Nvidia and ATI have updated their graphics drivers with two distinct features: Nvidia is now offering HD DVD and Blu-ray playback capability with Purevideo HD and ATI is first to get a certified driver for the final version Windows Vista out the door.
There isn't much new in the RTM (release to manufacturing) version of ATI's Catalyst driver when compared to the WHQL (Windows hardware qualification lab) certified driver announced a few days ago. However, the driver now indicates that it is ready for Microsoft's new operating system, which will be released in different version over a course of about two months.
Nvidia finalized its Purevideo HD technology and claims that it is first to enable playback of HD media on computers. However, that simple support of the driver isn't nearly enough to actually playback HD DVDs and Blu-ray movies on a computer. Besides the fact that a Blu-ray drive with AACS support or a HD DVD drive is required, users will also need a (new) graphics card with HDCP support as well as an HDCP-equipped display.
Don't forget that you will also need at least a dual-core processor and third-party software, as even the Windows Media Player 11, which will be included in Windows Vista, does not support Blu-ray/ HD DVD playback. Plan on spending some extra money on playback software from Cyberlink, Intervideo or Nero.
You didn't think playing Blu-ray or HD DVD movies on your PC was cheap and easy, did you?