The version of Windows Media Player that will accompany Windows 8 will not be able to play back DVDs, Microsoft has said.
In a blog post on Friday, Microsoft employees Bernardo Caldas and Linda Averett wrote that the decision had been taken due to the cost of licensing DVD playback codecs, and the fact that streaming video is taking over from physical media.
Caldas and Averett also said Microsoft's Windows Media Center would only be included in two editions of Windows 8, namely the Windows 8 Media Center Pack and Windows 8 Pro Pack. Other Windows 8 users who want the software will have to buy it.
"Our telemetry data and user research shows us that the vast majority of video consumption on the PC and other mobile devices is coming from online sources such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or any of the other myriad of online and downloadable video services available," Caldas and Averett wrote.
"On the PC, these online sources are growing much faster than DVD and broadcast TV consumption, which are in sharp decline… Globally, DVD sales have declined significantly year over year and Blu-ray on PCs is losing momentum as well," they added.
The authors pointed out that Windows 8 was built for form factors other than the traditional desktop. These include tablets and ultrabooks, neither of which have built-in DVD drives.
"Given the changing landscape, the cost of decoder licensing, and the importance of a straight forward edition plan, we’ve decided to make Windows Media Center available to Windows 8 customers via the 'Add Features to Windows 8' control panel," Cladas and Averett wrote. "Windows Media Player will continue to be available in all editions, but without DVD playback support."
The Microsoft employees suggested that those wanting DVD playback without Windows Media Center could turn to "the many quality solutions on the market".