Microsoft has revealed that Windows 8 will not be able to play DVDs out of the box in an attempt to keep down costs, instead requiring users to install extra software such as Windows Media Center if they want to watch a DVD on their PC.
The move was detailed in a post on the Building Windows 8 blog by Bernardo Caldas of Microsoft's Windows business group.
He claimed that video consumption on Windows PCs increasingly comes from online sources such as YouTube, Hulu and Netflix rather than from DVD or broadcast TV reception.
Support for DVD and TV requires software codecs that have bumped up the cost of the existing Windows 7 editions through royalty payments, according to Microsoft, which gets passed on to the customer regardless of whether they watch DVDs on their computer.
In light of this, Microsoft has decided that Media Player in Windows 8 will not support DVD playback as standard, but users requiring this functionality will still be able to get it by installing the Windows Media Center.
"Given the changing landscape, the cost of decoder licensing, and the importance of a straightforward edition plan, we've decided to make Windows Media Center available to Windows 8 customers via the ‘Add Features to Windows 8' control panel," Caldas wrote.
However, it appears that Windows Media Center will be part of a larger package which will be the Windows 8 Pro Pack for users running the standard Windows 8 release, or the Windows 8 Media Center Pack for users with Windows 8 Pro.
Both of these packs will incur an additional charge to purchase. Microsoft said that pricing will not be disclosed until nearer to the release date, but that this will be "in line with marginal costs".
Microsoft said that Windows 8 will have built-in support for YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, H.264 web browsing/streaming, Hulu video, MP4 video, AVCHD video from camcorders, Ultraviolet video, and the HTML5 video tag.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.