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Yesterday Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky acknowledged that Windows 8 would included Windows Media Center but he didn’t go as far as saying if there would be any new features. In fact he said it would NOT be included in the pre-release builds of Windows 8 (along with some other Windows 7 features).

Sinofsky said “I want to reassure customers that Media Center will definitely be part of Windows 8” which is great but then later in the post he does highlight that only 6% of Windows 7 users used Media Center in July so perhaps he is justifying the reason why there will be no changes to Media Center in Windows 8. Its also interesting note that he says many people have said they would pay extra to have Media Center so that could point to it being included in a premium SKU (as it is now) or maybe a paid app in the Windows 8 app store.

As with many of the Building Windows 8 posts there are lots of words without to much details and I suspect we are not going to see much of Windows Media Center in Windows 8 for some time. We know the pre-release editions will not include it so we may have to wait for the later beta to find out.

While I would like to see a new version of Windows Media Center in Windows 8 the current version does the job for me so I am relived to see its going to be included and maybe there will be some new fantastic Media Player/Zune type app in Windows 8 which is going to blow us away…

Details from Steven Sinofsky’s post

 

Media Center

While not a central topic of feedback, I received about 50 emails about Media Center. I want to reassure customers that Media Center will definitely be part of Windows 8. No doubt about it. Knowing how strong the support for Media Center is among pre-release testers, we still have work to do to make sure the quality and compatibility with add-ins is what you would expect even in pre-release (as with any release of Windows, compatibility is a major effort and when we work on the underlying video engine, as one example, we have to make sure features that push these areas receive adequate coverage).

In the coming months, many folks will be testing pre-release builds of Windows 8. As everyone knows, two things are always the case early on. First, the software is not done and things will change—features will be added and removed. Second, the different editions or SKUs are not developed or announced until late in the development process (closer to market availability).

Media Center will not be part of the first pre-release builds. Some other features/capabilities will not be in the first pre-release builds including: Windows 7 games, DVD Creator, upgrade setup, Dot Net 3.5 (Note there are perhaps a couple of other relatively low profile items but just wanted to hit the major ones here). These are engineering decisions as well as business decisions.

As we get closer to market availability, we will make sure to explain how not just these specifically but all features of the product will be made available. As an aside, it is early to start the dialogue about a preference for one SKU with Windows. We’re well aware of this feedback and we always need to balance it with the feedback from our business partners who value a different approach. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Interestingly, the feedback about Media Center was predominantly “we will pay extra, just include it” based on the input directly to me. Today Media Center is part of “premium” SKUs for Windows, which means that is the case today.

In addition a lot of folks said “everyone I know uses it.” As I said, we’re completely committed to delivering Media Center in Windows 8, but I wanted to share some of the usage data. This data in no way influenced not delivering it as part of the first pre-release build—we are as committed as ever to Media Center.

Our opt-in usage telemetry shows that in July, Windows Media Center was launched by 6% of Windows 7 users globally with the heaviest usage in Russia, Mexico, and Brazil (frequency and time). However, most people are just looking around; only one quarter (25% of 6%) of these people used it for more than 10 minutes per session (individual averages), and in 59% of Media Center sessions (by these 6% of users) we see almost no activity (less than a minute or two of usage). TV was the most common scenario we observed, and not surprisingly, traditional media (DVD and CD) are less common (and declining over time) than streaming and file-based content. By comparison, Media Player (66% of Windows users in July) and IE (88%) are popular rendering engines for all types of media content, including an increased volume of “premium” and streaming content. This is another place we’re reminded of the tremendous diversity of Windows activity.

13 thoughts on “Microsoft Confrim Windows Media Center Will Ship With Windows 8”
  1. This is good news for sure! The usage figures are worrying however, Media Center probably won’t change much in Windows 8 if at all? I’d pay for it from an app store if I knew it was being developed and updated, with regular bug fixes and Microsoft IPTV add-ins made available for it for iPlayer and the others.

  2. because most people don’t know what it is, even IT people don’t know what it is in. Sure a lot of people open it and think “oh, it’s like wmp.. but bigger”

    The only way it could go mainstream now is by set top boxes or integration in televisions (and the latter due to the long lifescycles wouldn’t make an impact).

    I’d pay for media center also.

    An app store would be great, a couple bucks for little apps would hopefully get more dev’s making apps and/or real integration of third party apps like iplayer, boxee etc.

    Even if nothing changes i’d still stick with it as i’ve not found an alternative, sure there prettier things at a lower cost but the problem is I like the TV integration, i’m not a big TV watcher but at the same time couldn’t live without TV (at least recorded tv and live tv for big england games) and there’s nothing that integrates everything so nicely.

  3. oh, no edit 🙂

    From my experience everyone that sees my media center follows with:

    “where do i get one of these?”

    “you’ll need to get a pc first, ahh there’s not many places that sell media centers off the shelf, but some shops online still sell them. when you get it you setup windows and set your username etc and then open media center and set it to auto start with windows”

    “well… umm….. i suppose that’s a bit of effort but might be worth it”

    “then you’ll have to sort out the codec problems”

    “the what”

    “blah blah”

    “umm jesus… then it’s all done right and i can watch tv”

    “ahh, chances are unless you bought a specialised off the internet it won’t come with a tuner, but you can buy one and fit it….”

    “i’ll stick to sky”

  4. I wonder how many of us 7MC fans have asked oursleves ‘what would we miss that 7MC and not some other application couldnt provide )

    I wind up with PVR/TV/Guide … and Media Browser

    I really do hope they kill it as a seperate entity or if it must remain as a ‘seperate’, make sure that its development model is changed to match the rest of the tablet style interface.

    App for TV ( Guide and Recorded , and including and easyier way to integrate IPTV )
    App for Movies
    App for Sports ( if your american … which is another story entirely )
    Leave video play back / pictures / games to the rest of the tablet interface.

    Have i missed anything ? Iplayer, 4OD etc are just apps , or should be integrated into some IPTV push apart from that ?

  5. I could probably live without the other things:

    Movies and archive TV – mymovies supports metadata for many types of streamers so the movie/archive tv area would be sorted.

    Music – I could probably pony up and get a sonos, after using one of them the wmc seems so outdated and takes an age to get around with a large collection.

    photos – any old box

    iptv stuff – most streamer boxes have apps for 3rd party streaming programs that pretty much wipe the floor with wmc.

    tv – damn… nothing beats media center

    …and above all, even with the caveats I like one device.

    –“Have i missed anything ? Iplayer, 4OD etc are just apps , or should be integrated into some IPTV push apart from that ?”

    I think that apps like iplayer, 4od, youtube etc are used so much by most people that they deem them pretty much essential therefore built in support for these (not some dodgy 3rd party html app etc) would be a warm welcome.

  6. I guessed a long tme ago it may be an add in … but add in or part off i dont care, thank goodness it is being kept alive.

    Now we have to keep our fingers crossed it dosent suffer the same fate as Windows Live movie maker, unloved, buggy and down right disappointing.

    Microsoft have been a head of the internet Tv game for years with Media Center and yet it has been ignored and under developed, all the Media Center fans can see its possabilities, why the heck M/s cant is simply frustrating and exhasperating.

    My vision of Media Center, embedded on a chip ( which is now done ) and inside every tv as the O/s, surely that is where the next war is going to be, not a stupid 3D war but a Tv O/s war.

  7. This is where you just want to scream

    “ITS BECAUSE YOU DIDNT INCLUDE BLUERAY COMPATABILITY, CODECS, O/s STABILITY, AND WORLD WIDE INTERNET TV CHANNELS AS STANDARD.”

    people want to use it, they look at M/c find nothing different in tsandard form from the main O/s and leave… face palm statement of the week me thinks !

    ( Sinofsky statement )
    Our opt-in usage telemetry shows that in July, Windows Media Center was launched by 6% of Windows 7 users globally with the heaviest usage in Russia, Mexico, and Brazil (frequency and time). However, most people are just looking around; only one quarter (25% of 6%) of these people used it for more than 10 minutes per session (individual averages), and in 59% of Media Center sessions (by these 6% of users) we see almost no activity (less than a minute or two of usage). TV was the most common scenario we observed, and not surprisingly, traditional media (DVD and CD) are less common (and declining over time) than streaming and file-based content. By comparison, Media Player (66% of Windows users in July) and IE (88%) are popular rendering engines for all types of media content, including an increased volume of “premium” and streaming content. This is another place we’re reminded of the tremendous diversity of Windows activity.

  8. It would be great if there was apps to easily get internet tv on there, look at boxee for example. I end up using boxee all the time just becase of all the internet tv stations there are.

  9. For the love of God add propper support for FLAC audio files and tags!

    Media Center users in the Anitpodes might appriciate support for their MHEG-5 EPGs which apparently don’t work on Win7.

  10. Is the usage rate that was referred to by Steven’s post relavant? I for one, use media center exclusively on a dedicated windows 7 machine and it manages all the viewing of pics, vids, music, DVD, and BD content, as well as all my television viewing on four television sets. Additionally, I use Netflix streaming quite often as well. Because of my usage of extenders, I rarely shut it down my Media Center machine. I suspect there may be alot of other MC users that have the same or simular use cases as I do. I am not sure this usage is acurrately reflected in Steve Sinofsky reference of only 6% of the Windows 7 users used the app in July.

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