Windows 7 won't be able to play Blu-ray movies without third-party software support.
Blu-ray licenses cost about US$30, a charge that Microsoft doesn't want to add to the overall bill for Windows 7. And, we assume that the OS maker wants to keep the price down as much as possible, so as not to outrage the millions of Vista users who forked out for their short-lived system.
As a result, if your spanking new PC comes with a Blu-ray drive, you won't be able to enjoy Indiana Jones or the latest Will Smith blockbuster without some third-party media software.
We expect the usual suspects like WinDVD (currently up to Version 9 with Blu-ray support) or PowerDVD will come packed in (as a Lite or Trial version) with the Blu-ray drive. So all is not lost, though it's annoying that Windows 7 won't be able to play BD discs without an extra install.
Above: WinDVD to the rescue -- but how long will Windows users have to wait to get a version of their OS that can play Blu-ray? Or is Blu-ray simply a 'too little too late' technology that Microsoft shouldn't have to plough money into?
Will it really matter in the long run? With movies increasingly purchased as a download it looks like Blu-ray will have a shorter lifespan than its proponents had hoped for, but for the large number of users without suitably fast broadband, downloading high-definition quality movies is out of the question, leaving Blu-ray the only option, one that Microsoft has just neatly stepped around.
This situation may change in the future as the Blu-ray conglomerate is trying to find ways to get the cost of the license down, but for now ensure you have the software to play BD movies on your PC before rushing down to the video store.
What do you think?