With the death of my beloved Windows Media center I have been considering alternatives such as Plex and XBMC. XBMC is by far the most versatile and full featured media center software made today. For a while I had been seriously considering swapping over to XBMC (hell, and if they could get Civilization V to run on Linux…I’d ditch Microsoft all together and go open source).
However Windows Media Center has one distinct advantage over XBMC, and it is this – it can record TV shows that contain Copy Control DRM. TV/Cable broadcasts are tagged as Copy Freely or Copy Once. It is largely up to the cable provider how their content is tagged, and if they wanted to sow havoc with an XBMC/cablecard setup then they could simply tag all of their content as Copy Once.
Microsoft has paid the fees to CableLabs which allow it to use the CopyOnce content. Premium channels like HBO are exclusively CopyOnce content.
This is really unfortunate (again, a first world problem) as XBMC has 24-bit FLAC support, remote apps for tablets and phones, and runs on anything more powerful than a toaster.
Who knows? Maybe these guys will be successful with their petition drive to get Microsoft to release a WMC app for the XBOX ONE.