Gabe Aul at MS Tweeted about the end of Media Center, so I wrote him a letter:
Think it'll help? Maybe more are doing this?Dear Mr. Aul, May 30, 2015
I am an avid user of Microsoft products and have been since Windows 3.1. When XP Media Center Edition came out I was floored by the functionality you built into the operating system that allowed me to take control of my cable boxes and be able to feed their signals to the most versatile and robust DVR yet conceived. Now with Windows 7 and using CableCard the TV experience is so much better than what’s available from the TV providers. Media Center includes all of the other media on my system and it has an incredibly intuitive ten-foot interface. Whoever designed it was a genius.
It is so intuitive that my mentally disabled partner is able to operate it with no problems. The cable company’s DVR’s always gave him trouble. Media Center even allows me to convert some of the TV files (mostly news – his favorite) for use on his phone when he has to wait somewhere. For him it’s a huge help.
I understand that Media Center is going away because of “lack of use,” but I know I am among many who probably utilize Media Center more than any other single piece of software. Its adoption in Windows 8 was hampered by the fact that everything works so well in Windows 7. For these reasons I am writing you to plead for Media Center’s inclusion in future versions of Windows. I believe that the existing code runs fine in Windows 10, so I’m guessing the main goal in discontinuing it is cost savings regarding the copy protection licenses and possibly the TV guide data updates. If this is true my esteem for Microsoft is diminishing. When the financial goals of a corporation are at odds with their consumers’ goals, who or what should take precedence? Can you just charge more for Media Center to keep it alive? Is Microsoft well off enough to do the right thing – not what the efficiency experts and share holders demand?
When I read Mr. Gates’ The Road Ahead I was intrigued by the vision of computers assisting us in the control of different aspects of our lives. Media Center fulfils that goal so well. Its death feels like a big step backward; it was such a ground-breaking, if underappreciated and under-promoted, product.
I often ask myself why Apple’s products are plastered all over mainstream media when they are released when Microsoft’s never are. If people understood the versatility and cost savings of Media Center over renting DVR boxes I think there would be a lot more adoption. [I also think Flight Simulator suffers in a similar way; an update to utilize modern hardware would make it amazing, but it too needs promotion.]
I think I can speak for other users in asking that you at least announce when you are going to end the TV guide updates in Media Center so that we can arrange for one of the other, inferior options.
I’d like to continue using Microsoft products, but you are making them less useful and desirable to me. Please engage me again with that vision Mr. Gates so presciently shared with the world.
cc. Mr. William Gates, Mr. Satya Nadella