There’s some more great news on the Windows 7 multimedia front. As we reported last week, Windows 7 will have various video formats working straight out of the box, without the need for codec installs. This also adds native UPnP streaming to devices such as the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3.
Unfortunately, Microsoft has thus far left out the all important Matroska container format, which is an open source file format that is arguably more robust and versatile than any other format.
However, DivX have just announced some more details on Project Remoulade, which will become DivX 7 when it is finally released. The latest beta adds Matroska support based on Microsoft’s Media Foundation architecture. This means that with DivX 7 installed, all of Windows 7′s multimedia apps (Media Player and Media Center) will work properly with MKV files, including thumbnails, and automatic streaming/transcoding to UPnP and MCE players including the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3.
Now I know that most people who are into the MKV scene already have their favourite players, codec packs, splitters, and probably already have a UPnP server set up if they stream to a console. But this is a breakthrough for those who want to see Matroska succeed. Without this type of mainstream support, it was only ever going to be a niche solution for hobbyists and pirates. Now that users can simply install one program and have everything working right out of the box, Windows is finally realizing its potential as a good multimedia solution. UPnP is finally becoming “Plug and Play”.
It should be noted that while it will be automatic, transcoding is certainly not the best solution to stream to your multimedia player. You will certainly lose a significant amount of quality, and CPU cycles and power will be wasted. Currently, Matroska files can be “remuxed” into an identical file that sits in a container format that is compatible with the PS3 or XBOX 360, which is a somewhat more complicated, but better solution than transcoding. Perhaps the Playstation 3, as an official DivX enabled product, will receive DivX 7 and Matroska support in a System Update one day. If anything, this is a positive sign pointing in that direction.
You can download a preview of DivX 7 now (32 bit only), by applying for a labs account and signing into the project page.