Vista and Video

Whilst on the subject, and as we get closer to the business launch of Vista, here are Microsoft's claims about running video on the new operating system:

"Video Improvements

One of the goals of Windows Vista is to match the quality of video playback that people expect from mainstream consumer-electronics devices. Since video playback is dependent on the driver architecture, Windows Vista, with its upgraded driver model, is able to provide a number of video playback improvements.

Easy TV-out support

Today, connecting a PC to a TV is difficult for the average consumer. Unlike a consumer electronics device, simply plugging in a TV does not work without extensive configuration. The setup can often require an additional monitor and third-party products. WDDM eliminates connectivity issues between a TV or monitor and the PC, giving users plug and play simplicity.

Improved video playback quality

Video playback on current operating systems suffers from quality issues like excessive video glitching and poor color fidelity when compared to consumer electronic devices. WDDM provides a number of facilities to mitigate these problems.

First, WDDM enables Windows Vista and running applications to queue frames to be presented on the GPU. Second, working closely with the queuing feature is a feedback mechanism that determines when frames are presented. Together, these two features can immensely improve the quality of video playback by constantly maintaining the synchronicity between audio and video presentations, thus improving video playback and reducing video glitching substantially.
Finally, WDDM drivers also provide support for better color (gamma) correction via the Direct3D9x and Direct3D10 APIs, which in turn requires the GPU to support these APIs.

HD video playback

As mentioned above in the security section, WDDM provides support for secure playback of HD video content, a requirement of many content providers."

With Windows Media squeezed by H.264 (or MPEG4) at one end of the market and Flash Video at the other, this is an important opportunity to stop the erosion in the dominance of Windows Media.