With High Definition gathering momentum, I think it is important to clarify where Windows Vista stands in this space, as over the past few days, there has been some confusion about what will or won't be possible with Vista and High Definition disk formats.
Basically, a couple of days ago, it was highlighted on the internet, that 32-bit Vista would not support either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray - it would only be supported on 64-bit hardware running 64-bit Vista. The reasoning behind this? "At a session during TechEd 2006 in Sydney Thursday, Microsoft's Steve Riley asserted that because 32-bit versions of Windows must support unsigned drivers being loaded into the kernel, the company could not ensure that HD movies would be copy protected".
However, a day later, Microsoft took the chance to clarify the situation. As it stands, according to Nick White, Vista Product Manager:
"The real deal is that no version of Windows Vista will make a determination as to whether any given piece of content should play back or not. The individual ISV providing the playback solutions will choose whether the playback environment, including environments that use 32-bit processors, meet the performance requirements for playback of protected High Definition content"
For those of you like me, who haven't embraced the world of High Definition yet (give me chance! ;) ), it's good to know that standard DVD support will be included in the Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista, which means consumers will not need to purchase third party software to play movies as they do with Windows XP. So for the time being, I can be safe in the knowledge that the impeccable Windows Media Player 11 will play my standard format DVD's. Great stuff!
If you are running Windows Media Player 10, and haven't tried Windows Media Player 11 yet - what are you doing! It's currently in the beta and is available for download! Go do!