The upcoming Windows 8 operating system is dropping the ability to play DVD content, at least if you don't spend some extra money on the appropriate upgrade pack for Windows 8 Media Center.
Microsoft claims that on the PC, online sources are growing much faster than DVD & broadcast TV consumption, are all in sharp decline. And since traditional media playback scenarios such as optical media and broadcast TV require a specialized set of decoders (and hardware) that cost a significant amount in royalties, Microsoft plans to limit availability of these experiences in Windows 8.
"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)," said Windows engineering team member Steven Sinofsky. "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," he added.
Owners of Windows 8 Pro, a Windows 8 version designed for "tech enthusiasts" , will be able acquire the "Windows 8 Media Center Pack" and enjoy DVD playback (in Media Center, not in Media Player), broadcast TV recording and playback (DBV-T/S, ISDB-S/T, DMBH, and ATSC), and VOB file playback.
Windows 8 owners will be also able to upgrade (buy) the "Windows 8 Pro Pack", which will give them the Media Center playback functionalities.
Microsoft did not announce pricing for these packs, saying that the Media Center Pack pricing would be "in line with marginal costs."
There's a reason why so many people are still running Windows XP on their computer, after all.