Back on April 16th most of us Windows Media Center fans were upset about the news regarding what was required to get Windows Media Center with Windows 8, but at least we understood the path. Well, we thought we understood the path. Then today, Microsoft dropped another article at the Building Windows 8 blog that was supposed to clear things up. Unfortunately, for a lot of people it just made things more confusing. After reading through it a few times we think we understand what Microsoft was trying to make so clear.
Let’s not even bother with what was announced two weeks ago as it probably just makes the situation more confusing. Instead, let’s get to the point. For consumer PCs there are essentially two versions of Windows 8. The first is Windows 8, which is the basic version, and is most similar to Windows 7 Home Premium. The other version is Windows 8 Pro. In order to run Windows Media Center within Windows 8 you need to have Windows 8 Pro, but that isn’t enough, and the Pro version doesn’t need to be the version you start with at all. There are two paths to get to Windows 8 Media Center.
Path 1 : Start with Windows 8 Pro
If the computer that you want to use Windows Media Center on already has Windows 8 Pro then all you need is an add-on pack. This was discussed in the April 16th post, and pondered in greater detail by our own Jon Deutsch. The major detail released for this path is the name of the add-on pack. It will be called the Windows 8 Media Center Pack. Purchase and install this add-on and your Windows 8 Pro computer will now have Windows Media Center.
Path 2 : Start with Windows 8
This is the path that we didn’t know about before. One of the big concerns previously was that most consumer PCs would come with this version of Windows and those users wouldn’t have an easy path to getting Windows Media Center. Microsoft has created a path though, and it’s very similar to the one laid out for Pro users. If you have Windows 8 you’ll need to purchase and install a software add-on pack. This pack is called the Windows 8 Pro Pack. Once you’ve done this you will not only have Media Center on your computer, but you’ll also have all of the features of Windows 8 Pro. To put it plainly, you will purchase one add-on pack that upgrades your computer to Windows 8 Pro and includes the Windows 8 Media Center Pack.
How and How Much?
So the next question you might be wondering is how to obtain these add-on packs, and how much are they going to cost you. The first answer is actually pretty simple. From within Windows, in the Control Panel, there will be a section called Add Features to Windows 8. If you go to that section you’ll be able to purchase the add-on pack that you’re looking for. This will be a very similar process to the Windows Anytime Upgrade that was present in Windows 7. So how much will it cost? That we still don’t know, but who would we be not to speculate? When the add-on pack concept was first announced with regards to Windows 8 Pro it was described as “economical”. To us, that sounds like a price less than $50. We hope it will be somewhere in the range of $9.99 to $19.99 though. That’s of course if you’re simply looking to add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro. We have to assume that the Windows 8 Pro Pack, the one required for standard Windows 8 users, will cost significantly more. Often times in the past there has been about a $100 premium to upgrade between versions, so it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility to see the Windows 8 Pro Pack come in around $99-$149. This is one area where Microsoft could radically change from their previous model. For all we know Windows 8 might only cost $29.99 and Windows 8 Pro might only be $49.99. As with everything else related to Windows 8 though, we won’t know for sure until it’s announced officially by Microsoft.
Hopefully the options are a little more clear to you if, like us, you’re considering the upgrade to Windows 8 and you still want to have Windows Media Center. It should be noted, but we’ll break these details down in a separate post, that some features, such as the ability to watch DVDs, will only be available if you have upgraded to Windows 8 with Media Center. So while some of us are still upset about having to pay extra for something that was included with Windows 7, at least we understand our options for getting there now.
I don’t see any difference really. In both cases you are buying Windows pro and media center. One is an upgrade and the other is starting with windows pro. in either case you end up with Win 8 Pro and media center. I bet it will cost the same either way for something I already have in Win 7, easy decision.
[…] The Path to Windows 8 Media Center […]
[…] right: free Microsoft had previously stated that the Windows 8 Media Center Pack would be an “economical” purchase. Most […]