New Windows 8 users might be surprised to find that the Windows Media Center is now absent. Without it, the ability to turn your PC or laptop into a personalized home theater system is now gone, as well. And while those with an attachment to the familiar Media Center set up are bummed to find their favorite way to watch movies and videos is no longer a few clicks away, it doesn’t mean that there’s no longer a way for you to create a multimedia experience on your PC. Here’s a look at some Windows 8 apps and additions that will fill the Media Center void:
If you’re looking for a simple, streamlined, easy to use application, Media Portal is the way to go. This is an especially good open-source app for the technologically impaired, those that don’t like a lot of fuss, or anyone that’s new to the world of computers or Windows.
Uncluttered and user-friendly, Media Portal offers a an easy way to not only watch movies, but catch up on local weather and over 100,000 music channels from around the world, too.
Xbox Media Center
The Xbox Media Center, also known as XBMC, is a great way to blend your favorite gaming console and your Windows 8 setup. Use it to watch videos from YouTube and Hulu, choose from dozens of on-demand movies, or watch and record television like a DVR. If you’re unfamiliar with Xbox, getting used to XBMC might take a little getting used to, but the learning curve is worth it for the amount of variety you get from the app.
Plex Media Center
For those that want to blend the best of both worlds, Plex Media Center gives you the streamlined user experience of Media Portal with the variety and options of Xbox Media Center. Additionally, Plex Media Center allows you to stream your favorite videos, music and other media to other computers. This gives you access to your stuff from anywhere, not just your PC or home network. It’s just another example of how “cloud” based services are gaining popularity all over the Internet.