Microsoft Kicks Media Center Behind the Paywall in Windows 8

Sections: HTPC

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Media Center and DVD playback have been included for free in the last few versions of Windows, to the great delight of HTPC enthusiasts everywhere. That’s about to change, because starting with Windows 8, you’re going to need to pay for it. Cited by Engadget as being “marginal,” to support the licensing of MPEG-2 and DVD-Video, this pack will likely run you in the neighborhood of $10. If they’re going to charge people, how about some native Blu-ray playback as well, so we can buy everything at once?

Of course, the only codec that really needs licensing is MPEG-2 (less than a dollar), as any serious HTPC user already has other playback programs installed. Zap2It, who provides the guide data, probably needs to be paid as well. I just hope that MS is willing to piece out those licenses (while offering a bundle discount) so that the rest of us aren’t paying twice for what we already own.

Via: [Engadget]

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  • Bret T

    Yet another brilliant idea from the braintrust in Redmond. Unless WMC is far more stable, usable, and fully feature-enabled than it ever was when I was trying to champion the cause and make various iterations work in the past, no one will pay for what was once included. There are too many alternatives out there and WMC’s window closed some time ago, mostly because the whole thing was half-baked and hamstrung from the beginning. I spent more of my time making excuses for what it didn’t do yet (coming soon) and trying to get it to actually work than it was ever worth. I loved the promise, but the reality was always something else. Now they expect people to pay for it? Just increase the cost of the devices a few bucks to cover the licensing and ship it ready to use – and actually work! People are sick and tired of being nickel and dimed for features and capabilities that should be part of the product to begin with.