Don’t get me wrong, I am actually a fan of Windows 10. I have one system already running on it and I am looking forward to upgrading almost all of my home systems to it. There’s one big exception and this exception is due to Microsoft’s decision not mine. Microsoft has decided not to support Windows Media Center in Windows 10 (http://www.zdnet.com/article/rip-windows-media-center/).

Let me put this bluntly “You can have my Windows Media PC when you pry it from my cold, dead system“. My Windows Media Center system will stay on Windows 8.1 until either the system dies, the Operating System is no longer supported, or Microsoft decides to support Windows Media Center on Windows 10 (which I hope that Microsoft will choose to do.

It seems very strange to me that Microsoft will not support Windows Media Center on Windows 10. Why? First let’s talk about Fable Legends. Fable Legends will run on both Xbox One and on Windows 10 and it will allow cross-play between those systems. This is a classic example of how well these platforms can co-exist with each other. If we can play games between these types of systems why can’t we provide media from both of these types of systems? Second, based upon blog posts replies that I have received – there is a huge community of people who love Windows Media Center! Why is Microsoft intentionally disenfranchising this community?

It appears that the Xbox One may be a solution to provide television recording functionality. Per this article: http://www.zdnet.com/article/rip-windows-media-center/

For playback of TV programming on big screens, the Xbox One is the best modern alternative for Media Center refugees.

I do see the Xbox One as a viable solution to provide DVR type functionality – if you do not already have a working Windows Media Center.

 

So why am I so darn adamant about this?

I’ve been using my Windows Media Center PC for years now (see this blog from back in 2009 for an example of how long I’ve been using WMC). I recently upgrade my Windows Media Center system with an SSD (to shorten boot times), multiple TV tuners and 6 TB of disk space.

Here’s my system stats:

  • Hundreds of hours of recordings available and easy to access both on the WMC system and through my Xbox 360 systems
  • 30+ HD channels provided by my antenna
  • 3 TV tuners which can record concurrently
  • Cost: $0 per month (or closer to $15 per month if I count my electricity)

 

Could I match my current level of DVR functionality on an Xbox One?

Microsoft appears to see the Xbox One as the next generation DVR. From the following articles it appears that DVR functionality is either here or coming soon (depending on where you live).

If we make four important assumptions this could be viable as a DVR replacement in my environment: (I do not know for certain if any of the assumptions below are correct or incorrect)

  • DVR will be available on Xbox One
  • DVR will support multiple tuners
  • DVR will support additional disk storage for recordings
  • Xbox 360’s can connect to Xbox One as a Media Center (or through the Smart Glass application)

What would the cost be to make a DVR with functionality similar to what I currently have?

For people who are on Windows Media Center and are happy with your DVR functionality I recommend leaving things are they are and seeing how the landscape evolves.

For people who do not have a DVR and are looking for a Microsoft focused solution I would recommend taking a look at the Xbox One solution shown above (Xbox One plus additional storage and multiple TV tuners) to see how this new approach could be leveraged.