I believe that ArcSoft has released it's Total Media Theater 2 software for HD DVD/Blu-Ray playback. I had been keeping an eye on it since someone told me about it on here a while back. Has anyone tried it out? I was reading posts on another forum about it that started quite a while back so they have been following it since there was first news of it. It was funny because in the beginning someone found a Japanese trial version and more and more people were trying it and everyone seemed pretty impressed by it. But by the time the English trial version came about and people started trying it the English version seemed more buggy. Many people claimed better picture quality over PowerDVD. This player does not downsample the audio either. I was interested until I saw that they don't support ATI cards in XP. I don't necessarily understand that decision since so many people are still using XP. I don't know if anyone has heard of this player or is interested, but I was surprised to find out that it integrates with MCE (I think both MCE 2005 and Vista Media Center) so you can playback HD DVD and BR from within that.
ArcSoft Total Media Theatre
Looks interesting and I have been seriously considering a BD/HD DVD combo drive for my HTPC. Your statement about it not supporting ATI in XP has me puzzled as I could only find the following statement on ArcSoft's website regarding their Total Media Theater:
"NVIDIA GeForce 8400 and above, or AMD(ATI) HD2400 and above.
Notes: We only support AMD(ATI) graphic card on Windows Vista."
Perhaps you meant to say no nVidia support with Vista which for me kinda blows because that's what I currently have in my HTPC. Hopefully nVidia support on Vista will come later down the road.
OK, that makes more sense; it's just a poorly written statement by ArcSoft. I have Vista 32-bit and an 8800GTS so I guess I'm good if I decide to go that route.
Yeah from what I've been reading it is the other way around, only NVIDIA cards have been offically supported.
We have been in contact with ArcSoft and I should have an evaluation version in the week few weeks.
I downloaded the 15-day trial. The Vista Media Center integration is awesome! And, when you "call it" from Media Center, the menus are 10' interface friendly. (the normal menu's running Total Media Theater stand-alone are really tough to read at 1080i...) However, I don't think playback is quite right... It doesn't seem as smooth as PDVD (although CPU usage seems about the same). I'm going to do some comparisons.
Yes ArcSoft seems to have a lot of little bugs to shake out, Over on AVS it has come out that ArcSoft is working closely with Media Center OEM Vidabox to work on things, Vidabox is supposed to be selling their own rebranded solution using ArcSoft soon too. So hopefully having constand feedback from an OEM will help ArcSoft get things right.