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Want to Play DVDs in Windows 8? Then Pay Up!

By - Source: MSDN | B 138 comments

Microsoft is incredibly excited about Windows 8.

In fact, it is so excited about its new operating system that it is compelled to promise that the new operating system will "delight media enthusiasts around the world". However, DVD and Blu-ray playback support is not going to be part of that pleasure unless you shell out a few extra bucks.

Déjà vu. Remember the outcry when Microsoft announced in 2006, shortly before the release of Windows Vista, that the spanking new operating system and its Windows Media Player would not support DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray playback out of the box? Well, the same is happening with Windows 8. Back in 2006, Microsoft argued that the it was worried about unsigned drivers and copy-protection concerns that may have put it in the line of fire of Hollywood. In the end, Hollywood had argued for years that Windows was the Pandora's Box of digital evil.

This time around, the justifications provided by Microsoft are not about copy protection anymore. However, Microsoft is still dancing around the actual reason why DVD playback will be cut. My personal favorite? DVDs just don't sell anymore and are in an unstoppable decline, so there is no reason to support DVDs in Windows anymore. Granted, I cannot remember the last time I watched a movie on a PC, but there are still plenty of people who, for example, enjoy DVD playback on a notebook on an airplane. Tell them that DVDs optical media sales are in a decline and that would be the reason to cut DVD playback from Windows and you are sure to get an earful.

Of course, the real reason is mentioned in the post as well. It's about the cost of decoder licensing that Microsoft wants to recoup. You can still get DVD playback, but you will have to pay extra - as you did for Windows Vista if you wanted that feature in the Windows Media Player - and acquire the Media Center Pack or the pro pack to end up with Windows 8 Pro "with Media Center". There was no information how much those extras will cost, but if you want to avoid them, you also have the option of choosing third party media software solutions, which have now an opportunity to market themselves in a much more efficient way.

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Top Comments
  • 92 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2012 8:07 PM
    VLC media player. The end.
  • 55 Hide
    bak0n , May 4, 2012 8:08 PM
    Just another reason to not leave windows 7.
  • 48 Hide
    Marfig , May 4, 2012 8:07 PM
    That's my Microsoft! Great job validating even further my decision to skip Windows 8.
Other Comments
  • 92 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2012 8:07 PM
    VLC media player. The end.
  • 48 Hide
    Marfig , May 4, 2012 8:07 PM
    That's my Microsoft! Great job validating even further my decision to skip Windows 8.
  • 55 Hide
    bak0n , May 4, 2012 8:08 PM
    Just another reason to not leave windows 7.
  • 46 Hide
    mobrocket , May 4, 2012 8:08 PM
    i see this as a good thing

    anytime u can make a market for 3rd party developers on windows, u get better products
    for example : web browsers
  • 41 Hide
    math1337 , May 4, 2012 8:08 PM
    It takes around 3 seconds to download a free DVD player(such as VLC). I having media center built in is like IE: Bloated, slow, and mandatory.
  • 33 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2012 8:09 PM
    There are plenty of plug-in replacements for the microsoft DirectShow codecs that are based on Open-Source solutions and are free.

    This is a non-issue.
  • 9 Hide
    wiyosaya , May 4, 2012 8:10 PM
    In my opinion, these days a built-in decoder, which seems to have never been in Window$, is not really needed. Many AV devices like TVs, Blu-ray Players, and such, are able to either directly stream content from the internet, or use a Window$ machine as a media server to directly show media and thus bypass Window$ having a decoder available. Streaming directly to AV devices seems to be the main mode of viewing media these days.

    So here is another case where licensing fees may be doing more to kill the "decoder" market than they are fostering income for the decoder makers.
  • 32 Hide
    Crush3d , May 4, 2012 8:11 PM
    So, if I'm understanding this correctly, it's not Windows 8 that is limiting DVD usage.. it's Windows Media Player..

    There are plenty of free-use programs out there, such as VLC mentioned above..

    So.. who cares?
  • 18 Hide
    the_crippler , May 4, 2012 8:13 PM
    .....aaaand Microsoft continues to make sure the every/other rule continues to apply to their OS releases.

    XP worked just fine for me for many, many years, as 98 did before it. I intend to keep making use of 7 until another good version is made.
  • 17 Hide
    zaho0006 , May 4, 2012 8:13 PM
    Anyone suggesting optical media is dead should look around them once in a while, if this was true why is there a redbox on every corner?
  • 17 Hide
    amdfangirl , May 4, 2012 8:14 PM
    Someone needs to remind Microsoft they are selling software, not DVD/Blu-ray drives.

    What next? Microsft pretending to be an ISP and charging for a subscription to Internet Explorer.
  • 14 Hide
    MKBL , May 4, 2012 8:16 PM
    Sometimes I scratch my head when people are upset because MS bundled certain software in it OS, leading to litigation and huge penalty, while at the same time angry about not including another software. Which wind should MS tag along? I'm not a fan of MS, actually close to a critic, but this I'm not sure whether deserves another harsh outcry.
  • 8 Hide
    thunderking2106 , May 4, 2012 8:16 PM
    I 2nd that.......On occasion i do watch dvd's using VLC Player, rarley do I ever use windows media player.....in the last 10 years or so pc manufacturers have been bundling dvd playback software with windows making windows media player irrelevant....I think Microsoft is doing this to get away from having to pay licensing fees for Codecs that 90% of its users rarely use seeing how codecs are bundled with 3rd party playback which is typically set as default player.
  • 16 Hide
    K2N hater , May 4, 2012 8:17 PM
    In other words, Microsoft encourages downloading media rather than buying DVD/BD.
  • 10 Hide
    cirdecus , May 4, 2012 8:20 PM
    "There was no information how much those extras will cost, but if you want to avoid them, you also have the option of choosing third party media software solutions, which have now an opportunity to market themselves in a much more efficient way."

    OR

    Take your time and not upgrade for a year or two like most people do. If you already have the functionality in windows 7, just don't buy 8. Maybe microsoft will get the hint.
  • 3 Hide
    Marfig , May 4, 2012 8:23 PM
    The license fees reasoning stings like a bee. A bee we had a chance to kill, but didn't when we had the opportunity.

    I'm referring of course to the WebM alternative that would have most likely free users and service providers alike from incurring in licensing costs, directly or indirectly. Now, we know of the limitations quality-wise, etc. But it's undeniable that we entered the wolves den willingly and are now just starting to reap the "reward". And the future looks even bleaker.
  • 6 Hide
    bucknutty , May 4, 2012 8:29 PM
    VLC FTW!
  • 8 Hide
    CoolBOBob1 , May 4, 2012 8:38 PM
    Blame Motorola for demanding $4 billion dollars in licensing fees from Microsoft for H.264. This way Microsoft doesn't have to pay for every person using Windows even those who never watch DVD movies.
  • 16 Hide
    SAL-e , May 4, 2012 8:40 PM
    I agree with Microsoft on this one. And if you spend some time reading MPEG-LA licences you will realise that you are paying twice the licence if the codec is included in Windows. From now on you will pay for the codec when you buy the DVD/BD drive. The only negative is that you have to install the provided disk, but this is non-issue, because the provided player usually is much better then Media player.
    On the other hand I think MPAA are idiots. They are pushing for this for years because they believe that this will prevent people from watching ripped DVDs and BDs. How delusional they are!!!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2012 8:44 PM
    98 = Good, ME = Bad, XP = Good, Vista = Bad, 7 = Good, 8 = ???

    If the pattern keeps up, were in for a shitty OS... I tried to consumer preview and just couldn't get around the fact there is no start menu, it's just plainly the most stupid OS from MS so far. The only thing good about it is that it doesn't have the same horrible performance that Vista had. And now something as simple as DVD playback is removed? Well at least we can hope that if the pattern continues, Windows 9 will be a awesome release that will have Blu-ray playback that will then after be removed in Windows 10!
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