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August 25, 2006

Vista 32 bit Version Won't Play Hi-Def Content Deliberately, Maybe

32 Bit Vista will not play high definition protected content according to statements made by Microsoft representatives at the TechEd 2006 conference in Sydney, Australia.  Playback will require 64 bit systems.  Microsoft stated that by the time HD and Blu-Ray was popular, so would 64 bit systems running Vista.

This is the type of thing that PC manufacturers love to hear, that the operating system features will drive people to abandon recently purchased machines in favor of leading edge (read and more expensive) machines just to take advantages of new features, such as playback of high definition copy protected video.  Don't expect a groundswell of people upgrading to Vista if that's the case.  The public has gorged themselves on $500 and under commodity PC equipment and is unlikely to move up the price point just for limited playback rights for competing video formats on these systems.  Perhaps that also explains why Dell is starting to use cheaper AMD 64 bit processors in their models, getting ready for the upgrade blitz without charging their customers super premium prices.  Microsoft, for it's part is making non-committal statements saying that no version of Windows makes the determination on DVD playback.  That's true to an extent, but MS has the power to control its own product.  Where does Apple stand on this one?

The prohibition on playback in the 32 bit version of high definition content came at the behest of Hollywood, afraid that someone (are you listening DVD Jon?) would break that system as easily as 15 lines of code did the last version.  I'm not suggesting that 64 bit Vista or high definition video is a bad idea.  Rather I think this will just slow down adoption once Vista actually comes out.  The lure of high def is not going to reverse course on what is essentially a commodity:  computers, DVD playback devices, and DVDs themselves, not at least until the cost comes way down from current prices.

Infoworld has the story, along with BetaNews, and the always snarky Inquirer UK.

August 25, 2006 | Permalink


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