Clarifying Windows Vista Support of Protected HD Content in 32-bit Systems

The community is buzzing with reactions to APC Magazine’s article regarding playback of protected High Definition content in 32-bit versions of Windows Vista.  However, the information shared was incorrect and the reactions pervading the community are thus (understandably) ill-informed.

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.

So what does that mean?

It is up to a particular ISV to determine which environments are suitable for their playback solutions.  Not Windows Vista, and not Microsoft.  To help ISVs make the playback determination, the OS will expose a list of any unsigned drivers on the system; nevertheless, it remains up to the ISV to determine whether playback will be enabled.

In other words, nothing has changed with respect to Microsoft’s policies or development plans for protected HD playback -- which we addressed at WinHEC this past May -- and nothing has been cut from Windows Vista in this regard.

Comments (21)
  1. Anonymous says:

    (Almost got lost in all the excitement of today’s news around HD-DVD support in Windows Vista.)


  2. Anonymous says:

    Clarifying Windows Vista Support of Protected HD Content in 32-bit System

    The community is buzzing…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Alors que la France sort de sa léthargie annuelle du mois d’août, l’actualité du moment sur Vista se…

  4. Anonymous says:

    So there were two really big pieces of Microsoft news last week, that were talked about on practically…

  5. Anonymous says:

    At the Windows Vista Team Blog, Nick White tries to turn the herd before it stampedes through town…

  6. Anonymous says:

    "Microsoft revealed today that no 32-bit versions of Windows Vista will be able to play back “next generation…

  7. Anonymous says:

    You can’t spell misstatement without MS. The technohemoth of the Great Northwest faced a flurry of flames after APC reported that 32-bit Windows Vista would not support HD DVD, Blu-Ray, and other high-definition protected content. The report was based

  8. Anonymous says:

    So there were two really big pieces of Microsoft news last week, that were talked about on practically…

  9. Anonymous says:

    With High Definition gathering momentum, I think it is important to clarify where Windows Vista stands…

  10. danwarne says:

    Just to clarify, what Microsoft is saying here is that their Senior Program Manager Steve Riley said the wrong thing during his presentation at Tech.Ed Sydney. APC reported his comments accurately based on a transcript of the event.

    However, regardless, Microsoft is making a very specific semantic point here: Riley did say yesterday that the restrictions were made at the behest of content owners, so Microsoft is really just restating here that content owners have the ability to veto their content from being played on 32bit systems.

    I’ve asked Microsoft for a list of the high-definition DRM systems that WILL play on Vista 32bit and which ones won’t, so some further clarity can be bought to the story.

  11. anony.muos says:

    Apart from VC-1, will Vista play/decode the following out of the box without third party decoders:

    1.  MPEG-4 Simple profile/Advanced profile

    2.  H.264 which is mandatory for HD DVD and Blu-ray

    3.  Dolby Digital (AC-3) 5.1 (DVD)

    4.  DTS 5.1 (DVD)

    5.  Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD? (HD DVD/Blu-ray)

  12. anony.muos says:

    Please oh please ask for feedback for users on whether they want every sound customizable in Vista…including the startup sound.

  13. hklm says:

    Has anyone else gotten a security certificate error signing into this web page for the past 10 days and if so why?

    Is this story at this point still an enigma enshrouded in a mystery to use an old phrase I learned years ago in school?

    Also could there be please be some "real clarification" of this information?

    How about a list with clarity on the number of features dropped from Vista as it hurtles toward RTM in October from 5536 + one build?

    On Windows Vista, DRM, and new monitors

    Thoughts on MCE Beta Feedback by Matt Goyer


  14. nwhite says:

    hey someone:

    Here’s what I know on your questions:

    DD (AC3): Yes, in Premium & Ultimate

    DTS: No

    DD+: No

    MPEG-2 audio: Yes, stereo only in Premium & Ultimate

    MPEG-2 video: Yes, in Premium & Ultimate

    H.264: No (This is mandatory for both Blu Ray & HD-DVD but most if not all labels are using VC-1 for HD-DVD today)

    MPEG-4: Yes, we have been supporting this in XP as well.

    Hope this helps.

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