Microsoft has revealed that it is leaving DVD playback out from the default version of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system.
The information follows another recent announcement that the Windows Media Center package will no longer come as standard in Windows 8, it will need to be bought just like any separate piece of software. That will then enable DVD playback, though it is also possible to play DVDs using third party and usually free applications such as VLC.
Computer suppliers will almost certainly bundle additional media playing software alongside Windows 8 to do a similar job. Windows 8 will support many of the common digital AV formats, including Dolby Digital Plus audio.
With the increase in digital media consumption using streamed or downloaded files, Microsoft is clearly gearing up for a future without the shiny little discs. Netbooks, tablets and the most streamlined laptops already omit optical drives from the hardware.
On the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft says using PCs for TV and DVD viewing are "in sharp decline." Cutting out basic support for optical media playback means it would cost less in royalty payments.
Windows 8 will have optional upgrades, the Pro Pack or Media Center Pack, which will provide DVD playback in Media Center, plus broadcast TV recording and VOB format support. The price for the add-ons is not confirmed but is expected to be “marginal”.