Hello Francis (and everyone),
It will be interesting to know if during the pre-release review Microsoft will be supporting the "Windows 8 Release Preview" with Microsoft update / Windows Update (i.e., auto-updates of drivers, etc., as they are issued by the hardware manufacturers).
Francis, let us know if you use the link I provided and also install the free add-on evaluation copy of the Windows 8 version of Media Center. I don't recall having read any user comments about the new Media Center yet anywhere on the web, and it will be interesting to know if there are noticeable improvements. In some regards it has been my favorite application for several years, BUT it has always seemed a bit 'balky' at times (might just be because of my CPU).
It appears to me, based on early info leaked from Microsoft, that the retail version of the Media Center add-on will be reasonably priced. And If they have improved the interface and improved the content provider streaming support then, in my opinion, buying Media Center as an add-on would possibly solve one of the complaints I have always had about Media Center; specifically that you really can't fix it when it becomes corrupted or glitchy.
More than once over the past 6 years I have reinstalled Windows for the sole purpose of fixing a bug or glitch in Media Center. Having it available totally separate of Windows to install / uninstall / reinstall will be terrific.
PS: If my own frustrating experience several months ago with a very early version of Windows 8 is indicative of what you may face (mostly related to the new "Metro" user interface which is intended for use with touch screen monitors), here's a link for a good resource for articles, tips and tricks about Windows 8. The articles posted here might reduce some of the mystery and frustration; including setting up Windows 8 with the classic Windows desktop rather than "Metro.":
PPS: According to Windows blogger Brandon LeBlanc, users can buy a Windows 8 upgrade for $40 -- and get a copy of Windows Media Center FREE as part of the deal. On July 2 LeBlanc wrote:
"Starting at general availability, if your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 in 131 markets. And if you want, you can add Windows Media Center for free through the "add features" option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade."
That's two big steps in the right direction: making Windows 8 affordable, and continuing to offer WMC free of charge. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will stick with plans to charge for the latter when people buy new PCs that come with Windows 8 -- and what that charge might be.
This upgrade option is available to users of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and it runs through January 31, 2013. You'll need to make your purchase through Windows.com.
PPPS: It's official, Windows 8 is coming at the end of October.
According to Microsoft's Tami Reller, the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) will be available the first week of August, with a retail date at the very end of October.
The company is supposedly "on track" to finishing up the final copy of the new operating system by its internal roadmap, in early August.
In May, the company said it expected the RTM by the end of July, so there appears to be a slight delay but nothing too major.
One of the major revisions from the Consumer Preview will be the removal of Aero Glass from the desktop user interface.
Edited by REnninga - 7/13/12 at 1:49pm