Forget Windows Media Center: Use a Free Linux-Based Media Center System

Windows 8 no longer comes with Windows Media Center. To get it, you’ll need to purchase both the Pro Pack and Media Center Pack upgrades from Microsoft for a total of $110. Consider using a free, Linux-based media center system instead.

Once you have paid all this money, you’ll just have the old version of Windows Media Center without any improvements. Microsoft will probably discontinue Windows Media Center eventually, anyway, as they’re no longer focused on it.

There are many different Linux-based media center distributions you can download, but we’ll focus on what are likely the most popular and well-supported two: XBMCbuntu and Mythbuntu.