Many in the Windows Media Center community were afraid that Windows 8 would mark the end of Media Center, while others thought it would be like Notepad -- present, but unchanged.
In the end both were wrong as Microsoft announced Media Center would be available as an add-on to Windows 8. Until now though, we didn't know exactly how that process would work.
Steven Sinofsky outlined on the Building Windows 8 blog how users will be able to use Add Features to Windows 8 in Control Panel and purchase the same great Media Center experience that was included in Windows 7 Premium and Pro.
The price is still unannounced but is expect to be "in line with marginal costs" -- whatever that means. The price paid will cover the royalties for the required codecs to support broadcast TV and DVD playback (DVDs still won't play in Media Player).
One codec that will be supported in all version of Windows 8, but will require the computer maker to license the codec directly, is Dolby Digital Plus. So yeah, something else that was included in Windows 7 for free. We're glad it's there, but wish we'd get something new for the new premium price. Like most, we'll probably hold on to our Windows 7 HTPC a little bit longer.