Physical discs took another step toward extinction late Thursday after Microsoft announced that DVD playback will not be available by default on Windows 8. The new move adds another wrinkle to Microsoft's previous disclosure that Windows Media Center, the company's PC-based entertainment hub software, would not be included in default configurations of Windows 8. Windows Media Player will continue to be offered in all versions of Windows 8, but without DVD playback capability.
Users looking to play discs on a Windows 8 machine will either have to pay Microsoft by upgrading their copy of Windows 8 to include Windows Media Center, find a third-party alternative, or rely on device manufacturers to bundle disc playback software with new devices.
Microsoft did not say how much Windows 8's DVD playback upgrade would cost other than to say it would be "in line with marginal costs." In other words, the pricing shouldn't be that expensive, but we won't know for sure until Windows 8 ships later in 2012.
To get Media Center in Windows 8 you will purchase the software using the new upgrade path called "Add Features to Windows 8” control panel, previously known as “Windows Anytime Upgrade.” Basic Windows 8 users can purchase a feature called the "Windows 8 Pro Pack" that will convert your copy of Windows into Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. Windows 8 Pro users will also have to pony up for DVD playback by purchasing the "Windows 8 Media Center Pack."
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