Windows 8: No Media Center – No DVD playback


News of more changes to Windows 8 is filtering through, this time it is all about components which will no longer be included.

Seems Microsoft has decided to drop Windows Media Center as an automatic free inclusion, Media Center will still be available but only as an optional extra and at a cost. There is currently no indication of price, only that it will not be free.

Furthermore, Windows Media Player will no longer support DVD playback. Microsoft decided that the ongoing costs involved with providing support for DVD playback has become prohibitive and has recommended using third party software – never thought I’d see the day when Microsoft would make such a recommendation.

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). 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.

This news may not be of particular significance to many discerning users who already habitually install alternative media players, such as VLC, but to me it represents further indication of Microsoft’s abandonment of the desktop paradigm in favor of Metro and mobility.

Even though this decision will not affect me personally, I still see it as one more nail in the coffin for the traditional Windows desktop, and begs the question… what’s next?


By the way; it is anticipated Microsoft will debut Windows 8  “Release Preview” in June 2012, with the release of the full version expected some time during fall (between September and November).

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

8 Comments

  1. Do people actually use Windows Media ?
    One neat thing about VLC and many other free options like it , they don’t send data to microsoft about every file you watch or listen to.
    I don’t know what microsoft does with that information.

  2. I agree with omar, “Do people actually use Windows Media?”. I’ve been using the GOM (for video) and Spider (for audio) players for years. Not only are they free, they are less bulky. I for one believe that an o/s should be just that, and leave the extras to others. Might be nice if Microsoft supplied links to others, but then would we trust what MS recommended, Mindblower!

  3. All these changes frighten me as to the future support of the operating system for PCs. What will happen to Microsoft if their tablet is a far second choice to the ipad? I think I stick with Windows 7 for quite a while.

    • Couldn’t agree more Richard, I think the first two commenters somewhat missed the point. The worry is not the actual missing elements, more that MS seem intent on cutting the desktop down to better suit Metro and mobility.

      • Jim, don’t you believe an o/s should be just that, an o/s. Adding additional Bells & Whistles do not improve the o/s, just add the extra programs one can find elsewhere. If all the MS resources were put to writing and supporting their o/s, it might be better??? Wishful thinking on my part. As for the decline of the Desktop, I doubt this is the case. Mobile apps are still a toy, IMHO, Mindblower!

        • Yes I do MB, it’s more the motivation and direction which I query, fueled by MS’s desperation to make an impact in the tablet market – which means concentrating on mobility and cut down apps to the detriment of our traditional desktop.

          Don’t forget that Windows 8 and Metro are inseparable, you can’t have one without the other, and to be a winner in the mobile device arena the OS must be lean with the ability to run successfully on low spec hardware… otherwise it will not be able to compete with the likes of Android and iOS. I could be wrong, I often am (just ask the better half) but from what I have seen and heard of Windows 8 to date I have serious reservations. Time will tell I guess mate.

          Cheers… Jim

      • Unless I’m mistaken, Microsoft earlier announced that Windows Media Center would be included in Windows 8 Pro. I have a TV tuner in my PC and
        use it to record TV shows. This way I can avoid watching commercials. I am disappointed that it will no longer be included,

        Apple always has an Ace card up their sleeve. I predict that Windows 8 will be a failure only to match Windows Vista. Microsoft has a bad habit of
        not learning from earlier mistakes.

        • Richard, I don’t think MS ever announced that Media Center would be included in Windows 8 Pro, only that it would be available.

          My understanding is; Media Center will be made available to Pro users as an add-on, and at a price.