Windows 8 Dropping DVD Playback, Just Another Indicator That The Age Of Physical Discs Is Nearly Over?

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Examples Of Physical media

Windows 8 is just around the corner, as is the upcoming Release Candidate (expected in June). As it approaches we are starting to hear just a few new things here and there, such as the recent clarification regarding Windows Media Center and WM Player.

The most interesting thing to come out of this is that Windows 8 really won’t support DVD playback natively. The company is instead relying on 3rd party programs and plug-ins to make DVD playback work.

Honestly, this is a very interesting move, in my opinion, because it paints a bigger picture that we are just starting to really see– the death of the optical disc. With increasing Internet speeds there just isn’t as much need for a computer with a DVD or Blu-Ray drive anymore. In fact, my primary machine is a thin-and-light laptop that doesn’t include any optical drive.

Instead I rely on flash jump drives and digital downloads for most of my installations and such. This works very well, and I was never much of a CD/DVD fan– never could take good enough care of them to keep them scratch free.

Blu-Ray might have defeated HD-DVD but I really am not certain how much it matters, there is probably a good chance that by the time DVD fully fades out, Blu-Ray will be right behind it with no clear optical successor. This is a trend that is growing for gaming, PC use, and even movie watching thanks to DVRs and the advent of services on your TV like Hulu and Netflix.

Of course not everyone feels comfortable with this new world of keeping all content on flash, cloud, and HDD. Many like the physical knowledge of having a disc in their hands. Honestly, I am not one of these people, though I don’t like storing my DATA over the cloud so I can at least relate to those who are hesitant to see their movies and games head in that direction.

Regardless, this is the direction that we are heading in, and with Microsoft focusing at least 50% of their Windows 8 efforts into tablet (okay, probably more than that even)… it is no surprise that they wouldn’t want to pay the fees associated with DVD playback if most Win8 devices aren’t even going to have media drives.

How many more years do you think it will be until DVD/Blu-ray drives are pretty much gone from laptops and only an option on the PC? I suppose it’s also possible that the DVD (or Blu-Ray) drive will hang on in home computers for many years, as a legacy device, sort of like how floppy drives stayed in PCs for YEARS after they had pretty much been abandoned by the vast majority of the public.

Do you still use DVDs, CDs, and Blu-ray regularly? I suspect that the digital revolution and abandonment of physical media is probably seeing more growth in countries like the USA, and hasn’t caught on to parts of the world that have less-than-great Internet.

As always, share your thoughts below.

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  • garak0410

    I am torn. Yes, I stream A LOT on Netflix and often have to dust off a DVD. However, just before I switched internet carriers, they moved to “tiered” pricing. 150 GB was the limit. Still a lot of GB but even if you purchase your digital media and store it in the cloud, that’s more bandwidth. The average user isn’t going to stream downloaded movies in their homes. Most homes aren’t wired for a LAN network and often routers can’t handle stream (at least mind can’t from my PC to my XBOX.) I also burn DVD’s of our home movies and I do a side business of converting VHS and 8MM tapes for people. Just my opinion, I would hate to see the format go away!

    • http://twitter.com/DStephensJr Dan Stephens

      I’m in basic agreement with Tom.  Streaming isn’t reliable enough, portable enough, fast enough and cheap enough yet to make DVD’s to go away.

      The one thing that is feasable is a read only flash drive connection of some kind.  We have SD cards and USB sticks that can easily hold the capacities required for a DVD or BLUE ray movie.  They just need to implement a scheme that satisfies Hollywood on copy protection and then a MicroSD card can be a movie disk.

      Then, of course, there is tehe required reduction in price, too.