Monday, August 12, 2013

Windows 8: How to install Windows Media Center (or an Alternative)

One feature (or really lack there of) in Windows 8 users might find annoying is the inability to playback DVDs or Blu-ray discs under the new OS.  In Windows 7 this used to be an included feature depending on the edition of the OS you had installed.

If you're running Windows 8 standard edition you will have to rely on a 3rd party software.  For DVDs, you can download and run VLC [free], or some other available media player software.  For Blu-ray discs you're going to have to rely on some other 3rd party media player software.

If you're running Windows 8 Professional edition, you can download the Windows Media Center feature, which is now a paid feature called "Windows 8 Media Center Pack" add-on (which allows you to watch and record TV and play DVDs).

There are a few things that you need to know about The Windows 8 Media Center Pack:

  • This feature adds all the original Windows Media Center functionality back to Windows 8 Pro which includes the ability to watch and record broadcast TV and play DVDs. 
    • Note: The DVD playback option is not supported in the Windows Media Player which is included with the OS.
  • If you want to play Blu-rays in Windows Media Center, you will need to get the appropriate CODEC from a third-party.

To install the "Windows 8 Media Center Pack" add-on, follow the instructions below:

  • Press the Windows Key, then type: "add features" in the search box, and then tap or click the Settings icon.
  • Tap or click "Add features to Windows 8".
    • If you already received your product key from Microsoft, then tap or click "I already have a product key", then follow the prompts.
    • If you don't already have a product key from Microsoft, then tap or click "I want to buy a product key online", then follow the prompts.
  • Enter a product key and then press Next button.
  • After reading the license terms, select the check box to accept the license terms, and then press Add features button.

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