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.