From The Forums: The debate on Windows 8 and DVDs

Microsoft hit Windows users with a big bombshell on Thursday when the company announced that regular editions of Windows 8 would not allow users to play back their DVDs on Windows Media Player unless they bought the extra Windows Media Center add-on.

Later, Microsoft offered more information about this decision, revealing that it was made, at least in part, because they felt it would be too expensive to offer such a feature at a time when DVD use appears to be on the decline.

As one might expect this kind of decision has met with some polarizing opinions and many Neowin forum members posted up their thoughts in our message boards. One message board thread, "You Can Still Use VLC to Play DVDs in Windows 8 for Free", points out that people can download third party applications to play DVDs in Windows 8 from now on. The originator of the thread, Nazmus Shakib Khandaker, states:

I hear people saying that since Windows 8 won't support DVD codec natively, VLC won't play DVDs. That isn't true. VLC plays DVDs fine in Windows 8; I know from my experiences with Windows Developer Preview and Windows 8 Consumer Preview. If you want to play DVDs on Windows 8, you don't have to pay for Media Center.

However, another forum member, c3ntury, has a different view, writing:

This is true, but will your average say... 13 year old girl looking to watch a DVD have heard of VLC? No. Can't they just do what Ubuntu do with restricted-extras and just include it in an update instead?

Another forum post, Windows 8 dropping the ability to play DVDs, posted up an article from another web site on the subject, with a comment from forum member Scorbing: "Another stupid move by Microsoft. Way to go Steve Ballmer. "

However, it looks like quite a few Neowin forum members actually are supporting Microsoft in this decision. A post from member Wakers says:

Good move by MS - it allows them to sell Win 8 for cheaper because they don't have to account for royalties, and it removes a feature that hardly anyone used in the first place - who actually uses WMP to playback movies?

Yet another post from jakem1 says:

I don't have a problem with the decision MS have made. Everyone's always complaining about bloat and the price of Windows and this seems to be a sensible way of reducing one and lowering the other without causing anyone any pain.

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I for one WILL be buying the media pack as I use Media Center Extender + Mediabrowser on every TV in my house, and I don't even use physical media.

Since Windows-8 is, clearly, designed for smartphones and tablets, removing the ability to play DVDs is not a big loss. As for Windows-8 with its Metro UI being useful or oriented for laptop and desktop users, it isn't. Laptop and desktop users, stay with Windows-7 and hope Microsoft comes to their senses and released Windows-9 with some real usefulness for laptop and desktop users. Remember..it is the keyboard/mouse combo or lack thereof that is critical!

TsarNikky said,
...

Not this old talking point.
I'm comfortable with MetroUI elements on my keyboard/mouse only system.
Don't try to dictate your opinion, that's Microsoft's job.
If they want to give us the option of a consistent UI on all their products, it's their prerogative.

And PS, Storage Spaces are why I'm upgrading my desktops.
I don't see Storage Spaces being useful in tablet scenarios, maybe they should put it into a separate SKU too.

If someone believes that removing DVD support in Windows 8 will somehow lower the price, I have a bridge to sell you. Maybe you can buy it with the money Microsoft saved you!

While it's not an often used feature, it's an expected feature. A lot of people over the Windows 8 life cycle will try to play a DVD over WMP and find it won't work. Microsoft should also trying to push machines in to peoples living rooms, and this isn't going to do them any favours.

Russell Green said,
While it's not an often used feature, it's an expected feature. A lot of people over the Windows 8 life cycle will try to play a DVD over WMP and find it won't work. Microsoft should also trying to push machines in to peoples living rooms, and this isn't going to do them any favours.

Really? DVD playback is an expected feature? And they should be pushing PCs into living rooms?

Last 1st, MS wants to get into your living room via your Xbox... 'least that's where they've had the most success. A subset of users do use HTPCs, & a subset of those do use Media Center -- I think Microsoft's correct, that these folks would only object if it costs them an arm & a leg, but nowadays you're talking about a pretty small segment of all Windows users. If that many people streamed video from their PC/laptop to their TV, why all the media player boxes, connected BD players & TVs etc.?

As far as win8 playing video DVDs out of the box, I'm having a hard time imagining many [most?] people will even try in the 1st place. MS says they haven't been, & I'd have to agree. If you've got a DVD collection you've got a DVD player hooked up to your TV where you can sit back on your couch or in your recliner & watch them. Why give that up to watch a DVD on your PC? And if you don't have all that, the existing DVD collection, the couch/recliner, & a TV screen that's bigger than your PC/laptop monitor, why would you limit yourself using your PC/laptop watching DVDs? We're talking 90's tech & 60's video rez. To me it's sorta like having a typewriter at your desk instead of a printer.

non issue ..who cares
suprised this is so called news (a forum topic ? lol)

whats the big deal ? an OPTION <------------------------------------------------
to do something ?

Unlike NOT having an OPTION <----------------------------------------------------
to do something on Windows 8

what like oh i don't know maybe a START MENU ?

Add that as a paid add on

People on a budget (college students like me for example) or those who can't afford a real TV in general, have little use for an extra DVD player when they can use their laptop/desktop for DVDs and the Internet for entertainment.

Also, if the average user finds out he needs to play a DVD and tries to load it on his non-WMC included computer, he'll get frustrated and see it as a reason that Windows sucks when it doesn't work. Having a lot of features built-in is how Apple is pretty popular with customers. Plus how likely is it that he has heard of VLC Media Player?

Quikboy said,
... Plus how likely is it that he has heard of VLC Media Player?

Ummmm... How likely is it that s/he has heard of Google or Bing?

mikiem said,

Ummmm... How likely is it that s/he has heard of Google or Bing?

How likely are they going to even know what to search for? Or find a legit solution rather than downloading some malware?

I already replaced my dvd drive with extra HDD and I never used it so it is fine for me but for the people who are not able to figure out how to install a dvd player, Microsoft should at least show a notification when a dvd disc is inserted with links on how to install third party dvd software.

And about Windows 8 being the vista 2.0, I don't really understand this argument, windows vista was hated because of it's poor performance and buggy drivers. On the other side, Windows 8 is hated because of the metro UI. It is proved that windows 8 will perform faster and much more efficient than windows 7. If you really hate the metro ui, there are hundreds of ways on how you can avoid it. And you are not forced to upgrade to it, windows 7 is still supported until the release of windows 9.

parengputik said,
I already replaced my dvd drive with extra HDD and I never used it so it is fine for me but for the people who are not able to figure out how to install a dvd player, Microsoft should at least show a notification when a dvd disc is inserted with links on how to install third party dvd software.

And about Windows 8 being the vista 2.0, I don't really understand this argument, windows vista was hated because of it's poor performance and buggy drivers. On the other side, Windows 8 is hated because of the metro UI. It is proved that windows 8 will perform faster and much more efficient than windows 7. If you really hate the metro ui, there are hundreds of ways on how you can avoid it. And you are not forced to upgrade to it, windows 7 is still supported until the release of windows 9.

Vista was hated for having bad or NO drivers (loss of functionality, AKA hardware that doesn't do what it used to). I know many will complain about Metro just because it's different. The person who travels and uses their laptop to play movies on the road will be upset about the loss of dvd playback, because that is easier to carry then your home TV/DVD player. Yes, people could just buy portable DVD players, but why? They already own a laptop with a DVD Drive that worked just fine in windows 7. I know of people who like to use their own personal laptop at lunchtime to watch movies or TV show season DVDs. I think microsoft is missing the point. They will justify this as necessary to avoid a price INCREASE. The actual price, will be the same. Where do I get this? History. Alot of people probably don't care, but windows 7 actually proved that microsoft could remove features from windows, charge the same price, and the general public may actually PRAISE the move as making the OS less "bloated". I know... what is missing from windows 7 that was in vista? Microsoft movie maker i know off the top of my head. I know there was a list of things that microsoft claimed were "unnecessary and underused" Similar to their claims of the DVD playback ability.

Vista was / IS hated because it like windows 7 is a bloated pig (compared to xp)
to this day i get faster benchmarks on games vs XP and the new features in contrast to the newer minimum system requirements are unjustified.
I wonder how many services will be in Windows 9 ?
Microsoft keeps tacking crap on with no concern to performance.
Ask people why they still use XP and see how many say because of better driver support.

Just ticks me off cause I'm seeing people say this same line of crap more and more and its pure FUD ..I don't think half the people around here have a clue what they are talking about and seem to just mimic the majority's opinion like lemmings

Im not gonna go into some of the other claims made.. waste of time
All i can say is prove it..

Invizibleyez said,
Vista was hated for having bad or NO drivers (loss of functionality, AKA hardware that doesn't do what it used to).

FWIW whenever Windows has changed significantly, 3.1 to 95, 98 to XP, & yes, XP to Vista, people found their old hardware needed new drivers, & surprise, the companies making that hardware would rather they bought new, so they often refused to write those new drivers. And guess where MS gets the drivers included with Windows? From those same manufacturers.

The person who travels and uses their laptop to play movies on the road will be upset about the loss of dvd playback, because that is easier to carry then your home TV/DVD player.

In that scenario no disc makes sense -- either stream Netflix etc. or carry a USB stick or better yet, an SD card or 2. The only advantage a DVD offers is the player many (most) people have sitting near their TV, with the exception of Netflix & their poor support of CC or subs.

People suggest this move will make windows cheaper. WRONG. This will make profits higher and keep prices the same. Some say, no big deal! New computers will just have software installed already. This is true, but how many windows consumers buy a new computer to upgrade windows? What about that perfectly fine computer that you want to upgrade to windows 8? The problem I foresee is that REMOVING functionality is going to do nothing but cause a "VISTA" sense with everyone, and Windows 8 will definitely be the next most hated windows ever. People who know that DVD support is being removed know how to play DVDs without windows help. The people who don't know that DVD Support is being removed are much less likely to know how to make the computer play DVDs. They will just get very mad at their computer, blame windows 8 for "Sucking terribly and being the worst windows EVER!" and bash Win8 in forums, and then go back to the OS they came from. I foresee a class action suit.

Invizibleyez said,
People suggest this move will make windows cheaper. WRONG. This will make profits higher and keep prices the same. Some say, no big deal! New computers will just have software installed already. This is true, but how many windows consumers buy a new computer to upgrade windows? What about that perfectly fine computer that you want to upgrade to windows 8? The problem I foresee is that REMOVING functionality is going to do nothing but cause a "VISTA" sense with everyone, and Windows 8 will definitely be the next most hated windows ever. People who know that DVD support is being removed know how to play DVDs without windows help. The people who don't know that DVD Support is being removed are much less likely to know how to make the computer play DVDs. They will just get very mad at their computer, blame windows 8 for "Sucking terribly and being the worst windows EVER!" and bash Win8 in forums, and then go back to the OS they came from. I foresee a class action suit.

Wasn't aware they released the prices already. Oh wait.

No OFFICIAL prices, right. Look at what was charged for win 95. Ok, now win 98. ok, now windows ME. Ok, now look at prices for Vista. OK, now look and windows 7. Ok, Now what did we learn? They always charge the same for the what they perceive to be the same "level" of OS. You can expect $199 USD for a full retail version of windows 8 home, and $119 for the windows 8 home retail upgrade.

Panda X said,

Wasn't aware they released the prices already. Oh wait.

Invizibleyez said,
... Some say, no big deal! New computers will just have software installed already. This is true, but how many windows consumers buy a new computer to upgrade windows?

OK... How many consumers buy a PC or install Windows & Never, Ever add software? I mean, that's the whole purpose of a PC isn't it, to run software? If all you want to do is go on-line a full-fledged PC is quite a bit of overkill.

The people who don't know that DVD Support is being removed are much less likely to know how to make the computer play DVDs.

There were versions of Windows prior to win7, just like there will be versions after. Out of the box win7 supported **Limited** DVD playback for the 1st time. What did everyone do before that, when DVDs were at their most peak? What do video fans do for DVD playback in win7? They add software too.

In this day and age, if you can't figure out how to use google to do a bit of research on a program that you download to play DVD's, and then download and install said program, damn well stay away from the computer.

I must be the only one here who watches DVDs. I mean, what's wrong with them. I'm not restricted to where or what I can play them on currently. I like the feel of having a physical copy, and the fact that in the US, yes you can stream everything through Netflix, Hulu etc.
In the UK, we get things on TV months late, don't have Hulu and Netflix is VERY limited. Plus iTunes is the only really good content provider, Google Play/Amazon etc don't sell half the movies I'd even want to get that I have on DVD.

Possession said,
I must be the only one here who watches DVDs.
You're not. All three of my HTPCs get significant DVD action. And I sometimes have a DVD playing on the secondary monitor while I'm working on something on my primary machine, too.

I built my first HTPC almost eight years ago. A lot of people may have forgotten that MCE 200x didn't include a DVD decoder...you also had to install WinDVD, or PowerDVD, or etc. There was much happiness and smiles when MS added a decoder for Vista and Win7. Funny how two revisions later, everybody is saying, "So what?" and "Who cares?"

At least if you wish to have Media Center in Win8, unlike XP MCE, this time it will come with a decoder.

I don't know why most people are bitching, just because windows 8 off-the-shelf won't come with a DVD codec does NOT MEAN places that make PCs and Laptops like Acer, Toshiba, etc. won't buy a license for a codec and stick it in. Maybe they will, maybe they won't.

The question is : How user will be prompted to buy/install the optional pack ? Because with the MS store, it won't be such an issue to buy it and add it to your MS account.
If you have to buy it from somewhere else than the MS store, then it will be an epic fail imo.

But I'm glad they made it. We are slowing moving to a free Windows with different packages to buy, a bit like Free 2 play games.

Anthonyd said,

But I'm glad they made it. We are slowing moving to a free Windows with different packages to buy, a bit like Free 2 play games.

*Thinks of said implementation in Microsoft Flight*
*Shudders*
I prefer not.

My only gripe, is that for those "few" or those novice users out there that will want to watch a DVD what will they use? Sure there is VLC however, like the article says not a huge percentage know what that is.
Back in the XP days, OEMS installed DVD playing programs and most were bloatware. Im just griping that this will return.

And as far as Apple, how do they include a DVD player in OS X and keep prices down?

wv@gt said,
My only gripe, is that for those "few" or those novice users out there that will want to watch a DVD what will they use? Sure there is VLC however, like the article says not a huge percentage know what that is.
Back in the XP days, OEMS installed DVD playing programs and most were bloatware. Im just griping that this will return.

And as far as Apple, how do they include a DVD player in OS X and keep prices down?

Good question. I thought for sure Apple was going to ditch DVD player long before Microsoft ditched DVD support. After all, Apple appears to be moving away from optical all together.

wv@gt said,
My only gripe, is that for those "few" or those novice users out there that will want to watch a DVD what will they use? Sure there is VLC however, like the article says not a huge percentage know what that is.
Back in the XP days, OEMS installed DVD playing programs and most were bloatware. Im just griping that this will return.

And as far as Apple, how do they include a DVD player in OS X and keep prices down?

You can buy the Media Center package. It is not free, but I doubt MS will hide it away - it is another way to make a few extra dollars so it will be well known - probably on the store. Remember, desktop apps can still be in the store, they just take you to a page where you can download it.

Apple removed the DVD drive from the Mini to keep prices down. Of course, Apple fans cheered that move. You don't need DVD (or cable for that matter), all you need is iTunes to stream movies and subscriptions to TV shows with a purchase, with one season of a TV show costing more than the WMC program will cost.

wv@gt said,
My only gripe, is that for those "few" or those novice users out there that will want to watch a DVD what will they use? Sure there is VLC however, like the article says not a huge percentage know what that is.
Back in the XP days, OEMS installed DVD playing programs and most were bloatware. Im just griping that this will return.

And as far as Apple, how do they include a DVD player in OS X and keep prices down?

All right, say you're a complete novice, you go to the local B&M or on-line retailer & look at software. Or you fire up ie & type dvd software or DVD player into the Bing box & there ya go. It's no different than if they wanted/needed an office app or whatever decent game -- Windows doesn't come with those either.

nohone said,
... You don't need DVD (or cable for that matter), all you need is iTunes to stream movies and subscriptions to TV shows with a purchase, with one season of a TV show costing more than the WMC program will cost.

I really do wish you were correct as I loath my cable provider, but sad to say in my experience you're not. Watch Blu-Ray because that's generally the highest rez & quality -- neither on-line streams nor cable match it. But Blu-Ray's for movies, so for everything else there's cable, which always provides CC -- YouTube's making great strides there [with CC], but they're 'bout the only ones.

KillTheIrishman said,
"I boot and install Windows from USB, but that is still an issue."

How is this an issue?

Only thing I can think of is that creating bootable USB can be hit and miss. But that is eliminated by downloading the free Windows 7 USB Download Tool. Never fails.

I've installed more software and drivers from dvd than watch movies. I have a Blu-ray and have to use third party software now. I think it's good. It will make vendors provide current drivers for download more readily and make them easier to find and it will make more movies available for download.

I boot and install Windows from USB, but that is still an issue. However, anyone installing their own OS or building their own system should be able to get it done or have an external.

Hopefully there will also be codec packs for WMP in lieu of full blown third part apps.

MorganX said,
I've installed more software and drivers from dvd than watch movies. I have a Blu-ray and have to use third party software now. I think it's good. It will make vendors provide current drivers for download more readily and make them easier to find and it will make more movies available for download.

I boot and install Windows from USB, but that is still an issue. However, anyone installing their own OS or building their own system should be able to get it done or have an external.

Hopefully there will also be codec packs for WMP in lieu of full blown third part apps.

Oh god, did you read the article at all? You can use DVDs, you just can't play movies from DVDs out of the box.

Klayzen said,

Oh god, did you read the article at all? You can use DVDs, you just can't play movies from DVDs out of the box.

Yes, I did. that's why I focused on codecs beign available with regards to the lack of codecs to play DVD.

I also stremed in disconnected thoughts that DVD itself isn't needed but clearly left out a segue.

MorganX said,
Yes, I did. that's why I focused on codecs beign available with regards to the lack of codecs to play DVD.

I also stremed in disconnected thoughts that DVD itself isn't needed but clearly left out a segue.

your STILL not making any sense..

Few people will miss it. That said, it will be an inconvenience for some. I'm surprised the licensor would want this to happen. A few pennies per license sold would still be a lot of income.

Skwerl said,
Few people will miss it. That said, it will be an inconvenience for some. I'm surprised the licensor would want this to happen. A few pennies per license sold would still be a lot of income.

It's also a lot of cost.

Thats 100% correct pricing has been the issue always, i think MS is doing right. I haven't a DVD for a quite a time, rather than i watch online movies and all, also i dont think future ultrabooks and tablets will b coming in with a DVD support...:]!!

I have to say, I won't miss DVD video playback on Windows 8. I can't remember the last time I watched a DVD from my player, and like others have said, there's plenty of third-party apps out there that will do the job for free. Personally, I run JRiver Media Center for all my video playback, including the rare DVD, and I'll be using it for my music and video playback in Windows 8 also.

Does a 13 year old girl know how to do an unrestricted update? Not until they need to know how to!

Mark said,
Does a 13 year old girl know how to do an unrestricted update? Not until they need to know how to!

It's a checkmark during installation. Regardless, ideally the user wouldn't have to do anything.

Mark said,
Does a 13 year old girl know how to do an unrestricted update? Not until they need to know how to!

The truth is the 13 year old will get a brand name computer given to her by her parents/family that will have Power DVD installed. So this is a non issue. The only people this affects are those who are installing Windows 8 from the disc, and trust me, they usually download a free media player anyway.

True.
I think of some people in my family: 1) if they will get a new computer, it already be packed with some software playing DVD files. 2) most of them will use a DVD player connected to TV instead of computer.

And, my DVD drive has broken over a year ago, and I haven't bought new one. So I have no DVD drive in my computer. Problem Solved.

Mark said,
Does a 13 year old girl know how to do an unrestricted update? Not until they need to know how to!

FAIK most 13 year old girls are smarter than 13 year old boys so I'd have to agree -- it's the boys I'd worry about, given the nature of what video 13 year old boys would want to watch, & how badly they'd want to watch it.

That said, Google DVD player software & VLC's near the top of the list.

I honestly can't remember the last time I watched a DVD movie on my machines. Of course people are going to complain because Microsoft is changing things, but what else is new?

Exactly. No-one in my family uses their PC for watching DVDs or Blu-ray. There is no doubting that many people do, yet they will either buy computers that will come bundled with playback software or they can spend a little bit extra buying WMC. It will save a lot of money for Microsoft which could be passed on to consumers, as well as taking money away from large media companies and their disgusting business practices.