Microsoft confirms on a post on Building Windows 8 blog that Windows Media Center will be available in Windows 8. Yes, despite the fact that it’s one of the least used feature in Windows 7, it will still be around for sometime. And this time, it won’t be free.
Windows Media Center is available now in Windows 8 Consumer Preview but only as a standard desktop app with a number of decoders included. And these decoders are optimized for system reliability, battery life, and performance, and covers all key playback scenarios for mainstream content such as YouTube, Netflix, H.264 web browsing/streaming. Metro apps are taking advantage of them by default.
Based on the recent research which states that consumption of movies online in US will surpass physical video in 2012 and the cost of decoder licensing, Microsoft decided to drop the free tag off Windows Media Center and only make it available as the Add features to Windows 8 control panel, formerly known as Windows Anytime Upgrade), and explained the paths how to get them.
Also, Microsoft will drop the DVD Playback support in Windows Media Player, which will still be available free in all Windows 8 editions.
For optical discs playback on new Windows 8 devices, we are going to rely on the many quality solutions on the market, which provide great experiences for both DVD and Blu-ray.
Yes, it’s time to shopping around for a good 3rd party solution for it, if you don’t like the idea having the new Windows Media Center which will include DVD playback, broadcast TV recording and playback (DBV-T/S, ISDB-S/T, DMBH, and ATSC), and VOB file playback.
The pricing for these paid packs will be announced closer to the release date but it was hinted that the cost will be in line with marginal costs.
Does that make sense to you? It does to me if dropping Media Center as well as DVD Playback on Media Player will result in reducing the cost of Windows 8. The lower cost of Windows 8, the better price for the tablets, the better position in competing with other vendors.
[update on May 4, 2012]
Microsoft posted a FAQ on building Windows 8 blog to explain further in detail about the DVD Playback and Media Center in Windows 8. If you have any concern regarding this matter, you should check it out.