FAQ – DVD playback and Windows Media Center in Windows 8

We thought we would follow up the previous post with an FAQ which is based on the comments and discussions, so Bernardo put this together so things are in one place.  Some of these might be introductory for some but since the comments covered a lot of topics, it seemed reasonable to start at the beginning.  --Steven
What are the codecs needed to play DVD?
A codec is software that is used to compress or decompress a digital media file, such as a song or video. MPEG-2 is widely used as the format of digital television signals that are broadcast by terrestrial (over-the-air), cable, and direct broadcast satellite TV systems, and DVD Video. Dolby Digital is the widely used audio standard for terrestrial (ATSC, over-the-air), cable, direct broadcast satellite TV systems, and DVD Video. Dolby audio is also a mandatory format in Blu-ray.

How has Windows handled DVD related decoder licensing prior to Windows 8?
The issue surrounding the incremental costs of codecs to play DVDs isn’t new to Windows. In Windows XP and Windows Vista we addressed it by offering specialized editions, such as Windows Media Center Edition, or codec add-ons to Windows Media Player. DVD playback was not included in Windows Vista Starter, Home Basic, Business, and Windows Vista Enterprise editions.  OEMs (PC manufacturers) had the option to license Windows Vista Starter, Home Basic, and Business “with DVD” where we offered a version that includes the Dolby Digital codec to enable the OS to support DVD playback for a nominal price increase.  In Windows 7, we decided to make these codecs available broadly in most editions, except Windows 7 Home Basic (available in some emerging markets) and Windows 7 Starter editions (available for netbooks and some emerging markets). That means royalties related to DVD playback in Windows 7 have been paid broadly, regardless of whether or not the PC has an optical drive. Based on sales and usage, we supplied codecs to a very large number of PCs that were not capable of playing DVDs or simply did not ever play DVDs.

Who pays decoder royalties associated with DVD playback on PCs?
Typically, media codecs are based on intellectual property (IP), often patents, held by consumer electronics consortiums or companies.  The result is that entities who wish to sell products that include these codecs must pay royalties to the IP owners; sometimes to a single entity (e.g. Dolby Laboratories), and often through a license agency (e.g. MPEG-LA) who administers licensing for a number of IP holders under specific terms. The rules surrounding who pays these royalties vary by licensing program. According to the MPEG-LA program, the company that ships the end product is responsible for paying. In the case of new PCs with Windows pre-installed, that would be the PC OEMs. The Dolby program for Windows 7 was defined based on an agreement between Dolby and Microsoft where Microsoft has paid Dolby directly for the rights to Dolby Technologies built in Windows 7. Royalties are also paid by ISVs that include those technologies in their applications, even if those applications are bundled on new systems. This means that in many cases the same royalties can be paid multiple times over for a single PC (Microsoft pays some, OEM pays some, ISV pays some). In Windows 8, we will continue to include some technologies licensed by MPEG-LA and Dolby that will be paid by OEMs, but only those that relate to online media consumption (e.g. MPEG-2 container for H.264, Dolby Digital Plus audio) and not those related optical media. The costs associated with those codecs are lower, but significant, compared to optical media playback. Also, Windows 8 apps will be able to use these technologies as part of the Windows 8 Media Foundation APIs at no additional cost, as long as they are not providing optical media and broadcast related functionality.

How much does it cost the PC ecosystem to play DVDs?
Playing DVDs generally require MPEG-2 video compression and Dolby Digital (AC-3) audio. Even though it is possible to use other formats, the majority of commercial DVDs are encoded using these formats. In order to decode these formats, the playback device needs to be licensed to use these decoders. MPEG-2 decoder costs $2.00 per unit under current MPEG-LA terms. Dolby license is an additional cost that varies by the technology licensed, the type of device, and unit volume. While not related to Windows, Blu Ray would be an additional cost on top of these. So when you add all this up and apply to all Windows PCs, it is an ongoing cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the PC ecosystem, well over a billion dollars over the lifecycle of the operating system and yet by most predictions the majority of PCs will not even be capable of playing DVDs. 

Why can’t I just pay for DVD when I need it?
When we have DVD playback capabilities in software broadly like in Windows 7, there is no way to distinguish whether the PC will ever play a DVD disc but still this cost is carried on every PC. While we might think that the best solution is some sort of “just in time” charge back to Microsoft based on telemetry or an “anytime upgrade” this is not how the third-party licensing programs work as described above.  So there isn't an approach where you buy Windows or a PC and only “pay as you go” if DVD playback is provided “in the box”.   Once it is distributed as a player, a license is required.

Will devices with Windows 8 pre-installed be able to play DVDs out of the box?
This is ultimately an OEM choice for what peripherals and software to include in a given system. If a new device has an optical drive, it will most likely include necessary software and licenses making it a seamless experience to the vast majority of customers. Similarly, an add-on optical drive (internal or external) will almost certainly come with DVD playback software unless you intentionally purchase a white label drive (which might be a perfectly reasonable choice if the drive is simply for loading software).  In all cases, there are numerous complete third-party applications that provide a broad range of support that is properly licensed. On the other hand, the ecosystem won’t have to pay for that software and related royalties on devices such as tablets, small form factor desktops, and laptops that are sold without optical drives.

What if I upgrade to Windows 8 on my current Windows 7 PC with a DVD drive?
If there is existing third-party playback software the Windows Upgrade Assistant will help determine if this software is compatible with Windows 8 and you will have the option to keep it during the upgrade to Windows 8. Otherwise, you will need to acquire third-party playback software after the upgrade to play DVDs. Alternatively, you can acquire the Windows 8 Media Center Pack or the Windows 8 Pro Pack post upgrade. Both Packs include Windows Media Center, including the ability to play DVDs.

Why can’t I buy a Windows 8 device that includes Windows Media Center pre-installed?
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). This ensures that the costs associated with playing DVDs and watching broadcast TV on PCs only apply to devices that have those capabilities and customers that want it.

Are you adding another Windows 8 edition called “Windows 8 Pro with Media Center”?
The Windows 8 Pro edition that includes Media Center will be named and branded Windows 8 Pro. The only difference is that it will include Media Center and you will also find a different string in the system properties where it will say “Windows 8 Pro with Media Center”. This is not a new edition of Windows 8.

Why do I have to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro to get Media Center?
Trends in Media Center usage show a decline in the number of customers that use it on a regular basis, starting from a relatively small base as we previously blogged about. When we look at actual usage, most customers using Media Center and playing DVDs used Windows Ultimate and XP Pro/Media Center. We believe those customers will also be interested in the additional features provided in the Windows 8 Pro edition, such as Boot from VHD, Client Hyper-V, etc., especially if they are using Media Center on a PC used for general tasks.  Considering the audience and current usage, we conclude the vast majority of Media Center customers upgrading to Windows 8 will be to the Windows 8 Pro edition. In our efforts to keep the Windows 8 editions plan as simple as possible, Windows Media Center is only available on Windows 8 Pro. If you already have Windows 8 Pro and want to add Media Center, you just need to acquire the additional Media Center Pack as an in-place upgrade available via Add Windows Features (formerly Windows Anytime Upgrade).


What is the Windows 8 Pro Pack and why does it include Media Center?
Windows 8 Pro Pack is an upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro. Like we described above, Media Center is only available on Windows 8 Pro. When you acquire the Pro Pack, we make it a single step that takes you to Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. The cost of the Media Center Pack is essentially built into Pro Pack. Again, this is an attempt to add simplicity to the process of acquiring Media Center.


What version of Windows Media Center will be included in Windows 8?
The version of Media Center included in Windows 8 is what we shipped in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. It is much consistent with what shipped in Windows 7.

Will CableCard and other devices continue to work with Media Center in Windows 8?
Yes, there is no change in hardware supported between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Why doesn't Windows Media Player support DVD playback even after installing Media Center?
Based on the above discussion, it should be clear that we cannot enable DVD playback all the time in Windows Media Player.  Given the ongoing feedback to avoid feature overlap and to avoid the complexity of behavior changing for a previously installed component, we only enable DVD playback in Media Center once it is installed. 


If I upgrade in place, can't I just use the codecs that were already purchased with Windows 7?
The usage rights to these codecs needed to play DVD do not carry forward to a new version of Windows after you upgrade. These terms are defined by the licensors of these technologies, not Microsoft or OEMs.
Update, this FAQ was added to the original post.

Comments (204)
  1. hamakaze japan says:

    It understood.

    Please reproduce DVD by putting in a decoder for exclusive use.

    Because it is based also on DVD …

    Although I myself have changed to Windows 7, Windows MediaCenter is seldom used.

    Windows Media Player is better if per mp4, wmv, and flv can be reproduced as standard.

    The rest thinks the thing kana which is not so heavy.

  2. Quick question (I am not at the time able to try the Consumer Preview): Is the new media center a metro version, or just the ported windows 7 desktop version? (Because the immersive feel of the app would be good in metro).

    Otherwise, this is a great and informative post. Thank you 🙂

  3. Hadi Zainudin says:

    Great Post! 🙂 Thanks Win8 team.

  4. sean says:

    The first question in your FAQ actually has 2 questions, and the second ("and why are they not included in Windows 8") isn't addressed in your answer.

  5. @sean – sorry, just a typo…fixed.  the rest of the post is about the second part.

  6. @Steven Sinofky

    thank you so much for removing WMC. is there a chance we can remove WMP as well. one of the first think I do when setting up a new windows system is go straight to windows features and uninstalling WMP & WMC. Basically ever thing under the media features. (even if its not my own pc I do this) there way better alternatives for playing media files, CCC pack + Windows media classic comes to mind.

    Can we please add Windows 2 Go in the Pro Version. That is the only enterprise feature I want and would actually use in a non business   related scenario. Would be a shame if I have to acquire enterprises edition in other means just to have that one feature .

  7. PS I do have Iconia Tab w500. He/they are right, This device dose not need DVD playback.. In fact it dose not need WMC & WMP installed at all. Once again there are way better alternatives. The best Media play MS ever developed was version 5.0. After that it sucked… no hard feeling.

  8. MERman says:

    Please tell me that this isn't the case?

    I mean it was bad enough that Bluray playback was not present in Win7, but now no DVD playback?

    Is Microsoft just wanting to make things harder for users and push them away to a Apple solution?

    People do NOT want to pay additional money for Bluray or DVD playback and neither should they. They should be able to put a disc in their player and expect it to play.

    A Operating system should come complete and this is far from a complete solution

    I guess its time users started looking for new solutions… Its a shame cuz Win7 and MCE were brilliant products

    MS…. You cant be any more OUT of touch with your users than you are today. Its time you shake your organisation up and start re-inventing yourselves and your products.

  9. jerry-nixon says:

    +1 on working so hard to answer burning questions. I, for one, am super-excited to see how Windows 8 will "deliver a world-class video and audio entertainment experience" without WMC.  The team is delivering innovative, novel solutions to common Windows tasks. I can't wait for this to play out. //Jerry

  10. @Steven Sinofsky, @Bernardo

    I have absolutely no problem paying for this feature in Windows 8. Really I don't.

    All I care is that if I'm paying for this, I expect value. Windows 7 MC on W8 is not value. A new MC. With DVD playback. With Blu-ray support. If you charge for it, then at least put some effort into what you're charging for. Because you'll just sell us a slightly modified version (to run on W8) of the W7 version.

    Sell for above cost price, I don't care. Just please please please put some effort into it.

  11. CypherBit says:

    The ability to play DVDs should be part of the Enterprise edition. As mentioned by quite a few, having to deploy and then support/patch… an additional application adds to the complexity, cost.

  12. People remember that windows XP, that's has lasted for like ever dose not have DVD support OOBE ether. and no one bitched about that.

    in fact you had to buy Windows Xp MCE or buy the Windows XP Plus packs

    1.5 Microsoft Plus! for Windows XP

    1.6 Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition

    1.7 Microsoft Plus! SuperPack for Windows XP

    why are we crying over it now? If it keeps the cost of Windows 8 Pro at the 199$ mark I'm all for it. lets face it Microsoft is going to have to keep the Retail version of windows 8 as low as possible to convince people to upgrade and adopt the new Metro and WinRT platform. I have a feeling there going to have to price low like they did with Windows ME, to get people to update. If they going to price it like they did with vista. well we all know how that went in the end.

    I think Price is going to be a major factor then some DVD codec trivial matter.

  13. WinUser says:

    i aprrechiate the decison to cut WMC, but could instaed improve the WMP to look more Metro. Also remove the Store function in WMP. We have the Zune store, so we don't need it WMP and also cut of the design support in WMP. Nobody use the Win95 designs for it anymore.

  14. HC says:

    Don't pay for Windows 8 Pro or Media Center ripoff and fatten greedy, lazy Microsoft's bank account. Use MPC-HC for all your video playback needs.


  15. Michael says:

    Thanks for at least making it an option and not removing support altogether for Win8. What I would appreciate is support for the NZ MHEG5 format so we can at least see the full weeks television guide with our digital tv.

  16. Is Windows 8 an OS built for the lowest common denominator?

    Windows Aero detects my computers video capabilities and configures itself accordingly. Windows has long had the capability to self-optimize based on detected hardware. The start screen doesn’t do this. Metro doesn’t do this. In addition, now DVD playback is an add-on feature.  We have truly come full circle.

    I have always used prerelease versions of windows as my primary OS since 95. I can’t do that with Windows 8. I use an HP 610-1065qd (touch screen, media center, desktop) as my primary computer. Keyboard and mouse are my primary input tools. When I first started using this system I was slightly annoyed as I found that touch capabilities built into Windows 7 lacking. I then installed Windows 8 in a dual boot configuration (booting from VHD is a nice feature). I found that Windows 8 didn’t make me want to drop my mouse and touch my screen. Touch, for me, is an input method of last resort. The scrolling in the start screen certainly is smoother with touch than my mouse, however, that is not compelling enough to make me want to reach over to touch my screen. Btw, my screen is 8 -12 inches from the edge of my desk… nearly optimal distance for touch, yet it is still the input method of last resort. I am relieved when I tire of exploring Windows 8, praying to find some reason to use it as my primary OS, boot into Windows 7 brings functional comfort.

    Building for the lowest common denominator appears to have been Windows Phone 7’s strategy; Great solid OS that nobody wants to use.  I use it; it’s simple, does what I want it to do, but it isn’t sexy enough to make people run to it. The best hardware and features are offered by the competitors. When will the business community as a hole realize that any strategy that places the interests of the business over those of the customer is a failed one? You can’t force Metro, or start screen, or Windows Phone on your customers because it’s a good strategic move for Microsoft. That’s false logic. The only good strategic moves or those that are right for your customers first and also happen to offer the company benefits. It doesn’t work the other way around. Yes, that strategy seems to have been initially successful, but declining markets, missed opportunities, and a failed antitrust case latter, I’d say it’s time for a change.  

    I suggest setting up an independent team to build an customer centric OS that focuses on the needs, desires, and psychology of the customer, in complete disregard of any company based strategic goals or biases. Use that OS as a starting point. The reality is that the MBA’s will get a hold of it and bastardize it, but at least if the starting point is customer centric then the end result will be more customer centric than not. Windows 8 is an OS driven almost completely by the business needs of Microsoft. Where Microsoft’s business needs and customer desires overlap, the OS will be a success. Where they disconnect, the OS will fail. It really is that simple.

    Btw, start screen on Windows Server 2012, wtf!?Are the people at Microsoft so afraid of going against the tide that they haven’t told you that a dumb idea? Any high school dropout can tell you that doubling down on a dumb idea doesn’t make a good one.

    Oh, wait, there’s more. I plugged my Windows Phone 7 into my Windows 8 computer, guess what happened, nothing; so much for synergy between the platforms saving the day.  

  17. "The version of Media Center included in Windows 8 is what we shipped in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. It is much consistent with what shipped in Windows 7."

    That there has just killed my hopes for continuing to use WMC in my living room. I spent a fortune buying a fanless PC *specifically* for the purpose of running WMC so that I could record & play back TV recordings, and play DVDs & Blu-Rays that I'd ripped to storage – everything electronically stored at my fingertips.

    No more.

    I guess I should have seen the writing on the wall when the eHome team was disbanded but I never wanted to believe that Microsoft would kill off such a fantastic piece of software. As I commented in the previous blog post, this is so similar to the way Microsoft has handled smartphones: they were ahead of their time, had a great product, gave up on it and left it to Apple & Google to swoop in and show MS how to do it. I guess in about 3-4 years time we'll have MS releasing "New Media Centre" with a nice new look to it but less functionality than it has today?

    I weep for some of the planning and decision making at MS. I really do. I *love* using MS products. I love how they integrate and deliver some of the best functionality available … but this???

    So I guess I'm now looking at moving to something like XBMC to play back my media but I'm struggling for a PVR solution where I can archive the recordings. I guess I'll find something, probably Linux based.

  18. Geoffc1 says:

    My HTPC is not a general purpose desktop PC, and it certainly doesn't need the extra features of Windows 8 Pro. You've made my decision easy – I won't upgrade my HTPC. I will continue to use Windows 7 Home Premium with its built-in Windows Media Center.

  19. European says:

    I'm using W7MC extensively currently and I already "pay extra" to do this, because it lacks DVB-C support (and I have to buy additional software for that). It's pretty amazing since it already supports DVB-T and DVB-S.

    I understand why we are going to pay for W8MC, but I think it should have at least this basic feature update over W7MC – DVB-C (even a simplistic variant without CAM/CI and without DVB-C2, but of course it's better to have those too).

    In an ideal world we would also get EPG support for more countries.

    Also, it would be nice if there is a separate Win8 blog post detailing international (e.g. non-USA) support in Win8, Win8Phone and associated online services:

    – interface language (various levels, e.g. only most common dialogs are translated or almost everything, etc.)

    – input language (physical keyboard writing, touch keyboard writing, handwriting, OCR, voice recognition, spellcheck, translation, etc.)

    – local services/Bing (maps; navigation – car, pedestrian, bike, public transport; weather, road traffic, EPG, nearby places/landmarks/commercial entities/ATM points/etc., local cultural/sports/etc. events, etc.)

    For both Win8 and W8Phone I really want to have the following option – continue using English interface, but still having the capability to use other input languages and of course the correct local services. Currently if a W7Phone international user wants to use his local services/input language he is forced to also have the system interface in his local language! Very inconvenient! The interfaces are meant (and formatted) to be displayed in English, the terms are commonly known in English, the translations are bad (especially for the smaller languages), so the experience gets poisoned!

    The solution is simple – decouple interface language from input language and local services.

    Another issue is the phone keypad (0-9 with letters on each number) – please make it dual-script (currently it's only single-script – the script of the interface language). Nokia/Symbian have this feature 5-10 years ago already, so Microsoft should also be capable of doing it.

  20. Optical4ever says:

    Windows Vista: Adds native DVD playback

    Windows 7: Adds AVCHD/H.264 support

    Windows 8: Adds native Blu-ray support

    Sorry, that's what it should have been, but instead, it's "Removes DVD playback."

    Well I don't use WMP for DVD playback, it's a terrible video player, but this feels very wrong and the FAQ just exacerbates the frustration. Apparently the MPEG2 license is $2, the Dolby one maybe another $3 (the FAQ does not precise its cost), so for less than $10 (with MS margin), we don't have a Windows 8 edition with DVD playback?!?

    And I assume the Media Center pack will be bundled with other extras, so even if we want just the $10 DVD support, customers will have to pay maybe $30 for features they won't use. This is exactly the same issue Microsoft was trying to avoid, i.e. make the ecosystem pay for all these features.

    You might as well have killed WMP and WMC: WMP because it is clearly only an audio player, not a media player anymore (without DVD and MP4/MKV support), and WMC because nobody will buy it if it costs extra and needs to be downloaded again each time you install/reinstall Windows. This is very different from a more expensive edition like Ultimate that included from the start everything you paid for.

    I used Arcsoft TMT5 from within WMC to play Blu-rays (yes, there are still people who value optical media for their unsurpassed audio and video quality), I guess I will now use the standalone TMT5 player.

    I also frequently play movies from driveless netbooks, so it's really a wrong assumption that because the computer does not have a BD/DVD drive, it does not need BD/DVD codecs. Ever heard of ripping?

    And please stop mentioning the third party software that comes with a retail version of an internal or external optical drive. First, many people buy naked drives, they probably already have several DVD codec licenses around and shouldn't have to pay for one again, and these players are most of the time evaluation or limited (in features or time-bombed) versions of the full player.

    I think the consumer usage statistics you base your decisions on is fundamentally wrong. Most people don't have Blu-ray not because of streaming, but because of the prohibitive cost of Blu-ray playback on a computer. Between AnyDVD to rip my DVD/BD and Arcsoft TMT5 to play them, I spent about $200. Basically, the price of a second Windows 7 Ultimate license. This is another reason why many people were expecting native DVD and Blu-ray playback in Windows 8. It would have been for a fee, and only for the purchasers of the Ultimate edition so it would not have cost anything to the "ecosystem", but my guess is that an integrated Microsoft solution would not have doubled the price of Windows like it currently does for these essential basic features. Even removing DVD playback from Windows 7 Starter edition was a mistake for netbook owners, and an insult for developing countries.

    I have always upgraded all my computers to the latest version of MS-DOS and Windows right at the time of their release, I feel no incentive to do so this time.

    I am actually seriously considering abandoning Microsoft for open software for the first time in about 25 years.

    I'll probably still get a Storage Space server, but I doubt I'll ever upgrade my Windows 7 client machines to Windows 8.

    Windows used to fit the needs of every customer, now the political and marketing decisions made exclude the very persons who are traditionally evangelized and recommended Microsoft products.

    I hope Steven Sinofsky will not be known as the Brian Valentine of Windows 8.

  21. sreesiv says:

    The terms are very crisp and clear here. There is no DVD playback and associated video and audio decoder licensing cost. Same applied to broadcast TV. If you have such hardware capabilities on the PC and need those devices to be user, buy third party solutions who have already licensed such IP from MPEG-LA or Dolby Labs or whatever. Incase you still need Microsoft software for playing DVDs and viewing/recording broadcast TV, there is Media Center, which is available via the Media Center Pack or Pro Pack through "Add features to Windows" option.

    Now the previous blog post mentions that this is planned to be supported for another product lifecycle, that is the Windows 8 lifecycle. And therefore, it didn't surprise me that the version included in Windows 8 is same as in 7 (with may be some fixes).

    Well, we are all set out to kill the plastic disc entertainment industry as a whole AND also the broadcast dump box. If someone still wants to get entertained in this manner, there will be always specialized 3rd party software available.

    I think we don't need any statistics to believe that DVD video and broadcat TV on PC is on the decline.

    Overall it is a super move, and I hope to see these cost savings when I buy and upgrade to Windows 8. 🙂

  22. Dropping DVD playback is one thing, but releasing an OS which cannot play .MPG files out of the box seems like a step backwards.

    As least, that is how I am reading it. You aren't including an MPEG-2 video decoder at all?

    I have some .MPG files containing MPEG2 video here. MPEG1 is more common, and MPEG2 more often used for DVD and broadcast rather than files, but both do get used.

    Of course, I'll still be able to install something extra to gain the decoder, but it seems like an odd thing to remove. Playback of DVDs on computers may be becoming rare but I don't think playback of MPG files is yet.

  23. NP says:

    What about playing Quicktime movies like Windows 7 can do? I don't like to install extra video codecs on my Windows machine because most of them are badly written or include malware. Please make a stable video codecs pack that provides support for Quicktime, DIVX, OGG, etc, and I will be happy to buy it. An official codecs add-on from Microsoft. I cost is the issue, I can pay. I hate having to install malware or things that break my computer down just to play a movie for example created on the Mac. Please, cost is not the issue.

  24. Asbjørn says:

    You have to be joking – releasing an OS in 2012 that cannot even play back DVDs. I thought you had learned that lesson once Vista started including DVD playback, but apparently you seem more and more determined to make Windows 8 a failure. I really want Windows 8 to succeed, but things like this are not the way to do it. DVD (and Blu-Ray) playback is not some optional extra, but an essential component of a modern OS, especially one that is so consumer-oriented.

    Just because Apple ditched the optical disc, you don't have to follow. Although increasingly it seems that the only thing you are capable off is trying to copy Apple, and doing it badly. If I wanted Apple, I'd use a Mac. But while you are copying what Apple is doing, at least copy their understanding that a mouse/keyboard interface is different from a touch interface.

    If this then resulted in drastically reduced prices for Windows, at least there'd be a reason. You don't take features away while charging the same price!

  25. Musafir_86 says:

    Hi Win8 Team,

    -Could you reconsider including native support for Matroska container (MKV/MKA/WebM), Theora & VP8 video, and Ogg Vorbis audio? They're widely used on YouTube (WebM/VP8/Vorbis) and Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons sites (Ogg/Theora/Vorbis), which are #3 and #6 most popular sites on the internet according to Alexa: http://www.alexa.com/…/global (and they never get any lawsuit from anyone until now). And while you're at it, please add FLAC, Speex, and others too if possible.

    -I understand about 'supposedly' potential risk should there be a real patent case in the future, but isn't the 'allegedly' infringed patents already licensed by Microsoft when you include MP3, H.264, AAC, etc. for playback with Windows? Shouldn't it works this way? If not, could you please elaborate for us? I'm no lawyer, but have Microsoft's legal department actually do a thorough study on this matter?

    -Please answer, thank you very much.

    Best regards.

  26. r3loaded says:

    If Microsoft has to pay all sorts of licensing and royalty fees to play DVDs and Blu-rays, why are there open-source software projects such as VLC and MPC-HC that are available for free? Or is this some sort of arrangement to push sales of PowerDVD?

  27. r3loaded says:

    Also, I'd strongly recommend including other open-source codecs and container formats such as WebM, MKV, Vorbis and FLAC (to name a few). The costs are very low since the software has already been developed and is open-source, and hence no royalty payments are due. You'll get plenty of happy users who want "out of the box" support, and WebM/Theora support in IE would help resolve the thorny HTML5 video compatibility issues.

  28. Michael Jackson says:

    About Media Center. All I want to say is: they don't really care about us!

  29. This is simply a dreadful decision. The third party (fully licensed) solutions for playing DVDs have been and are simply dreadful. Back in the XP days I had to use them and frankly they were just thinly veiled up selling opportunities to get features that should have be included and had nowhere like the stability of the native decoder.

    The only people that will be happy with this decision will be the makers of PowerDVD and the ilk and we are going back to the bad old days of having to have a separate ( poor quality ) program, with a random interface,  that doesn't integrate with anything else just to watch a DVD.

  30. Keith says:

    Well that's pretty darn stupid of Micrisift to think us customer's that bought Windows 7 are going to buy Windows 8 and then pay extra money to get Windows 7's version of Windows Media Center in Windows 8. It's absolute b.s. Microsoft and us smart folks are going to say screw you and keep 7. I know I am.

  31. Kevin says:

    I've got no motivation now to move to Windows 8 for anything other than a tablet device. Without commitment to a metro app for broadcast tv / recorded tv there's no point in upgrading any media center or DVD drive equipped machine if you're going to have to buy the OS, then buy an add-on pack just to get back to where you were beforehand.

  32. Sikandar says:

    Would I be able to install (k-lite) MPC or VLC on Windows 8? If I need to play DVD, would I be able to play on MPC or VLC without paying the penalty/royalty fee?

  33. Axxo says:

    How about the pirated version of Windows 8? will it contain Media Center with all the required codecs?


  34. Toney says:

    Could you please add FLAC support to WMP/WMC?

    That's the only feature I regularly miss.

    Also, I agree with you leaving out DVD support out of the box. It's a waste paying for licenses, if many (I'd say most) people don't need that, either because they won't be watching DVDs or because they'll use some alternative player.

  35. Steven,

    Apologies for commenting offtopic but this seems the easiest way to attract your attention.

    I've read your last summer (August 29, 2011 6:15 PM) article titled "Improvements in Windows Explorer".

    From the three "Goals of the new Windows Explorer" listed, the third reads"Respect Explorer’s heritage. Maintain the power and richness of Explorer and bring back the most relevant and requested features from the Windows XP era when the current architecture and security model of Windows permits."

    In this context, do you consider that "single click expanding of folder trees"* windows xp feature has any chance of being reintroduced in windows 8 rtm, at least as an option? (do whatever defaults you want, but can I have it back?)

    Does "the current architecture and security model" permits this?

    Many thanks in advance!


    * connect.microsoft.com/…/explorer-should-expand-folder-tree-the-windows-xp-way

  36. and to leave and ontopic comment: to everyone complaining about missing codecs, there are free options available at a google search distance (ffdshow is the first to come to mind)

  37. Joao M Correia says:

    I missed something in the post perphaps, but your rationale for not including the dvd playback license is that many computers are not even capable of dvd playback – isn't the windows installation media a DVD?

  38. So the writing is on the wall.  If we upgrade Windows 7 (With media Center AND DVD Playback) to Windows 8, we have to re-buy these functions (The same one we already had on windows 7).   OR  buy that very special sku that includes media center (OEM-Specific-Sku).  

    This is just absurd, why not ENABLE these two functions if a user upgrades from an edition that includes the codec/licence since we effectively "Already Payed for it!"  Why must this process be so Anti-Consumer?

    I think its time to re-focus my business strategies endorsements away from Microsoft.

  39. Or, why not let us "Install DVD Playback and Media Center" by typing a Windows 7 Product Key and leverage activation since its the exact same product?   Something needs to be put in place where a user can retain these functions without having to re-buy them.  Treat it like the domain join feature from Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, if you upgraded from MCE 2004 or XP Pro you kept domain join.

  40. JF says:

    Is an alternative to the "Media Centre Extender" being developed? It's not perfect as is, and I would love to have a way to easily, wirelessly playback photos and videos from my PC to my Xbox.

    Apple's made some great headway into this field with their AppleTV, and mirroring feature that allows a tablet to be used as an extra screen. Intel's been pushing it's WiDi technology to wirelessly stream a display onto a TV. There's no question in my mind that consumers want an easy solution to connect the various screens in their lives, and with all the Xbox 360s out there, it seems like a great opportunity to get into that market.

    I do have doubts however… I haven't seen a single effort from Microsoft that wasn't poorly implemented. Just too many steps and too complicated to setup (took me 20 min to figure out the Play-To feature… which doesn't always work). And the Windows Phone "Companion" app that needs 30 seconds to reconnect each time its screen locks out… not a very effective remote control, right?

    Please prove those doubts wrong 🙂

  41. Disgrunted Canadian says:

    Microsoft will most likely keep crippling WMC for Canadians by intentionally disabling ATSC support. And now they make us pay extra for DVD support. It's like they're doing everything in their power to make sure nobody wants of it.

  42. Alex Drake says:

    Even in this matter you're just following Apple's lead. I have always been able to justify Windows' cost using the cost of a gazillion things such as the cost of patents, codec license agreements, etc… but not anymore. This is a disgrace. I will be sticking to Windows 7.

  43. JF says:

    @those still frustrated with the decision

    Guys, let's look at the facts. Potentially (and hopefully) millions of ultrabooks and tablets will be sold in the next few years running Windows 8 – all of which will be sold without optical drives. Physical disk usage is only going down. It would be ridiculous to pour millions of dollars to the Codec owners when the codecs can never be used. The option to purchase these capabilities as an add-on seems like a reasonable compromise. Furthermore, PCs sold as Media centric devices can easily integrate third party apps to compensate.

    And as long as the combined cost of Windows 8 and the "Pro Pack" isn't unreasonable, I can't see what the problem is in upgrading Windows 7. Essentially, you'd be paying the same (presumably) price had the codec been included from the start, but if you don't need it, you would be paying less. Sounds fair to me.

  44. That is all perfectly reasonable, so far best explained by Hal hal2020.com/…/media-center-dvd-playback-and-microsofts-media-strategy , but nevertheless non-inspiring at best.

    Fundamentally, these are workarounds for a problem we should be really thinking about.

    As DLNA or AirPlay catch on, the _personal_ computer as a home entertainment device becomes obsolete. We will we be paying for access and royalties on each device, and, what it all comes down to, per-view or incomprehensible webs of competing flat-rates.

    And all that while we gradually loose control over what we have access to.

  45. Good Point says:

    Steven, great job reimagining windows media! ???

    JF: "Essentially, you'd be paying the same (presumably) price had the codec been included from the start, but if you don't need it, you would be paying less. Sounds fair to me."

    Bull!  They would charge what they would charge for a Windows 8 purchase/upgrade.  The less they pay to license third-party IP/code, the more profit from each copy of Windows.

  46. Dean says:

    I see the points here, all valid. I just have 3 sincere recommendations. Firstly don't limit WMC to Pro. It wouldn't confuse the world to offer the Media Pack as an additional feature to the standard edition, or as part of the Pro edition. Don't assume that everyone who could possibly want WMC will want Pro too. Secondly if people are paying more for DVD playback- don't limit it to WMC. People like Windows Media Player; and surely many people will only end up confused as after paying to be able to play DVD's- they still can't do so in WMP. Finally if WMC (not just the codecs for dvd playback- but WMC entirely) is to be a charged add-on feature- make it better! If you're going to take out a feature that was once included just to charge us to get it back- at least have the decency to make it worth our while- a nice Metro version (or front-end at least) would be nice.

  47. I have been a WMC user since 2005 and it is heavily integrated into my home.  I have found the lack of any substantial updates to the product troubling.  Knowing that the product is essentially the same from Win7 to Win8 tells me that nobody at Microsoft is working on the product for more than maintenance.

    So off it spins to a "pro pack" not unlike the incredibly successful Win95 "Plus!" (LOL).  Next it will terminate like Microsoft Money.  I wish Microsoft would just donate the code for MCE to an Open Source project and be done with it.  Then I could make informed decisions about how much time to devote to a product I worry will see no innovations and declining a declining user base for the next 5 years and then be quietly terminated.

  48. Konstantinos says:

    I don't know where to post this so here you go:

    I want to ask you to implement some features in Win8. First of all, I have a fear that removing the start button is NOT a good move (especially when I see no real need to remove it).

    Then, I want you to evolve the keyboard layout system by allowing Windows to accept keyboard layout DLLs that export "KbdLayerDescriptor" (old type DLLs) and a new type of DLL that will export a function that accepts the key code and the modifiers and outputs a string. This new type of DLL is NEEDED to create keyboard layouts with chained dead keys that also allow processsing on the (past and present) user's input (e.g. elimination of chained dead keys order importance), provide flexible output, allow implementaion of keyboard state memory, etc. The way keyboard layouts work today, writing in ancient greek, latin, etc requires superhuman memory to remember countless dead keys. A sample Visual Studio project implemeting the new type of keyboard layout DLL would be nice too.

    IE9 and later has been greatly improved in the UI, but I think you need to improve more the performance and the delay when opening and closing tabs (e.g. add more parallelism, hide the closing tab first and then shut it down in the background). Also, I have noticed that IE9 changes the rendering of some HTML content when the user selects it. I think this is a big bug.I also think that it would be nice for IE to be able to load .NET or native addons and you to provide samples on how to write an addon (I know there is addon support for IE but judging from the number and quality of the existing addons, I don't think the current interface or documentation is good enough).

    Next, I want you to improve the CHM reader (hh.exe) and the CHM compiler (hhc.exe of HTML Help Workshop) in Windows. CHM files are WIDELY used today and your OS has problems dealing with them. First of all, when a CHM file is located in a path that contains the '#' character the reader fails to read the HTML pages inside it. Also, the reader uses an older version of IE (as far as I have understood) and does not render corectly the HTML pages, does not support Javascript and generates REALLY annoying error messages when javascript code tries to execute. Also the compiler (hhc.exe) has MANY problems, as well as the HTML Workshop itself. I have bothered writing an app that replaces HTML Help Workshop and uses hcc.exe to compile the CHM but the bugs in hcc.exe were more that I thought. Can you please fix any of these ?

    Also, it would be nice if you made the Windows "snipping tool" able to record video from the screen.

  49. Michael says:

    All those complaining about the removal of codecs explain why it's a problem installing a separate codec pack? Microsoft did give reasonable justification in that it makes no sense making all windows users pay for it when only a smaller number use it.

    One question I do have, when you talk about removing DVD support from Windows Media player I take it you are talking about support for DVD video discs, not the ability to support MPEG2 (or other formats) with third party codec packs?

    Also your justification for forcing us to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro in order to get Media Center makes no sense. If it's because most people who run Media Center have Windows Ultimate or XP Pro Media, isn't it because with XP you had no choise and with Vista & 7 because these are peoples who are running it on their general purpose pc in which case Windows 8 Pro features will sell themselves? But for those like myself who use it in the lounge I fail to see how any of the pro features are useful. Is it because for us your real reason is to push us to the xbox? Does that have the ability to record digital tv, can we play videos off a website, can we install third party addons?

  50. cjmccarthy72 says:

    So what to call Windows Media Player for Windows 8? Windows CD Player? Windows Tiny Fraction Media Player (WTF Media Player!)

    I think that Dean up above is correct and that the consumer is unlikely to see anything of the $2 saved. Windows 8 is also unlikely to be as cheap as the $20 that Apple charges for its upgrades. The money saved by MS is likely to be wiped out by the bad publicitiy it generates/marketing money needed to counter it. Perhaps the $2 is going to be used to pay Steve Ballmer's severence pay once Windows 8 launched!

  51. Aaron says:

    If it's really a license fee thing, I don't understand why DVD playback support is lost on an upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.  If I have Windows 7 on my PC, the license fee has already been paid for my device, upgrading to Windows 8 should not take it away.

  52. I must say the art of succinct writing is not a quality of Microsoft blog posts. Sprawling overlong prose that can simply be shorter are the norm.

    Nevertheless, there are few things that I do not understand: First, if there are patent fees, how comes there are free and open-source MPEG-2 decoders? Second, if we are eventually to pay for codecs, why not pay Microsoft? (Surely, Microsoft does like being paid, doesn't it?) Third, what about continued lack of support for royalty-free open formats?

    In the end, I have nothing to complain: I will continue my practice of installing third-party codec packs. But I am also making a point of not being particularly excited about Windows 8.

  53. Carl says:

    Can someone please write a PVR program that supports the Copy Once Flag? Preferably on Linux. Would also pay for extender like capabilities for multiple TV's

  54. temp1234567 says:

    It feels like Microsoft just WANTS media center to die slowly. This is another step closer to it's demise. The reason to cut it from the Windows 8 release (lowering cost) seems like BS to me, I'm sure we won't see any difference in price with earlier Windows releases.

    I think the reason Media Center is not being used much is not because online sources are so popular, but because Media Center isn't convincing enough to work with yet! Maybe it's the EPG that is still unreliable, maybe the lack of official support for DVB-C CAM or maybe it is the lack of native support for popular file formats as FLAC or MKV. The product just doesn't seem to be actively developed.

    One thing is clear, making Media Center available as a paid addon pack will:

    1. Keep users from upgrading to Windows 8 (Metro is just another gimmick like the sidebar/gadget and users will not notice other improvements over Windows 7).

    2. Users that ARE using Media Center and do upgrade, will most likely switch to a better and/or free alternative like Mediaportal, effectuating Microsoft's claim that usage is declining. In the next version of Windows, Microsoft will probably remove Media Center by stating that usage is close to zero.

  55. Carl says:

    So, looking at the last post, leaving out WTV and MKV container support was just an oversight.. right?

    I am one who only recently found WMC useful as the multiple stream CableCard tuners came to market. I am sure I was not alone, and all of this began in mid/late 2010.

  56. I agree on the feeling of excitement over Windows 8 fading away. First Metro, which is the most unreasonable idea in my opinion, and now removal of some codecs. But I'm happy with what I have with Windows 7, and I strongly doubt savings on codecs would be brought to consumers with lower price of upgrade. I wish they were at least used as a compensation to pay the poor developers who had to withstand programming Metro.

    Still, I hope this succeeds and revolutionises how we work with computers. For my part, however, I am not amused at all with another disappointing piece of information about the new system.

    @temp1234567 I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment.

  57. Carl says:

    One more thing.. As you kill of Media Center, can you at least GPL the extender technologies?

  58. domenicoav says:

    PLS removing  Windows Media Player.

  59. From all the posts it looks like another error on MS part as invertible.

    MS does follow a paten though.

    Win 98 was great, Millennium was not

    XP was great, Vista was not

    Win 7 was great, Win 8 who knows but not looking good so far.

    I don't know why they keep needing a kick in the financial nuts before they listen to their customers and make another great product. Why design a product to be released for the everyday device, to be interfaced with using primarily touch. Most people I know do not have touch screen facilities, so why would they bother upgrading.

    To get facilities they can't use and have to now pay for ones they do. I know this is MS push to try and get some of the tablet / phone market by some sort of unity, but to what expense to the desktop user. Even APPLE who are great at making shiny shiny things haven't compromised OS X trying to make a desktop experience into one of a tablet.

  60. So how come Mac OS costs what $50 and it plays DVD? @Dear Microsoft why bother with Windows Media Player? Why not just remove it from Windows?

    Lesson learned -> stick with Windows 7

  61. Windows 8 is wrong to start with. Metro is the biggest bullshit i have see in the history of OS. That thing needs to gtfo Windows and then we can talk the rest.

  62. Todd Garrison says:

    I think overall you have drawn a fair compromise.

    I will be able to upgrade my PC in the living room to Windows 8 Pro, pay the incremental royalties and continue to use the PC as my TV just as I have for the past 4 or 5 years.  I think people need to keep in mind that the Media Center Pack with its marginal cost includes the decoders required to play DVDs through Media Center.  We can bicker all day long about the fact that it would be nice if the DVD tab inside of Media Player magically appeared when the codecs were installed.  But on the flip side of it, I don't know of any other commercial enterprise that is willing to license the DVD related codecs to their customer base for what is essentially the incremental price.  Cyberlink wants $50 for PowerDVD, and WalMart doesn't regularly sell DVD players for the cost of the codec license.

    I thank you for the huge gesture of good will being shown here that essentially allows your entire customer base to acquire DVD playback functionality for the marginal cost.  Any of our users who need to play DVDs can simply pay the $10 to go from Pro to MC, stick in a DVD, and go.

    And the upgrade paths seem DIRT SIMPLE and easy to explain and understand.  If you stick in a DVD in W8 and there are no decoders, a box pops up that says "Many users don't play DVDs anymore.  You can enable this functionality by upgrading to W8 Pro with Media for $50".  If you have W8 Pro, the deal you are presented with is even sweeter because it is truly the marginal cost.

  63. Alan says:

    > That means royalties related to DVD playback in Windows 7 have been paid broadly, regardless of whether or not the PC has an optical drive. Based on sales and usage, we supplied codecs to a very large number of PCs that were not capable of playing DVDs or simply did not ever play DVDs.

    Non sequitur.

    There is no need to have an optical drive to play a DVD.

    The DVD is just media to store the contents of the DVD format.

    That format can be saved as an ISO file and mounted to play.

  64. Brian R. says:

    I disagree with much of what is written.

    But this is hardly the forum to discuss it since the decision is already made.

    (You should have brought this up 2-3 years ago.)

    So I will make my voice heard with my wallet: you lost me as a customer.

    And since I am the IT administrator for my company, I can tell you that we will not be downgrading to Win 8.

    We use DVDs (MPEG2) internally, not for movies, but for internal training and other purposes.

    We have tried several third-party solutions, but they are, simply put, terrible.

    Hopefully before Windows 9 you will get the message.

  65. Great explanation containing useful facts and figures. That said it really, really, really seems like Microsoft is trying to talk itself out of producing a full-featured desktop operating system.  Metrics and telemetry, please save us from being full-featured.

    It's pretty obvious why apple doesn't include certain features.  Blu-ray is only a bag of hurt because it competes with Apples own, often higher priced, always lower quality movie downloads.  Also there is no reason for an ODD if software is going to be sold not to an individual consumer but to a group of machines with the same Apple ID.

    So I guess Microsoft will soon be selling digital downloads (playable on a limited number of "authorized" machines)?  That might work for mall rats carrying around tablets in their backpacks but it doesn't work for me.

    I'm one of those dinosaurs that actually likes hard copies, got a stack of Photoshop for both Mac and Windows even though it can be purchased online.  I can buy a Blu-ray combo pack from Amazon, often pay less than an inferior-quality iTunes digital download, make an MKV copy so I can watch the movie that I bought on either Mac or Windows systems, and have my copy to take to a friend's house or play on my HT BR/DVD player.

    I don't see how Windows 8 enhances the above described experience.  OS X Lion, Windows 7, MakeMKV, VLC and PowerDVD handle my wants and needs all without giant brightly-colored rectangles spoiling my view.  Bag the rectangles and offer full Microsoft support at a fair price and we'll talk.

  66. Just a note on all the suggestions for additional codec support.  

    This is something we covered during Windows 7 development and more recently during IE9 development.  This blog isn't a place to discuss the practicality of using/licensing of other codecs, but we have talked about the principles and practical realities of shipping these as part of commercial software products.  This post on the ieblog (blogs.msdn.com/…/html5-and-web-video-questions-for-the-industry-from-the-community.aspx) is relevant to the discussion around any of the other technologies mentioned in the comments here.  Our position is consistent with regard to the principles described in that post.  Please keep in mind that freely downloadable or open source are not relevant to the intellectual property rights contained within that code.  I recognize this is an emotional and frustrating topic for some who read this blog, but this is the framework we must work within.  

    @Alan The notion of playing DVDs without the optical media has been brought up several times in comments.  This has been an issue of legal proceedings in several markets and our position is valid in major markets when it comes to optical media that have some form of IP protection.

    @AZJack DVD distribution of software does not require the license for DVD playback of movies.  If you do download Windows 8 (as millions have done for the Consumer Preview) you will get a DVD data ISO which you can burn to an optical disc if you prefer.


  67. xpclient says:

    Is the ability for Media Player to play DVDs is entirely removed or just the decoders so if we supply a third party decoder, can we play a DVD in Media Player? Media Player had some DVD-video standard specific functionality. Is that removed or it returns if you supply the MPEG-2 and audio decoders?

  68. MadDoggyca says:

    @steven Sinofsky

    I hate to be off topic. There's not Blog about it. I may even step on a few feet here but is it true that windows 8 Core (home)? dose not have Domain support. As well as Not having remote desktop support (IE rdp client to connect to other computers?) http://www.winbeta.org/…/windows-8-removes-updates-desktop-features

    Im going to be just like windows XP. Windows 8 Home will not be popular and MS will end up only selling Windows 8 Pro a after 1 year of being on  market.

    I'll be looking at getting Windows 8 Pro or even better yet. corp. edition for my gaming rig and tablet since its like the only version that has ever thing under the sun. IE windows to go

  69. a688 says:

    @Steve S

    Adding the ability for customers to purchase "add-ons" is a great, and long over due, thing. However "We believe those customers will also be interested in the additional features provided in the Windows 8 Pro edition, such as Boot from VHD, Client Hyper-V, etc., especially if they are using Media Center on a PC used for general tasks" is dumb. Why can't I just purchase each component separately? I've TRIED to use MC in Win7 but it sucks, it really does. You should really either buy/hire xbmc and have them create your MC or just copy what they are doing. Eventually you guys should work with the content providers to have an open & accessible way to query all of their offerings and use MC as a single interface to allow people to look at the content of all of their services like hulu, zune, netflix, vudu, etc… and watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.

  70. Do you guys realize that you will have to pay for Media Center which from what i gather won't support Blu Ray so it means you will have to pay additional $50 on top of it for 3rd party blu ray software. Windows 8 will cost you more than Windows 7.

  71. @Aaron – The usage rights to these codecs needed to play DVD do not carry forward to a new version of Windows after you upgrade. These terms are defined by the licensors of these technologies, not Microsoft or OEMs.

  72. AndyCadley says:


    Why would the Home edition need to be able to join a Domain? It's a pretty niche scenario to be running a full-on Windows Domain at home. As for Remote Desktop, I beleive that as in all previous releases you will still have the client software needed to Remote Desktop into another machine, it's only the RD server component that let's you access the machine remotely that is limited to the Pro/Enterprise SKU.

    @Fleet Command

    Why don't you ask the developers of VLC how they cover their obligation to pay the DVD licensing codec usage? (Hint: I suspect they just don't).

    To be honest, I think this is a pretty sensible choice. I don't know many people who ever actually used their PC for DVD playback. I worked for the last decade in a Uni Comp Sci department and all the XP/Vista machines used by Postgrads and Staff never ever had DVD decoders on them (since they were reimaged to the corp domain standard) and pretty much nobody mentioned it. In the entire time I was there, I think we bought just one copy of PowerDVD for the only member of staff who even noticed.

    Personally I'm looking forward to Metro apps replacing the few things MCE was good at, so I'm not convinced that I (or actually as many others as they might suggest) will ever really find themselves needing to buy the add-on.

  73. <quote>Bernardo Caldas [MSFT] Saturday, May 5, 2012 2:15 PM # "The usage rights to these codecs needed to play DVD do not carry forward to a new version of Windows after you upgrade. These terms are defined by the licensors of these technologies, not Microsoft or OEMs."</quote>

    So, shall we go ahead and ask your licensors if they will permit this?  If this is what is preventing us from re-using our Windows 7 codecs then we shall shift our focus on "them" since your saying the ball is in their court.

  74. And just for confirmation, there will be an OEM distro that will be offered that includes Media Center although still branded Windows 8 Pro.  Am I 100% correct at this assumption?  When our company builds systems, we buy OEM DVD drives that do not come with DVD Playback software and leverage the built-in Windows components for DVD Playback and this would ensure we only sold the "Windows 8 Pro" edition (oem w/ mce).

  75. In an effort to contribute to the post, I have added some additional FAQs:

    Will there be a consistent way to play DVDs across Windows PCs?  No.

    Will there be a consistent way to play Blu-Rays accross Windows PCs?  Heck no.

    Why do I need the Pro version of Window 8 before I can get Windows Media Center?  Because.

    How much will it cost to play a DVD using a Microsoft-based solution?  Other than having to pay >$50 for an unnecesary Pro upgrade, the fee for playing DVDs is considered 'marginal'.

    After paying for the Windows 8 Media Center Pack in Windows 8, what new features will be present?  None.

    How often will Windows 8 Media Center be upgraded?  Never.

    Why should regular users of Windows 7 Media Center upgrade to Windows 8?  (Long pause…)

    What will happen to Windows 8 if one of the most loyal user bases (Windows Media Center users) do not upgrade? TBD

  76. Tinkerer says:

    This is not just an issue about DVD-playback.

    Many TV-programs for receiving DVB-streams rely on the system-decoder for MPEG2. So now I have to either pay for WMC (yeah, right) or install unreliable third-party-decoders? No, thanks. This effectively killed Windows 8 for me.

    OSX, here I come.

  77. MadDoggyca says:


    Quote : Another feature removed was Remote Desktop. Those with Home-based computers will now be unable to connect to work computers :

    hmm not be able to connect to work computers, Translated : will not have Remote Connection client to connection remotely to other pcs.

    said nothing about not being able to be the Remote Pc <computers connect to home pc or home version> which is standard in all preview version of windows home.

  78. Remote desktop — this was listed in the editions table and is unchanged from Windows 7:


    Remote desktop (client) is in both x86 editions (Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro) and also Windows RT

    Remote desktop (host) is Windows 8 Pro

    (Note there is no Windows 8 Core as mentioned above)

  79. MadDoggyca says:

    @steven Sinofsky

    I though core = home just a guess.

    and thanks for clearing that up.

    before its to late can we please still get Windows 2 Go in Pro please?

  80. Anon says:

    I assume that since DVD playback is going away, DVD Maker (one of the accessories found in Windows 7) will also be removed from Windows 8.

    What if the purpose of keeping WMP then? Apple improves iTunes all the time with new features. Whilst Microsoft removes useful applications (DVD Maker) and does not improve popular ones (WMP, Wordpad, etc) for years and years. And we are talking about 6 years perhaps. And even when WMP or the other accessories get improved like in Windows 7, the improvements a tiny tiny tiny.

    Aren't you ashamed of this state of things? Apple makes iMovie and a collection of other i apps for editing and creating music, movie, photos, etc. What do you do? Create Movie Maker, then kill it off, then create Live Movie Maker and then kill it off again. Is this a logical or even sane way to do business?

  81. Anon says:

    And before you say that there are replacements for many of the Windows accessories, I will tell you that the alternatives are broekn and badly designed. I tried Notepad ++ and Notepad 2 for example and they seem to be some kind of Linux application ported to Windows. I can't find good free DVD Making applications and even good Media Players, except perhaps Winamp for music. I mean Microsoft software is more professional, does not break you system, does not include viruses, does not give you something free and then try to make you pay through other means, etc., etc. The alternatives you think they exist are not easy to find and badly written, i.e. it is as if they don't exist.

  82. @Steven Sinofsky – Since this is the definately last product cycle for WMC – Will Microsoft allow a licensed developer to port the WMC UI & features (for Live TV/EPG) in to METRO Apps?

  83. Hmmm.. So who exactly gets the money that everyone has to pay to enable DVD codecs, and why does anyone wanting to include the codec have to pay them a ton of money? It just doesn't seem fair :-/

  84. linuxfanboi says:

    And this is why I deleted that micro trash and installed Ubuntu. Works better, faster, and longer. I didn't have to crack it, VLC works like a baws and anything Windows can do, it can do. BETTER.

    Shoot, Microsoft uses Linux to power Skype. Silly.

  85. Mulga says:

    This is a joke, admittedly a bad one, but it is the first time I have ever seen a software package move so far backwards with a new release.

  86. troy says:

    People there are things that never change! With every windows you have to get another browser and another media player. you should get used to it. Why ? because they miss a lot of features.

  87. Sikandar says:

    @Alex Kven, if you are holding license you will get the money. Apparently, Dolby Digital would be the chief beneficiary.

    What's the point?

    If you have DVD ROM player, you would be able to access (read/right) data; video games, myData DVD yada yada… If you have DVD movie (with VOB files etc), you will be able to access the files BUT you won't be able to play the movie in the correct format (with menus and whatnot).. unless you pay the royalty fee!

    With the online subscriptions (like Netflix, Zune etc) and video streaming becoming popular channels, comparatively, most people have passed the idea of watching movies on DVDs.

    If you still want to play the DVD, you can buy MS's media pack or you can use free VLC or k-lite codecs to play DVD movie on windows.

  88. Blackfalcon says:

    Guess I will either stay on Win 7 or move up to the Mac.  Doesn't much matter to me but I will likely skip Win 8 as I want to drop by Redbox and get a movie to watch on my laptop while traveling and I don't want to futz with all the hassle of an OS upgrade if themoutcome isn't better for me.  And Metro is not "better" for me.

  89. WinUser says:

    It's true that fewer systems in the future may be getting a DVD drive.  However, most PC systems sold up to now have a DVD drive and most of them are running a Home edition.  So now if you upgrade to Windows 8, you have to get a Pro edition to be able to get built-in DVD playback or otherwise you're stuck with a 3rd party solution?  Why would anyone want to upgrade?  You really need to allow installing the WMC pack for either Windows 8 edition.  Forcing people who want DVD or WMC support to get a Pro edition sounds like a very bad idea indeed.

  90. If VLC can ship a free DVD player, why can't Microsoft?

    This might be helpful:


  91. etacarinae says:

    "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.)"

    Proof just how myopic Microsoft has become. What an oversight! Do you communicate with your employees in other countries? You know, countries (everywhere except the UK & US) where Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime et al. are not available and heavy bandwidth caps are imposed? No? I didn't think so.

    Microsoft, you have really become out of touch. Such a comment is in parallel with your statements on the declining use of the GIF format as an excuse for not supporting it correctly in newer iterations of IE. Clearly you do not venture far out on the internet to make such a statement.

  92. hamakaze japan(Microsoft Fan) says:

    @Steven Shinofsky,Windows Team

    It feeds back, although it is slightly unrelated to a report!

    Since it is inconvenient that the display area of the words of Windows Media Player or a title cannot adjust narrowly, it is good in coming to be able to do.

    and development of Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 — please do your best.

    Will the formal version appear around October ? November, and become general sale?

  93. _alex_ says:


    "If you still want to play the DVD, you can buy MS's media pack or you can use free VLC or k-lite codecs to play DVD movie on windows."

    Sinofsky is out of mind…

    Why i have to pay a media pack, when a free VLC player read also MKV, m2ts file that Microsoft media pack do not do?

    (M2ts playback with media player working, but no chooseable languages)

    Windows 7 media Center, vlc and cyberlink powerdvd(provided with LG blu ray player)

    Now playing every audio and video format(mkv, flac, cue asf) and watch and record every TV channel i want.

    No sense at all to downgrade to Windows 8 to have less

    WMC is used a lot, so there be amount of us the will no downgrade!!

  94. I think this whole debate can be summed up with a couple of simple reflections of comments from S. Sinofsky:

    1) OEM's complained about having to pay licensing costs.

    2) MPAA & RIAA conglomorates demand that their failed DRM and "regional licensing" systems be supported.

    3) Microsoft is very interested in what US consumers have available in terms of Netflix/Hulu/streaming.

    Those are all the reasons why codec support is a paid add-on.

    He is entirely right that XP etc did not ship with DVD support. (Seems to have missed the large scale derision that Microsoft endured as a result)

    He is entirely right that OEM's who ship DVD/blu-ray devices will bundle applications to support it. (seems to forget that those apps are bloated, slow, crippled, ad-infested, out of date, or junk, and that "enabling a clean OOB Windows experience" due to years of complaints about OEM bloat was one of the goals of the more successful Windows 7)

    Posters here have to remember that we are just consumers. What we want isn't important. OEM's want to bloat Windows with their own "value added" customisations. The RIAA and MPAA want to continue their failing cabals, steal from legitimate content producers (see Edwyn Collins vs. Warner vs. myspace http://www.guardian.co.uk/…/edwyn-collins-sharing-music) Microsoft has to protect those entities.

    All we can do is refuse to buy their products, of course.

    That's what I'm going to do, and so will many others.

    And as always, legitimate consumers will be harmed by protectionist monopolistic policies. Of course, the irony is that "copyright pirates" (i.e. people who break laws who aren't large corporations) will have a much cleaner, better "out of box" experience.

  95. alex verboon says:


    the comeback of 3rd party dvd players. and i do agree with microsoft's strategy, who has inserted a dvd in the last 6 months in their pc?

  96. I’ve put off all new purchases in anticipation of Windows 8. I wanted a Windows 8 desktop, tablet, phone and possibly a Server running Server 2012. I thought all these devices would seamlessly integrate, sync, work, and entertain. I thought I’d get a head start learning about various new Microsoft technologies before business moved to them, enhancing my experience and marketability. I predicted that businesses would move away from VMware as Microsoft gained feature parity while offering a lower cost of ownership. I reasoned that Windows 8 would eventually replace Windows 7 as the desktop OS of choice. On the business mobility front, I thought that we would finally have Windows based mobile devices that would seamlessly integrate with the enterprise and replace the iPads and BlackBerrys. Now, however, I find myself in a difficult situation.

    For Hyper-V to win over VMware, businesses must move to Windows Server 2012 (8). Moving to the next Windows Server version only makes sense if you plan on moving your clients to Window 8. XP was successful because it was the first OS that brought an enterprise level OS to home users (OK, probably just a first for Microsoft). Everyone got the same industrial strength kernel. Windows 8 attempts to bring a home/mobile OS to business; an OS built for the lowest common denominator. I remember testing Linux on the desktop as a Windows replacement for my company in 2002. Those tests failed, Windows was the clear winner and the idea of deploying Linux was dumped. Fast forward 10 years later and Windows 8 gives business a reason to ask that question again, can we dump Windows? This time around, after 10 years,  I’m not sure the answer is so clear cut. Many companies in the design and creative fields already use MAC and Windows machines side by side on active directory… If anything, it has become easier replace Windows. I already use Chrome for all my browsing at home. Using anything other than IE would never have crossed my mind 10 years ago. If Windows 8 fails in business it won’t matter how great it runs on tablets.

    Microsoft just isn’t able to survive this bet that tablet adoption is going to drive their success. The days of Windows 95, when people, no, consumers, ran out to buy a fun new Windows OS are over (No, I do believe that the Window 95 experience can be replicated, and Windows 7 has come the closest, I just believe Windows 8 is a step backward). It’s simple, if you don’t have a phenomenal consumer OS, and Windows 8 isn’t (it’s a good consumer OS at best) then you better not piss off business users (Windows 8 does just that).

    Think about it. I’ve read that the start screen design was driven by the need for power savings and the ability to run across different platforms with varying graphic horsepower. Well, if my main concern was power savings on my desktop, I would never play a game, watch a video, or surf the new html 5 web. If I want to save power I’ll cut my device off. My wife’s phone has a gorgeous video wallpaper (it’s way cool, and doesn’t run Windows), but now you want me to run out and buy a new desktop or tablet OS with plan rectangular tiles that display semi-useful information (when it actually works)?

    I’m a MCITP,  MCPD, and CISSP. Convince me that I will be more marketable sticking with Windows than I would be learning Linux. Convince me of that and I will be your number 1 Windows 8 evangelist in the defense industry (And, yes, Windows is huge is defense, thousands of times more clients and servers than Unix or Linux, believe it or not, but not for long if things don’t start to change).

    Maybe you can start by answering these questions:

    Please tell me why my hardware accelerated Aero desktop is hidden behind a clunky start screen?

    Why does Windows 8 treat my desktop like it is a tablet?

    Why do Metro apps take so long to load?

    Why does the next version of Windows feel so awkward to use?

    Why does the Windows Store seem half baked?

    Why can’t desktop apps be sold via the Windows Store?

    Why would a desktop user want to use the Metro version of IE?

    Why is Microsoft willing to bet everything just to force me to use Metro?

    Why am I more afraid than excited about the release of Windows 8?

    Why would any Windows 7 user want upgrade to Windows 8?

    Why can’t all of my devices join my work domain?

    Why did you spend so much effort creating a separate set of management tools instead of making it possible for all devices to be managed from a domain?

    Why do you think the mere ability to join a domain is worth an extra $100?

    If I join my device to the domain, doesn’t that mean that I bought your server software, isn’t that enough?

    Why don’t switches run windows?

    Why can’t I join my switch to the domain (because it doesn’t run Windows, yes, I know, I’m just making a point)?

    Why do I have to buy a Cisco phone for my office and a Windows Phone for my pocket?

    Why can’t you focus on these lateral markets instead of ruining the desktop OS that currently pays the bills?

    If you answer just one of these questions with a non-smug, non-patronizing response I’d have just a little faith restored. Don’t think that I haven’t notice that the only questions that get answered are the ones with obvious answers, such as; you have to hold down the ctrl key to get that feature to work. Ask anything of strategic importance and it goes ignored. So, I suspect, I won’t hear anything regarding this post. Have a great launch.

  97. RodneyMcKay says:

    I don't need the DVD playback feature, but the missing "MKV" container is really bad. Today i can't use the DLNA feature of windows because my Samsung TV (of course) plays MKV files perfectly fine, but you can't stream it from a windows computer. Which is really strange. So i have to use 3rd party DLNA software to make it work. That's a shame.

  98. Edwin-fat burning tips says:

    I can't wait for windows 8, it seems to be great.


  99. I can't see why MS is going through such a fuss about the MPEG-2 Codecs, it's just bad publicity. It won't be worth the money saved when your frustrate average user that just expect their new Windows PC to work out of the box.

    If you really want to save development costs, get rid of Internet Explorer. Microsoft must by law promote all other "better" browsers, the sole existance of IE is obsolete. Also every web developer on the planet can confirm, that the existance of IE only causes big problems, they could develop to much more reasonable prices if that Browser wouldn't exist. Microsoft doesn't even make money with IE… it makes no body happy. Get rid of it, save money there and deliver the codecs instead.

  100. DarkUltra says:

    I remember I felt a slight concern when rumors went about separating Microsoft in two companies, one for MS Office and one for "the rest." This was during the US DoJ vs. Microsoft showdown. These days however, I wish all major programs would be removed from Windows.

    The idea is to force Microsoft to separate the OS from it's main applications. Main apps like Media Player, Messenger, Internet Explorer, Movie Maker and Outlook Express (Windows Mail in Vista).

    Other software companies would have an immensively greater chance at getting revenue in the browser and media player market, have better software and software in stores. Not to mention cross-platform brand software. Make it feel normal to buy a browser along with your new computer. We could get a Media Player that would conveniently support OGM, KVM, FLV and DivX through automatic updating. Hardware accelleartion support for ATI AVIVO, NVIDIA PureVideo and Intel® Clear Video should come quick in a profitable situation. Instead we are dependent on Microsoft.

    1. Remove and prevent Microsoft from bundling major apps with Windows

    2. Prevent Microsoft from selling or giving out the software "Free" by either a download link bundled in Windows, Windows Update, or a security update (IE 7)

    3. Force them to sell their applications at reasonable development cost

    This would be necessary for other software companies to have an equal chance. MacOS X bundle major apps too, but they don't have >50% market share. It should make Windows much cheaper out of the box.

  101. DarkUltra says:

    Hmm came off a bit harsh there in my previous post, sorry.

  102. Big Bird says:

    @etacarinae1,  what country dude? Even in 3rd world, people download movies from torrents, watch stuff on youtube etc. DVD shops are out of business! Open your eyes!

    @Sikandar, @_alex_,

    Media Center (since 2001,2002?) has much more features than a mere DVD codec! You can turn your computer into a TV.. the concept is you start the computer and it boot right into Media Center.. you need to explore it! have a detailed tour of Media Center on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 … and keep your eyes open !

  103. Xero says:

    Windows Media Center is the coolest thing happened to windows for media freaks!

    to me;

    Windows 8 without media center = Windows 8 broken jaw

    If I don't pay DVD codec royalty fee, I should have WMC free of cost without DVD capability !

  104. jerkface says:

    I dislike Windows 8 even more, if it can't play back DVDs out of the box. Shame on you!

    You know what's the problem? They are bald! Ballmer and Sinofsky are both bald. Nothing good ever came from bald people.

  105. Geoffc1 says:

    @Big Bird

    I'm in the Netherlands – not a 3rd world country, yet I'm out of the urban centre, so download speeds for me are low. Streaming is not an option for high-quality. So, yes, I prefer to buy DVDs and Blu-ray discs… I fully expect I am in the minority, but I need the capability to remain in my desktop OS.

  106. @Steven Sinofsky

    Windows Media Center is my favorite Microsoft product.  I built my own DVR server using Windows 7 Home and bought enough XBOXs to replace all of the cable boxes in my home.  I even wrote an article about it.  


    Your logic as to why WMC users need the Pro version is deeply flawed.  WMC is used by HOME users which need HOME features.  The expectation is that when people spend MORE money, they expect MORE value.  That is not the case here.  The fact that you expect us to spend MORE money to upgrade to PRO then MORE money for the WMC add-on which is essentially UNCHANGED from W7 is mind-boggling.  

    Instead of upgrading to Windows 8, I will be transitioning to the Mac.  Congrats, Microsoft.  You've officially lost touch with your userbase.  

  107. Aryl Ether Systems has some very good questions.  The biggest one I concur with is that why do we need separate management tools?

    TRM135, I am right with you.

  108. Stefan M. says:

    I really think that Windows 8 will be an epic fail, probably a lot worse than Vista.

    You have created some unique pieces of Software like Media Center or Windows Live Mesh. And now you're crippling it or killing it off for no reason. You turn Live Mesh into a Dropbox copy and remove the ONE feature that made it unique: P2P folder sync. You have created this wonderful Media Center, improved it greatly with Windows 7, and now you're killing it off because your telemetry usage data is indicating declining usage. But all it would have taken is some fine-tuning AND better marketing and this thing would have taken off. But well, you will wait until Apple comes up with iTV or iPanel and then they'll try to catch up. Oh boy, it's so sad… 🙁

  109. media center user says:

    Why does a home user need to pay for Pro features? makes no sense for me pay for all the Enterprise features like domain join, bitlocker etc. in for getting media center.

  110. Current MCE user says:

    I use my MCE for MCE purposes and nothing else. It's not a Pro pc and I've certainly no use for VHD booting…


  111. Dear Microsoft, this is so typical of you guys to have to explain something using paragraphs that could you could have avoided altogether with the first announcement. You could have said "Any computer that comes WITH a dvd player will (most likely)have the ability to play dvd's. And any computer that is upgraded will (most likely) continue to have the ability to play DVD's.

    As much as I love the intricacies of how and why I hope you realize that it is this sort of complexity that MS is famous for. You really need to make stuff easier for the end user. I still fear for the average joe that has to navigate back and forth between Metro and the Desktop environment being intermingled. But I will wait until the final product to pass further judgement. I just hope you don't expect new users of Win 8 to navigate paragraphs of explanations. How about some REALLY KILLER TUTORIALS that are right at the bottom of the swipe up bar or even ON the charms bar. I don't know ANY of my userbase that has EVER been to the Help section in Windows. Sad but true. You need to shove it down there throats.

    STill though, thanks for the explanation and your efforts. I hope Win8 kicks some ass.


  112. Anon says:

    I am sorry, but is it true that your writing on this blog in general is confusing, too long and unclear? Why can't you write in straight short sentenses, using a conversational style? Take the following quote from this post for example:

    "According to the MPEG-LA program, the company that ships the end product is responsible for paying. In the case of new PCs with Windows pre-installed, that would be the PC OEMs. The Dolby program for Windows 7 was defined based on an agreement between Dolby and Microsoft where Microsoft has paid Dolby directly for the rights to Dolby Technologies built in Windows 7."

    So, why do both Microsoft and OEMs have to pay royalties then? If the "company that ships the end-product" is the OEM, then they are the ones paying. So, what is the need for the "The Dolby program for Windows 7"? What is the need for Microsoft also paying royalties? Unclear.

    Perhaps you mean that OEMs pay when Windows comes pre-installed but Microsoft pays instead when Windows is sold directly to a consumer? Is this what you mean? Then, why don't you say it in simple English: "OEMs pay when you buy a computer with Windows pre-installed. Instead, if you buy Windows directly, Microsoft pays the royalties."  Simple English.

    I am sorry, but is it true that your writing on this blog in general is confusing, too long and unclear? Why can't you write in straight short sentenses, using a conversational style? Take the following quote from this post for example:

    "According to the MPEG-LA program, the company that ships the end product is responsible for paying. In the case of new PCs with Windows pre-installed, that would be the PC OEMs. The Dolby program for Windows 7 was defined based on an agreement between Dolby and Microsoft where Microsoft has paid Dolby directly for the rights to Dolby Technologies built in Windows 7."

    So, why do both Microsoft and OEMs have to pay royalties then? If the "company that ships the end-product" is the OEM, then they are the ones paying. So, what is the need for the "The Dolby program for Windows 7"? What is the need for Microsoft also paying royalties? Unclear.

    Perhaps you mean that OEMs pay when Windows comes pre-installed but Microsoft pays instead when Windows is sold directly to a consumer? Is this what you mean? Then, why don't you say it in simple English: "OEMs pay when you buy a computer with Windows pre-installed. Instead, if you buy Windows directly, Microsoft pays the royalties."  Simple English.

  113. Per L. says:

    Is there any change in Windows Media Center from Windows 7 to Windows 8?

    Steven are you using Media Center at home? Would it not be awsome with a Metro Style Media Center?

    Will Windows Media Center be discontiued after Windows 8?

  114. @Anon — this blog is for folks that are interested in the details behind decisions we make and having a dialog about those decisions, so we don't present marketing or bullet points.  

    In the section "Who pays decoder royalties associated with DVD playback on PCs?" we answer your question.  And yes it is complex.  One payment needs to be done via the end-user device and the other one doesn't.  We work behind the scenes to simplify this as much as possible, but the terms are not set by us and we must honor them.  And there is a level of complexity because sometimes a developer/ISV must participate and we are sometimes that entity.  

    Sorry that this is a complex topic.

  115. @Steven Sinofsky

    As a current WMC7 what is the added value of WMC8 for me to pay for the upgrade?

  116. @Steven Sinofsky

    It was shocking to hear that Windows Media Center will be the same as Windows 7. Where are human resources from Microsoft? They don't have enough developers to create new version? The blue theme with old flag-like Windows logo still border me in Consumer Preview. Why don't make WMC another Metro styled app? Will there be new Windows Media Player 13 with new UI or the same as Windows 7 also? How about Zune Software?

  117. vlc says:


  118. @nowuniverse WMC8<WMC7 since many plug-ins are not working and you have to pay more. I am WP7 user, I have an Xbox and a Zune Pass. Zune not in WMC. xbox extender does not have netflix.

  119. @Per L. – Windows Media Centre will NOT be supported beyond Windows 8.

    A WinRT Metro Media Centre would be absolutely brilliant, but unfortunately Microsoft has no future plans to support METRO-Styled 'tuner' based Live TV solution.

  120. @Shazad13 The irony is WMC the father of Metro. MC fan only hope is the Ceton Q and its extender.

  121. @Amador

    Plugins from WMC7 are not working in WMC8, really? WOW, din't know that!

  122. @Amador

    Plugins from WMC7 are not working in WMC8, really? WOW, didn't know that!

  123. @Amador

    Yeah! Agree

    UI in desktop called Aero, Startscreen called Metro. I don't know what UI in WMC is called?

    The point is they promote Metro and try to put as much metro into Desktop Aero as possible but not WMC.

    WMC UI stay the same since Vista.

    Why don't they put Metro into WMC UI as well?

  124. @Shazad13

    Yes, it would be a big disadvantage of Microsoft for being complicated? Why didn't they try to simplify stuff at the first time like Apple? Windows Live account, now Microsoft account, OMG it's crazy!!!!!

  125. 1 – Consumers are much more likely to pay for new METRO-FIED Live TV/EPG/Recorded TV App(s)

    2 – It will be much easier to discover/search for the App via the store.

    3 – The app would most likely be leaner/trimmer/slimmer – resulting in much better performance

    4 – It would be easier to code for than the current App (mcml)

    5 – It would be much easier to update as separate apps

    6 – It would get consumers to transition to METRO

    7 – It would be used on more form factors PC/Phone/tablet/xbox…

    I could go on ….but i'm sure you get the picture…

  126. @nowuniverse Developers will have to update their plug-ins to get it to work on WMC8 but I guess there is little incentive. i would pay for WMC in metro but i guest MS has other things it wants to focus. Wait till apple comes out with their TV.

  127. Well if everyone is looking for a "Metrofied" Media Center, then we can put our money on Niveus since they are producing their own platform to work on Windows 7/8 with full cablecard support.   If they ever reply to my Demo request, you can be sure that I will be pushing that solution.  Still though, it stings that microsoft is abandoning the MCE platform.

  128. Carlos says:

    @All Purpose Geek I am putting my money on Ceton with the Q and their extender. I want blu ray streaming and netflix on my extender.

  129. iDVD says:

    Windows 8 should give the POSSIBILITY to disable Metro UI or to start directly in the desktop or load it automatically at boot for the desktop pc's, notebooks and so on.

    Leave it on just for tablets and few others.

    Otherwise it's a failure since the beginning.

    I want to see Windows 8's price without the DVD license costs, if it really will be low or will be a joke.

  130. LD says:

    Or you can just use VLC and avoid the hassle.

  131. LD says:


    Agreed.  But Windows 8 without the ability to KILL METRO will be a joke either way for PC users.

  132. cjmccarthy72 says:

    I hope for everyone's sake that VLC can keep going and provide its software & codecs without any legal obstacles put in its way- Arcsoft and Cyberlink would be waiting in the wings unfortunately….

  133. JasonS says:

    Really shouldn't be surprised, but it looks like more confirmation to avoid using Media Center.

    If they aren't going to put any effort into fixing the bugs, adding new features, or improving MC in any way why would I support them by buying it? I really feel bad for companies like Ceton and Silicon Dust for developing products for it.

  134. I'm comfortable with everything Microsoft is doing here, EXCEPT for the need to upgrade to Pro to get Media Center.  Bleck!!!!!  I completely disagree with the assertion that people who want Media Center also want the other Pro features.  In fact I'd say it's almost definitely the exact opposite – the most enthusiastic WMC users are those who use it on a machine dedicated to serving as a DVR.  They are the LEAST likely to use the additional Pro features because they rarely use the machine for other tasks.  By bundling WMC with a Pro upgrade pack, it triples the price and simplifies nothing.  It kills any hope of getting WMC as a $20 add-on.  Why should we pay for business-oriented features to get a home entertainment capability?

    I think a big problem here is that MS is still treating Media Center like a new Windows edition instead of what it is – an application plus services.  In spite of the assertion that "this is not a new edition of Windows", the blog post also says the reason you can't install WMC without upgrading to Pro is "to keep the Windows 8 editions plan as simple as possible."  They even change the system string to "Windows 8 Pro with Media Center" after you install the media pack*.  So would Win 8 Home + Media Center be a different edition or not?  The Windows team's verbal answer to that question is "no," but their mindset and actions still say "yes."  The mindset matters.  It's that mindset that leads them to bundle Media Center with an OS upgrade.  It's that mindset that makes them invent a non-existent tradeoff between the number of Windows editions and making WMC available to non-Pro users.

    Microsoft, you're right that installing Media Center doesn't make a new Windows edition.  Quit acting like it does.  Make the Media Center pack available to Win 8 Home users WITHOUT requiring an expensive Pro upgrade.  If you really want to simplify things for us, only bundle things that actually go together, and quit introducing artificial prerequisites.

    * Great idea.  Let's change the system string every time we install a new program!  "Windows 8 Pro with Media Center, Microsoft Office, Lord of the Rings Online, Dropbox, and Fish Tycoon".  Perfect!

  135. Alex says:

    Given that Apple is about to nuke the optical drive from every last Macbook, I don't see what the big deal is. No ultrabook is going to have a DVD drive, tablets by their nature don't. For PC enthusiasts, you can either get Windows 7 or Linux.

  136. @Carlos

    Nothing says that they will support blu-ray streaming on extenders.  The only possiblity is perhaps Netflix if they build their own application that does not use Silverlight.

  137. I know it's completely unrelated to this topic but is Microsoft going to be addressing the long running Windows bug where large icons will revert to their 48×48 counterparts, rather than using the correct 128×128 or 256×256 version that scales properly? I've taken a screenshot of the issue: img208.imageshack.us/…/iconso.jpg

    That screenshot was taken on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Notice how it doesn't affect all icons. Changing the icon will not fix it unless you select a different instance of the icon – selecting the same one results in the 48×48 still being used. It happens so often that it makes using the desktop for shortcuts virtually unusable – I only installed the DiRT Showdown demo a couple of days ago and already the icon is broken. Also, does the shortcut overlay in the corner really need to scale with the icon? It's rather unattractive and isn't anti-aliased at larger sizes.

  138. Henrik Nordgren says:

    Thank you for commenting on the previous blog post. But one thing I can't figure out, that you would gladly comment and explain on is:

    1) What is the product roadmap for windows media center in Windows 8? Will you continue to develop it, or just leave it "AS IS" ?

    2) What is the point of *anyone* that is using windows media center to buy a win8 licence to get it, compared to using an existing windows 7 licence. Since we don't get anything extra that will enhance our media experience, then I can't see any point in getting Windows 8, since I  then will effectlively pay to get something I already have. And I think there will be very few people in the future that hasn't used WMC before, that would want to buy a new compy of Windows 8 + buy the bedia center pack, just to get it…

    In retrospect, the by far easiest and best choice for media center would have been to remove it all together from windows 8. The enthusiasts that love and use it could still run it just as good in windows 7. And the whole DVD codec issue would be a matter for your partners to solve (e.g. by shipping a dvd with some dvd /blu-ray playback software that has payed licencing fees as it was in windows xp)

    Im more confused now than I was in the beginning of this beta. The more you explain your reasons for keeping media center, the more confusing your reasons behind it gets, at least for me. From  abusiness perspective, you really don't care about win7 media center as an application. And to be fair, to have wndows media player, windows media center and zune all devoted into playback media and zune for purchase media… the portfolio doesn't make sense, aspeciall not now with metro. As many have steted here, the most obvious choice would be to kill off those three applications, add new metro apps for music, pictures, videos, livetv/guide (new frontend) and the marketplace for purchasing media. It would be a much more smoother experience to the end user. I have come across many PCs that open some media files in media center, some in media player and some in zune… which makes it really confusing. Focus your effort instead of htis fragmented view.


  139. SabbeRubbish says:

    Much ado about nothing imo…

  140. No name says:

    Twitter of Japan … It is subject at a certain movie.

    "Windows XP currently used at least 2025"

    There are nothings in support extension by no means? If it becomes so, it will become difficult to take out Windows 8.

    Although he thinks that it is probably a lie …

  141. RoboRoger says:

    I could live with not having DVD-playback out-of-the-box in Win8 if Windows Media Center includes this support and comes for a reasonable price, but what I really need is a better Blu-ray player so if Media Center comes with Blu-ray support it would be a no-brainer for me to buy it (since PowerDVD sucks so badly).

    What else is new in Windows Media Center?? I use Windows Media Center mainly for listening to my very large music collection and look at my huge collection of photos from a network attached storage. Will there be any improvements in this area??

  142. Ryan says:

    "Given the ongoing feedback to avoid feature overlap and to avoid the complexity of behavior changing for a previously installed component, we only enable DVD playback in Media Center once it is installed."

    So… it wasn't too complex for Windows 7, but it is for Windows 8? Honestly, the more explanation, the more it seems like this was a pretty easy cave into the demands of the OEMs. Was anyone even trying to look after the consumer in this scenario? When the DVD codecs were included with 7, the removal of them–and the absolute inability to add them back to WMP–makes this all seem a bit fishy. So the OEM has to pay MPEG-LA… that means there is absolutely no way for Microsoft to compensate OEMs in advance via the Windows license cost? Or that a solution couldn't be created where only machines containing DVD drives would be eligible for the "credit" to the OEM?

    The reasoning around not being able to play DVDs in WMP just does not add up. It's not complicated in 7. How many people really fire up WMC just to watch a DVD rather than WMP? Interestingly, unlike some of the other posts about telemetry, neither of the DVD posts include actual telemetry data about the declining use of DVDs. You are not thinking of your business customers that require DVD support–not for frequent use, but when it's needed, it's needed, and the amount the cost of supporting, deploying, and maintaining some 3rd party junkware exceeds the $2 licensing fee is cause for aggravation.

    Pass the cost on to the consumer, pre-pay the OEMs, get your OEMs to add the cost as a separate licensing fee when purchasing the machine… whatever method, it doesn't matter, just give us the solid Microsoft DVD codec for $2 and don't inexplicably remove the ability to play DVDs in WMP. Don't penalize your business customers over a $2 fee they'd gladly pay if given the opportunity.

  143. Heckled says:

    One of the more puzzling aspects of this new blog post is the focus purely on DVD playback, when the real issue is MPEG2 support which is needed also for recorded TV playback. So if you don't have the bundled DVD support, there goes also your ability to play your recorded TV files. And now Media Player won't support TV at all?? (WTV and any archived dvr-ms)??? Are we supposed also to use the third-party crapware that come with tuners now, without remote control support, in a completely fragmented UI? What happened to the 10-foot paradigm. WTH.

    Am I missing something? The blog post is seemingly designed to draw in commentors who know little of Media Center DVR functionality to post endless 'who watches DVDs anyway?' comments … a diversion and distraction.

  144. Alex Simkin says:

    I can understand the decision, and though it will be annoying having to purchase Media Centre or use VLC etc. I hope there will be a slight price drop because of this. I think the fact that after upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 you won't be able to play DVDs should be more widely known – otherwise people might be in for a nasty shock when putting a DVD in for a long flight after installing Windows 8.

  145. WhatAppleWouldDo says:

    @Steven Sinofsky:

    When stepping back and looking at this complex situation from a broader perspective: What are the lessons learned for MS regarding the long term strategy? How will you use your influence in the IP / patent ecosystem to offer more simple and consumer friendly solutions?

    I know this will go beyond the topic of this blog post, but I guess many of us would be interested anyway.

    With regard to DVD, one option might be to just portion out the missing fees among the media (streamed or sold DVD) and not the device. So that sould be in the range of 1-2 cent per stream.

  146. I was just watching “Triumph of the Nerds”  (again) few hours ago…

    Remember why the Macintosh didn’t get as much market share as Apple expected? Because it didn’t have a “Killer App”  while PC’s had Lotus 123…  Even if ??-DOS wasn’t as easy to use as the Macintosh, even if ??-DOS was uglier, they kept the market share because of the vast amount of APPLICATIONS written for it.

    Remember that, if Windows 8 does not have killer apps, it is DOOMED since day -1;

    I’m a Microsoft fan boy, and evangelist.  That is the only reason I haven’t abandoned ship yet.  I know how to use linux, I know java, I like Android and the PS3… The only reason I’m still here is because of LOYALTY. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Just remember that, we DO NOT need you, we are here because we chose you.  If you fail and disappoint us, we will flee. Just think your decision VERY carefully, because you are in a situation that demands it.

    If Windows 8 fails to get a consistent market share on PC’s, Tablets/Slates and Smartphones, consider yourselves IBM++.  

  147. Chris says:

    I have to admit I am deeply troubled by this basic removing of functionality from a product; this is a kick to the groin of all those who have invested time and effort into committing to MS Media Center – a product which through third parties (media browser, Arcsoft, Cyberlink, Ceton Corp, SiliconDust) has gotten better and better.

    Now, many find that it's an excellent whole home AV solution, with it's ability to power xbox's and support CableCard multi-level DVR.   To find that this functionality is now cut for all except those who are on "PRO" is a way to significantly increase the cost of this design.  With a reduced level of functionality.  

  148. After my heavy testing of the destrous DP and the CP… This is another reason for not even consider buying Windows 8.

    It's a shame that Microsoft don't se the stupid thinks they are doing in Windows 8.

    Well looks like Steven Sinofsky works for Apple now? I don't see any other reason why making sutch incedible dump dessisions after so much bad feedback on the Metro-Desaster UI. just making it completly optional would be the ONLY Option possible. but THIS? nah

  149. agree says:

    I'm sure 99% of users complaining don't use DVD movies on windows. It is useless, it is like the Quota settings on disk. Who need this?

  150. @ agree

    uhm me? any ANYONE who's using Windows for a HTPC ?!?!

  151. Another datapoint: Media Center / HTPC user since MCE Freestyle & Symphony era; Ceton cards, the whole nine-yards.  Just went through the process of adding internal blu-ray drive to my media centers and tried PowerDVD12 and Arcsoft's… Current solutions for integrated Blu-ray playback (PowerDVD and Arcsoft) at the 10' level don't match the seamlessness of the MC built in DVD support.  Please consider adding built in blu-ray support to this add on pack if we're going to be paying for it.  Thanks –

  152. @All Purpose Geek  I just inferred it from some comments the company made(DTS support on extender and mounting ISO) . Ceton  have not even confirmed netflix on extenders.  WMC is the best DVR solution for those with cablecard access. Too bad MS doesn't know how to market it.

  153. ddayton says:

    Looks like it's time to stock up on Windows 7 home pro licenses. There is a large enough community of users to justify it's inclusion in the Windows 8 release, $2- $3 licensing fees for the codecs etc.   It's another nail in the Windows 8 coffin from what I am seeing.  The Metro interface isn't made for Desktops, and while tablets are growing, it's not Windows tablets that are growing, it's android and apple.  to abandon your user base on the assumption everyone is going to use a tablet / touch interface is a huge mistake.    Think Vista  but fewer sales.  

  154. Mark says:

    I wanted to say thanks for the FAQ – It is wonderful that you guys watch the blog comments and recognize true confusion over the general noise of whining – and post a response.

  155. CHILSON PEDRO says:



  156. What actually amuses me is the the inevitable downgrade rights that End-Users (when they purchase OEM-edition Windows 8 Pro) get.

    Just like Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro should come with downgrade rights to a prior-edition of windows.  The amusing factoid is that when a user downgrades from Windows 8 Pro to Windows 7 Pro they get MCE/DVD Playback for 'free' and sidestep the royalty payment.

    Just include the darn codec, a $2-$10 savings is not worth the licensing headache regarding DVD Playback.

  157. Personally I use VLC for all of my media, so I will just be able to carry on on my merry way.

  158. Read several of the Windows 8 blogs plus a few of the comments.  The Windows 8 team has known from the beginning exactly what it is going to do. By hiding behind metrics and telemetry data they're trying to sound like we are all included.  You know, "we do this together".  What a scam!

  159. So once again Windows ultimate users will not get this as an added value and yet we are still forced to keep with the version unless i want to whipe the hard drive…. Perfect:) love windows had to buy 7 ultimate because of this and got nothing special and no special pricing like the rest. Im sure we wont get anything advanced once again. Though Ultimate was for cutting edge extras. ohh yeah wait that was there cetch for Vista and never fallowed through!

  160. Windows junk says:

    Windows 7 backup is a big joke. I deleted a previous made backup because i ALWAYS make full backups. Since the deletion it tells me that the backup wasn't finished. Hahaha ! Windows 7 is the biggest BS on Earth ! Is Windows 8 backup the same BS ?

  161. dave says:

    >So when you add all this up and apply to all Windows PCs, it is an ongoing cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the PC ecosystem

    But "the PC ecosystem" isn't paying for this: the individual PC purchasers are.  The incremental cost per PC is of the order of, say, 10 bucks, based on the $2 figure mentioned for Dolby.

    What's the cheapest Windows PC? Maybe $200.  Even then, $10 = irrelevant to purchase decision.

    The only way this could possibly represent hundreds of millions of dollars to the PC ecosystem is if the PC ecosystem intends to put the savings in its own pocket rather than lowering the price to me the customer.  But it wouldn't dream of keeping the money, would it?

  162. Osborn4 says:

    I am only using WMC on my Win7 HTPC because it was there and included (I won't say free). I will stick with Win7 on that machine and when I have to go to Win8 (or 9 or 10), then I will look at open source options, instead because the two criteria I used to pick Win7 WMC no longer apply in Win8.

  163. pmbAustin says:

    Would love to see this addressed (from a comment above):

    "Could you reconsider including native support for Matroska container (MKV/MKA/WebM), Theora & VP8 video, and Ogg Vorbis audio? They're widely used on YouTube (WebM/VP8/Vorbis) and Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons sites (Ogg/Theora/Vorbis), which are #3 and #6 most popular sites on the internet according to Alexa: http://www.alexa.com/…/global (and they never get any lawsuit from anyone until now). And while you're at it, please add FLAC, Speex, and others too if possible."

    I think Microsoft could win back a lot of good faith if they baked in support for some of these other formats.  And it would help IE10's acceptance too, if it could natively play WebM/VP8/Vorbis/Ogg/Theora/etc because support is baked into the OS.

    It's another way to get to "It Just Works"

  164. Anon says:


    "this blog is for folks that are interested in the details behind decisions we make and having a dialog about those decisions."

    Why do you say this? Are you implying that I am not interested in dialog or the detail behind your decisions but only in marketing bullets? I feel that this is not fair. I read you blog posts carefully and I try to understand the details they contain, even though sometimes they are long-winded and hard to parse. I am not the only one who has complained about this, many people in the press have done the same. Please don't blame me for saying that your post are sometimes unclear. With respect, you should accept some criticism of your writing style and try to improve it. I don't like marketing too. I, with these comments, have proved to you I hope that I am interested in dialog and the details behind the decisions. I feel that it is you and not me who has used this blog at times for marketing. How many times have I read the phrase "fast and fluid"?

    After you have explained it, perhaps I can guess that it is not easy to talk about the royalties and how they are paid. But saying this in the post in a less diplomatic way would have been sufficient I think and it would have made the post clearer. Is this a very bad thing to say to you? I am just to be helpful with my comments. I feel that in general your posts are at times evasive and too long. That's all. If your know this or don't agree with me or simply there are reason behind this situation, then fine. But don't try to say that I am interested in "marketing bullets" instead of the details, because it is for the lack of details that I was complaining.

    And sorry if I should have been more tactful or more respectful to you when writing my comments. I am not trained in marketing speak. I prefer to say things as I see them.

  165. Nathan says:

    it would be nice to have an option to skip the metro ui directly to the desktop at windows startup, and to have an option to get  THE DAMN START BUTTON back thanks…

  166. John says:

    This move makes a lot of sense. When is the last time I put a dvd into my computer? Probably 3 years ago, if not longer. It just doesn't make sense to include an archaic technology that will not represent the needs of the majority of the future market. I stream all of my material from third party applications, and I will only continue to do it more heavily.

    I'm glad media center is going away and unity within the native Microsoft applications is seemingly being considered as a long term goal. I would honestly like to see windows media player dropped as well and one single application for both the metro and original interface adopted, but one step at a time.

    I'm extremely excited about windows 8, and I can't wait to buy it. Skydrive is awesome, and the new office is looking great. Now, if there could just be a more intuitive way to move between metro and original ui…

  167. @John

    I haven't used a DVD on my PC for several years now (the XBOX is better in the living room than a PC), and I never use WMC.

    But the problem here is that Windows will include even less codecs than Windows 7.

    I've had to install codec packs / media players (like VLC) to several people that come to me because their video file won play on their PC's.

    Now everybody with a MEPG-2 Video will have to install a codec pack, get VLC, convert the videos, get a mac or trash their videos.

    I'm very worried about the future… I hope I'm just a little paranoid.


  168. jerkface says:

    Bald people are the problem! Bald people!

  169. NoP says:

    @alan, 5 May 2012 8:57 AM:

    Noone ever wants to mount an ISO… or waitaminute, do they? I seem to recall a feature the Win8 team presented as one of the improvements of Windows 8… 🙂 This is nonsense, MS!

    Windows 8 is clearly two separate products sown together by MS management.

  170. _alex_ says:


    too much negative feedbacks and no response at all…

    Microsoft is not taking as a serious thing, forcing end users to smthg ugly and unuseful, but WE are the one that will pay for new OS, and if Microsoft don't listen to us, will not get money.

    It will fail as Titanic, we still remain happy with Windows 7, we do not loose nothing, and of course think to consider Mac Osx as a replacement

  171. Windows 7 says:

    This is beginning to make sense now.

    Metro product streamlining and feature reduction to save money and bloat profits etc. Windows 8 was developed by managers not programmers.

  172. Stathis says:

    I don't really understand why you all moaning about? That is nowadays a common strategy in the software world. Companies offer a basic OS and everything else you get it from an app store.

    I can understand if someone wants to leave the OS because of the metro style UI. That's a really big change.

    But i don't really get that, when i hear stuff from old Microsoft users that they want to abandon the OS because of a small change, like the absence of the DVD playback.

    I'll buy W8, because for the first time in the history of this software, MS managed to change the old and rusty UI with a touch-centric one.

  173. domenicoav says:

    OT. Is possible add thumbnail in VIDEO Folder like Xbox Media Center ?

  174. kabbanet says:

    I’m a Microsoft fan boy, and evangelist.  That is the only reason I haven’t abandoned ship yet.  I know how to use linux, I know java, I like Android and the PS3… The only reason I’m still here is because of LOYALTY. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Just remember that, we DO NOT need you, we are here because we chose you.  If you fail and disappoint us, we will flee. Just think your decision VERY carefully, because you are in a situation that demands it. <a href="http://www.kabbanet.ro">http://www.kabbanet.ro</a&gt;

  175. N3rd says:

    While windows 8 can work correctly in windows 8 basic (without compositing), the original windows classic theme causes windows 8 to have the following symptoms:

    o Animations are disabled in metro ui except for start screen, where it is partially disabled.

    o Explorer will not open new windows

    o When opening metro apps, the windows classic color scheme changes colors to the last used metro app. (Including title bars)

    I think that this is the reason why they enforced the desktop compositing engine.

  176. Steffo says:

    To the dev team: RESIGN !

  177. Bryan says:

    Please, windows 8 needs a game folder, like in W7…  I'm using W8 in another pc, and don't know where to put my games :/

  178. Here's something that can fish you our Microsoft. –

    3 SKUs

    1. Business

    2. Media

    3. Ultimate

    Business will be your pro minus minus dvd playback etc

    Media will have dvd playback + bluray playback etc etc minus fax etc

    Ultimate will have everything.

    Keep it simple. Charge the consumers accordingly

    Don't truncate the OS experience to set a price.

  179. Mark says:


    its a bit offtopic for this blog entry but I believe Microsoft wants you to place your games in the Metro Start Screen (don't know what its official name is). You may want to create a separate grouping just for games so they don't mingle in with Office and other productivity apps. Still no word from the development team on what will happen to the other functionality that was built into the games folder (auto-add of older games, MPAA ratings, multiple-start options via right-click, etc.)

  180. Mark says:

    *ESRB ratings…not MPAA ratings…lol

  181. C-Dan. Art Liberated.

    There is no chance Microsoft is going to listen to you.  Your suggestions just make too much sense. Suggesting a full-featured W8 with DVD, BR and ALL the goodies?  What are you, nuts?  Next you'll be suggesting that users working on real, full-sized displays be able to disable Metro completely. You must be one of those Apple fans 🙂

  182. @C-Dan. Art Liberated @AZJack

    Maybe you should read the article "How much do DVD and digital media playback features really cost?" written by Ed Bott!


    Maybe this aricle makes it even more clearer!

  183. NB says:

    Can't believe this, the more details about Windows 8 I hear the more disappointed I become. This is really poor. DVD play back should be included as standard; the reasonings are weak.

    At this rate I will be sticking with Windows 7 as it will work far better for me than Windows 8, and this is coming from a Windows long term techie users, not an anti Microsoft bod.

  184. Per L. says:

    I have no problem of paying extra for media features. But I would really like to know where Microsoft are going with there media plans. I thought it was some of the plan with this blog.

    I would like a HTPC with a future and with tuner support. Maybe the future is streaming but the world are not there yet so one step at a time.

    Please Microsoft is there any future for Windows Media Center or will the last version be like Windows 7 and will Windows 8 be the last to support Media Center? Should I consider an alternativ for my HTPC dreams?

    Media Center would be the perfect Metro app and something we would be able to buy from the Windows market.

  185. @C-Dan. Art Liberated @AZJack

    Maybe you should read the article "How much do DVD and digital media playback features really cost?" written by Ed Bott!


    Maybe this aricle makes it even more clearer!


  186. shhhh, Microsoft isn't listning nor do they realy care. As fare as I understand not even the Ultimate edition will have media center, it will be available for a fee through inplace upgrade. Now I Don't care that they won't have this, I have learned to depend on 3rd party sofware that does what Windows should do but better and less bloated. However for what I have to pay for Ultimate you would thing they Should inclue it. I have been stuck with this since Xp when they promised Ultimate would have cutting edge downloads available and Microsoft never fallowed through. Thats extra cost with XP, Vist, windows 7 and 8 (if i choose to upgrade) or will it be downgrade….hmmm not sure yet and unless I choose to whipe my computer clean I can never break away from Ultimate now….and While people got extream discount on Windows 7 upgrades Ultimate users did NOT and got NOTHING Extra!

  187. Disappointed says:

    A decade ago Microsoft introduced media center to great fanfare.  By most measures, it wasn’t the huge hit it could have been.  According to Steve’s blog post in September, only 6% of Win 7 users launched media center in a month.  6% sounds small but that’s still more than 25 MILLION users per month.  That’s something like 15 times more Media Center users in a month than all Windows Phone 7 devices in existence.  

    Microsoft is basically giving up on media center JUST as media center is finally fulfilling the promises it made a decade ago.  Back then, all you could really do on MCE was watch photos and home videos and listen to music with a 10 foot UI.  Yes, you could spend $300 for a single-tuner CableCARD device and watch TV, but who would do than then you could rent a dual-tuner DVR from your cable company for $20/mo?  On top of that, you had to spend another $300 or so to get an extender to bring that experience to other TVs in the your house.  Actually, it was really more like $600, since you’d need an extender AND another CableCARD tuner if you want to be able to watch 2 different channels at the same time on 2 different TV sets.  So for $900 (plus the price of a PC) you could have a 2 TV set setup using media center.  Yes it knocked the socks off anything from your cable company in terms of functionality but that’s a crappy value proposition compared to the $40 or so in monthly set top box lease fees you would otherwise pay.

    Flash forward to today and you have 4-tuner CableCARD devices for under $200.  Every Xbox 360 in existence is an extender.  And Ceton is even coming out with a stand-alone extender, the first new extender in years.  The media center stars have finally aligned but Microsoft has already moved on.  They were ahead of the market a decade ago and, now that the market has caught up, they’re going to miss it again.  Yes, more and more people are watching video online than before, and that’s having an effect on broadcast TV viewing.  But anyone who thinks broadcast will be dead during the Win8 lifecycle is delusional,  

    Data is important and it’s smart to study your user “telemetry”.  But data doesn’t tell the whole story.  Sometimes you should listen to what your customers are saying as well.

  188. Why are people so concerned about this says:

    DVDs are dead at this point and you could always just google some program to playback your DVDs like XBMC, VLC, KMPlayer. The fact that Microsoft is spending money at all to support DVD codes is surprising and kudos to them for doing it.

  189. BX says:

    Computer with usb3.0,Blueray drive are today being support  by  OEM,anything a OEM add that Microsoft is not supporting        

     the OEM will add supporting software for that DVD playback e tc—etc—etc                                                                                                                

  190. Oscar El Hack says:

    What a silly fool is Steve Dicklost,if you want your troubles solved ask the boys from Canonical or Debian or me

    Windows 8,9 ? what a what.

  191. Thomas Lee says:

    I find the decision to omit DVD Playback to be a pretty retrograde step – like you WANT your users to buy an ipad instead of a Win8 PC.  I travel a lot and regularly have dvds to watch on those long boring flights or even longer nights in a remote hotel – having the DVDs and being able to play them is a useful thing (and to avoid paying rip off charges for wireless or in-room TV movies).

    I can't help feeling you are creating Vista 2nd Edition.  

  192. Mister Anti MS says:

    Stop the silly speculation about Win 8

    it will be flop a la Vista hasta la Vista sick puppy

    and no apologies from the fools like the Steven

    or Stephen or what ever DH Bros

  193. indigo_7 says:

    I am in total disbelief.  It's taken two posts and a lot of words to essentially tell us that you're removing basic features.  I am pretty sure that Media Centre will be totally deprecated in the next version of Windows.  So much for choice and usability.

    I know that people often forget that Windows XP came out over 10 years ago and pre-dated DVDs so it would never have included native DVD playback.  Slowly and surely Windows 7 has changed all that, we were getting to the stage where ‘everything just worked’.  How is this re-imagining Windows exactly?  We should be adding codec support, not removing fundamental ones.  The boys down in Cuppertino must be laughing into their designer blue-sky thinking coffee cups.

    DVDs are still a valid choice for a lot of people in all kinds of situations.  I don't care about bare, statistical, blind telemetry data, it is not the panacea to understanding about what people want or what people care about.  When someone buys a PC and sticks in a DVD, it should just work.  Now granted, if they buy a pre-installed PC, chances are the OEM will have a decoder and (another DVD player app) pre-installed but what if they rebuild and have lost the OEM discs or there were no discs to start with?  What if the install partition is lost or corrupted?  

    It just makes no sense removing such a basic requirement and worse, hiding it within the nightmare of Microsoft's marketing machine which can't help itself but botch up a simple experience by adding all sorts of naming convention jargon designed to give the impression of something grand and self-important whilst confusing, confuddling and bewildering those not lucky enough to hold a degree in Microsoft-speek.

    So let’s just recap here, this is 2012 and Microsoft is removing DVD-playback based on ‘user feedback’ and yards of telemetry data.  This disjointed and warped thinking doesn’t add up when Windows 8 will continue to support floppy disks and dot-matrix printers.  I just don’t get it.  

    This is what Microsoft should be doing for Windows 8 media – this is how I imagine Windows to be re-imagined:

    • Merge WMP, Zune, WMC into ONE killer product that has different end points for different screens i.e. tablets, phones, PCs and Media Centres.

    • Support for WP7,8 etc AND for regular mp3 players, Plays For Sure devices, Zune players

    • Native support for DVDs and blu-rays

    • Support for other codecs like ogg, DIVx, AAC/M4a and dare I say it Quicktime – just make it all work!

    • Proper support for in-car systems using USB or Bluetooth. Why do ipods/iphones work but not Microsoft devices?  Microsoft should own this space, it should be fighting to be in every video/audio context, not spending its time gouging through endless hours of telemetry just to tell us that they are listening to what we want.  Telemetry won’t reveal that list above!

  194. Richard Lane says:

    1. In the UK, optical is still the only serious way to get access to a wide range of movies.  Netflix and LoveFilm streaming services etc. have a pretty limited selection of films compared to what is available on, for example, LoveFilm disc rental.  This may not be the case in the US but I live in the UK.

    2. Totally support the above posts requesting integrated blu-ray support even if it means paying more.  It's the best experience for a living room based system which the kids and non-techie spouse also need to use.

  195. Man of the Future says:

    Windows 7 SP2? Office for Mac next?

  196. Man of the Future says:

    Don't delay the Service Pack 2 of Windows 7 because of this Windows 8 OS, please, don't do like XP SP3…

    And prepare Office for Mac for Lion and Mountain Lion, that's what people wants, not Windows 8 Metro Tablet OS…

  197. Kristina says:

    Can someone let me answer my question about Windows 8. How I can use Metro apps in  Sever 8. Does it allow me to use Metro apps or I must have a license for w8. Current Beta is not support Metro in server 8. Is this means No one can run Metro apps in Server8

  198. So, Is Microsoft gonna use PNG crush or something similar to losslessly compress PNGs in Windows 8?

  199. @Stephen Sinofsky

    I have read nearly all the comments from the last two blog posts (as I'm sure you have).  While there appears to be some disagreement among commenters regarding the inclusion of DVD codecs and Windows Media Center; there is wide agreement on two points:

    (1) There needs to be a convenient and inexpensive way to watch DVDs (and Blu-Rays) using Microsoft software.  Most people did not object to a small fee if necessary.  However, there was wide objection to having to upgrade to a pro license to allow something as simple and as non-professional as watching a movie.  For example, why does anyone need the pro version of Windows 8 so they can watch a rented DVD movie on their laptop.  The plan you have proposed is a misstep!  Windows media center (or another MS solution for playing DVDs) as a simple and inexpensive App is a far better solution.  Please rectify this before Windows 8 is released.

    (2) The media software provided by Microsoft needs a clear direction.  It should be easy to play most of the media files: if the codec isn't provided, Microsoft's media software should be able to provide a simple and immediate solution (even if costs a few bucks).  The experience now is way to fragmented and makes it more difficult than necessary to enjoy and purchase media on a Windows PC.  Windows 8 needs to embrace the concept of 'it just works'.  Reducing the functionality of Windows Media Player is a step in the wrong direction.

    (3) Finally, there are many people on the forums who have made an extensive committment to Windows Media Center with an array of tuners and extenders.   IMHO, those of us heavily invested in WMC deserve a comment on the future direction and support (or lack thereof) for WMC.  Are there plans to incorporate the guide and DVR functionality in a Metro app.  Will the DVR functionality be a core part of the next Home Server?  Or, is Microsoft completely discontinuing its efforts for 'live television' in favor of streaming content?  Simply stating that the old version of WMC is included in Windows 8 is not sufficient.  Please respond clearly and provide us with more information (preferably a roadmap) moving forward.

  200. Dreamer77dd says:

    I am very surprised at MS to not include Windows Media Center in all their Windows 8 OS as a main feature.

    This would help grow this feature into something very valueble.

    MS is giving Windows Media Center Limited exposure to only pro OS.

    I think this product is mature enough that everyday users will find this feature usefull.

    I dont use it yet because in Windows Xp and vista I did not find it as clean and mature as it is now.

    I hope you add it back into the general and pro version of windows.

  201. Steffo says:

    To Steve "jumping monkey" Ballmer: RESIGN !

  202. Here's the deal.  If I buy a Windows 8 desktop or laptop at Best Buy and it comes with a BR drive of course there will be software to play both BR and DVD movies.  That's hardly news.  The problem is that the player will be some added on, lite version or trial version crap.  Not one PC buyer I've ever talked to has anything good to say about the crapware that ships with PCs.

    I'm guessing some of the devs here might object but I want an integrated Microsoft app for all OD formats. I don't want to bring my new PC home, dislike the 3rd party OD player and then have to go looking online for what usually amounts to huge overkill just to watch a movie. Look at PowerDVD.  Great media suite but I just want to play an occasional movie!

    On the other hand I can bring home a new Mac (with an ODD of course) and play a DVD. I can't play a BR movie because BR competes with Apple's under-quality, over-priced HD and rentals available on line.  Even if I buy a MacBook Air I can load it with iRipit versions of movies I own and still play the DVD images with any Mac currently in production.

    That is what I want from Windows 8.  You guys supply the software, my PC vendor or I will supply the hardware.

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