Microsoft announced earlier this week that Windows Media Player inside of all of the Windows 8 versions will not be able to play DVDs anymore like it can with Windows 7. If users want to be able to play DVDs through Windows Media Player, they would have to upgrade to a paid version of Windows Media Player. Microsoft said that they had to pay royalties to Dolby and to the owners of the MPEG-2 decoder to enable DVD playback in Windows Media Player. Microsoft paid $124 million in licensing fees to Dolby in 2011. Below is what Microsoft said in a blog post.
In Windows 7, we decided to make these codecs available broadly in most editions, except Windows 7 Home Basic (available in some emerging markets) and Windows 7 Starter editions (available for netbooks and some emerging markets). That means royalties related to DVD playback in Windows 7 have been paid broadly, regardless of whether or not the PC has an optical drive. Based on sales and usage, we supplied codecs to a very large number of PCs that were not capable of playing DVDs or simply did not ever play DVDs.
In an FAQ, Microsoft also wrote:
So when you add all this up and apply to all Windows PCs, it is an ongoing cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the PC ecosystem, well over a billion dollars over the lifecycle of the operating system and yet by most predictions the majority of PCs will not even be capable of playing DVDs.
So what do you do if you want a DVD player on Windows 8? Simple. Download VLC.