The version of Windows Media Player that will ship with Windows Vista won't include playback support for either Blu-ray or HD DVD movie titles.
"In box we have the Microsoft VC1 decoder...but in order to do playback [of Blu-ray and HD DVD titles] you will need a third-party player such as...PowerDVD from Cyberlink," Mark O'Shea, OEM Systems Engineer for Microsoft Australia told CNET.com.au.
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VC-1 is a Microsoft-developed video codec adopted by many movie studios as the video standard for their commercial HD DVD and Blu-ray titles.
At present, neither Cyberlink nor any other video playback software developers have made available HD DVD or Blu-ray players for retail purchase. Rather, the only players available are those that come pre-installed on Blu-ray/HD DVD equipped computers.
Microsoft's O'Shea is confident that the appropriate third-party playback software will be readily available by the time Vista officially launches in Australia, which is currently slated for early next year.
When asked to confirm whether or not Microsoft would ever build playback support for the two formats into Windows Media Player, O'Shea declined to comment, stating that Microsoft hasn't announced any such plans as yet.