather will show information on the tile, don't have to open it.

Works on ARM and is low power. Really looking forward to a media center pc based on ARM that sips only a few watts when not in use.

 

I could go on, but just think of what is possible, and how limited the WMC ecosystem is in comparison....

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I am not sure why you would not like metro if you like media center. It is basically media center, but horizontal instead of verticle.

 

I could see it working as a HTPC, but I don't think Microsoft will ever take metro in that direction. That functionality will be moved into the Xbox ecosystem IMO.

 

Imagine the WMC interface as your OS, Its just plain silly..

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Agree to disagree. Not sure that WMC as your OS is silly, you might have a hard time convencing Apple and Android of this. Tablet wise this is the future, and Laptop wise probably the same. The open issue is how well this will work with Desktop multi-monitor systems. This is the direction I am planning on going.

 

I currently have a two monitor system. Plan to add a third touch panel monitor that I will run metro on. This will sit between the other two monitors and I will basically interact with it as a third input device. The other two monitors will remain and function like they do in Windows 7. In windows 8 I will now have a touch environment that I can interact with. Think of all of the ipad games and what is possible. What I hope they come out with is a intel powered tablet that can wirelessly communicate with a docking station and give me access to my other two monitors and more processing power. This way I sit back in my chair and control the processing and interact with the other two screens. Think of Splash top.

 

Rember this is Metro 1.0 and I expect a lot more to come for this platform.

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