Entertainment Windows

5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center for Windows 10

Christian Cawley 22-06-2015

Windows 10 is coming When Does Windows 10 Come Out, How Can You Get It & What Happens to the Technical Preview? Windows 10 is coming soon. Still confused about how the upgrade will work and wondering about the timeline? We have some answers, although more questions remain. Read More , and with it a bunch of new features. But wherever you find new features, you’ll also find holes, where old favorites have been deprecated.


With Windows 10, the Windows Media Center will no longer be supported Should You Upgrade to Windows 10? Windows 10 is coming, but should you upgrade? Like almost every change it's mostly good, but also comes with drawbacks. We've summarized them for you, so you can make up your own mind. Read More . This means that if you have it installed, WMC will stop working when you upgrade to Windows 10. Not ideal, especially if Windows Media Center was your favored solution after cutting the cord Cord Cutters: Ignore Set Top Boxes & Use A PC Instead Ditching cable? Stay away from dedicated media center devices. Your spare PC makes for an excellent alternative because it's cheap to set up, more powerful, and forever flexible. Read More .

The time has come, therefore, to find a new media center application compatible with Windows 10 to take you forward.

Microsoft’s Deprecated Media Features

It isn’t just Windows Media Center support that is ending. DVD playback has gone too in Windows 10. While both were included in Windows 7, both features were removed in Windows 8, although support remained should have you installed Windows Media Center, a premium upgrade Why Won't Windows Play My DVD Or Blu-ray Disc? You insert a DVD into your Windows 8 computer – you want to watch a movie. Nothing happens. You try opening Windows Media Player. It can't play the disk. What's going on with Windows 8... Read More .


With Windows 10, however, you’ll need to find not only a replacement for Windows Media Center, but also for playing back DVDs (something that was possible with WMC).


Fortunately, we’re overwhelmed with options on both counts, so let’s take a look at the best of what’s available, beginning with DVD and Blu-ray playback.

How to Play a DVD or Blu-ray on Windows 10

If you’re running Windows 10 and need to play a DVD or Blu-ray disc, the first thing you should do is head to the Windows 10 Store and look for the DVD player app, which will be coming.

However, it might be that the app isn’t available when you want it. The alternative (as it was with Windows 8 Missing Media Tools in Windows 8? Easily Burn Audio and View DVDs Windows 8 makes it hard to burn audio and watch video DVDs thanks to hidden apps and missing licences. This is part of the move away from optical media – fortunately, we can share some... Read More ) is to find a media player that handles DVDs and Blu-rays. A flexible, versatile media player that offers full control over menus, jumping to chapters… yes, we’re talking about VLC media player again.


If you’re not already using VideoLan’s amazing media player (it does audio and pictures, too), then now is the time. Already supporting Windows 10, VLC media player is free to download and use, so head to www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html to get your copy.

VLC media player also has a host of hidden features 6 More VLC Media Player Features You Must Try VLC is a media player more powerful than you might realize. Are you using it to its full potential? Here are some pointers. Read More that may prove useful.

Windows Media Center Replacements for Windows 10

As popular as Windows Media Center is, it has been largely superseded by various superior systems, from XBMC (now known as Kodi) to Plex. But switching from one media center solution to another is no longer something to be overly concerned about. Whereas once you might have been anxious about issues with incompatible tags and having to recollect metadata and album or movie covers, these days such apprehensions are unwarranted.

The services that provide this data are far quicker, and with a fast Internet connection it shouldn’t take too long to populate a new media center database.


But which media center system will you use to replace Windows Media Center on Windows 10?


The default choice for many is probably Kodi, the new name for XBMC. This started as a media center hack for the original Xbox, Microsoft’s first console which was basically a locked-down PC. With the release of the Xbox 360, the XBMC was spun off into a full media center app for Linux and Windows PCs How To Stream Live TV To Your XBMC Watch live, streaming TV on your XBMC media center – without a cable subscription. Here are some add-ons worth checking out. Read More , and has proven very popular since. You’ll find versions on Android and the Raspberry Pi (we’ve previously demonstrated how to set up a RaspBMC media center How To Build a Media Center That Will Play Anything I've been building a media centre recently. Actually, scratch that – I’ve been building two. One is a compact device (my Raspberry Pi) running the RaspBMC distribution of XBMC, while the other is a traditional... Read More ). If the default look and features don’t suit, don’t worry–skins and plugins are available to extend functionality.


Switching to Kodi makes perfect sense as it is probably the most widely-used media center alternative and has great community support. Kodi’s Live TV recording is superior to the Windows Media Center PVR The Best PVR: Windows Media Center! Despite the perceived image of Microsoft as a lumbering beast with bloated software that ships full of bugs, they have actually produced some fine software over the years. Today I’d like to highlight Windows Media... Read More , too, mainly thanks to continued development in this area.



Ridiculously easy to setup, Plex fulfils the role of media server and player Get Even Closer To The Cinema Experience With Plex Movie Trailers The cross-platform media server Plex now supports movie trailers and extras. We show you how to add those clips to your movie library. Read More admirably, providing support to other devices (such as Android and iOS) via a mobile app.


Plex is a media server which delivers media stored locally, externally, or attached to your home network, to a client app. Internet Explorer is the server’s user interface, where channels can be added (such as Soundcloud and Vimeo), and your library managed. To enjoy your media, you can use mobile and desktop apps, perhaps streaming films and TV to your TV using Apple TV or Google Chromecast Apple TV vs. Chromecast: Which Streaming Solution Is Best For You? You know you want either an Apple TV or a Chromecast. But which is best for you? We compare Apple TV versus Chromecast to find out. Read More .

One thing to note is that Plex is a little picky about how you organize and name your media collection, particularly TV shows that run across multiple series. Get it right, however, and the service will run seamlessly. Our detailed guide to Plex Your Guide To Plex - The Awesome Media Center If you have a lot of locally-saved movies and TV shows, you need to install Plex. And this is the only guide to getting started with Plex you'll ever need to read. Read More will help you get started.


Like XBMC/Kodi, MediaPortal is open source and free, and has a full TiVo-style PVR built in for recording TV (through a TV card, of course). Hundreds of plugins and skins are available, and the app also supports streaming and recording of live radio.


Plugins offer support for flash games, a Netflix app and support for online video playback, making MediaPortal a strong contender. In fact, MediaPortal and XBMC/Kodi have been rival media center apps for several years now, but in all honesty there is little to choose between them,

JRiver MediaCenter

Available from $49.98 for a single license, JRiver is the premium option, but don’t let the price put you off. This remains a strong choice, offering support for audio, video, and photos, as well as network support for DLNA devices. For many, playing music from any device is a big selling point, and having built in DLNA support What Is DLNA and Is It Still Used? DLNA was built for a world where local media was king. Read More has helped JRiver MediaCenter attract some strong reviews lately.


There is a sense with this software that everything just works, which is obviously a boon for any premium application. As with the other options, support is delivered via a forum and wiki.


Posting easy connectivity, Live TV streaming, easy DLNA, media management, mobile and cloud sync, sharing and parental controls, an attractive user interface and even Chromecast support, Emby is possibly the dark horse of the media center apps, and can perform re-encoding on the fly with a sufficiently suitable PC.


Like Plex, Emby comes in two parts, a PC-based server that looks after the media database, which you then browse and enjoy via one or more client apps.

Available free for Windows (as well as Linux, Mac, and even FreeBSD), media is managed through your browser. The Emby server must be installed first, with TV apps for Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast (and, ironically, Windows Media Center) and mobile apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android required to view your media content.

Windows Media Center Can Be Replaced Easily

When your Windows 10 upgrade arrives, Windows Media Center will no longer work. (You can still install Windows Media Player on Windows 10.) But don’t worry: any of these five alternatives can be employed as a complete (even superior) replacement.

Of course, you might use this development as a change to flip your media center setup, and switch from a HTPC to a much smaller, dedicated media center 5 Options to Consider For Your Next Media Center I've spent the last 5 years of my life searching for it and countless thousands of dollars in the process. I'm talking of course about the holy grail - the ultimate media center. Truth be... Read More  device such as the Apple TV or Roku.

Related topics: Blu-ray, CD-DVD Tool, Media Server, VLC Media Player, XBMC Kodi.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Paul
    April 22, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    How can you find out is you've blown your cd/dvd drive I can read everything but DVD movies even thought I installed Vlc and other software

  2. Michael Summerset
    December 17, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    You left out NextPVR which replaces the PVR function of WMC better than any of the alternatives. And Kodi needs something like NextPVR to function as a PVR.

  3. Olivia Pinkham
    September 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    It is delusional to think that ANY of these alternatives measure up to the features available in Windows Media Center. While it may be true for video playback, it is certainly not the case for WMC's DVD features to record and play back OTA programming.

  4. D.Pap
    September 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    No prob with VLC on my old W8 HP. On new W10 HP though, things are tough. Trying to install I get a small window saying : "error launching installer"
    Probably my pc has built in a VLC bar.

  5. floyd w millar
    July 20, 2016 at 9:10 am

    jriver is great does everything that wmc did and more . stream to mobile , controlled theater by your mobile. Excellent file type support
    however it will not volume level when streaming to your mobile device. I have told the developers and they seem to think it is unimportant. go figure this is audiophile software

  6. Merksy65
    April 14, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Alternatives are great if you have no choice but luckily there is a choice, Windows Media Center,
    I just loaded it onto a clients windows 10 machine yesterday and he could not be happier, 4 hours after getting his laptop back he called me and thanked me several time during a 15 minute conversation, should have charged him more then $40 for the service lol.
    Go here here http://lifehacker.com/get-windows-media-center-running-on-windows-10-with-a-f-1729919907 the file is compressed into a .rar file, there is a link to a free zip program for either 32 or 64's (very nice of them to add that)
    instruction was a little sketchy but basically extract the folder into your C drive, no other folders, the rest is easy.

  7. steven
    December 23, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    problem with alot of these options like emby they do not support dvd play back at all for example if you try to play dvd menu with emby you will get error and client will crash on forms moddrates said they have no reason to include dvd menu access for dvds or blue ray on there software. claiming that blue ray dvds are worth less.

    there own words.

    • steven
      December 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      I for got to add that windows media center can be installed on windows 10
      if you do a search community has created a install setup for it.

      so like my self i still use media center on windows 10


      • Anonymous
        March 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

        After almost 2 weeks on a quest to find a replacement for WMC, trying all of the software in this article I finally gave up and used the instructions you referred to Steven, and had WMC with Emby running in less than an hour, and it's been working flawlessly since then. My requirements were pretty simple: I want to watch, pause and record live digital cable from my HDHomerun tuner while being able to access my media library. Some of the selections above (Emby, JRiver, and Kodi) came very close, and I got pretty amped up, only to have it come crashing down on some key point. As others have mentioned, JRiver and Emby Theater need refinement, and Kodi while beautiful and refined, needs a plugin that lets you manage and record live streams.

        I'm by no means emotionally attached to WMC; I'm a software specialist, I get comfortable with my apps like anyone else, but if a better one comes along I'm all up in it. But for now, it appears WMC+Emby is still king of the hill.

  8. Prerich
    December 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Although I like Windows 10 (on my laptop), I will never migrate from Windows 7 pro on my main machine until a real replacement for WMC becomes available. JRiver is attempting to do that now - but they need donations to get it done, and they have set a lofty goal of $100K in just 11 more days!!!! The current Siliconedust solution is unstable (from what I've heard). If you want to watch your encrypted channels - you're currently out of luck if you go to Windows 10.

  9. Hal
    December 4, 2015 at 2:33 am

    I don't us my computer for tv. However, I do get videos online or in e-mail, and play MP3 files. Regularly. The idea I have to pay for this, alone, is keeping me from upgrading. My computer works fine, thanks.

  10. juicy g
    November 27, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    We really need to stop saying there are comparable replacements to WMC's TV service. Bottom line is, unless you just want to watch 10 channels for the rest of your life, there is no alternative to WMC as a TV application / cable box replacement. It's currently the only software that can decrypt cable companies' encrypted channels.

  11. bob
    November 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Do people even own DVDs still? I need to play bluray and powerdvd only works under WMC as a plugin. If you try to run it on it's own it complains about the screen being too awesome.

  12. Anonymous
    October 30, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Win 10 really have some excellent changes. Its interface is more friendly than win 8, and I used to try to upgrade my OS to win 10. But after I upgraded to win 10. I cannot use windiows media player freely ever. And I have to download an alternative Macgo Bluray Player for replacing it.

  13. Anonymous
    October 25, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    What a naive article! My experience, started with xbmc/kodi, then MediaPortal, then finally JRiver.

    1. Kodi, aka, cow dung: After mucking around for couple weekends, finally got live tv to work on it. However, it would freeze often and guide would not appear. DVDs would get lost often, even tho they are in the folder. Instead of showing as them unkown if it didn't find the info for it, it would just classify it in some uknown place. Frankly, the only thing that seem to work reliably on it was porn pluings... that tells a lot! Uninstall, move on!

    2. MediaPortal: Much better... Live tv worked without much struggle, altho guide would not appear. DVDs classification, again very annoying! Again, trying to be too smart like kodi, in trying to sort DVDs.

    3. JRiver: better than MP, far better than cow dung, in that DVD sorting/showing is excellent. If DVD info is not found, it will just leave it there. Even better, it lets u download DVD info with just right mouse click. However, Live TV viewing and recording not very user friendly, and remote usage strange. It does have a setup I ve not played around with. Still doens't match up with out of box experience of WMC, where livetv and recording was excellent.

  14. Anonymous
    October 25, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Who wrote this!! Apparently they didn't do their research.

    Most OEM Manufacturers installed their own DVD software or partnered with other software companies. I don't know a single person who use WMC as a DVD player and when Blu-Ray came out you had no choice but to use something else. The fact of the matter is there are no other alternatives if want to get rid of your cablebox and watch or record encrypted channels.

    Funny how people say they are happy its gone and that it's useless. That's because they like paying their cable company $10-$20 each for cablebox/DVR.

    • Donald Garretson
      July 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      I agree, if you just want a dvd player, or any other kind of player, than you can use anything, but for watching/recording live TV on your PC, WMC is irreplaceable. Nothing compares to the easy setup and the fact you do not need a cable box to use it. You pay a one-time fee for a TV tuner, then most service providers supply a card that you use in the Tuner. Depending on the service provider, you get credited up to $5.00 per month or pay up to $5.00 per month. You need to run a single cable line from the wall/floor to your PC and do not need room for a box or additional power outlet and cable for a box.
      The idiot who wrote this article apparently did not thoroughly exam any of the programs he wrote about, nor did he apparently try to record and watch live TV from a service provider, which is what WMC excels at compared to everything else on the market.

  15. Anonymous
    October 16, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I had a crash on my laptop a couple of years back, so I had to get the installation disks for HP and upgrade disk for Windows 7....can I use the installation disk to install Windows Media Player on Windows 10?

    • Anonymous
      October 16, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      sorry...I meant Windows Media Center

  16. Anonymous
    September 5, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I'm REALLY angry about the way Microsoft enticed my elderly in-laws to upgrade to Windows 10 - I've avoided doing so myself until a) early adopters have found the most common bugs and problems and b) I have time to spend on getting it installed and configured and I have time to LEARN it.

    Unfortunately my 88 year old father in law clicked on the 'bubble' (as he called it) to upgrade to Windows 10 without letting me know. Apart from email and Skype the primary use they have for the computer is watching TV and there was - he assures me - nothing to warn that installing Windows 10 would mean their ability to watch TV would end.

    I've just wasted two hours of a Saturday morning after a working week that's already been 75 hours long, trying to understands the GUI on Windows 10 and trying to install and configure Kobi - the most suggested alternative to Windows Media Centre, it seems. It doesn't work - I mean it installs but doesn't configure. I've watched YouTube videos, followed the instructions in on-line manuals and still the damned software refuses to appear on screen the way the menus are supposed to show up in the videos. Insufficient information - terminology that one needs an IT technician to understand. Truly terrible. And I know 2 hours is nothing in terms of how long it takes the average user (and I am more technically capable than most average users) but I don't appreciate the need to waste the time due to MS not providing a) a new alternative to WMC that provides the same functionality but b) mostly a BIG WARNING TO ANYONE ABOUT TO UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 10 THAT FUNCTIONALITY THEY USE WILL NOT WORK!!!!!! It's not so hard, is it??

    I can't 100% guarantee that my in-laws would have realised that WMC is what they click on to watch TV, but at least a warning about functionality loss may have got him to cancel the install and consult me - which I tell him always to do when it comes to messages on his computer, but he hates to 'bother me'. Truth is that I may not have thought about the WMC issue even if I had been there and installed Windows 10, without a warning. This really is unacceptable behaviour on the part fo Microsoft - I've resisted being tempted to Mac OS since Mac OS was created, but this kind of cavalier approach on top of the debacle of Windows 8, to 8.1 to now 10 (which on first look is horrible) is making me thing very seriously about ditching all my Windows machines. There comes a point where one doesn't want to waste more of one's time resolving MS operating systems conflicts and issues.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Wow Greg, thank you for sharing this experience. I know MS is getting kudos for making the update easier through Windows Update, but this is a terrific (and terrible) example of how bad things can go with their intentions.

    • Anonymous
      September 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I upgraded to Windows 10 the day it came out and it tells you during the uppgrade what apps are incompatible (and listed Windows Media Center). Not sure why your in-law didn't see it. :-\

      Also, in response to MS ditching WMC.. That infuriates me. Sure there are a lot of other HTPC players out there but one thing none of them do that WMC does is play DRM encrypted stations such as HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels. That was the reason I used WMC, but now with it not being supported I have to start looking into something else. Perhaps I'll just switch to bootlegging my HBO and Showtime shows now...

      • Anonymous
        October 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm

        Jake, I'm guessing it's the fact the in-law IS EIGHTY EIGHT YEARS OLD is why he missed the compatibility issue.

    • Anonymous
      September 17, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      you can always use system restore to rollback the win10 upgrade! ;-)

  17. Anonymous
    August 26, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I have used an hp media centre desktop that came with a tv tuner that I connect to an indoor antenna. I get 12 digital HD channels that are vastly superior in quality than cable, DSL or satellite. Media Center was the reliable app. I never bothered to copy any stuff.

    MS decided to terminate the TV programme guide that came with it. I use a remote control that can play movies or music from my external HDD that is connected to the desktop.

    Where can I get another windows 7 or 10 app to watch over the air TV and a program guide that goes with it?

    • Anonymous
      September 23, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Media Player Classic Home Cinema

      More basic and not as pretty but I can watch all OTA freeview channels (UK) by simply choosing Open Device from file menu. On first setup you need to select your tuner card and do a scan for channels, I had to fiddle with the settings a little before it would recognize any channels (choosing offset 166) but that is probably more to do with my TV tuner card (Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1200 - WinTV885). It plays LiveTV, DVDs, music and video so is a fair Media Center replacement for TV playback but has no PVR functionality. It supports quiet a few cards so your mileage may vary.

  18. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

    1. I tried VLC to play my Blu-ray! It won't work! I'd say that Blu-ray decoders are not free as ordinary DVD (Mpeg2) decoders. So, i'm under no illusion about finding a free Blu-ray Player anymore.

    2. I once used WMC to record TV (including encrypted, copy protected content with a cable card tuner), and pause, rewind and fast forward LIVE TV. And it's true that Mediaportal might be the closest thing.

    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      If you want to use free VLC for Blu-ray playback, you will have to download and place the AACS and BD+ DRM libraries and keys, which, FYI, won't work for all Blu-ray discs.

  19. Anonymous
    August 17, 2015 at 12:03 am

    I'm new to all this computer stuff but I heard about universal media player does that stream movies if not what is it for thanks

  20. Anonymous
    August 16, 2015 at 8:02 am

    For music I'd recommend Music Bee - has the same features as WMP, especially the Library, but with more actually.
    (There is a bug with logging in to Last.FM accounts right now, but that will be fixed).

  21. Anonymous
    August 15, 2015 at 3:41 am

    I use my laptop and an attached HD monitor to view live TV as I do not use a dedicated television set.
    Since upgrading to Windows 10, I have tried about a dozen or so alternatives to WMC and I am really not impressed with any of them.
    Kodi and Mediaportal may be ok (that's a lowercase OK) to use as dedicated media applications, but they are absolutely terrible for watching live TV.
    HPs built in Media Smart live TV application freezes as soon as you look at it sideways in Win 10.
    I am not just trying to find free alternatives to WMC, and am quite happy to pay for an application that just works the way it is supposed to, but the picking are lean to non-existent.
    I am faced with either buying a television set or rolling back to Windows 7.
    I don't mind Windows 10, but the new interface is nothing special, and it does not offer any additional functionality over Windows 7, in fact it loses functionality (what idiot decided it would be a good idea to not have native support for playing DVD's or Blue-Rays in a modern OS?).
    It is beginning to look like the tried and true Windows 7 will be around in this house for quite some time to come.

  22. Anonymous
    August 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Hey Guys, the demise of WMC to anyone who has been through the arduous task of finding a good reliable network PVR system is a tragedy.
    WMC is just simply the best solution for PVR functionality on the market and always has been. I have always been perplexed by the fact that this has not been supported by the wider community, but then again, i dont hold much faith in the wider community.
    There will be no upgrade for me.
    The commenter talking about using Apple TV's and Roku is limited and in some instances (with Apple TV's), there is no native app on them to stream directly, this needs to be done via an intermediary device like a phone or tablet (or a jailbroken one).
    I have searched long and hard and have the ultimate PVR solution for me which has WMC at its core.
    Long live WMC (or not!!).
    We just need a private developer to keep it going and bring it to its full potential (wishful thinking).

    Silicondust will come up with an alternate stable solution one day.
    The best solution i am holding out and pushing for is using Apple TV's when they finally open them up to 3rd party app development (which is coming in the new version) and someone like DVB Link (who has an iOS app already), gets an app on the Apple TV directly. Once you setup the TV server on your PC and have the app on the Apple TV and can stream directly, you can throw away any other PVR whether it be PC based or a Set Top box and have full functionality and streaming capability locally and remotely and only be limited by how may network HD Tuners you have on your system 1,2,20 etc.
    There will be alternatives to WMC maybe in the future, but like i said, anybody who knows what they are talking about knows, that when it comes to PVR functionality WMC is untouchable.
    A sad day when something that could have been so great gets lost in the annals of history.

    • Anonymous
      September 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      I think the reason WMC didn't take off or become popular was because many people don't want to have to have a computer attached to their TV to watch live tv. Unless you like computers and are a hobbyist it's off putting for many people to have to use a PC to watch WMC content. If WMC was available for use on other devices (and not just overpriced extenders and xbox) it would have been more successful as a solution.

      I ended up switching to Kodi and though I really love it, one thing that really irks me is that I cant play any encrypted channels.

      I've invested in an HD Homerun Prime which will let me watch live tv on most of my devices, but it still lacks roku support. :-(. If you are able to use their HDView app on your product you can watch encrypted channels.

      The HDHomeRun was amazing with WMC though :-(

  23. Anonymous
    August 13, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Check out EMBY, I've been using it for years and it just keeps getting better. Their theater app is pretty much their answer to Media Center. The initial setup took me about 5 - 10 minutes; now to get some of the more in depth features it too awhile longer, but they do have an awesome forum.

    • Anonymous
      August 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      I just tried to download both the release and beta versions. The setup starts and posts an error that it can't get the rest. A very short experiment.

  24. Anonymous
    August 10, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    I won;t be changing to windows 10 until i know for sure i can play the songs i already have.looking at what i have read.It not looking good at all.Will stay on windows 7 until i can backup songs on mp3 player

  25. Anonymous
    August 5, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    These so-called alternatives do not replace WMC for encrypted cable channels. Good luck with the tedious process of getting any of them to work reliably with your computer platforms, and good luck getting any of them to find your network-based tuners.

    KODI blows. So does Plex. MediaPortal trips over itself for most people when they attempt to install it.

    These piles of unfinished code are not ready for commercial deployment like WMC has been. They are only suitable for propellerhead developer hobbyists with lots of time to waste.

  26. Anonymous
    August 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I guess I will be waiting to upgrade my win 7 WMC PC. such a shame as I would really like to take advantage of the new software. is there a way to have 2 opperating systems on the computer? lets say one with win 7 that I can still record live TV and the other that runs win 10? until the fix happens? also what is up with the WMC menu guide. I saw someone else post that it isn't working. I can't get mine to update either

    • Anonymous
      August 5, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Its possible to run Windows 7 / WMC in a Remote Desktop environment like MS RDP, VMWare Player, Virtualbox, etc., but its a hassle. Some hardware doesn't work well virtualized. The WMC UI doesn't work in most virtualization scenarios. A Media Extender is pretty much needed for playback. Bottom line is WMC needs a native Windows 7/8 environment to behave reasonably for most folks.

      Regarding the Guide - Microsoft switched content providers from Snap2It to Rovi. The conversion has been a debacle.

      The Guide data failures are being worked out, albiet slowly. The Green Button website (http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/) has an active forum on this issue.

      Regarding Windows 10 - there will be no 'fix' forthcoming for Media Center. MS is abandoning that ship. The future will be in 3rd party PVR programs. Two that might hold promise in the forseeable future are Google's open source release of the venerated SageTV, and SiliconDust (makers of the HDHomerun tuners) development of an all-new PVR program.

      Until then, WMC is still the best game in town.

  27. Anonymous
    August 4, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    " Kodi’s Live TV recording is superior to the Windows Media Center PVR, too, mainly thanks to continued development in this area."

    This statement is, at best, misleading. KODI does not record Live TV. Its client/server model does take advantage of Live TV 'back ends', of which WMC is still the best IMO, to do the recording. KODI will work with WMC, NextPVR, MediaPortal, etc., as a back end server interfacing via PVR add-ins.

    I have tried each of the compatible PVR back ends with KODI, and none come close to WMC for ease of setup, quality of Electronic Program Guide (EPG), Program Search, or Program Recording options.

    Of course, WMC is pretty much the only PVR that 'out of the box' will record copy protected content via Cable Card.

    It's one piece of software MS got right, too bad they don't appreciate that. Keep a Windows 7 or Windows 8 machine around for PVR functionality for the near future.

    • Anonymous
      August 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      I've enjoyed the WMC PVR for quite some time, but now the guide is empty and the program is useless without it.

  28. Anonymous
    July 31, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I have tried Kodi and MediaPortal. Both very hard to set up fully. I have not been able to get the guide to set up nor record programs with my hdhomerun. Up untill the last two weeks WMC worked great and now it has stopped the guide update. I have not upgraded to windows 10 yet.

    • Anonymous
      August 4, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      There was a lot of churn when MS moved their EPG service from Snap2It to Rovi. It looks like much of the disruption has subsided as Rovi gets their act together.

  29. Anonymous
    July 16, 2015 at 8:18 am

    I have already tried several of these programs, and so far none of them seem to provide the capability I use most in Windows Media Center -- watching and recording cable TV shows, especially encrypted ones. I have a Ceton tuner card in my HTPC, and a Silicon Dust HD Homerun Prime on my network, both with Cablecards provided by my local cable company. With WMC I can watch and record HBO, for example. Are there any programs which run on Windows 10 which can do this?

    • Anonymous
      July 29, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      I second this. While I currently use Plex for streaming media to my various TVs and devices, nothing has beaten WMC for PVR capability. I've tried other solutions but none have been as reliable. I record from Over The Air stations via HDHomeRun to 2 Windows 7 computers in my house. I guess those 2 won't be getting the upgrade. So, what about .wtv playback with Windows 10?

      • Anonymous
        August 4, 2015 at 6:28 pm

        "So, what about .wtv playback with Windows 10?"

        If the .WTV files are flagged 'copy freely' there will be no problem playing them back in Windows 10 using a variety of players. KODI is my favorite.

        If the .WTV files are flagged 'copy protected', you are SOL. Only a system with PlayReady DRM installed will have a prayer of playing these back, and then only on the machine that recorded them (without some serious hacking I won't get into.)

        Best bet in the latter case is not to upgrade.

    • Anonymous
      August 5, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      Correct. There is NOT a direct replacement for WMC for cable TV PVR applications.

  30. Anonymous
    July 15, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Wow wow wow, hold on, why is VLC the best replacement for WMC as it still has so many issues with Windows 8. It is fair to say the arising 5KPlayer which I currently downloaded can be the best alternative for WMC since it works so perfectly on playing DVDs and managing my media files on Windows 10.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 15, 2015 at 8:41 am

      I believe it is fair to say that VLC issues on W8 are hardware specific, as with any desktop media player software. At this stage I feel VLC has better community support.

      However 5KPlayer is a great suggestion, thanks for joining in :)

      • Anonymous
        August 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm

        Hi, Christian, I thought you did not mention anything about VLC a replacement for WMC in this article, only VLC playing DVDs & Blu-ray. And forTHAT, 5KPlayer is absolutely not a great suggestion, since it DOES NOT PLAY Blu-ray Discs!! Though, It does support 4K/8K res videos and many other HD videos, the sources are overall limited. Always try before recommending something, plz.

  31. Anonymous
    July 15, 2015 at 4:53 am

    on the fence about the upgrade. What software of the choice above will handle recording live TV? that and Dvd playback are my issues.... we have a digital antenna. will the new software have the guides so we can plan to record a series?

    • Anonymous
      August 4, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      KODI will easily play back DVDs.

      Recording Live TV via digital antenna is pretty straight-forward, and several of the PVR 'back ends' that integrate with KODI will do the job. NextPVR and MediaPortal are a couple that work pretty well. Do they work as well as WMC? Not by a county mile. WMC is still the best PVR, IMO. Why do I think so? Two reasons (of many):

      1) EPG. The current Electronic Program Guide conversion snafu from Snap2It to Rovi nothwithstanding, the WMC EPG is still the best out there. Easy to set up, navigate, and search. NextPVR and MediaPortal both have EPG capabilities, but setting them up can be a real pain, and the most likely route for most folks will be to purchase an annual subscription to SchedulesDirect. Even with the latter, the amount of tweaking to get the EPG working smoothly can be daunting for most folks, and frustrating in the face of WMC's 'set and forget' configuration.

      2) Series Recording. WMC provides superior logic to search and schedule recordings, especially series recordings. Other tools take a distant 2nd with at best employing a "record same time each week, record same time each day" functionality. This might be OK for the prime-time OTA / Cable broadcasts from the mainstream networks, but many content providers move many broadcasts around the schedule, and it's easy to miss recording a favorite show.

      I'm trying hard to move away from my trusty Windows 7 / WMC PVR functionality, but so far it's not in the cards for me.

  32. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 6:35 am

    works well with kodi

  33. Anonymous
    June 23, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    The DRM encrypted channels are key... Love the Media Center integration across my devices & XBOX. Would like to see Microsoft make Media Center open source like they are doing with Live Writer.

    • Anonymous
      June 25, 2015 at 2:08 am

      The issue with that is, when they make it open source they lost the DRM aspect. Kodi/Mediaporta could handle DRM but no one what to front the cost of going thur cablelabs. to get certificated.

  34. Christian Cawley
    June 22, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    It's a fair point, Winsor, but it can only be a matter of time.

  35. Anonymous
    June 22, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Good write up but there's nothing to replace cable card tuner functionality with DRM encrypted cable channels as of now.