3 reasons I will pass on Windows 8 as an HTPC platform.

By | August 7, 2012

I’ve halfheartedly kept up with what’s going on with Windows 8.  Those reasons have a lot to do with Media Center, but not entirely.  See, I’m positive I will end up using Windows 8.  Just like I used Windows ME and Windows Vista.  They were considered utter failures, but they were still on my systems, at least until the next version became available.  I will use Windows 8 for the same reason.  However, I will not be using Windows 8 as my HTPC platform, if I can help it at all.  I have three reasons as to why.

  1. Media Center for Windows 8 available only as a paid add-on feature.

Yep, that’s right…Media Center is no longer a free add-on.  It must be purchased unless you get in on the $39.99 upgrade to the Professional version, which will include it as a free download.  Also, Media Center functionality now requires you to have the Professional edition.

Windows 8 MCE Startup BehaviorSo, what new stuff do we get with this premium feature?  Zilch.  Yep…once again, you read correctly.  We’re getting NO new features.  None at all.  You’re going to be paying for Windows 7 Media Center usage on Windows 8.  Also, according to some screen shots, they’ve removed the ability to even launch directly into Media Center.  You’ll have to do some registry/shortcut hacking to get that simple functionality going on your HTPCs.  I assume this is to force the new Metro look onto us.  Does that work with a remote?

  1. Still no native Blu-ray playback.

WinkWink NudgeNudgeWhat everyone thought was probably the biggest omission in Windows 7 Media Center is still not available in Windows 8 Media Center – native Blu-ray playback functionality.  What a deal!  Windows 8 also mixes it up a little by taking out native DVD playback if you don’t have Media Center also.  This keeps getting better…right?  Have to pay to get something that should be rudimentary, but still don’t get something that should be expected to be included at this stage of the game.

  1. Developers left out in the cold.

No innovationWhile drivers for hardware will still be able to be obtained, developer tools for new tuner and remote control technology has been stripped out and made unavailable.  So, we are not going to be moving forward in using Media Center as a platform to watch live TV or even use from a 10-foot perspective.  I suppose this can be taken in different ways, however.  Microsoft did say they were doing away with the programs that provided logo-ed drivers for the Media Center compatibility list and that the Hardware Certification Kit can still be used to obtain signed drivers, but I suppose it remains to be seen how a phased out kit will last for us in it for the long haul.

So, there you have it.  My three reasons as to why I will pass on using Windows 8 as my HTPC platform of choice.  I will hang onto Windows 7 for as long as it allows me…then I guess it will be time to move onto something else.  Maybe some dedicated networked media devices, XBMC, or something…I don’t know.

What will you do?  Comment and let us know!

8 thoughts on “3 reasons I will pass on Windows 8 as an HTPC platform.

  1. Bill

    I am keeping Windows 7 while running Media Browser from within Media Center. Windows 8 holds nothing for me.

    Reply
  2. Bruce

    It is a shame Microsoft is not developing Windows Media Center. They have relented on the issue of WMC nor being part of Windows 8. As this artilce mentions, http://www.informationweek.com/software/windows8/windows-8-launch-date-revealed/240003974 , WMC will not be automatically included with WIndows 8 but it WILL be avaiable for download at no additional charge. Given thats Windows 8 is only $40 for most users, and that MS has to pay royalties (for codecs) for every copy of WMC it issues, this is a great solution to get it into the hands of the people who need it and not have to pay for those who dont.

    The one reason I believe Windows 8 will be useful to me is the disk storage solution that allows me to designate 4 or 5 (or more) external drives as a single drive letter, and to spread the data in a raid-like redundant fashion across these drives. This helps me – as I am running out of drive letters. I also gives me automatic backup AND i can mix and match different size drives unlike raid. There are at least a few goodies in Windows for me.

    Reply
  3. Sinjen

    Definitely sticking with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. I haven’t been able to find a single reason to move. As well, Win 7 will likely continue to receive patch support from MS for several more years (since many large enterprise businesses are only now putting Win 7 on their desktops).

    Reply
  4. Thomas M

    I’m still content with my BeyondTV HTPC system with the HD-PVR and HVR-2250 Dual clearQAM tuners. I recently tried switching to a TiVo Premiere because it had similar features, but in the end, BTV was just so much smoother.

    I’ve always wanted to move to WMC7 so I could use a CableCARD tuner since the HD-PVR doesn’t have the best quality and I could get more tuners, but the pros of BTV being so easy and wife-friendly were more appealing to the pros of WMC7 having CableCARD.

    Reply
    1. Chas

      I don’t see much reason to switch either. But, in my case, my cable co. (Comcast, suburbs north of Phila.) has eliminated all the clear QAM channels. Now my choice is to download shows, or buy an antenna to record major network programming. I believe other cable companies are doing the same.

      Reply
  5. Dallas

    I have supported the WMC Ecosystem for years hoping to get to a point where seamless integration with a rich UI and 10ft interface would be enthusiastically supported by Microsoft.

    Last year I realized this was a pipe dream, and finally decided to move away from the all in one model (TV,Movies,Photos,Music…etc.) and cut the cable as it were. I have moved to the Dark-side and introduced a 99$ Apple TV into the mix as well as converted all of my Bluray and DVD rips to the non-drm apple tv standard of MP4 (media purchased from iTunes is still encoded with apples DRM and has an m4v file extension for certain content).

    What I realized after making the switch is that I don’t miss cable or the hassles of running and managing a bulky HTPC and Server setup at all. I am spending less time managing the system, and more time consuming and enjoying the content I own. My only complaint at this point is in cutting the cord from the TELCO’s (For Television programing anyway), I now live in the world where I often can not purchase the content I want to view legally and find my self in that gray area where I must either wait an outrageous period of time in order to buy it in a subpar format (Standard Def only, or no digital download capability), or “obtain” it illegally from the getting place.

    I wish companies like Microsoft realized that by building these ecosystems and making them ubiquitous, early adopters such as our selves become heavily invested and should expect the OEM’s to be no less invested. When they make these half hearted attempts to pro-long their revenue stream by allowing their products to fall into dis-repair and general obsolescence with no other option to upgrade, they do not drive their customers to new products or ecosystems, but to new OEM’s. For me, Im done with relying on Companies that can’t or won’t compete for my business. My dollars are too valuable.

    Reply
  6. M$

    Guys, it cost one third to Windows 7 and if you added Media Center, it still cost less. I don’t see the problem at all.

    If you compare that to Mac, Windows 8 pricing is less attractive with all the features offered from Mac, though you still have to pay for the hardware in the first place and the OS can be treated as the hardware firmware that should be offered for free by the hardware vendor in the old days.

    That’s just my two cents.

    Reply

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