New rumblings about Windows 7 codec support
Following up on my previous report on integrated Windows 7 codec support, I saw today from Volker Zota at heise that some new developments in the Windows 7 betas have come to light. Â According to the investigative work of an ffdshow developer, as reported to Dan “BetaBoy” Marlin of CoreCodec, the latest beta of Windows 7 blocks the usage of third party video decoders from Windows Media Player and MCE.
As previously reported, Windows 7 differs from earlier versions of Windows in that it will ship with a number of popular video codecs already integrated, including most notably h.264. Â There are some very notable caveats to the information as it stands right now: this is after all just a beta and might not be in the final released version of Windows 7, there will likely be work arounds, especially for other player software applications (like VLC and Media Player Classic), and because Windows 7 will come with h.264 already installed, many users will never need third-party decoders anyway.
Nonetheless, this move by Microsoft is still somewhat disturbing for it seems to be a big step backwards from what appeared to be Redmond’s increasing openness to third party solutions in the video world. Â There remains a very active competitive landscape among codec developers and media software creators, outside of the (somewhat) closed garden that Microsoft would prefer Windows users to remain within, and such a move would definitely tilt things in the Microsft direction. Â This isn’t IE versus Netscape, but it does reflect that kind of outdated thinking we all hoped Microsoft was moving away from finally. Â I’m sure much more technical details will emerge in the next few days, but right now the blocking takes place at very deep levels of the OS.