Microsoft's answer to HD-DVD & Blu-Ray fuzzy at best

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We’re still trying to adjust the rabbit ears on this one. Let me see if I can clear the picture up for you.

Microsoft first says “we won’t support Blu Ray & HD DVD” at an Australian conference. The news spatters all around the internet. I wasn’t surprised. Why? Microsoft doesn’t support DVD play back in Windows XP, either. At least, not without additional downloads. Once you have something like PowerDVD installed it will work fine – even in Windows Media Player. That might give users the impression that Windows has always played DVD’s – but, in reality, without having installed some 3rd party DVD software and the files that go with it, Windows Media Player does not natively support DVD Playback.

Microsoft went on to correct the statement that it will “not support HD-DVD & Blu Ray” – but with the same answer that was actually already stated. Not “out of the box.”

This article on C|Net’s News.com states that “Playback is possible with Windows Vista in 32-bit. The decision of whether to offer that support, the representative said, won’t be made by Microsoft but rather by the third-party software makers that create DVD playback software” Well, duh. Just like we thought.

At least, just like I thought. Windows XP doesn’t do it, we shouldn’t expect Windows Vista to. Not unless we all want to pay MORE than we already will be shelling out for legit copies of Windows Vista (no, it’s true, no official pricing has been released, as of yet, but we can assume “Ultimate Edition” is going to cost far more than a tiny $75 upgrade fee). There is a fee to pay for DVD decoding technology – and I, for one, don’t want that added in to what I expect to be a high priced OS.

So, “out of the box” – the reports are right, Vista will have no HD-DVD or Bluray playback support. Of course, out of the box, Vista wont have ANY DVD support. You will need to get your hands on a copy (probably OEM with most ‘new’ computers, and DVD-ROM/RW drives) of PowerDVD. I remember a time when Windows didn’t have native mp3 support – things like WinAmp were required – Windows didn’t come with any kind of MP3 CODEC. DVD, HD-DVD, and BluRay are all things we can worry about later. I’m sure your Blu-Ray collection won’t be so big, in January-February, that you’re going to die if Vista doesn’t include support without 3rd party software.

Peace on ya,
-G

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