Microsoft revealed plans on Friday to turn off the metadata service for certain media product and operating system combinations.
The company maintains two media products right now that ship with various versions of the Windows operating system; Windows Media Center, only available in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, and Windows Media Player, available in all supported versions of Windows.
Both programs may use the metadata service to retrieve information about media from Microsoft servers. If a song is playing, the metadata service might retrieve the title, artist or genre of the song, or cover art. Movie and TV show metadata may include actor and director names, or genre.
Microsoft plans to shut down the metadata service for Windows Media Center entirely. The company did not include Windows Media Center in Windows 10 (but you may get it to install), which it released in 2015, and it was clear right then and there that the multimedia player would be on its way out.
Windows 7 users who run Windows Media Player will also have to do without the metadata service; Microsoft will shut down the service for Windows Media Player running on Windows 7 going forward but not for Windows Media Player running on Windows 8, 8.1 or 10.
The following table highlights how different operating systems are affected.
|Windows Media version||Operating system||Affected by this change?|
|Windows Media Center|
|Windows Media Player|
Microsoft notes that existing metadata will remain available in the player (metadata that was downloaded already) and that the termination won't affect primary features of either media player. Some features, those that rely on metadata, may be affected, however.
Why is Microsoft making the change?
According to Microsoft, the decision was made based on customer feedback and usage data.
After looking at customer feedback and usage data, Microsoft decided to discontinue this service. This means that new metadata won’t be updated on media players that are installed on your Windows device.
Windows customers who use Windows Media Center on all supported versions of Windows or Windows Media Player on Windows 7, won't be able to update or download metadata from Microsoft's metadata service anymore going forward.
It is unclear why Microsoft made the decision to terminate the metadata service this year and not next. Windows 7 runs out of support in January 2020; terminating the service then would certainly sit better with customers who use the service.
You can check out our Windows Media Center alternatives article to find a suitable media player that continues to support metadata.
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