Windows Media Center won’t survive the upgrade to Windows 10, but DVD playback will.
Gabriel Aul, an engineering general manager at Microsoft, wrote on Twitter that existing Windows Media Center users will get “a DVD option” in an update later this year. Aul noted that DVD playback is the main reason people still use Windows Media Center, which will not be compatible with Windows 10.
Of course, Windows Media Center is much more than a program for playing DVDs. It also provides access to videos, music, and pictures in a TV-friendly interface. It supports TV tuners and DVR, which in turn allows other programs such as Kodi to tap into the software’s programming guides and recording schedules. The software also works with “Extender” devices that can stream Windows Media Center content around the house.
But as Microsoft tells it, few people are using Windows Media Center in those ways that the company originally intended. Microsoft hasn’t updated the software in years, and the only way to get it on Windows 8 is to buy it for $10. Even then, it’s only available to Windows 8 Pro users.
Why this matters: Chances are that if you bought a Windows 8 PC with a DVD drive on it, some playback software is already included. Otherwise, you can just download VLC. Adding a DVD player could reduce confusion for folks who upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and expect their discs to just work. But for people who use Windows Media Center to its fullest, the offer looks sort of like a slap in the face.