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As a part of its grand plan to make all content digital and get rid of physical media completely, Microsoft Corp. will omit support of DVD video playback on personal computers with Windows 8 operating system. End-users will have to acquire additional features for Windows Media Center to watch DVDs on their PCs and to stop dreaming of Blu-ray disc playback directly from Windows.

In the process of building Windows 8, Microsoft has evaluated which in-box media playback experiences it wanted to provide. The software giant noted that the media landscape has changed quite significantly since the release of Windows 7. The vast majority of video consumption on the PC and mobile devices is coming from online sources such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or any of the other myriad of online and downloadable video services available. Meanwhile, DVDs, BDs and broadcast video are losing steam, according to Microsoft. As a result, in a bid to lower licensing fees required to enable appropriate playback, Microsoft decided to cut support for DVD and broadcast TV from Windows 8.

"Our partners have shared clear concerns over the costs associated with codec licensing for traditional media playback, especially as Windows 8 enables an unprecedented variety of form factors. Windows has addressed these concerns in the past by limiting availability of these experiences to specialized “media” or “premium” editions. At the same time, we also heard clear feedback from customers and partners that led to our much simplified Windows 8 editions lineup," explained Bernardo Caldas and Linda Averett from Microsoft in a special blog post.

Given the changing landscape, the cost of decoder licensing, and the importance of a straight forward edition plan, Microsoft has decided to make Windows Media Center available to Windows 8 customers via the Add Features to Windows 8 control panel. Windows Media Player will continue to be available in all editions, but without DVD playback support. For optical discs playback on new Windows 8 devices, Microsoft offers two options:

  • Rely on third-party solutions, such as Cyberlink PowerDVD or Corel WinDVD, that playback both Blu-ray and DVD.
  • Upgrade Windows 8 Pro with Windows Media Center Pack or upgrade Windows 8 with Windows 8 Pro Pack, which will enable DVD playback (in Media Center), broadcast TV recording and playback (DBV-T/S, ISDB-S/T, DMBH, and ATSC), and VOB file playback.

By eliminating DVD and broadcast TV playback from PCs, Microsoft solves a number of issues: it makes operating system more affordable (theoretically) and it encourages end-users to start using digital media services instead of physical services. Given the fact that Microsoft is actively improving media-related aspects of Xbox Live and adding new TV-channels into its portfolio, it is completely logical to get rid of TV and DVR capabilities of PCs.

It is necessary to note that when it comes to apps and digital download services, there will be no significant restrictions. Metro style apps can use any of the decoders included in Windows. These decoders are optimized for system reliability, battery life, and performance, and cover all key playback scenarios for mainstream content such as YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, H.264 web browsing/streaming, Hulu video, MP4 video, AVCHD video from camcorders, Ultraviolet video, and the HTML5 video tag. Metro style apps can also include additional decoders (such as FLAC, MKV, OGG, etc.) in their apps package for use within the apps.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8, DVD, Blu-ray


Comments currently: 9
Discussion started: 05/04/12 01:52:07 PM
Latest comment: 05/07/12 09:21:59 AM
Expand all threads | Collapse all threads


Although Microsoft decision is justifiable, yet it is not a good news for consumers as we were expecting Media Center in Pro version with full capabilities. It is sad to know that even after purchasing Media Center Pack, WMP will not be able to play DVD. We have to look on other options like Media Player Classic-Home Cinema, VLC, KMPlayer, SMPlayer, Kantaris Media Player, etc.
0 0 [Posted by: boyfriend  | Date: 05/05/12 12:58:12 AM]

Swing and a miss for Microsoft. They really are ignoring basic user's wants and needs. Windows 8 Media Center should be adding native Blu-ray support instead of dropping DVD.
0 1 [Posted by: Divide Overflow  | Date: 05/05/12 11:49:34 AM]

This is just stupid. More affordable? lol I'm willing to bet Windows 8 will cost as much as Windows 7 did. I'm just wondering actually how much more it cost them to add codecs when free alternitives add them for free. And how is it going to save on battery life when Windows 8 is actually worse then Windows 7 is in battery life? LOL Enough with the BS Microsoft.
0 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/05/12 08:11:22 PM]
- collapse thread

Motorolla wants msft to pay 30 dollars per windows copy it sells for h264, and thats just one codec. Probably almost 20 dollars of windows current cost is from licenses. Its the standard organizations like the dvd forum that destroy this world by using patented codecs.

Msft would love for you to download the programs that give you the codecs for free, those are stealing them and dont give any money back to motorolla / and other enemies of msft.
0 0 [Posted by: cashkennedy  | Date: 05/07/12 09:21:59 AM]

This is stupid but on the other hand who is not using alternative players for their media needs anyway?

I mean I have years to use wmp, mpc and vlc are dominating every machine I have.
0 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 05/06/12 02:25:28 AM]

What do you guys think about MediaPortal and Xbox Media Center? MediaPortal is working very well here on Windows 8 CP for single computer. Plugins and skins are great addition to already great application. Let's forget about Windows Media Center and start using free alternatives with even better capabilities. Opinions?
0 0 [Posted by: boyfriend  | Date: 05/06/12 11:04:35 AM]

ANY media playback using windoz has been buggy/broken since day one so what's the problem

Must be a slow news day
0 1 [Posted by: alpha0ne  | Date: 05/06/12 11:50:48 PM]


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