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This chapter is from the book

Watching Blu-Ray Movies in WMC

If you’ve moved up to Blu-Ray HD movies, you’re probably wondering, “OK, how can I enjoy this 1080p goodness in WMC?” The following sections show you exactly what you need.

Hardware

You’ll need the following hardware in order to enjoy Blu-Ray movies with WMC:

  • Blu-Ray read-only or Read/Write drive (these also support CD and DVD media)
  • HDCP-enabled onboard or discrete graphics card
  • HDCP-enabled HDTV or widescreen LCD panel

Software

You’ll need the following software in order to enjoy Blu-Ray movies with WMC:

  • Blu-Ray decoder that supports Windows Vista (minimum)
  • Blu-Ray decoder that supports WMC (preferred)

Although Microsoft includes DVD decoding in Windows Vista (including Media Center), it does not include Blu-Ray decoding in Windows Vista. You can use a third-party DVD decoder, but if it doesn’t include an WMC plug-in, you must exit or minimize WMC to run the decoder. Some Blu-Ray decoders for Windows Vista include

  • CyberLink PowerDVD 8 Ultra—www.cyberlink.com (about $100; free trial available). Add WMC support by downloading and installing freeware Cyberlink/VMC plug-in version 1.6 or later (available at http://ourmediacenter.com/node/9).
  • Blu-Ray/HD-DVD plugin for Nero 7 or Nero 8—www.nero.com (about $30; Nero 8 Ultra [required for use of plug-in] is about $80–100; free trial available).
  • ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre—www.arcsoft.com (about $90; free trial available). Incorporates WMC plug-in.

Which is the best solution for you? In reviewing comments from existing users of these products, the answer seems to be “it depends.” Try the trial versions of the applications and plug-ins to see which ones work the best for you.

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To learn more about My Movies 2, see “Creating a DVD Library with My Movies 2,” this chapter, p. 158.

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