We now know that Windows Media Center will not be including in the standard edition of Windows 8 (confusing called just Windows 8 ) and that to get Media Center you will need the Pro version with the optional (and paid) Media Center pack.  There is another implication to this change in the Windows 8, the removal of DVD playback support.

The standard version of Windows 8 will not play DVDs out of the box something Windows 7 Home Premium could do and you will either need the Pro edition with Windows Media Center pack or a 3rd party solution. Back in the Windows XP days you needed a 3rd party codec to playback DVDs and it looks like we are going back to that model. For most new machines that come with DVD or Bluray drives the OEM will install 3rd party applications to handle media playback, also there are applications like VLC that will handle DVD playback.

So overall for the average consumer I can’t see it making that much difference, the rise of streaming media means that we are watching less DVDs so its really only going to effect HTPC users who are going to have to pay for the Pro/Media Center pack.

Does it matter to you? Would you pay for the Media Center pack or go for a 3rd party addin?

[poll id=”3″]

11 thoughts on “Poll:DVD playback removed from standard edition of Windows 8, do you care?”
  1. Just a note – the Media Center Add-on is meant to be available to purchase regardless of which version of Windows 8 you buy. So its not just the Pro version as you suggest above.

    1. from the diagram it looks like if you Windows 8 you by the Media Center Pack with included Pro
      If you have Pro you buy the Media Center pack

  2. I think Ian your average user may not the real average user. Where I am sitting at the moment with co-workers who can’t find where to print or save in Word 2007 and will often ask me for the most basic points of Window, the loss of DVD playing is going to cause a lot of confusion, just like the loss of the Start button.
    Or take walking through a long distance train- I would say at least 2/3s of people watching a movie are still doing it via a DVD on a laptop, the others are on iPads. This seems counterintuitive to the customer- for what- pennies. Every month for the last 3 years Stuff magazine has ranked PlayStation 3 ahead of the Xbox because of its ability to play blu-rays. I would have brought one a long time ago if it did. But to give up on DVDs in PCs- really!

      1. I suspect you are right. The problem is that the Patent wars are pushing everyones licensing costs up. You only have to look at the number of codecs Raspberry PI had to leave out to keep the costs down.

        I’m not arguing for Microsoft here – I have always felt that removing features in an upgrade is not good practice.

        My main question at the moment is on upgrade path. If this is all about codec costs and codecs are usually licensed per device then surely Windows 7 users already have a codec license and shouldn’t need to pay again. Of course the licensing terms may have been for Windows 7 use only which would have been short-sighted.

  3. When I’m travelling on business, I often take a DVD or two with me to watch in my hotel room. It’s an important feature that many people take for granted. Taking it out is not going to be popular with casual users who take it for granted. It’s one more reason for them to get a mac next time instead.

  4. It will only affect those upgrading to Windows 8. Chances are if you buy a new PC it will have bundled DVD software on it pre-installed.

    Saying that upgraders tend to be more tech savvy people and can install open source software such as VLC in minutes and there is no problem there either.

    A couple of points still remain:

    Firstly there is still no incentive to upgrade a dedicated HTPC to Windows 8. Microsoft has pretty much confirmed there will be no changes. They have also hinted at the “decline” of disc media use on PCs, including Blu-Ray so I doubt we will see any ventures in native Blu-Ray Metro apps.

    Secondly, they have been very candid about their thinking behind splitting Media Center from the OS, the stripping of mpeg2 codec support from the OS etc. The only thing they glossed over is the fact that the upgrade path to the Media pack MUST be through the PRO edition first. I doubt there is any technical reason for this so I’m still scratching my head.

    The problem being that Microsoft have stated that the Media pack will be an “ecomomical” upgrade. We can speculate this may be $10. That’s fine but this doesn’t stop the PRO upgrade being $100! 🙂

  5. Depends really if MCE isnt touched at all on W8 (i.e no metro skin) then i’ll stay with Win 7 if theres some changes or I can get something similar for Metro UI then I might switch) its hard to say until I see the final product.

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