With the release of PowerDVD Ultra, it is not finally possible to play Blu-ray and HD DVD movies on your computer? But is it as straight forward as just buying a Blu-ray/HD DVD drive, or are there more requirements?
Last year, I wrote the guide Is your computer fast enough for high definition DVD playback? trying to see, at that time with the limited information back then, what kind of computer can play back high definition DVD content. That article concentrated more on the theoretical CPU/performance side of things based on H.264 playback, but this article will concentrate on real world requirements now that more information is available.
This article will go through the hardware and software requirements to achieve Blu-ray and HD DVD playback on your (Windows XP) PC. With the state of things as they are, there is a good chance that even if you match or exceed all the requirements listed, you might still not achieve Blu-ray/HD DVD playback or at least perfect playback. A lot of this is due to early adopter issues, such as software incompatibility/efficiency, and a lot of it has to do with the confusing state of the various layers of copy protection that has been forced upon the high definition formats. It is wise to keep this in mind when reading this article.
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