In the Community Preview of Windows 8 there are a few Metro style media apps i.e. Photo, Video and Music apps and while they play local and Skydrive content fine they will not play files over a network from a devices like Window Home Server, NAS or connected PC.

Microsoft are looking for feedback from user on whether this is an issue or if local and cloud stored content support is enough. So does the lack of network support make the apps useless for you or is it not an issue, let us know and we can pass on your feedback.


62 thoughts on “Windows 8 media apps don’t playback network content, does it matter to you? Microsoft want to know”
  1. Wait, are they serious? Of course this is an issue; why wouldn’t we want to playback networked content? What would be the point in having a WHS or NAS?

    1. AMEN Daniel! I don’t store all my music in cloud nor do I want to waste my bandwidth streaming it from cloud. I wont to play it from my network server!

  2. I store all of my media on my WHS and play from network shares. Not having that capability would be a huge downside for me.

  3. Wow – I just assumed that playing back local content wasn’t finished yet.

    A better question is how can they possibly release media players that don’t play local content?

  4. Makes them virtually useless to me… I keep all my media on my Home Server so its available to every device. Also, what good is it on a tablet with limited storage? I would like full access to my music collection on a tablet when I am at home. If they can do it with the Media Center connector, they should be able to come up with something… Maybe a home media connector…

  5. This is a deal breaker, as I keep all my media on a Windows Home Server. I’m glad I saw this, as I was about to install Windows 8 on my HTPC….

  6. I keep all my music and videos on WHS. I have included those WHS shares in my Music and Video libraries. Obviously I would want to be able to play that…

  7. Definitely matters to me. I keep music and pictures on my home server and share the folders to all the other computers in the house. Most of them don’t even have space to store all of my media.

  8. Getting my media from my home PC to my Win8 tablet is my biggest issue right now. It seems I can only do a manual copy to the device via the network or use SkyDrive. Why cant I just connect have a proper desktop to tablet sync software (would be PC-to-PC in reality) that allows me to move media between devices via playlists. I cant remember the last time I had to use Explorer to manage my media!Just wondering what the average user is going to think of Win8’s ability to help out in taking your media with you.

  9. Of course it matters… If Windows Media Player has this functionality then so should the Metro versions of Photo, Video and Music. This is kind of crucial to Tablet devices and the success of Metro. These new form factors are typically going to have less local storage that traditional PC’s and I would have thought that most uses will be streaming content from other PC’s, NAS boxes, DNLA devices etc…

    I really hope that Windows 8 isn’t another half baked product like Vista was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Vista, as it was a refreshing change to XP but you have to admit that Windows 7 was Vista+ or Vista: Finished Edition if you like. Reading between the lines are Microsoft telling us that we are better to wait for Windows 8.1 / 9 if this is the case?

  10. Absolutely useless without the ability to play off of a NAS, WHS drive or DNLA. They’re making me think it’s time to start looking serously for a new Media Player/Renderer and maybe only use W8 for Excel and Word. The cloud is great, but I think it is still to early to move all of your content there.

  11. This post is incorrect. I have been playing networked media back from my network shares on the new metro media apps just fine thank you.

      1. Maybe he had them mapped to drive letters – its not clear from the original article if that would work or not?

      2. I just went to the desktop, went to my libraries on homegroup, then clicked properties on my music and video libraries, then added the music and video libraries from my HTPC to the libraries on my Windows 8 PC, then went back to the metro apps and the music and videos start to populate under collections. Works the same as the Zune software, you just can’t do it from within the software.

  12. All my music is on a home server and all my video is on NAS boxes. I guess Home Group folders will make it all work but really that’s just a half arsed solution.
    Is it just the media applications? Can other metro style apps browse to a network location?

  13. Yes, this is a DEFINITE problem! I was excited to finally have a tablet that I could reliably watch my movies/videos/etc. from my WHS2011 server on. I can understand MS wanting to keep things “simple” in the metro environment, but this is just not acceptable. I’m certainly glad that they are at least asking for input!

  14. +1…Absolute, total, utter FAIL without network based playback. Commodity devices like tablets will NEVER have enough storage for all of a persons media (e.g. new iPad retina display = increased storage requirements for HD movies etc)

  15. This is huge

    I have a WHS and two NAS (one 30TB one 12TB)

    I dont have ANY local (or cloud) media!

    are they out of their minds?

  16. As with everyone else I keep all my media – music, photos, videos – on a central WHS so it can be used by all devices. Its ludicrous to me that MS would even consider removing this fuctionality.

    1. I don’t believe this is a case of them removing the feature, this is if it is worth the effort to include it with the Metro apps (Music, Video, Pictures).

  17. Without access to my network storage (WHS v1/2011 plus NAS) Windows 8 becomes useless. Home groups are just a sanctioned hack really.

    I REALLY hope they are only referring to the Metro apps….

  18. Why would i stick with windows if they are going to continue to remove the functionality that makes me stay. May as well become another Apple drone, I really wish Microsoft would pay more attention to what can make them stand out on the ecosystem front, there is really only other big players.

    so in direct response to the question, yes it is useless with out the network access. (to me anyway)

  19. Without support for local network share playback the Metro apps are totally pointless and useless. Add DLNA and Air Play while your at it and do it properly, or we will all be using MCE / WMP for many years to come and disabling the Metro start menu in favour of a classic start menu!

  20. Wouldn’t it have been to their advantage to tell us this rather than get 1000’s of bad reviews saying the video and music apps are broken.

    Again, it’s like we’re going backwards.

  21. I’ve already sent feedback to MS about this. Of course I want access to my locally stored media as well as stuff on the cloud.
    My primary media source is my Home Server, so of course I need applications to access it!!!!

  22. That explains why none of the content works. I imagine this is based on the same experiences on other tablet or mobile phone platforms but the main selling point of Windows 8 is that it’s without compromises. This would be a massive compromise so I would request this feature be added to the Metro apps. Absolutely a +1 from me.

    I guess the thinking here is that in some use cases there won’t be any access to your WHS when using a mobile or portable device. You could also argue that if you want remote access to files stored on a WHS then use Media Center which has a great touch experience. After all if we don’t use WMC then we’ll lose it for sure.

  23. I use WHS to store all the families media files. It is critical to my setup to have network access. Lack of access to that type of resource makes the app useless to me. I have no choice but to search for an alternative.

  24. Yes networked access to media is critical via a metro interface. Also remote access to networked media is critical as well via a metro interface.

  25. This is a deal breaker! I can’t belive they’re even thinking about NOT including support for network content!!! How do I contact Microsoft regarding this – in case they not reading the feedback on this blog 🙂

  26. I had to check my calendar to make sure today isn’t April 1. Why on Earth would they eliminate this capability? Microsoft products have gradually been disappearing from my life (hello, Apple and others). This would seal the deal for me–my 20-year relationship with Microsoft would end this year with Windows 7.

  27. I disagree with this blanket statement. The Metro Video, Pictures, and Music apps play my content from my WHS 2011. I added them as the default folder for each library.

    I will say that the videos and TV do not show up in the movies part of the Video app. I had to go to the “Other” section since my videos aren’t WMV so the meta data doesn’t label them as movies.

    Also, I installed a 3rd party codec set to play non-native Windows formats, but that is no different than any other version of Windows.

  28. I’m with Stephen on this one – my music held on my WHS 2011 server is showing up just fine in the Metro Music app. I’ve not changed the library settings, they are still as they were in my Windows 7 setup.

    Perhaps that is the reason – I did an upgrade from my Windows 7 setup – I have NOT done a clean install.

  29. I am a little worried when you release something for evaluation that should intuitively be able to play network content and then ask = should we add this feature!!!!

  30. Big issue for me, all of my media is stored on a combination or WHS (V2) and ReadyNAS. Am in the process of digitising all of my media – so this would be a deal breaker.

  31. Why is this even a question???? What drugs are MS taking these days?>?>?>?>?

    Yes – we all need access to network-based media from all media apps on Win8.


  32. Seriously that’s a must have feature…
    I can’t tell how idiot I felt when I demo’ed Win8 to my family – and I was not even able to browse my Linksys NAS

  33. Ian, I’m sure you passed along this feedback, as promised. Was there any response or reaction from Microsoft?

  34. No network support makes the apps useless to me. Everything resides on my HomeServer. Can’t see my pictures or music and Skydrive doesn’t allow enough storage to upload my library. Not to mention, I really don’t want my pictures and personal music to affect my internet download cap. Seems lazy not to include the network support.

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