I have collected some information to my questions.
Early this week I contacted Albatron, Asus, BFG, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, Nvidia, Pioneer, Samsung, Sapphire, and XFX.
Albatron, EVGA, Samsung, and Sapphire haven't responded yet.
Most responses attempted to dodge the questions, indicating the respondents didn't know their stuff. Pioneer was the most embarrasing, as their email response told me to call a phone number, and the woman answering had no idea at all. Nvidia was the most responsive and most helpful, as expected. They said that the HDCP has been integrated into the Geforce series since 6600 GPU, but that it's been a bonding option all this time. Only with the 7950 is the feature there by default. It's up to the graphics card manufacturer to choose an Nvidia GPU with the HDCP enabled. If they do so, the card can output a high definition signal through the DVI cable to the monitor.
1. HDCP support is GPU bond option and a card manufacturing option. This has been supported since the GeForce 6600 GPU.
2. Yes, if the card manufacturer included HDCP support in their design via DVI or HDMI.
3. I'll clarify for full resolution Blu-ray / HD-DVD playback today on a PC (well soon) you will need the following.
A. Graphics card with HDCP enabled DVI or HDMI.
B. A Blu-Ray / HD-DVD optical disc drive that is AACS enabled.
C. AACS certified Multimedia software Decoder / Player capable of H.264 and MPEG-2 Blu-ray / HD-DVD movie playback.
Obviously, if you buy a 7950 (upwards of five hundred US dollars), you'll have no graphics inhibitions. You can still buy into Blu-ray viewing capability at a lower price; an example of a product the explicitly supports HDCP is the MSI 7600GT. http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_sp ... &class=vga
There are probably some other manufacturer's models available, but you need to check the specs to be sure. My understanding is that if it has PureVideo, it can play Blu-ray movies from the DVI port. But nobody told me that exactly
. I concluded it from the following:
Enabling consumers to play HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc movies on a PC, NVIDIA PureVideo HD consists of select NVIDIA GPUs (certain NVIDIA GeForce 6-series GPUs, all NVIDIA GeForce 7-series GPUs, and nForce 6150 motherboards), PureVideo HD software, and content security management. These components are designed to meet the HDCP specification and offer HDMI/DVI compliance. (Other products, such as monitors and display devices may need to be also designed to meet the HDCP specification to view content at full HD resolution.)
Theoretically, you have to have a HDCP enabled monitor to watch a Blu-ray movie, but I don't know if the content protection mechanism is enabled at this time. To be future proof, you would be well off to buy an LCD monitor with that capability.
My plan is to buy a Geforce 7 series, or possibly a 6 series with a quiet cooling (no fan) approach.