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Microsoft Shouldn't Abandon DVD Playback

9 May, 2012 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I find it most disconcerting that Microsoft will no longer support DVD playback on its next incarnation of operating software, Windows 8.

The House of Gates came under fire recently when it acknowledged the move. Microsoft initially said the move was based on changing consumer habits. As Home Media Magazine noted, “In a May 3 corporate blog post, Microsoft said ‘telemetry data’ and user research suggest consumers primarily consume video on the PC and related mobile devices from streaming sources such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. … The software giant also cited recent data from IHS that claimed consumption of movies online in the United States will surpass physical video in 2012.”

Microsoft later came back with another argument: in essence, that including DVD playback would be unfair to buyers of ultrabooks and tablets because of royalty costs associated with decoder technology — costs that would be passed on to consumers even if their devices don’t have optical disc drives.

Only the pricier Windows 8 Pro will offer DVD playback, according to Microsoft.

Either Microsoft is simply trying to save a buck, or else drive consumers to buy the more-expensive Windows Pro.

Either way, it’s a disturbing development — and one that feeds right into those who are of the mindset that the physical disc is an antiquated technology and everything is headed into the cloud.

I stand firm in my belief that there will always be a market for a physical product. Some of us like to watch movies on our computers, and welcome the ease and convenience of simply sticking a disc into our laptops — a disc we’ve already paid for, a movie we already own.

And what about home movies we’ve burned to DVD, or slide shows of family photos?

I’ve been waiting patiently for Microsoft to support Blu-ray Disc. I kept waiting for an announcement — and now, this. Microsoft has gone in the opposite direction.

I was an avid Mac user until the early days of the Internet, when some sites couldn’t be accessed on Apple products. That drove me right into PC Land.

Now, I’m thinking about going back to Mac.

Writing on ZDNet, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes sums up my sentiments exactly. “I feel that Microsoft is making a big mistake here,” he writes. “While Apple has a streamlined one-size-fits-all OS X edition that contains everything users need, Microsoft is once again juggling features in order to make the higher-priced edition of Windows more superior and desirable than the cheaper option, while at the same time giving OEMs yet more reason to install third-party crapware onto new systems.”

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