Windows Media Center has long been an enthusiast’s favorite with a strong and loyal community of users that have been using the system for years. However Windows 10 will not feature the Media Center at all and this has upset many enthusiasts. Microsoft say the reason for this is their metrics show very low usage counts, which could be explained by Media Center being a chargeable option for Windows and not just the use base based moving on.

As I had said before if you already have a Windows Media Center system running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 then you can continuing use it, you don’t have to upgrade to the new OS.

So the question is does Windows Media Center really need saving? A group of Media Center fans have setup an online petition asking Microsoft to save Windows Media Center by either open sourcing it, distributing it as an app or by restarting development of it. So far the take up for the petition has been fairly small and I wonder if that is either because Media Center users are happy with their current setups, they are looking at alternative systems like Emby or resigned to the fate of the OS?

Personally I think Windows Media Center has had its day and it is time to move and if you are happy with your current Media Center setup just stick with it. It is highly unlikely that Microsoft would change their mind even with high numbers of signatures but if you do feel strongly about it then sign the petition and leave a comment on this post. Ten years ago I started out our weekly podcast just to talk about Windows Media Center but time change and I think it’s time to let it go.

23 thoughts on “Should Windows Media Center be saved? A group of enthusiasts are asking Microsoft to reconsider axing it”
  1. Yes… Microsoft’s metrics may be low but in my opinion that could be due to the following for example:

    * It hasn’t had any development since Windows 7 – a recompiled version in Windows 8 doesn’t count
    * It has missing features, doesn’ have out of the box support for popular codecs, no softsled support, etc…
    * It still has some annoying bugs

    In my opinion there is still a market for WMC if Microsoft put a little effort into it and make it available as a store app – especially when you consider other popular products such as Plex, XBMC and MediaPortal. Alternatively, put some of the features into new store based apps, such as the TV guide, Live TV and PVR functionality as the Music and Video functionality could be covered by other Windows 10 apps from Microsoft.

  2. I love my WMC setup, am very sad at how it’s been abandoned but I have accepted the fate of the product. While I am not terribly actively looking for a replacement, the HDHomeRun DVR Kickstarter project is something I’m keeping tabs on. I bet Summer 2016 is when I’ll ditch my WMC setup for some other option that will work nicely as a whole-house DVR solution using OTA broadcasts.

  3. Our HTPC (built for running WMC) still has WMC on it, while Plex and Emby have also since been installed on a trial basis. I still prefer WMC for playing music or displaying slideshows; it has more functionality in these areas than either Plex or Emby at the moment. However, the writing is clearly on the wall. WMC’s code base is probably well past its sell-by date by now, and would require a major overhaul to bring it back for Windows 10. I can quite understand why Microsoft prefers to make its investment in other media apps. It’s only a matter of time before I choose between Plex or Emby.

    1. I have been researching how to replace the functionality I use with WMC, and you are the first person I’ve seen mention my favorite feature, which I have been able to find any even close to suitable replacement for – playing music while watching a very nice slideshow of my photos.
      I absolutely love the way WMC does this. The photo slide show is so well done. Our family uses this feature almost daily. Have you found any alternative app or software with this functionality?

  4. Been using it since losing my TiVos many years ago. No reason to stop as it does all I need it to. Biggest worry would be Microsoft dropping EPG support, but there are alternatives.

  5. Unless it’s costing them money to maintain, or it’s broken in Windows 10, I just don’t understand why the can’t make it an optional paid add on like they did with Windows 8?

  6. I’ve been a Media Center User since day one, and have an entire home system built around including WHS2011, another great product that was discontinued, but not let go there. Where is the alternative for cablecard? There isn’t. WMC is the only product available for that. As good an emby looks, No live TV support for DRM Protected Content. If I am wrong please somebody tell me!!. What about alternative for extenders? Anybody!!

  7. Well… I have the xbox one setup with a 360 and I had live recording of TV… I use a digital antenna and grab stuff that way… which uses Coaxial… tell me how will I do that now as an extender… I dont even know of an option.

  8. Yea, really sad WMC is going bye bye. I figure in a couple of years there will be a decent alternative, but it will probably cost a little more. I really didn’t think Microsoft was going to do this since wmc was actually successfully installed in a beta versions of windows 10.

  9. I’ve wasted two days looking for ANY product that has what WMC has. There isn’t one. I use WMC every day for about four hours for live TV (Tuner card on my local cable company) and Netflix. Recently someone made a small JavaScript change that crippled Netflix on WMC and both Microsoft and Netflix said they weren’t supporting it. But, only a couple of days later, the bug was fixed. That shows that there IS support for this product.

    We’re going backwards, people. With WMC you could use a simple TV style remote to access any media on your computer as well as Netflix. There were even more options in the past, and more options possible. This is the UI that we were talking about when the term Media PC was invented. Since NO ONE else has the feature set available, the only other option I see would be to make the WMC remote friendly with the Metro “Start Page” so that any app can be accessed and used with the remote. But, it appears there is no way to write a metro app for a TV tuner. That’s a Microsoft problem that should be addressed before they take away WMC.

    Even though they skipped Windows 9, it appears that Microsoft’s track record will remain intact: Every other O/S release has some major flaws.

    I was registered to get the “free” upgrade tow Windows 10, but I canceled my “reservation.” No WMC, no alternative, no upgrade. Not even if you pay me.

  10. To Microsoft: I’m a latecomer to Windows Media Center. I’ve been enthusiastically using it everyday for the past 4 years and I have enjoyed it immensely. Now you want to take it away from us. THE REASON MORE PEOPLE DON’T USE IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE UNAWARE THAT IT EXISTS – NO KIDDING! I HAVE SPOKEN TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE COMPLETELY UNAWARE THAT IT EXISTS! If more effort had been made to “get the word out” of its existence, there conceivably would have been more adopters to this fine product that you want to shelve. Giving people something they want and use and then taking it away from them later only creates angry customers and people unwilling to upgrade, including myself. I hate to bring up the past, but to illustrate a point, you gave yourself a bad name with IE6 and the security holes it provided, you gave yourself a bad name when you didn’t provide a built-in firewall or any type of security with earlier versions of XP, you gave yourself a bad name when you came out with Windows 8, and now you want to give yourself a bad name by taking away features such as Windows Media Center. If more people had been aware of its existence and had been using it, then you’d have that many more angry customers that you have decided to alienate. If licensing is the sticking point, then make it a paid app. Granted, no one wants to pay for something they used to get for free, but it that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes so we can keep what we’ve been enjoying all this time. Until such time arrives that you re-institute WMC by whatever means, Windows 10 will be viewed by WMC enthusiasts as a DOWNGRADE, not an upgrade…and who wants to downgrade?

  11. The biggest problem I see is wth the copyright flag on several channels, including the premium channels. WMC is the only DVR software I know that got the digital rights management authorization to be able to play channels with the copyright flag. I disagree that the time has come and gone because without WMC there is a gap is the ability to record off things you want to keep like sports. Netflix can’t fix that. So, for some of us, this just leaves us in a lerch.

  12. you must remember that M$ are slave to the corporations. they don’t want you using WMC when you can use their and other streaming services. they want to stop you downloading media content and start paying under an MRR model. it doesn’t matter how much you protest, it ain’t gonna happen unless someone hacks it. welcome to the predator capitalist ideology so loved in the US and the rest of the Western world.

  13. in the days when cord cutting has finally taken hold, Microsoft decides to kill the greatest tool I have for cord cutting

    I have a dual tuner card and a giant hard drive, and no cable ( repeat no cable) and I right now I am not looking back …

    I watch a handful of show on cable ,and I can pay for them and still save over the bundle

    I can’t believe they are killing this right as makes sense and could finally make some dough

  14. I am normally a Mac user but I use Windows Media Center because it is still the best solution on any platform. I of course run it on a Mac via Boot Camp 🙂 It is still also better than all the UK set-top boxes I have seen including Sky. I even years ago was responsible for devising the solution that lets WMP and hence Media Center play Apple Lossless music files thereby improving integration with the Apple universe.

    I very recently was able to add a HD tuner at last to this setup as SiliconDust finally shipped a product that lived up to its name (HDHomeRun) with their new DVB-T2 tuner so now seeing that Microsoft have apparently screwed up the EPG data for the whole of Europe is a terrible disappointment.

    While I might not be prepared to pay a subscription fee for Media Center I would consider buying it as a standalone software package, especially if also released on Mac.

  15. I’m with many other people here. Microsoft worked on WMC till it actually was a great product and far superceeds all other services that charge subscription fees to do the same thing if not even as good as WMC. Even to this day there is no Roku, Netgear, Tivo, or any other brand that even touches the whole of what Media Center can do.

    I think it is one of the STUPIDEST mistakes Microsoft has ever made to drop one of their best projects. If they ever had the wisdom to actually market and advertise it, Windows Media Center would be the current go-to choice for DVR and home media sharing. I have no IDEA what gave them the brilliant thought to put it on the back burner and never market it completely.

    I personally will NOT be upgrading to Windows 10, specifically for this reason. I use Windows Media Center. Half of my videos in my collection would not play on Xbox Video on the dashboard. They WILL however play on Windows Media Center because it’s using codecs off of my server.

    Its absolutely amazing to me how they made such a great project just to throw it out the window. I mean how hard is it to update an already completed program to work on their own new OS…its like Apple deciding to drop iTunes and not replace it with anything. Absolutely bonkers to me.

  16. If Microsoft doesn’t care about WMC anymore, then they should at least open source it. WMC did things that no other software could do…specifically with respect to CableCARD. So much for the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime.

    Of course, the cable companies would not be keen on this idea because of DRM/HDCP…so open sourcing it might kill the one unique feature that WMC offered.

  17. Media center is still the best solution for a live TV/PVR system on Windows, in all the years it has been available nothing has been developed that comes even remotely close to the simplicity of both setup and use.

    Kodi is horrific and ridiculously over complicated in comparison.

  18. I really think that WMC should be added to windows 10, so much so that I’m not updating my main rig from windows 7 to windows 10. I think it’s really a shame that such a good piece of software is being abandoned.

  19. Absolutely without question it should be brought back. It is the backbone of my living room setup. It worked perfectly. Am still using it on my very old Dell with Win 7, even tho’ I have bought a replacement Acer with Win 10, the Acer is sitting there not plugged in.

  20. Just to add a little clarity to this situation, WMC does something that no other software does. It decrypts “copy once” digital cable with full HDCP compliance. Kodi cannot, Media Portal cannot. Nothing else at this time can do it. That means anyone who invested in an HDHomerun Prime or Ceton HD tuner is totally reliant on WMC in order to watch TV. It’s either WMC or pay the cable companies for inferior hardware and a poor user experience or buy a Tivo. For people like me, I simply won’t be held hostage by the cable company monopoly and even Tivo doesn’t seem to have the whole home DVR thing working well.
    I look forward to the HD homerun DVR software release in the future but in the meantime I will stick with Windows 7.

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