Media Center removed in latest Windows 8 build :/

staknhalo

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I really hate to be this guy/join this club, but this is the first piece of news/speculation ever to have me worried about the future of Media Center. In the latest Windows 8 build, the change log includes that Windows Media Center has been removed. If this is the case, what viable options are there with stable dvr support? Can't include Sage TV until we see what Google does with it, and XBMC doesn't have official/stable dvr support. So Media Portal is it I suppose? Hopefully they are just moving Media Center to the Windows Live family or something.

Source: http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-8-build-8064-screenshots-and-changelog-leak
 

ND40oz

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It's a single build, who knows, they may be integrating it into the new start menu, it's way too early to speculate.
 

Tak Ne

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Apple & Google have shown their hand. IPTV services have stabilized a fair bit recently. It wouldn't surprise me if they were doing a big online streaming portal for tv, music, movies and games. MS has a habit of taking what everyone else has been doing for years copying and merging it all together into an integrated mess. Imagine mixing Xbox, Live, Itunes, Office & their phone services somehow.
 

Snowdog

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I wonder if MS is going to Enable OTA HD channels in Canada?

Canada Switches off Analog broadcast at the end of the month and MS disables HD OTA in media center, making it totally useless in Canada.

Any other decent Windows DVR software?
 

dgingeri

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Someone uses Media Center? I've never been able to make it work right. In order to hook it to my satellite box, it wants some sort of remote control adapter I can't find.

I finally gave up and just use my HTPC for Hulu, Netflix, and PowerDVD. Media Center is massively overrated.
 

rhouck

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Someone uses Media Center? I've never been able to make it work right. In order to hook it to my satellite box, it wants some sort of remote control adapter I can't find.

I finally gave up and just use my HTPC for Hulu, Netflix, and PowerDVD. Media Center is massively overrated.

I'm curious how your setup is superior; how do you navigate all those programs using a remote control from the couch?

Windows 7 Media Center is brain-dead simple to operate and works smoothly, although it lacks a lot of bells and whistles and could use improvements in certain areas if MS actually cared at all about it...

This news is disappointing, although not overly surprising. I would have hoped, however, that given Win 8's push to be more "touch-friendly" and with MS's intent on pushing Window's phones, that they would be better about developing it further. Oh well.
 

Snowdog

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Someone uses Media Center? I've never been able to make it work right. In order to hook it to my satellite box, it wants some sort of remote control adapter I can't find.

I finally gave up and just use my HTPC for Hulu, Netflix, and PowerDVD. Media Center is massively overrated.

I agree it is massively over-rated. After hearing people say how good it was, I was shocked how bad it is. I only use it for guide based PVR, it does a fair job at that as long as you don't want to change anything (like customized start/stop times for recordings).

Though it appears Canadian TV (Bell/Rogers) providers may have convinced MS to block OTA HD recording in Canada. It completely disables your HD OTA tuner in Canada FFS. You can't even manual scan and add an HD channel.

XBMC is what I actually use for my media collection.
 

heatlesssun

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Pretty sure Media Center isn't going anywhere, I would suspect that Media Center, Media Player and the Zune client will get a big makeover and more or less merged. Overall I love it, it's a very good and easy to setup DVR though it isn't well integrated. I'm pretty sure the new media software in Windows 8 will be a VERY important piece.
 

danman

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Media Center is a 10' UI. Media player and Zune are not. MS has already stated that the 'Zune' branding will be going away. Since it looks like no new development will be going into MCE (with the lack of Dolby decoder news and this), it's safe to assume that MCE will be deprecated.
 

heatlesssun

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The Media Center is actually a pretty well enabled touch UI to be a 10' UI as well. I see a title based version of Media Center. And Media Center has been traditionally extended via 3rd parties, the first version didn't even have a DVD decoder but there were plenty of third party add-ons, so not including Dolby won't be anything that can't be added on and reduces Microsoft's licensing costs.
 
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danman

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No version of Windows until Vista had a inbox DVD decoder. The XP MCE required nVidia's DVD decoder.
 

heatlesssun

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Maybe they are redoing Media Center from the ground up!

I'm pretty sure that's the case, media playback capabilities in Windows are one of it's strengths and have always improved from version to version, I don't see any logical or technical reason they would go backwards accept perhaps things like not including Dolby which makes sense as it reduces cost for something that most people wouldn't use and those who do would get 3rd party support from a standalone application.
 

danman

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No, MCE is dead. It's all about the tablets, phones, and streaming services. There's no way to get a PC into the living room. MS has been trying for 10 years and hasn't been successful. No one has. Not even Tivo.
 

heatlesssun

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No, MCE is dead. It's all about the tablets, phones, and streaming services. There's no way to get a PC into the living room. MS has been trying for 10 years and hasn't been successful. No one has. Not even Tivo.

There's plenty of PCs hooked to TVs these days, not huge numbers like consoles but I know tons of people that at least on occasion hook a PC up to their TVs even if they aren't using this as full time HTPCs. I think that we forget that if just 1% of PCs are used for any particular activity that's we're talking about millions and millions of machines.
 
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heatlesssun

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If you say so but I personally know a lot of people that hook their PCs to the big screen these days, I think its more common than you say. At any rate we should know for certain in about a month with the first Windows 8 beta. Since Microsoft has promised 100% backwards compatibility with Windows 7 there will certainly be a some type of Media Center in 8.
 

Ryokurin

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A lot of people had a PC hooked up to their big screen yes, but a relatively small handful used tuners with them. The vast majority just used the program for file playback.
 

heatlesssun

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I would agree with this, however there is now CableCard support in Windows 7, kind of big deal to high end users, I guess I could see this going away but not in the version right after it was introduced to customer builders.
 

Harry1969

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Someone uses Media Center? I've never been able to make it work right. In order to hook it to my satellite box, it wants some sort of remote control adapter I can't find.

I finally gave up and just use my HTPC for Hulu, Netflix, and PowerDVD. Media Center is massively overrated.

One mocks what one doesn't understand. Lots of people use it including me, it's great for recording shows and games when I'm at work. Much better quality than Hulu or Netflix.
 
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danman

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I would agree with this, however there is now CableCard support in Windows 7, kind of big deal to high end users, I guess I could see this going away but not in the version right after it was introduced to customer builders.

Well if it's removed then some other company will step up to replace it.
 

heatlesssun

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Well if it's removed then some other company will step up to replace it.

CableCard is a very finicky thing that really can only be officially supported by the OS developer or in very close coordination with the OS vendor. Again I would see no reason to strip it out as the Ceton tuner and MCE is VERY well regarded and it is a big dead in the high end PC space and there's nothing else like it.
 

Snowdog

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One mocks what one doesn't understand. Lots of people use it including me, it's great for recording shows and games when I'm at work. Much better quality than Hulu or Netflix.

I used it, but it is far from great. I only used it because it was free and had a program guide. Other than that it sucked.

Since the PVR capability for OTA died in Canada with the switchover to ATSC, I have switched to WinTV software that came with my Tuner.

It doesn't have a guide, but the recording quality is the same (obvisously) but the format (.ts) is better than Media Centers Proprietary .wtv format.
 

heatlesssun

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It doesn't have a guide, but the recording quality is the same (obvisously) but the format (.ts) is better than Media Centers Proprietary .wtv format.

.wtv is easy to convert to other formats, do it all the time.
 

Snowdog

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.wtv is easy to convert to other formats, do it all the time.

Easy? More like time consuming and annoying.

None of my free tools play nice with .wtv, so I am forced to convert to Microsofts older proprietary .dvr-ms with the built in OS conversion. This is VERY slow for what should be a simple repackage without re-encoding.

That still doesn't give me something most of my tools can use, only something that I can finally convert again to something usable with DvrToMpg.

So two annoying conversions to finally end up with a standard package so I can use it.

.ts I can use right away. It is a no brainer which is better.

Even if I am just recording/watching deleting. .wtv gives MPC-HC fits so I can't use my favorite player.

Microsofts failure to support ATSC in Canada is a blessing in disguise freeing me from the PITA of dealing with their proprietary formats.
 

Snowdog

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I hit that page before, but the batch file didn't work for me. Eventually I changed my location to the USA and got my ATSC tuner working, but then the guide didn't work as my location was incorrect, so I just gave up on it. That was back when I only had one decent ATSC channel anyway so I set my location to Canada again and just used Media Center for analog recordings. But Analog channels started disappearing this month so now Media Center is useless again.

I'd like to know who MS made a back room deal with to disable ATSC in Canada. There is clearly no technical reason for it.
 

Snowdog

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I did find MC frustrating to use if you want to customize anything. It seems rigidly locked into one way or I missed where you can fine tune.

Case in point. I was recording two shows on different channels one after the other. Show #1 always finished about 5 minutes early (education channel), So I wanted to end a couple of minutes early to make sure show #2 doesn't get the beginning clipped. This simple action seemed to be impossible. I was only give the option to end it late by 1-3 minutes. I set it to 0 minutes, but show #2 was always clipped.

Now in WinTV I can just set the times I want and it works. Guide recording in MPC is simple but it seems to let you down unless you have completely simple needs.
 

heatlesssun

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Snowdog

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Disabling ATSC tuners in Canada was clearly intentional. MS state that it isn't supported in Canada with no explanation beyond that.

I may try the new batch and see if it works but now that I am using WinTV I don't see a huge point.
 

CrimandEvil

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The problem with MC is that MS being so large they give in to the entertainment industry way too easily (the whole disabled Canadian ATSC tuner thing for example).

Anyways, this is just one build. I don't think MS is going to remove MC any time soon but I, honestly, don't see all that much will be added/overhauled to it. Maybe a few new tiles, some minor tweaks here and there but nothing major. MS just doesn't care about MC to really bother with it any more since it directly competes with what MS wants to do with the 360.
 

GoldenTiger

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Pretty sure Media Center isn't going anywhere, I would suspect that Media Center, Media Player and the Zune client will get a big makeover and more or less merged. Overall I love it, it's a very good and easy to setup DVR though it isn't well integrated. I'm pretty sure the new media software in Windows 8 will be a VERY important piece.


I hope the heck you're right. I just got an infinitv 4 and love wmc with it. I will be seriously pissed if they remove it from win8, which I will need and want soon enough. I was about to sell my tivo hd with lifetime and now don't know if I should!
 

Snowdog

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I tried the latest hack and now my ATSC tuner is enabled, but for some reason, no amount of scanning/manual adding will receive one of the better HD channels with the strongest signal. Works perfect with my TV, works perfect with WinTV software.

Even stranger after adding it manually. When I check the signal strength it is 6 green bars matching my other strong channels (which are all on the same transmission tower).

But when I select that channel MC just says there is nothing there and the signal may be too weak.

Ugh...
 

CrimandEvil

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It could also mean that MC is being rolled into the new touch friendly (I would assume remote friendly too) UI that Win 8 will sport. I could easily see one of those tiles as being for a media center like app.
 

GoldenTiger

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MC is a 10' UI, not for a 2'.

Yep, looks great on my projector :D.

It could also mean that MC is being rolled into the new touch friendly (I would assume remote friendly too) UI that Win 8 will sport. I could easily see one of those tiles as being for a media center like app.

Yeah, I can't picture why they would outright eliminate a major feature like that... probably going to go ahead and 'Bay the tivo.
 

brennok

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Easy? More like time consuming and annoying.

None of my free tools play nice with .wtv, so I am forced to convert to Microsofts older proprietary .dvr-ms with the built in OS conversion. This is VERY slow for what should be a simple repackage without re-encoding.

I use MC-TVconverter daily without issue.

It takes less than 5 minutes on my PC to strip a one hour HD show to reveal the raw MPG file. You can even set it to monitor your recorded TV folder and have it run as it finds new recordings.
 
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