Considering Windows Vista as a Media Center?

Continuing my recent theme of examining the true value of a computer system by basing the evaluation on more than just price, here are a couple of great articles which outline the limitations imposed on something as trivial as audiovisual playback in Windows Vista. Both are based on information from Peter Gutmann, a security researcher with the University of Auckland Department of Computer Science.

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

Vista Prevents Users Playing High-Def Content

The gist? If you want to set up a home theater or other high-end A/V workstation for the purpose of viewing high-definition content, you’ll be viewing little or none of it at high-def resolutions. The current state of the art in monitors, graphics adapters, cables and DVD/BRD drives don’t support the content protections in place.

So, if you want to play HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs and you already bought or will buy computers/display equipment within the next couple of years, forget it. You’re not going to get HD. Or even high-quality audio. It’s going to look and sound worse than even standard DVD.

Unless you got a Mac or are running Linux.