Windows 8 will not come with Media Center, DVD playback
Windows Media Center will only be available as a paid add-on to Windows 8, it was revealed in the latest Building Windows 8 blog post last Friday. The entry talked at length about the associated costs of codec licensing for traditional media playback, which is occurring at a time when the vast majority of video consumption on the PC is now originating from online sources such as YouTube and Netflix, as well as downloadable video services.
Moreover, a clear user preference for a simplified Windows 8 lineup has also led Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to do away with the use of specialized "media" or "premium" editions and settle instead for just four main editions of Windows 8. As it is, this has culminated in the decision to take out Media Center and remove DVD playback capability from Windows Media Player.
To get Windows Media Center on Windows 8 Professional, end users will have to purchase Windows 8 Media Center Pack, or the Windows 8 Pro Pack for the "standard" version of Windows 8. According to the company, pricing for Windows 8 Media Center Pack and Windows 8 Pro Pack will be announced closer to the release date, and will be "in line with marginal costs."
Windows Media Player will continue to be available on all editions of Windows 8, but without DVD playback support. Microsoft says it will not offer DVD support at all, noting, "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."