Windows Media Center Free for Windows 8 Pro Until January 31st
Microsoft broke a lot of hearts when they announced that Windows Media Center was not going to be included with Windows 8. It was frustrating enough that WMC development was languishing, but turning it into an optional add-on, and only for Windows 8 Pro at that, seemed to be Microsoft’s passive-aggressive way of letting HTPC fans know that WMC was well and truly dead. Fortunately, Microsoft has decided to throw us a bone, if only temporarily. Until January 31, 2013, Microsoft is giving the Windows Media Center Pack away for free. All one needs to do is visit Microsoft’s “Add Features” website and supply an email address to receive a product code. Folks running the standard version of Windows 8 will still need to pony up for the Windows Pro Upgrade Pack for $59.99 which includes WMC. After January 31st, the WMC Pack will presumably return to the regular $9.99 price tag. On a side note, the WMC Pack product code apparently only works on retail versions of Windows 8 Pro. MSDN subscribers are reporting issues using the product key and I should find out about Technet copies this weekend.
Of course, Windows Media Center is still widely available for Windows 8 users, but it doesn’t come with the OS itself. Users must purchase it as an add-on in the Windows Store for $10. Granted, that’s not a lot of money at all, especially for all the features that you get, but considering that it was once a free feature that came with Windows, we can see how HTPC enthusiasts would be upset.