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Windows Media Center is dying. Here's how the Xbox can replace it

Jared Newman | May 8, 2015
After years of neglect, Microsoft is abandoning Windows Media Center for good. Anyone who upgrades to Windows 10 later this year will find that the living-room PC software is incompatible.

The next obvious step should be DVR support, which is rumored to be coming later this year. If Microsoft can add the same whole-home streaming capabilities for DVR as it does for live broadcasts, the Xbox will finally do what Windows Media Center never could. You'll have all your entertainment on one device (including streaming services, which Windows Media Center wasn't really built to support), with phones, tablets, and computers acting as modern-day "extenders."

There's just one problem: The Xbox One is much more expensive than your average streaming set-top box, making it a non-starter for anyone who's not interested in the console's gaming capabilities. We've seen rumors of an "Xbox Mini" before; maybe the time is finally right.

This isn't the ideal endgame for home theater PC diehards, but maybe there's a way Microsoft can cater to them as well. After all, the Xbox One will soon run on Windows 10, with a universal apps platform that extends across phones, tablets, PCs, and televisions. We're getting deep into speculation territory here, but perhaps there's a way for Microsoft to extend the same over-the-air viewing and recording capabilities to the PC. With the right modern apps and screen scaling, users could have an Xbox-like experience without giving up their living-room PCs.

One thing's for sure: It'd be easier for Microsoft to do all these things with Xbox and Windows 10 than it would be to breathe life into Windows Media Center, with its stodgy interface and non-existent app ecosystem. It's better to mourn and move on.


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