Microsoft added better video and audio file format support in Windows 8. Most common media formats are supported and some are limited in Windows RT — for devices like the new Microsoft’s Surface tablet.
So far Windows 8 is promising to be a pretty amazing operating system with a hand full of new features, new immersive and beautiful UI, and simple to use. But there is one thing that has been constantly an issue in all OSs, which is file format compatibility out of the box. Since Windows 7 video and audio file format support has increased and in Windows 8, Microsoft’s goal is to include as much native media format support as it is possible to ensure great playback experience on all Windows PCs in different scenarios like:
- HTML5-based entertainment on the web
- Home movies captured using popular smartphones, point-and-shoot cameras, or AVC-HD cameras
- Streaming music, movies, and TV shows from popular services
Of course, this doesn’t include anymore support of DVDs playback, because according to the company, it is to costly for the small percentage of people who make use of it.
Windows 8 have the following built-in native support for audio and video format playback with hardware acceleration for playback, capture, streaming, and transcoding:
|Media Type||File & stream formats||Codecs or components||Codec supported on Windows RT||Hardware-accelerated on Windows 8 Certified PCs|
|Video||MPEG-4 **||H.264 **||Yes||Yes|
|MPEG-2 PS||Motion JPEG||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
|MPEG-2 TS||MPEG-1 *||No||Yes|
|3GPP2||MPEG-4 (Part 2)||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
|RAW (NV12, YUY2, RGB32)||No||N/A|
|Audio||MPEG-4 **||AAC **||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
|MP3 **||HE-AAC **||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
|ASF **||Dolby Digital (no-disc)||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
|AAC LATM||Dolby Digital Plus (no-disc)||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
|ADTS||WMA** Standard, Pro, Lossless||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
|WAV||MPEG-1 Layer I, Layer II||Yes||Hardware-dependent|
* Requires Windows 8 Media Center Pack of Windows 8 Pro Pack
** Recommended for use by Windows Store apps
Furthermore, Microsoft has been working to make Windows 8 handle the type of real-time video and audio features that are enabled in applications like Skype, to run apps in low-latency mode. At the same time, Windows 8 also comes with great supports for HD cameras and for MPEG-4, which typically consist of H.264 video and ACC audio. Other common codecs, including Divx, Xvid, MOV, are part of Windows, so these kind of files will just work.
Source Building Windows 8 blog