Windows 8 Won’t Support DVD PlayBack, Instead Requiring a Media Center Purchase

Media Center For Windows 8_Thumb

Small Windows Media Center install based prompts decision to remove playback for free.

Windows 8 comes with Windows Media Center, though it’s not full of features: there won’t be DVD playback

Well, that’s not entirely true. DVD playback will be available with a paid Media Center upgrade. That, or users will have to download third-party DVD software.

Microsoft has said it has evaluated what media experiences to bundle with Windows 8, and says the media landscape has changed since the launch of Windows 7. The majority of users are digesting content through online sources including Youtube, Hulu, Netflix and similar programs. Research has also revealed movie consumption online in the U.S. will pull ahead of physical media in 2012.

On the PC, Microsoft says that online media is growing much faster and DVD and broadcast television. Microsoft says those are in sharp decline, which is honestly no surprise as we are living in an increasingly digital world. Why wait for a physical copy of a movie to arrive when you can buy in, on an Xbox, through Netflix in seconds?

Windows Pro Pack

Decoders to play optical media back are expensive due to copyright, which were included in Windows 7. Windows 7 limited those to the media and premium editions, though Window 8 streamlines the amount of editions. Therefore, Microsoft has made Windows Media Center available to Windows 8 users through the Add Features to Windows 8 control panel to access Windows Media Center. Windows Media Player will be available across all editions but without DVD playback.

Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 Pro which gives access to Media Center, which includes DVD playback in Media Center and broadcast TV recording and playback. Pricing will be announced as release date approaches, Microsoft added.

Most users won’t have to bother buying Pro, though: free software in the form of VLC and Media Player Classic supports DVD playback. And as pointed out in the comments section on The Verge, it’s no fair for 94 percent of people who don’t use Windows Media Center to subsidize the 6 percent who do. Laptops with DVD drives will also come with DVD playback software, so it’s not going to be a case of wondering whether a laptop can or can’t play DVDs.

Published: Friday, May 4th, 2012 Last Modified: May 4, 2012

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