The premise was to leverage the power of PC hardware to enable an all-in-one media center, capable of playing DVDs, videos, photos and music with a 10 foot remote control interface.
Perhaps the biggest feature, at a time when not everyone had a DVR, was the live TV recording functionality it offered when paired with PC TV tuner devices.
WMC ceased development in 2009 with the Windows 7 release.
WMC has always had competition, on both Windows and other platforms.
Perhaps the biggest contender is Kodi, which is the new name of the open source XBMC (Xbox Media Center).
XBMC started as a hack of the original Xbox, which was essentially a locked-down, Intel-based PC in its first incarnation.
There’s even the Linux variant Open Elec, a purpose-built version of Linux for running Kodi that’s light enough to run on a Raspberry Pi.
With all the ports available, Kodi can run on old hardware (with some limitations on performance), like the first generation Apple TV, and newer boxes like Amazon Fire TV and the current Apple TV.Over the years Kodi has been tremendously extended in scope and platform support.