There was quite an uproar a few weeks ago when ffdshow developers started to expose the fact that 3rd party codec support was changing and Windows 7
and while many were quick to jump to conclusions and write about the big bad corporation, we had a feeling some wires were just disconnected somewhere. Regardless, the good news is that 3rd party codecs are still supported in Windows 7, but if H.264 is supported natively then using a something like ffdshow instead is no longer a trivial matter -- and in our opinion not a bad thing considering the nightmares this has caused in Vista. Now forcing a 3rd party codec to play natively supported codecs isn't going to be easy, but it is possible. The up and coming Hack7MC.com has a pretty good explanation of just how to get it done. So if you're brave and just can't stand decoding H.264 with MS's included codec, then click on through and give it a try.