When it comes to Windows 8 features, I’ve often spoken about how important I think a Zune Metro app would be in bringing tightly integrated media features, similar to what Apple and Amazon have with their tablets. Now I’m going to talk about what such an app could look like and how it could really set W8 tablets apart from the competion.

Imagine one Media Player that does everything that Microsoft’s current multiple players can do. I know you might be scratching you head and thinking, “What do you mean multiple media players?” I’m actually talking about “Windows Media Center”, Windows Media Player, and Zune Media Player, which are all Microsoft-created media playing software packages.

How about cleaning this act up a bit, and integrating many of these features into one, clean package?

With Metro arriving on the scene, now is a good excuse to re-write the entire process as a touch-centric Media Player METRO app that has Zune features, TV tuning features, and the ability to play multiple formats like WMP can now.

Also, while I like the media consumption features of Zune, it seems that this brand is dying so now is a good time to end the “Zune” program and just throw it into WMP.

On the WMC front, I’ve always thought that Windows Media Center is a little cumbersome and could be implemented better. By directly combining these features into Metro, it could give Windows 8 tablets (and PCs) another one-up when compared to iPad and Android options, plus it would make Windows 8 the ultimate OS for a living room PC.

For tablet use, imagine having a tuner built in that lets you watch your TV programs directly on your tablet. Better yet, some kind of wireless cable transmitter that can send the signal to your tablet and then use your tablet as DVR and TV watching device. Might be a little high-tech but it is certainly possible.

This would make Windows 8 tablets the best bedroom TV on the market, since you could hold the tablet in your lap while you lounge in bed.

So this Metro app version of WMP would not only work as a Zune media program, a media file player, but it would also create a robust DVR/PVR device on top of it all. This would also give Microsoft the opportunity to redo Windows Media Center as a more touch-friendly experience.

So, how would a DVR/PVR work exactly? You would need some kind of way to wirelessly stream content from your cable line to your tablet. This could actually be accomplished two ways: a set-top box or a special attachment for the 360.

The later actually makes some sense, especially with Microsoft’s recent major push towards TV content on the 360 with the most recent update.

So what do you think about my theorized new media features for Metro? Would such a tight integration of media features that blends many current programs into Metro itself make any sense or even work? I personally think it has merit, though maybe I’m over estimating what Metro is capable of doing.

I will also admit that while I think it’s an interesting concept, I really doubt Microsoft would stream-line all these features, still if they did it would give Windows 8 a reputation as the media king.

Netflix and Amazon store content is great, but movies, rentals, and the ability to record and watch live TV would make W8 the go-to device for a TV-replacement. What do you think, perhaps my concept is just too much of a pipe-dream or does it have any merit? Share your thoughts below.

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  • Rich Church

    I do this today.  I record with Windows Media Center and a Ceton cable card tuner on my home PC and watch streamed recorded TV on my iPhone and iPad over 3G or Wifi (using Remote Potato app).  I have Verizon FiOS.  I hope Microsoft just leaves WMC alone.  They haven’t shown much interest in further developing or promoting it, but at least they haven’t killed it.