If you want to build video applications on Windows 8 platform, you may find this blog useful. We (Windows Azure Media Services team) ships Smooth Streaming Client SDK for Windows 8 and Microsoft Media Platform Player framework (MMPPF) in addition to Windows 8 Media Foundation to help you build rich media applications.
If you are building a video application on Windows 8 and your video source is H.264 (.MP4) for instance:
<MediaElement Source="Media/video1.mp4" AutoPlay="True" />
<video width="320" height="240" controls="controls"> <source src="movie.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video>
Here is a detail list of video format that Windows 8 playback pipeline support (full details in Windows blog) :
That's what happen when developing an application with .Mp4 URL for instance. Windows 8 Media pipeline has Decorder to decode the video, Renderer to render the image and Decrypter to decrypt the video if it is protected. As long as the video format you provides falls into the category I showed in the table above, Windows 8 Media pipeline will handle for you. Meanwhile, Windows 8 team put in a lot of efforts for optimizing all these operations to achieve battery optimization, hardware acceleration and etc.
Playing Smooth Streaming content using Smooth Streaming Client SDK for Windows 8
Read full blog here ..