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Cyberlink's $99 PowerDVD Ultra enables HD DVD and Blu-ray on your PC

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Cyberlink has finally released a standalone version of its HD DVD and Blu-ray movie playback software, PowerDVD Ultra. The total package carries a $99/€99 price tag and is available for download now, while Intervideo's WinDVD 8 continues to wait for its HD upgrade. Dual core processor, 512MB of RAM, 256MB of video RAM, HDCP for any digital connections and of course an HD DVD or Blu-ray drive (the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive is officially supported) are just the mininum requirements. NVIDIA PureVideo, ATI Avivo and Intel Clear Video hardware acceleration support should keep those h.264 and VC-1 encoded movies playing smoothly while Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD soundtracks play in 6.1 surround sound. Blu-ray Java and HDi interactive features are supported, as well as UPnP streaming to compatible devices. With features that outpace many of the standalone players on the market, building your own dual format player doesn't sound so crazy after all.

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