Microsoft has been including Windows Media Center in certain versions of every new Windows operating system since XP. Like the name implies, the software is used to organize and play your media.
Unfortunately, Microsoft isn't including it with Windows 8 unless you pay extra for it. This might make sense to you at first since XP Media Center Edition was a special, more expensive of Windows that included Media Center. But when you consider that there are no versions of Windows 8 that actually ship with Media Center, the cost simply seems absurd.
More absurd is the fact that Windows 8 will include Windows Media Player without DVD playback support:
"For optical discs playback on new Windows 8 devices, we are going to rely on the many quality solutions on the market, which provide great experiences for both DVD and Blu-ray."
The lack of both Media Center and included DVD support is quite a letdown, but at least there are free alternative pieces of software that can fix those problems. Microsoft hasn't given a price for the Media Center upgrade, but that's to be expected at this point; we don't even know how much any version of Windows 8 will cost.
This move is due to the costs of decoders to play certain forms of media and also the fact that streaming media has become more relevant than physical, but it still seems like a silly move. I doubt 8 will be significantly cheaper than 7, even with the reduction in functionality.
Are any of you upset by this news? I'm not a user of Media Center so it isn't a big deal to me, but I know that there are plenty of dedicated users that might be disappointed.[Building Windows 8 Blog]