Microsoft Offers Yet More Details on Windows Media Center and DVD Playback in Windows 8

WMC Down the Drain

Microsoft’s recent Building Windows 8 blog post regarding the availability of Windows Media Center in Windows 8 raised almost as many questions as it answered, particularly regarding the unexpected connection between WMC and DVD playback. To help sort through some of the questions that their blog post raised, the Windows 8 team has followed up with a FAQ that attempts to clarify the relationship between WMC and DVD playback capability and to further refine Microsoft justifications for moving away from WMC and only making it available as a premium upgrade for select versions of Windows 8. There is not a whole lot new information here that could not be gleaned by reading between the lines in the original blog post and there is still no word on pricing for the WMC upgrade, but Microsoft is taking a more definitive stance on the limited future they envision for WMC. If you like to get a glimpse behind the scenes on the business end of Windows development, then the most interesting questions relate to how Microsoft and OEMs handle the licensing of codecs for things like DVD playback.

With the evolution of device form factors (tablets, thin and light, etc., none of which have optical drives) and change in media consumption patterns from optical disks and broadcast TV to online (Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, etc.), we concluded that we would no longer make DVD and broadcast TV capabilities available in all Windows editions, simply because the feature applies to a decreasing number of PCs sold. Instead, those capabilities will be available only to customers that want it via Add Windows Feature (aka Windows Anytime Upgrade). 

Building Windows 8

  • Love the graphic.

    Love the graphic.

  • As a long time Media Center

    As a long time Media Center enthusiast, the graphic makes me sad, but the humor is not lost on me.    If you swap the MC logo for a regular Windows logo, it would also accurately depict my enthusiasm for Microsoft products these days.