Microsoft now has a lengthy blog post talking about Windows Media Center and how it fits into Windows 8. It’s pretty simple in the end though. Regardless of what version of Windows 8 you get, it won’t have Media Center and it won’t play DVDs out of the box. But you can buy the Media Center upgrade (that includes DVD playback) for the cost of the licensing of those codecs. “To give you some indication of Media Center Pack pricing, it will be in line with marginal costs.” The reason for this is because if they include it in Windows 8 then everyone has to pay the the codecs, even if you have a tablet or ultrabook that doesn’t have a DVD player. Also, most PCs ship with extra DVD software (HP and Dell always bundles something at least). End result is that we all get a cheaper license and if we want this, then you pay the fee.
No big deal interwebs and in fact, I think it’s a net gain.