Top critical review
Microsoft has a lot to learn about HTPCs
on May 18, 2004
I bought this for the HD WMV version on disc 2, hoping to play this with my HD capable Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC). I have had nothing but problems:
1. There were problems with software codecs. The web site pointed to on the disc explained how I might need to manually install some components, which apparently I needed to do. Troubling, but overcome.
2. DVD-ROM required on the computer. My HTPC didn't have a DVD-ROM drive. I have a separate DVD player in my stereo stack, and DVD drives in other computers. My plan was to copy the files over to the HTPC. This didn't work because of the Microsoft DRM (Digital Rights Management). Even when I mapped the DVD-ROM on the other computer so it appeared locally, no luck. Worst of all, I only figured out this was the problem by debugging the Microsoft scripts on the disc. There was no explanation given, just a cryptic error message. Overcome with purchase of a DVD-ROM drive.
3. Bad audio format. As another reviewer has noted, the multi-channel audio is in a Microsoft format and I can't pass it over the optical connection from my HTPC to my DTS and Dolby Digital capable receiver. I have no problems with AC3 files and DTS encoded files. Not overcome - stuck with standard stereo.
4. Things cut off the screen. I'm running at 1920x1080 for 1080i resolution. My HDTV has a little overscan. The menus for configuring the player were cut off. I don't know if this is because it assumes 4x3 or the overscan, but someone needs to recognize that overscan exists. Overcome by playing disc in another computer and learning where the menu entries were.
5. Can't pause, etc. The player doesn't seem to respond to keys on my "media enabled" keyboard. The keyboard works fine in other applications. Not overcome.
BTW, the video looks awesome.