Windows 8 which was released on Oct. 26, 2012 may be Microsoft's latest 'Metro-style' operating system, but if you like using Windows Media Center (WMC) as a central hub for your digital music and home theater needs, then upgrading to Windows 8 could prove a disappointment. That's because WMC is no longer installed by default, and unless you have Windows 8 Pro installed, it could cost you an extra $69.99 (Pro Pack) for the privilege.
It has been known for some time that Microsoft were dropping this feature, but the good news is that you can add it back for free if you've got Windows 8 Pro installed. Microsoft are currently offering the Windows 8 Media Center Pack for free download, but you'll have to be quick as the offer is only available until Jan. 31, 2013. After that, you'll have to pay a nominal fee.
Still, there are alternative software media players out there (many of them free) that can play not just digital music, but also a wide range of other digital media files too, including DVD movies -- VLC Player and Media Player Classic (Home Cinema Version) are just two examples.
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