Microsoft has already said that Windows Media Center will be available to Windows 8 users as a separate, paid for add-on, rather than being integrated into the OS as was the case with the last two releases of Windows. Although it was still present in the Consumer Preview, if you've already installed the new Release Preview build you may have noticed that the media center software is nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, there is a way to enable Media Center in Windows 8 Release Preview for free so users can continue testing it in the interim. Also, if you want to play DVDs on Windows 8, Media Center or a third-party app are required, as Microsoft decided not to include DVD and Blu-ray playback by default anymore.

Here are the instructions as detailed on a Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview FAQ:

  1. 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.)
  2. Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Add features to Windows 8.
  3. Tap or click I already have a product key.
  4. Enter this product key: MBFBV-W3DP2-2MVKN-PJCQD-KKTF7 and then click Next.
  5. Select the checkbox to accept the license terms and then click Add features.
  6. Your PC will restart and the Windows Media Center tile will be pinned to the Start screen.

This is the same procedure users will need to follow when adding Media Center to the final version of Windows 8 --- save for the fact that you'll need to pay for the license key. Microsoft hasn't revealed exactly how much the upgrade will cost yet, besides saying that "it will be in line with marginal costs".