News & Analysis
Microsoft Joins Netflix In Dissing the Disc
(May 6, 2012)
Microsoft has announced that it
will not include DVD playback in the Windows Media Player in
Windows 8, the company's upcoming new operating system.
In a blog posted at its web site, the company said enabling DVD
playback would "require a specialized set of decoders that cost
a significant amount in royalties.
With these decoders
built into most Windows 7 editions, the industry has faced those
costs broadly, regardless of whether or not a given device
includes an optical drive or TV tuner."
However, Microsoft will offer an option to purchase the Windows
Media Center, which will support DVD playback.
In addition to the cost concern, Microsoft said consumers are
increasingly watching video via streaming instead of discs.
media landscape has changed quite significantly since the
release of Windows 7," the blog post said. "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. In fact, consumption of movies online in the United
States will surpass physical video in 2012, according to this
IHS Screen Digest research."
Gee, does this sound familiar? Right. Netflix. To allegedly
reduce costs, the online video rental service has also been
trying to push aside the disc in favor of streaming. But
Netflix's stock has fallen 30 percent in the last 30 days. How's
that DVD dissing going for them?
Like Netflix, I suspect Microsoft will be hurt by this decision
with fewer sales of Windows 8. The majority of Americans still
use discs to watch home videos, be it DVD or Blu-ray. And they
want that capability in their laptops and computers.