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Friday, May 4, 2012

Windows 8 won't include Media Center automatically

One of the new changes that Microsoft is introducing to it's upcoming operating system is that Windows Media Center will only be available as an upgrade. Microsoft said that Media Center would be an add-on (rather than a distinct release), and would only work with the Pro release. "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)," Microsoft wrote in a blog post today. "Windows Media Player will continue to be available in all editions, but without DVD playback support."

Users interested in Media Center have a couple of choices. If they buy Windows 8 Pro, they can they purchase Windows 8 Media Center Pack to have full integration with DVD playback, broadcast TV recording and playback, and VOB file playback. If they have just Windows 8, they can buy the Windows 8 Pro Pack to get Media Center. Microsoft has yet to announce the cost for Windows 8 and the upgrades; it did say, however, that the Media Center Pack pricing will be "in line with marginal costs."The separate pricing issue aside, Microsoft also said today that with the Media Center it is focusing on a "comprehensive video and audio platform for developers to build engaging and differentiated apps." The apps will use decoders specialized for system reliability, battery life, and performance. In addition, playback will include YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, Hulu video, MP4 video, and more.

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