I pulled my hair out for hours trying to find the best way to get my Windows Vista Ultimate HTPC to support Blu-ray. Here are my requirements.
1. Play Blu-ray and HD DVD’s directly from Media Center.
2. Native Media Center remote support.
3. Backup my Blu-ray and HD DVD’s to hard disk.
4. Play the backup from the folder on the hard disk.
5. Not take extra steps in the backup process (i.e. creating iso files)
6. Do this with as few programs as possible.
There are guides out there to help with this, like Revision3’s System. But their recommendations fell short of my needs because they suggested CyberLink PowerDVD 8. While this program is very nice, it does not support HD DVD, does not integrate with Media Center, does not integrate the Media Center remote (without the need for additional software **Update 9/17/2008: CyberLink now does function using the Media Center remote. But you still need the extra software to get the menu to pop-up**), and would not play the backups directly from the folder.
So, leaving the nuts and bolts out of it, and assuming you already have all the hardware you need installed and configured correctly, below are my steps and recommendations. I make no guarantees, but the below steps worked perfect for me and met all of my requirements listed above.
Two applications are all you need to get this job done. AnyDVD HD allow for the backup your DVD's to your hard disk drive. TotalMedia Theatre provides full Blu-ray and HD DVD playback and fully integrates with Media Center out of the box. Because of this integration the remote works flawlessly. TotalMedia also has the ability to play the backup videos from thier folders (Not launched from Media Center though. To play your backups you must launch them using the TotalMedia application not via Media Center).
John "Mike" Wright