Phased out? Aren't we jumping ahead ourselves a bit? Windows 8 is not even out, Windows 7 is a mature product, support for XP will stop in 2014. That just means MS will not longer release hotfixes, security updates and service packs for it. Eventually 3rd party support will go down to nothing, maybe a year or two after 2014. By then Windows 7 be mainstream and Windows 8 only on much of the latest hardware for new users, while depending on what your doing, Gamers playing games that aren't officially supported by Windows 8 and people that use WMC as a DVR will be slow on the uptake until/unless something is dramatic about Windows 8 we don't know about.
There are people on this forum that still use XP Media Center and Vista, if its not broke don't fix it right?
The buzz even if some of it is negative around Windows 8 is likely pleasing Microsoft. It generates such a polarizing opinion from mostly Power users that every tech blog and magazine has post or story on its upcoming features.
Media Center was again a case of MS being ahead of the game. When the software came out, the hardware side of it was hardly mature. If WMC sees low usage, then MythTV, BeyondTV, MediaPortal and all the other DVR/PVR programs of days gone by or still in development must have not even a 1/3rd of the user base WMC over three OS life cycles. You wouldn't have seen the upgrades to provider DVR's if the threat from Windows Media Center wasn't real.
As was is being discussed over on the People don't understand HTPC thread, people will buy three or four boxes to do what ONE HTPC does, pay fees for a DVR with about half the features and twice as slow interface. The firmware in those boxes just don't change much so people grow comfortable with the familiarity of UI. All these v2.0 cable card tuners may have come two or three years too late. After all it was only about two years ago that Microsoft was working with DirecTV to actively integrate their service into Media Center.
How many people have an Xbox 360 and a Windows Vista or Windows 7 Desktop? How many know you can link those two together? Look at what my mother does with a PC? Plays a few cards games, works on the Family Tree, pays some bills and manages bank account. How about her IPhone? Mostly plays card games on it, you see a trend here? This is what 90% of computer users actually do. The younger they are, they more then trend to do with it, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.
Didn't I read in thread here that somebody's boss bought a Alienware computer to basically browse the internet? This is the reason my mother has Windows 7 Ultimate, when I have Home Premium in both the laptop and the HTPC.
I think the problem from a consumer sales POV, is the typical salesperson doesn't know much about computers at all. A+ is not required by anybody but those that repair PC's or work Help Desk for businesses large and small. Companies pay us (I have A+) to know what to buy and what is the best investment for a companies bottom line and increasing productivity.
I think Media Center for Windows 8 will have a few winkles in it, but largely the same. If anything streaming content is likely to be quite a bit improved.
PSN - DJFourMoney