Microsoft has just confirmed that the standard edition of Windows 8 will be shipped without Media Center and those wishing to use the feature will have to pay for an upgrade.
The decision has been motivated by the continuous change of the software "landscape", with the cost of licensing constantly increasing. Therefore, the Media Center will only be available through the "Add Features to Windows 8" panel, formerly known as Anytime Upgrade.
The upgraded package will be different from other Windows 8 editions, with the standard version requiring the Pro Pack in order to install Media Center, while the Pro version only asks for the Media Center pack.
Pricing options for either package has yet to be announced, but details are expected to be confirmed before the operating system releases, probably in October this year.
Media Center is a feature designed for computers to be used combined with a remote control to watch and record TV content, as well as play DVDs and music. Originally introduced in XP, it was later adopted by premium editions of Vista and 7.
Microsoft also states that another reason for this decision is the fact that the service was not used as much as they expected, and wants to deliver the software to those really looking to make the most of it. Alongside Media Center, other notable features have been left without free support, including DVD playback.