Friday Rant - Here's a perfect example of why DRM sucks

Friday Rant - Here's a perfect example of why DRM sucks

Summary: t's a Friday (again!) so that means time for another Friday Rant! Today a cautionary tale for those of you buying HD DVD players and discs.

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It's a Friday (again!) so that means time for another Friday Rant! Today a cautionary tale for those of you buying HD DVD players and discs.

If you've been looking at the slew of cheap HD DVD discs and players on the market and feel that this is the perfect time to hop onto the HD bandwagon is a cost effective way.  Be careful.  Be very careful, because as soon as your player dies your investment in HD DVD movies will be good for little more than coffee coasters. 

HD DVD seems to be experiencing a blip in popularity since the standard crumbled.  However, signs now point to this format being eradicated swiftly.  For example, take Cyberlink, makers of the popular PowerDVD software.  The HD DVD standard has only been dead for a few weeks and the company has already removed support for the format from PowerDVD 8.  If you want support for HD DVD then you need to have version 7.3 of PowerDVD installed (one consolation is that you can have both versions installed on the same PC). 

Now, I expected that support for HD DVD would diminish over time, but I didn't expect to see the plug being pulled on the format this quickly. 

So, once again we have a situation where the losers in this format war are the customers who've paid good money for players and media.  Now the format is dead, support for it is dying too.  Oh, and thanks to lavish amounts of DRM, customers will be forced not only to buy new hardware, but also new discs.  Welcome to the world of DRM where you pay multiple times for the same content.

AnyDVD HD logoOn a related note, it seems that the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS LA) have issued an update to the Blu-ray content protections scheme (AACS MKBv7).  However, just to show how pointless this update is, SlySoft, makers of AnyDVD, have updated the software to allow users who cannot update their software or hardware players to be able to make use of the latest movie releases. 

Thoughts?

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Security

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74 comments
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  • My advice: Resist the urge to buy the dead format.

    "If you?ve been looking at the slew of cheap HD DVD discs and players on the market . . ."

    The first thing to do is to forget about it. The writing was on the wall when Warner Brothers took sides. There were some skeptics who wanted to delay HD DVD's death as long as possible, but I personally knew the format wars was over beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt.

    "Now, I expected that support for HD DVD would diminish over time, but I didn?t expect to see the plug being pulled on the format this quickly. "

    Because, frankly, you're an idiot. It was extremely obvious that everybody wanted the wars to be over, and that the loser would die very quickly. I saw it a gazillion miles away.

    "Oh, and thanks to lavish amounts of DRM, customers will be forced not only to buy new hardware, but also new discs. Welcome to the world of DRM where you pay multiple times for the same content."

    Or you can go to the grey/black market and get a crack, as you mentioned at the end of the article. DRM simply doesn't work; it simply degrades to game of "find the key."
    CobraA1
    • My advice....

      ... is don't waste any money on HD at all. I don't know what the quality of US telly is like, but in the UK, standard digital broadcast and standard DVD are good enough for me.

      I can understand if you have a 60" telly, HD might be needed due to "pixel spread", but for a 30" TV?
      bportlock
      • Re: My advice....

        Well, asides from the government sponsoring a phase-out of convention television signals, effective very soon, actually, you could allege that digital broadcast is/will be decent in the US. In any case, it still doesn't give me incentive to buy a 60" telly if the "new" digital signal doesn't work. If I need to replace a 20" that does not support the digital transition (can someone explain to me why some older TVs can't support it?), I'll just buy a converter. Then again, I'm not the big spender first-mover type that most companies eye as the source of their profits, or the shmuck to troubleshoot their products by buying the first-generation.

        Besides, the original story was referring to WRITING and PLAYING HD DVD formatted disks, which is entirely different from the kind of TV you own.

        Now, as to the original poster you're commenting on, his claim that the story writer is an idiot for assuming that the format death is sudden is idiotic itself. The format war, essentially, did not have to exist. The companies created the schism that made it impossible for the coexistence of HD DVD and BluRay and consumers can only follow suit. Complaint is the same as partaking in the war; compliance is the same as partaking in the war; favouritism is the same as partaking in the war. The only alternative is to ignore post-DVD disks entirely. The combination HD DVD and BluRay player was killed by lawsuits. Not a lack of profits, LAWSUITS.

        Additionally, you take for granted how long VHS survived as a format. DVD survived for a long time as well and is still managing to coexist high definition format simply because it managed to pan out to be a versatile media. If movie disk formatting also becomes suspect to Moore's Law, and companies force the switch, then people will have no choice but to make physical television media obsolete.
        FateJHedgehog@...
      • I agree

        Yep, the UK broadcasts look pretty swanky.

        But, whenever they're showing clips from US news shows or playing Friends on Channel 4 (so that's about... 90% of the day?), the quality is crap. Whether its just because US TV quality is crap, or whether its an NTSC / PAL thing, I don't know. If it is because of a naff quality, though, that would explain why HD formats are proving a lot more popular in the US compared to the UK...
        CreepinJesus
        • I agree

          NTSC (never the same color) is pretty bad compared to PAL. The first time I saw PAL I was shocked. It was on a small TV showing an opera, and I could not believe the difference. How easily impressed we are by a small difference (sigh).
          ait10101
          • hmmm..

            NTSC uses 30 frames per second at about 700x525, and PAL uses 25FPS at about 830x625. Obviously they don't mesh, and the color encoding methods are different, so playing one on the other causes problems. Granted, the extra resolution is going to equal a better picture, but what would one expect from NTSC, a standard that was defined from before WWII? I'm happy to be getting rid of it myself.

            As to the gent who asked why digital and analog signals aren't compatible on the same sets, it has to do with the electronics in the tuners of the televisions. The tuner in non digital ready TV's does not know how to pick the digital signal off the carrier wave. Digital and analog signals are represented completely differently and the older electronics simply can't deal with them.
            Zorched
          • not so fast

            PAL is definitely different in its color presentation, more 'saturated' not so sure that I would it call it better. The increased resolution is probably what is registering as the key difference.
            BUT to my NTSC trained eyes, I find PAL to have annoying stutters, especially when watching quick action. Probably due to its slower frame rate.
            Another factor is what is being used to 'broadcast'.
            chips@...
      • Depends on how you view

        I have 24" HD monitors here on my computer system... same basic idea as HDTV, only slightly more space (1920x1200, for that 16:10 aspect ratio PCs seem to conspire to). Believe me, HDTV is day and night on such a screen. I haven't seen it in person, but I believe the same can be said about Sony's tiny OLED display.

        It's not the screen size, but the size relative to viewing distance. I'll grant you, if you are watching one my 24" monitors across my media room (rather than the usual 71" DLP), you may miss out on the difference between HDTV and upconverted DVD (though most other SD sources are probably going to be obvious).

        But in that senario, the problem is the 24" screen at 10-15ft away, not any specific problem with HD on a 24" screen. They look spectacular here at arm's length, and you'd never confuse SD with HD sources on these.
        dhaynie@...
    • God bless AnyDVD

      Bring back our fair use rights...
      hasta la Vista, bah-bie
    • My Advice: Don't Buy Blu-Ray DVD

      People refusing to purchase DRM infested hardware (and software) will quickly lead to it's demise. Everyone wants DRM infestation to be over. Frankly, I can see it a gazillion miles away. Only an idiot would disagree with me!
      chessmen
  • CyberLink? CyberLink who?

    Do we even need PowerDVD any more?

    Even if I did, I wouldn't buy it. Not version 8. I've had enough of upgraditis.

    I've owned every version of PowerDVD since version 2 or 3. Now it's up to 8. I currently have version 7.

    I got an email just this morning pushing a 'great deal' for PowerLink DVD 7 Users:

    Upgrade to the new version 8 for "$5 off".

    Well now, thank you very much!

    My investment in Cyberlink has come to an end...
    BitTwiddler
  • RE: Friday Rant - Here's a perfect example of why DRM sucks

    Anything lower than 42" 1080p is a waste.
    ju1ce
    • True that

      Blu-ray on a 13"-15" laptop screen?

      Puh-lease....
      hasta la Vista, bah-bie
      • Yes, Blu-Ray on a small screen

        Laptops in the 15"-17" range have 1080p, give or take (usually 1680x1050 or 1920x1200) resolutions. This is close enough to full 1080p, and yes, with a laptop, you will absolutely notice the difference between HD and SD, if you're watching a DVD at your normal HD viewing distance. Same is true of desktop monitors.. I have dual 24" 1200p monitors on my desktop, viewing distance a bit farther than the usual laptop use (so the apparent image size is about the same), and yes, HD vs. SD is not even remotely a question (I do HD video editing on this system on a regular basis).

        It's quite true that, if you did watch one of these screens from across a room, you wouldn't care about HD vs. SD. It's also true that you'd miss most of what's going on... these sized screens are meant for close viewing. The apparent size of my laptop or desktop screens are similar to the apparent size of my 71" DLP from my media room couch. That's what actually matters... how much of your visual field is occupied by the screen.
        dhaynie@...
        • I can't tell the difference

          A couple of months ago, I was up at Circuit City looking at some HP Pavilions with BR players/burners on them. I lucked out on the demo because he happened to have a DVD and a BR version on hand of "300".

          I looked at it and I didn't see much of a difference, picture-wise. Not on something that small. And it certainly wasn't enough to justify the $300 price difference.

          It did take a couple of more minutes for the BR to load up on memory hog Vista than it did for the DVD. I could've taken a nap in the meantime.

          What's next? Blue-ray on 2.5" iPods?

          It's all a load of hype to get people to part with their money.
          hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • You can't tell the difference...

            It's all perception of a person's mind. It's "made" up where they think they see a difference when there actually is none.
            ju1ce
        • I second that

          I'm running a 19" CRT and I can even tell an astonishing difference between regular DVD and HD DVD or Blu-ray. My resolution is set to 1792x1344, so the end result is 1792x1008, or definitely enough to be able to tell a large difference.
          TrackStar1682
  • You live on the edge

    you run the risk of getting cut. I don't have a lot of sympathy
    for you. You took your gamble and you lost.
    frgough
  • RE: Friday Rant - Here's a perfect example of why DRM sucks

    Well, I do have a larger screen TV and guess what, HD makes a TON of a difference. So, I respectfully disagree.
    ibarskiy@...
    • Bad post...

      Bad reply - this was actually in response to "forget HD altogether" post. Can't get used to the new layout. Anyway, moving right along...
      ibarskiy@...