You may or may not know this, but Windows 8 does not come with Windows Media Center.  But you can get it free from Microsoft, for a limited time.

How, you might ask?  This way:

  1. Buy a computer with Windows 8 Professional, or upgrade an existing computer to Windows 8 Professional.  You can also upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro for a nominal cost, if needed.
  2. Get on the Internet from that computer and proceed to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs.
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  3. Follow the instructions.
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About a day later, you will get an email with your WMC product key.

10 26 2012 4 38 55 PM thumb Buy Windows 8 Pro, Get Windows Media Center for Free

Open the Control Panel and click on the “Add features to Windows 8” option.

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Enter your product key,

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tick the appropriate check box, make note of the message, and

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let the download and installation begin.  This particular process takes some time, so be patient.

10 26 2012 4 43 09 PM thumb Buy Windows 8 Pro, Get Windows Media Center for Free

Once completed, and the computer restarts, you will find this message on the desktop,

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a new version blip on the desktop,

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and a new tile on the Windows 8 Start screen.

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Click on the tile to bring up Windows Media Center, throw a DVD into your optical drive,

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and enjoy a movie (once again) in Windows 8.

10 26 2012 4 59 22 PM thumb Buy Windows 8 Pro, Get Windows Media Center for Free

I definitely missed WMC, particularly as a DVR, and I am quite happy to have access to it again.  This is a free upgrade to Windows 8 Pro through January 31st, 2013.  After that, it will cost you a whopping 10 bucks, which is still quite cheap for what WMC gives you.