Media Center Gets Blu-ray, Just Not From Microsoft

I’ve talk about Microsoft and Blu-ray more
times than I can count
and it never fails I end up saying they will not be
the ones to build Blu-ray support in Windows. 
My thoughts have officially come true with yesterday’s announcement that
Microsoft is outsourcing Blu-ray
support in Windows 7 to Cyberlink

According to the press release, PowerDVD “automatically
integrate with Windows Media Center to enable full Blu-ray playback capability
on PC equipped with the appropriate hardware.” 
The extent of that integration remains to be seen, but I’m hoping for
full integration using Media Foundation and PVP (aka real integration).  That’s a lot of wishful thinking on my part, what we will likely end up with is Media
Center launching PowerDVD in a Play Movie-esk way.

I guess this is a good start and I’m interested to see what the
product will look like but I’m not getting my hopes up too high just yet for it being the perfect solution.

10 thoughts on “Media Center Gets Blu-ray, Just Not From Microsoft

  1. I got used to the idea of having the pay for HD Playback software. Purchasing TotalMedia Theatre from Arcsoft also gave me HD-DVD! I’ll have to install that software on Windows 7 if I expect to be able to play HD-DVD. 🙁

  2. That’s odd if it’s true. I guess we’ll wait and see, but there’s no way Microsoft is going to be allowed to shut WinDVD & Arcsoft out of this either…so i’m not sure what exactly it pertains.

    I read the press release in full…and it wasn’t clear. What’d you think chris? I wouldn’t put it past them if it’s just using some sort of MCE Plugin that launches Cyberlink like it presently does.

  3. Win7 supports H.264 out of the box (and obviously VC1), so i’m not exactly sure what would those external players do? The Java stuff? I agree with Mike though – they have to use those 3rd parties because of legal reasons…

  4. Mike: I don’t think Microsoft will “shut out” Corel or Arcsoft, there products will still continue to work in the exact same fashion.

    The big piece we are missing from this is what “automatically integrate” means and how the software will be distributed. Is it bundled with Windows 7? Free download? Paid download? My guess is paid download that just launches in the background, but Microsoft has never taken this route before so we don’t have much to judge it off of.

    Noboru: Video decoding is about the smallest part of Blu-ray playback, so small it doesn’t even count. DRM and interactivity licensing (the Java stuff) is what Blu-ray playback has always been about.

  5. I read a review of ArcSoft that said it integrates with VMC just like the PowerDVD DX software that came with my XPS 420. It launches PowerDVD DX and minimizes VMC when you insert a BD movie. Very simple, but its been there for a year now. I’d like to think Win7 does better.

    I’ve been happy with PowerDVD DX for my admittedly simple needs, but am looking at ArcSoft now that PowerDVD DX no longer plays BD movies with AnyDVD installed. Unless that gets fixed, Cyberlink will be a non-starter for me.

  6. this whole thing seems weird. Vista had a std def DVD player embedded in it without causing legal wrangling. why would embedding blu-ray in Win7 cause a problem? if they have to partner for blu-ray, will they then get rid of the std def DVD player, since that will be duplicative with 3rd party software?

  7. That Cyberlink video doesn’t look like an integrated player – it’s certainly not using the video path within Media Center that’s for sure, as they wouldn’t be able to have the Cyberlink settings page or the movie rating page.

  8. I found that Total Media Theatre had terrible playback compared with PowerDVD so I had to find a solution to playing Blu-ray from within Vista Media Center with PowerDVD.

    I’ve written about it here I’m hoping that future developments between Microsoft and 3rd party suppliers will be more collaberative – I don’t mind launching a separate player but it needs to be seemless.

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