When Microsoft announced last week that regular versions of Windows 8 would no longer be able to play DVDs via Windows Media Player, it made a number of PC users very unhappy. At the time Microsoft said, ""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."
Windows 8 owners will be able to pay an extra fee to upgrade to Windows Media Center where DVD playback support will be available. So far, Microsoft has not revealed the pricing for this upgrade.
One of the most popular free third party DVD software products available to download is VLC. The open source media player is created by VideoLAN, a group composed of volunteers. We decided to contact VideoLAN to find out about their plans for releasing a version of VLC for Windows 8 and if they also plan to offer one that will work with its Metro interface.
We received a response from VideoLAN's Jean-Baptiste Kempf:
VideoLAN cannot plan anything about VLC project, since developers are volunteers :) However, we have given Win8 a quite serious look. So far, VLC runs on the Win8 desktop without any issue. However, for the Metro interface, it requires the usage of the WinRT sandbox. The WinRT seems too limited for VLC, so far. With a lot of work and resources, it should be doable, but we do not have those resources yet :) Any help is welcome! Note that the browsers are allowed on x86 to get an mixed application mode (used by Mozilla and Chrome) that is not available for other applications, so we cannot use it.
It's interesting that Microsoft won't allow an application like VLC to run in both desktop and Metro modes, meaning that if it does release a version of VLC for Metro it would have to be a separate app than the version it would release for Windows 8 desktop mode. We will of course keep an eye out for any word of VLC's future plans for a Windows 8 Metro version.