Windows 8 Makes DVD Playback A Paid Upgrade

    May 4, 2012

You may recall last month when Microsoft announced the editions of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. The OS will be divided into two basic versions: Windows 8, and Windows 8 Pro.

There was a lot to be excited about in that report. It seems that Windows 8 includes several features that were not available in the more basic versions of Windows 7, including an enhanced Task Manager and improvements to Windows Explorer. Windows 8 Pro, meanwhile, includes all those features, plus a slew of other features that are aimed at “tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals.” That includes encryption options, virtualization features, and more.

Apparently, though, there’s one thing about Windows 8 that might be a little less exciting for some users. It seems that Windows Media Player will no longer include DVD playback capabilities. At all. To get DVD playback back, you’ll have to upgrade to Media Center. If you’re running Windows 8 Pro, you’ll have to purchase the Media Center Pack. If you’re running Windows 8, though, you’ll have to buy the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which upgrades you to Windows 8 Pro, but includes Media Center.

In a blog post yesterday evening, Microsoft explained the decision by pointing to the rapid growth of digital video formats, as compared to DVDs, sales of which are dropping sharply. Given the breadth of third-party DVD playback solutions available – many of which come included with the software for your computer’s optical drives – DVD playback in Windows Media Player isn’t a great necessity.

What do you think? Should DVD playback be built in to Windows 8 for free, or does Microsoft’s decision make sense? How often do you actually watch DVDs on your PC? When you do, how often do you use Windows Media Player, as opposed to third-party software? Let us know in the comments.