Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system will not play DVDs unless customers buy an extra upgrade, the company has announced.
Users will either have to pay to upgrade to the ‘Media Center’ or download extra, third-party software if they do want to play films.
Microsoft had previously announced that, unlike Windows 7, Windows 8 will not come packaged with the Media Center software as standard.
The official Building Windows 8 blog, justifies the move by claiming that television and DVD use on computers is "in sharp decline". It claims that Microsoft would have to spend "a significant amount in royalties" to offer support for optical media in future software.
Support for online media, however, will be included in Windows 8 including industry standards such as H.264, VC-1, MP4, AAC, WMA, MP3, PCM and Dolby Digital Plus codecs.
New ‘ultrabook’ computers, which Intel and Microsoft see as increasingly driving the adoption of Windows 8, do not have DVD drives built in, and connecting external drives is becoming rare. Windows 8 will also run on tablets, which again do not have DVD drives.
The Media Center also offers TV recording and access to some video-on-demand services. Microsoft says the cost will be “marginal”.
Data indicates, however, that only 6 per cent of Windows 7 users ever used Media Center.
Bernardo Caldas wrote that “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.”