There is a nasty rumour circulating on the net that Microsoft are going to make Windows Media Center a pay for option in Windows 8.
What is worse is that DVD play back will be blocked without the purchase of Media Centre.
I use Windows 7 media center, the shortcomings of WMC are as long as your arm, without thinking too hard my top bug bears are the failure of the music library to update reliably and the poor interface for larger music collections.
I've replaced the Movie functionality with MediaBrowser; I have tried its music support but it is unusable at present (I suspect mainly because useful options are pay for but the default options don't encourage me enough to think my money would be well spent) but for movies it is brilliant.
The only other modification I have made is to the menus to get rid of the extra rubbish that Microsoft keeps trying to push on me.
I have worked extensively with both MediaPortal and XBMC but their shortcoming is that you have to work extensively with them whilst out of the box with very little effort Windows Media Center works and anyone could configure it properly.
So, having made a working Media Center which seems to have a strong user base it strikes me that it would not be practical to charge a high enough premium to genuinely fund improved professional development whilst it is going to slow down take up of Windows 8 (and when the Kinect gets integrated to the Windows 8 interface that would be a shame) and / or drive take up towards Media Portal / XBMC and for a lot of enthusiasts off of Windows.
So surely that rumour must be mistaken.