As part of a continuing series of updates on the development of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, the developers and designers have updated the Building Windows 8 blog with information on the status of media playback on Windows 8. Microsoft has taken notice of the decline of DVD sales and an increased popularity of other mediums of media, such as the Internet. Microsoft, like other platform developers need to pay royalty fees for supporting DVD file formats. This means that the end user has to pay a bit more for the operating system, even if he doesn’t need to use DVDs. Windows 7 had the same issue, but Microsoft bundled all of the necessary codecs and format supports with it.

Media Center won't be bundled free with Windows

Media Center won't be bundled free with Windows

Windows Media Center is a key component of the Windows operating system and is going to be available as an optional add-on that can be downloaded through the 'Add features to Windows 8' option. Windows Media Player, the default media player on Windows will continue to be shipped along with all versions. DVD support, however won’t be available for it. There will be packs available for the different versions of Windows. For example, a Windows 8 installation can be upgraded to Windows 8 Pro with Media Center using a Windows 8 Pro Pack. Windows 8 Pro installations can also be upgraded, but by using a Windows 8 Media Center Pack. Of course, these packs have different prices and the user can choose as per his needs.

The end result, Windows 8 Pro with Media Center will give the users access to the Media Center program, DVD playback using Media Center as well as broadcasted TV recording and playback, assuming you have the right hardware for it. VOB file playback support will also be part of the feature set. Of course, if you absolutely need VOB support and don’t want to upgrade using one of the packs made available to you, there’s always the third party media players, which you can buy. Windows 8 is expected to launch sometime in October, this year, before which a near-final release preview is expected to be made available to users, sometime in June.

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