Skip Metro Suite will allow you to start Windows running the desktop instead of the Start screen. Windows 8 does not have a Start button, instead opting for the Start screen. Classic Shell can bring back a free version of the Start button. It's plenty customizable as well. Classic Shell can also start you off on the desktop. A paid alternative called Retro UI combines the Win 8 and Win 7 experiences. $5 for a consumer version. You'd be able to run Modern apps (formerly "Metro" apps) on the desktop in resizable Windows. Microsoft also dropped support for gadgets from Windows 8. You can bring them back with 8GadgetPack. It supports your old Windows 7 gadgets if you'd like. Windows 8 doesn't have built-in DVD support. VLC to the rescue. It's the swiss army knife of media players. We highly suggest it for any platform. Media Center is no longer in Windows by default either. You can always buy Media Center from Microsoft. If you've got Windows 8 Pro, it's in Control Panel > Add Features to Windows 8 > I want to buy a product key. It will run you $10, but it's Media Center. However, there is a free option and that's XBMC. The free XBMC runs on a number of platforms and Version 12 includes PVR functionality. XBMC is very powerful and has a bunch of extensions like ways to watch web video.
E-mailI'm using minidlna on my Raspberry Pi for my Media Server. Any DLNA capable device is able to connect to it and play movies, music and view pictures. Donald R. Smiley