Following the announcement that the Windows 8 Release Preview coming the first week of June in which Microsoft detailed how “Windows Media Center will be available as an economical “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro” they have today revealed more details about the reasons behind that decision. In a post entitled Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8 they explained how media consumption is changing:
On the PC, these online sources are growing much faster than DVD & broadcast TV consumption, which are in sharp decline (no matter how you measure—unique users, minutes, percentage of sources, etc.). Globally, DVD sales have declined significantly year over year and Blu-ray on PCs is losing momentum as well. Watching broadcast TV on PCs, while incredibly important for some of you, has also declined steadily. These traditional media playback scenarios, optical media and broadcast TV, require a specialized set of decoders (and hardware) that cost a significant amount in royalties. With these decoders built into most Windows 7 editions, the industry has faced those costs broadly, regardless of whether or not a given device includes an optical drive or TV tuner.
The post goes on to explain how consumers will be able to obtain Windows Media Center in Windows 8 regardless of the version they originally purchased:
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). This ensures that customers who are interested in Media Center have a convenient way to get it.
Unfortunately no details are yet available on pricing but one thing is clear that even if you purchase a PC running Windows 8 that there will still be an easy upgrade path to obtain Windows Media Center. The final piece of information that will be of interest to Media Center enthusiasts is confirmation that the feature set will be the same as the current Windows 7 version of Media Center.