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Media Center Costs Extra

I have to admit I've only tried Windows Media Center once. I did hear a demo of the Media Player up at Redmond, but the sound system cost about 80 grand and the room, if I remember correctly, cost even more. It could have made a Sony TR-63 transistor radio sound awesome.

Maybe that's why I'm not broken up that Window 8 customers will have to reach a little deeper into their pockets if they want Media Center.

Consumers will still get Media Player for free -- so tunes and Web videos are no problem.

Apparently, the issue with Media Center is Microsoft has to pay for the decoders that make the DVDs play. Some OEMs, hoping to pitch media-ready machines, will swallow the costs, pre-install the software and just add it to the sticker.

It doesn't look like Media Center will be an option for enterprise versions of Windows 8 -- as businesses don't want workers wasting company recording HDTV or watching "21 Jump Street." But what's wrong with a little entertainment in the hotel room (rather than trying to write off a $18.95 movie on the expense report)? A little extra for Media Center is starting to sound like a pretty good deal.

Here's where things get weird: Apparently Media Player, still free and still pre-installed on Win 8, won't play back DVDs? Odd.

And Windows RT, a confusing name for Windows 8 on ARM (in my opinion, the latter is a more logical name) won't even get Media Player. Aren't tablets all about media? Doubly odd.

Was I a fool not to use Media Center? Feel free to make me feel bad about myself by writing to dbarney@redmond.mag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/07/2012 at 1:19 PM


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