Saturday, May 05, 2012

Microsoft Talks Media Center, DVD Playback Support And More

The release of Windows 8 is fast approaching and Microsoft has given would be users a bit more insight into what will and won't be included in the final release. In a Windows 8 Blog posting posted earlier this week Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky confirmed earlier reports that the company will be dropping not only Windows Media Center (WMC) but any native DVD playback support as well.

Initial reports that the company would be dropping WMC as an include part of the Windows experience came last month when the company confirmed the Windows 8 product lineup. At that time details where a bit sketchy but it was made clear that while Windows Media Center will be available it was going to be an "economical media pack add-on" to at least the Windows 8 Pro version. What this meant was really unclear at the time.

Fast forward to this week's Windows 8 Blog posting and we now know that Microsoft has decided to make Windows Media Center available to all 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 (pricing not know). Windows Media Player however, will be dropping DVD playback support. The application will continue to be available in all editions, but those wanting to play either DVD's and Blu-ray's will need purchase Windows Media Center with DVD playback functionality or find another suitable alternative from a third part vendor.

The new option will be known as the Windows 8 Media Center Pack for those with Windows 8 Pro and as the Windows 8 Pro Pack for those with Windows 8. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date, Caldas said, but "will be in line with marginal costs."

This is just all way too confusing!
I've had more than a few people tell me this also sounds overly confusing, so here is the real breakdown. Microsoft has to pay royalties to Dolby and to the owners of the MPEG-2 decoder to enable DVD playback in Windows Media Player. They also pay royalties to support some of the other media decoder licensing and codecs used in their software. So in order to keep costs down (basically ensure a better profit margin) they are dropping support for those decoders.

You won't loose support for online items and Metro style apps will still use any of the decoders included in Windows which cover all key playback scenarios for mainstream content such as YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, H.264 web browsing/streaming, Hulu video, MP4 video, AVCHD video from camcorders, Ultraviolet video, and the HTML5 video tag. Metro style apps can also include additional decoders (such as FLAC, MKV, OGG, etc.) in their apps package for use within the apps.

This means all online style video will still be supported. Its the offline stuff that is going to be missing!

If this still sounds a bit confusing the official Windows 8 blog has posted an update that attempts to answer some of the questions raised by the decision to remove DVD playback from Windows 8's Media Player.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be moderate for content, please be patient as your comment will appear as soon as it has been reviewed.

Thank you