A few days ago I wrote on my blog about the “sorry state of proper h.264 support on the PC”. The bottomline was that if you need some good HD h.264 support for HD videos the solution is Apple’s G5 with Qt 7 PRO, or QuickTime 7 PRO for Windows (whenever this is going to be released). The existing PC solutions (Win or Linux) were ranging from bad to terrible with all-time-worse being mplayer’s support (about 0.3 fps on the 1080p Serenity trailer on a 2.8 GHz P4) and ‘best’ the Elecard Moonlight player that could barely do about 10 fps on a brand new 3 GHz P4-630. However……the Elecard people patiently listened to my gripes and with some swift moves released today version 3.01 of their Moonlight MPEG Player for Windows that now plays HD clips almost full speed (24 fps for the Serenity trailer, about 15 fps for the BBC clip on the 3 GHz P4). QuickTime 7 is still more optimized overall (screenshot from a dual 1.25 GHz G4 Powermac), but I was positively surprised about their quick responses and fixes and hense this mini-article presenting the choices you have if you want some good QuickTime HD h.264 videos on a PC. I have no doubt that future versions of the Moonlight Player will be further optimized.
Linux/FreeBSD are still real bad regarding HD h.264 support (Xine, VLC, Totem crash when loading such a clip, only mplayer handles it – just very slowly and with random trash on the playback screen), hopefully we will see some serious optimizations and fixes soon because that HD h.264 stuff are really exciting!