How to add Media Center - and DVD playback - to Windows 8 Pro for free

25 Jan 2013

If you own Windows 8 Pro, you have precisely six days to claim your free Media Center upgrade - the main advantage of this is that it allows you to watch DVDs on your PC, because a DVD codec is part of the package.

Plus, if you have a TV tuner already installed or fancy buying one in the future, you can also watch and record live TV.

But - and it's a big but - this free upgrade offer expires as of 31 January 2013.

Claiming it is relatively simple: head to the Microsoft Media Center feature pack page, enter your email address in the field provided and sit back.

Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)
Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Settings .
Tap or click Add features to Windows 8 and then do one of the following:
If you need to purchase a product key, tap or click I want to buy a product key online.
You will be prompted through the steps to buy a product key from there and it will be entered for you.
If you already have a product key, tap or click I already have a product key.
Enter your product key and click Next.
Read the license terms, select the check box to accept the license terms, and then click Add features.

You'll be told that it could take up to 72 hours to receive your key, but when I followed the process today it only took around 15 minutes to arrive.

Once you have the key, you need to search for "Add features" in Windows 8, and then click on "Add features to Windows 8". Follow the steps, pressing "I already have a product key" at the appropriate moment, and then follow the very straightforward steps.

When you reboot, Media Center will be installed in all its TV-recording, DVD-playing glory (see the proof below! I wasn't watching this in work time, honest). If you want to watch a Blu-ray movie, you'll have to buy a codec separately.

If you just want to benefit from DVD playback on your Windows 8 PC, and don't want to download and install the relatively heavyweight Media Center, the VLC media player is a free, lightweight alternative.

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