Digital output on the PC is handled either through the DVI cable or HDMI cable.
First, the bad news about digital output:
Listen up people: every piece of hardware in the video chain needs to be DRM certified to allow for digital playback of protected HD content.
On the PC, this means that your optical drive has to be AACS enabled, your video card has to be HDCP enabled, and even your monitor has to be HDCP enabled.
If a single piece of the puzzle is not capable of handling digital rights management, the house of cards will fall and there will be nothing... no digital playback whatsoever, not even at a reduced resolution.
What's the good news about digital? Well, both HDMI and DVI allow for full 1080p output, which is nice. And once you've purchased the HDCP compliant hardware, you don't have to worry at all about the ICT or DOT flags. Those future restrictions are just for the analog users, so if you've taken the financially painful steps to get on board with HDCP compliance, you don't have to worry about any restrictions in the foreseeable future.
Hopefully that summary gave you an idea of what you need to get HD movie formats working on your PC. Armed with this information, let's have a closer look to what ATI and Nvidia have brought to the HD table with their Avivo and Purevideo HD technologies.
What Will Avivo And Purevideo HD Do For My HD/Blu-ray Video Playback?
If it is true that all you need to get analog HD playback on the PC is an HD/Blu-ray drive and an HD software player, what benefit do the Avivo and Purevideo HD technologies provide?
There are two main benefits of these technologies when playing back HD video formats: hardware decompression of the video files (which assists the CPU to playback HD movies smoothly), and visual quality enhancements.