Officially, Microsoft could claim that support for Windows Media Center ended in January this year, with the end of "maintstream support" for Windows 7, the last operating release containing WMC. While Microsoft did sell licenses for WMC as an app added onto Windows 8 and 8.1, it's not clear support for those apps is included in Windows 8 "mainstream support", which is supposed to expire in January 2018.
Similarly the fate of the Xbox 360 extender software is also very unclear. Microsoft is already ramping down support for Xbox 360.
So far, Microsoft hasn't made any public statement (as far as I can tell) about their plans for WMC support. And without that, it's very possible that this could be the end of Microsoft's support for the WMC program guide service. The data in the current guide not only ends on March 19 - it is missing a lot of detail, many first run episodes have no descriptions - and some of the programs are just wrong (like some of the presidential debates in the last week).
Unfortunately, for those of us using cablecards for DRM, there isn't a viable replacement for WMC today. SD's DVR software is still early, and even when it's release is probably going to fall too short of a WMC replacement to be acceptable (no program guide grid...).
EPG123 might be a short term solution - but those of us with Xbox 360 extenders can't have confidence they will continue working, so even if we can workaround the loss of the Rovi guide service, we could still find our "whole home DVR" environment will stop working unexpectedly one day.
Has anyone checked with SD or Ceton? Surely they still have some contacts inside Microsoft - since this affects their customers. If consumers can't reach Microsoft through the front door, hopefully Microsoft's past hardware partners could go through the side door and get an answer...
For me, the scenario will probably go something like this... Our WMC box has program guide through 5:25AM on Friday morning. In an emergency, we can manually set recordings for a few days - using channel and time, bypassing the program guide completely. If necessary, we could theoretically set up manual rules for recording all of our series, which should work as long as programs don't change time - though we'll end up with extra recordings when repeats are shown. While not ideal, this would buy us some time to find a longer term solution.
We also have a Comcast X1 DVR (we get it free with out cable package). And while we don't have the extra STBs to use it in a "whole home DVR" configuration, we could shift some recording over the X1 DVR, at least to buy us more time to find a better solution.
TiVo is tempting, though I'd prefer to hold out until they get a 6 tuner version of the Bolt. We probably need more than 4 tuners (since there are times when we are recording or watching 4 programs at a time) - and I really don't want to pay an annual subscription ($150 per year) and Comcast cablecard fee ($100 per year) for an extra Bolt - just to get more than 4 tuners.
Before making any hardware purchase, I will probably make a stab at getting EPG123 to work. Since we can keep our WMC box running for a while with manual recordings, I'll probably set up a temporary system with WMC running - and do a test install of EPG123 on that system first. And only if I have confidence that EPG123 is stable, then update the production WMC box to EPG123.
Though, like has happened in the past, it's also possible WMC will miraculously starting working again (at least this time), and we'll buy at least another 6 months of WMC usage until the next daylight savings switch...
Though even if we do get this working again this time - at some point, WMC will likely stop working - without any real warning. And, I'm not sure I really want to be in a position where I have to make a changeover - at a time that may not be very convenient for us...