Windows 8 Won’t Be Able to Play DVDs, The Company Announces

Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system will not play DVDs unless customers buy an extra upgrade, the company has revealed.

To play video films users will either have to pay to upgrade to the ‘Media Center’ or download extra software. Photo: Dae/Flickr

Users will either have to buy the Windows 8 Pro Pack, pay to upgrade to the “Media Center” add-on or download extra, third-party software if they do want to play movies on optical disc formats such as DVD and Blu-ray, says Today Online.

Microsoft had already mentioned that, unlike the previous Windows 7 version, Windows 8 will not come packaged with the Media Center software as standard.

“In order to have the option to buy this feature, users will have to be running the higher-priced Pro edition, or upgrade to this edition. Currently, the difference in price between Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows 7 stands at around $100,” writes Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from ZDNet.

“I would expect the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro to be similar given that the difference in features between the two editions is broadly the same,” he adds.

According to The Telegraph, data shows that only 6 per cent of Windows 7 users ever used Media Center.

Bernardo Caldas wrote that “Given the changing landscape, the cost of decoder licensing, and the importance of a straight forward edition plan, we’ve decided to make Windows Media Center available to Windows 8 customers via the Add Features to Windows 8 control panel (formerly known as Windows Anytime Upgrade).”

He went on: “This ensures that customers who are interested in Media Center have a convenient way to get it. 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, we are going to rely on the many quality solutions on the market, which provide great experiences for both DVD and Blu-ray.”

The official Windows 8 blog, explains the company’s decision, citing that television and DVD use on computers is “in sharp decline”. It claims that Microsoft would have to spend “a significant amount in royalties” to offer support for optical media in future software.

However, support for online media will be provided in new Windows version including industry standards such as H.264, VC-1, MP4, AAC, WMA, MP3, PCM and Dolby Digital Plus codecs.

Well, the question is: how did Microsoft get into this mess? The point is in licensing the MPEG-2 decoder. Microsoft gives its users a detailed description of its licensing woes in a follow-on FAQ:

“[W]hen you add all this up and apply to all Windows PCs, it is an ongoing cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the PC ecosystem, well over a billion dollars over the lifecycle of the operating system and yet by most predictions the majority of PCs will not even be capable of playing DVDs.”

It’s logically to suppose that Microsoft has better records on Windows sales than anybody, so their market share analysis – amazing that more than 80 percent of new consumer PCs are mobile – but still, the numbers don’t add up.

According to the statistics, the company sells 300 million PCs in the year after Windows 8 launches, and only 40 percent of them can play DVDs. Let’s be superconservative and say that just 100 million of those PCs can play DVDs.

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