No DVD Playback in Windows 8: Microsoft Defends Decision, Insists in Best Interest

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Windows 8 won’t offer DVD playback, but is it really that big a deal?

DVD playback has been around for so long that removing it seems impossible. Well, Windows 8

No DVD playback is a standard feature in Windows 8, as Microsoft said the decision reflect the changing market. And its right, because content consumption is becoming increasingly digital and DVDs are rarely used. If you really do have to use a DVD, I’d say buy a cheap external disc drive. Still, there’s been controversy over the decision and Microsoft has gone public with its response.

Microsoft has argued it would be unfair to those who buy ultrabooks or tablets, which again makes sense because Microsoft wants to develop a consistent ecosystem (though Apple does offer MacBook’s with optical drives, but they’re rumored to be getting the boot). Windows 8 buyers will have to buy or upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, which will bring DVD playback.

In the follow-up FAQ which explains the reasoning behind the decision, Microsoft says it must support the MPEG-2 codec along with Dolby Audio codecs. That costs around $2 per Windows license (millions upon million, so the cost quickly adds up) for the MPEG-2 licensing alone. That’s passed on to the buyer, Microsoft or the OEM, which probably means more costs whichever way you look at it. Windows 7 offered DVD playback in all editions apart form Starter and Home Basic.

Steven Sinfosky also said that Microsoft found, despite paying for the codecs, some Windows 7 machines couldn’t play DVDs. So from that perspective, while pay for all machines when some don’t fit the requirements? Having a specific edition where DVD playback is supported directs users to that edition. The only question is the cost.

Ultrabook, tablet Windows 8 support

Ultrabooks and tablets are being heavily pushed for Windows 8, so Microsoft is probably look at these devices and thinking supporting DVD playback isn’t working. The iPad is doing just fine with DVD support, as the tight iTunes integration means users buy movies and TV shows. There’s also the convenience factor, as buying DVDs at retail can take days to deliver. That may not sound like, but renting that movie on Friday night after a long day at work is quicker digitally.

Published: Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 Last Modified: May 8, 2012

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