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Vista Content Protection

I heard lot of Vista's DRM "features", but this one is outstanding:

Can this be real?
Monday, December 25, 2006
Yeah, I just read that last night. Didn't the author refer to this DRM as "the longest suicide note in history?" Personally, I don't have a problem at all with digital rights management in theory, as I no longer own any pirated music or movies. I just suffer without a lot of the music I would like since I don't have the money to buy it. What really bristles me about this new system is the pure complexity of it, the fact the our future systems will be instable and more expensive. Unfortunately, I bet MS will pull it off. I wish there was a viable alternative to Vista. Perhaps this will open a greater service industry configuring Linux, since it can be such a pain to get up and going with whatever hardware you happen to have. More likely, Linux will try to become more commercialized at the same time a fresh round of lawsuits hits MS, but it the hardware vender's go drink the kool-aid, we'll pretty much be hosed.
SCADA Guy Send private email
Monday, December 25, 2006
It's certainly not imminent - as of today I can still buy a PC which runs Linux happily and not be bound by DRM and its evil ways.

But it is the inevitable way of things to come - probably in about 5 years we will see DRM enabled PC hardware becoming common - it will come with no specs and can only run proprietary OSes and drivers. (The Xbox 360 is exactly that, and it's there today.) Which means if you want to use a computer you pay up the additional costs for DRM and its baggage (H/W and S/W) whether or not you actually see protected content.

This might also take another interesting turn - Xbox 360 alike DRM enabled PC for the home media center will become a different product, sold apart from the bog standard PC. Just like gamers pay up for the Xbox 360 separate from their PC although they can play games on a PC, people who want to see protected content will pay separately for the DRM enabled media center.

As for Vista - it currently runs fine on my non-DRMed PC. So there is no reason to believe it will mandate the use of DRM hardware. It might refuse to play content on a non-DRM enabled PC but those people whoe need it will have to cough up the extra bucks for a DRM enabled Media center.
Monday, December 25, 2006
That's pretty optimistic to think that DRM pc's will be sold at a premium price and that people that don't need them will continue to pay a lesser price. The whole article that the OP referred to disagrees and goes to lengths to point out that the current hardware production model where vender's simply pull off the extra chips on a premium card or mobo to make a basic one will become "illegal". His main point is that shaking up the entire HW/driver industry will be expensive for everyone.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
It will doom the marketspace when the first "revocation virus" comes along to render hardware into bricks. That's going to take a lot of lawyers to settle out and I think the fallout will be a lot of hardware vendors leaving the industry. After all, just how many times can you afford to settle suits by replacing all the zapped hardware? Might such "revocation viruses" be caused by evil hackers, or your competitors?

And as for the rest of the digital restriction mismanagement, so long as I pay for my computer, only I get to decide what runs and what doesn't. The day your company claims to have that control is the day that your company pays for the computer on my desk, and not before then.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Hardware industry is not going to play dumb. No time in the history has any one company or a bunch of them have been able to force users to pay for something that they don't need.

Another reason is that they don't need to enforce people to play protected content - Vista will simply refuse to play it if the hardware doesn't match the DRM requirements. It simply won't be able to play that stuff without the assistance of the specialized hardware. When such hardware is available Vista will play it. I don't understand why the author is claiming Vista will require DRM enabled hardware when in fact it doesn't - it only will not play the protected content on non-DRMed hardware. There are other uses of a PC with Vista than playing protected content.

So what does this mean? You have to buy the media center pc (it may be priced low, high or equal to a standard PC and will or will not be limited to a certain function like the XBox 360) to play up the protected content.

I think that's quite plausible given the success of Xbox 360 - it after all is a PC but is limited to one function - play protected games. And people buy it today in addition to a standard PC/Mac.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I assume the article is written under the assumption that the DRM thing becomes something that most users expects to work (but I'm too lazy to reread it). If 70% of vista users expect to be able to buy tunes on microsofts 'itunes' or movies from 'imovies', Linux users and people who don't want DRM will have to pay the price anyway.

And that kinda sucks. I sure hope it flops big time.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Found this on ATI's web site:

"ATI’s Windows Vista graphics driver ensures that any application using ATI graphics hardware will be fully protected from 3rd party application attacks. This will be enforced by blocking applications from directly accessing ATI graphics hardware. Applications allowed to interact with ATI graphics hardware will only be given protected access to graphics memory as seen in Figure 8. Security measures such as these will ensure that users of ATI graphics can view next generation HD content on their Vista PCs."

So it sounds like all ATI vista drivers will support this DRM.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
That might be true for one market segment but I don't see how forcing DRM enabled and thus more costly hardware on say business and casual users of the PC serves any purpose.

I am still hoping that we will be able to buy DRM free hardware and use it for other purposes like serving the home network and doing programming.

But yeah I guess it's gonna suck big time if it heads to DRM-for-all-whether-or-not-you-need-it path. Sheesh...
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Let's say that the market for graphics cards is split in half. 50% want DRM enabled and 50% don't. If ATI and Nvidia decides to still produce cards without DRM, the market for those cards are now only half as big. So the prices ought to increase even for those cards (or the quality wont increase as fast as it would have done).

Sure, they will stil have synergy effects from the DRM cards, but the total cost has gone up. Perhaps they will take out all the extra costs on the DRM cards. But I doubt that's possible without losing out to the competition.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I think all major brand graphics cards already have it. Now all we need to do is throw away all the screens and buy new ones...and the sound cards and motherboards too.

Seriously, does Hollywood think that this is going to happen? 

HD video isn't a "killer app".

I think it could go the way of SACD - some rich kids bought it but most people stuck with CDs. CDs and DVDs are "good enough".
Jimmy Jones
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
SCADA says "Personally, I don't have a problem at all with digital rights management in theory, as I no longer own any pirated music or movies."

What you failed to grasp is that these problems are going to hit you even though you are totally legit.  When you're playing your legit copy of a movie, your video card may shut down or degrade, even though you have done nothing wrong.
Michael Dwyer Send private email
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
"When you're playing your legit copy of a movie, your video card may shut down or degrade, even though you have done nothing wrong. "

Assuming of course that he doesn't have the correct hardware to play the protected content in the first place.

I don't see the problem. Consumer HD DVD players will be available for peanuts that will connect to modern TV's that will also have the correct circuitry. So for the standard HD DVD movie config through a TV nobody is going to have any problems. People don't have a problem with accepting this.

The whole issue is with playback on a computer. Why do people expect this to be such an issue? Again, you just need the right hardware. And it will be available fairly cheap. Sure, don't expect to use your current monitor. But then again, don't expect to use your current NTSC TV to play your HD DVD's either. So why are people ok with upgrading their TV but are screaming foul when they have to make a simple monitor upgrade to watch protected content on a device that wasn't even really originally designed to do so?

What's the problem here? Seems like a double standard and Microsoft is getting beat up simply for trying to give you the ability to use your computer for something besides just surfing the web and posting on forums.
dood mcdoogle
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
"I don't understand why the author is claiming Vista will require DRM enabled hardware when in fact it doesn't - it only will not play the protected content on non-DRMed hardware."

Microsoft is selling the DRM kool-aid to drinkers like you by framing the entire issue in terms of HD movies, which few people care about. It is exactly the same method used to introduce Windows & Office activation, which is a key component to the new business model that Microsoft is trying to create.

You will start to care when Microsoft and other companies start locking down application functionality and/or features by DRM'ing software.

Want to do a mail merge in Word? $10.

Want to use some ActiveX control for some new Hotmail feature? Sorry, only for Vista "Ultimate" users.

Don't want to renew software assurance for Office? Ok, no more saving documents to PDF or using advanced features like spellcheck.

The end result will be that big software companies like Microsoft, Abobe, IBM will ship fully-featured products and give users the ability for users to "pay as you go" -- which will dramatically increase the barriers for small software companies to enter the market.

Microsoft is a big public company and needs to continue growing their earnings. In the past they've been able to improve their products to drive sales -- now they need to exploit their platform dominance to beat their earnings targets.
Duff Send private email
Thursday, December 28, 2006

"So why are people ok with upgrading their TV but are screaming foul when they have to make a simple monitor upgrade to watch protected content on a device that wasn't even really originally designed to do so?"

Because my PC was originally designed to be a general-purpose computing device.  It *would* be able to play the protected content, if the OS and hardware didn't add cost and complexity to prevent that.

If this all plays out, in a couple of years if I want to buy an off-the-shelf PC from a company that offers 24x7 support, I will be forced to pay more for the ability to enforce someone else's business model on myself.
Drew K
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Looks like Microsoft finally found a Linux beating strategy. If I'm reading this right, the hardware makers will be legally prevented from releasing unencrypted drivers, or providing enough details about their hardware to make any open source drivers for them. Without hardware support, Linux will never be a threat.
Mark Ransom Send private email
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Guttman's article is mostly FUD that is a nicely slashdotted hype amongst anti-MS communities.
A more accurate description of the contect protection delivered by Vista is found here:
hAl Send private email
Wednesday, January 03, 2007

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