WinDVD 8 and AACS key revocation

WinDVD 8 and AACS key revocation

Summary: What are the implications of the AACS key for WinDVD 8 being revoked?

TOPICS: Tech Industry

I've had a few questions from readers regarding the implication of the AACS key for WinDVD 8 being revoked (as covered on, for example, Slashdot).

First off, has the AACS key for WinDVD 8 been revoked?  The answer is yes, as you can read in this press release by InterVideo:

To our valued InterVideo WinDVD Customers,

Today Corel is releasing an important new security update for InterVideo WinDVD. We have taken this step to ensure that our customers continue to enjoy the latest HD DVD and BD content.

Our decision stems from recent reports that hackers have illegally obtained certain software licensing keys and have used them to duplicate copyrighted content without prior authorization. Corel takes this situation very seriously. We have been working closely with our partners and other industry organizations to ensure we take the steps necessary to prevent copyright infringement from happening in the future.

WinDVD customers who are currently using either HD DVD or BD playback will need to download the free security update from your PC or Drive manufacturer's websites.

This update includes security enhancements as well as updated licensing keys that will be required to view both newly purchased HD DVD/BD titles and those in your existing HD DVD/BD collections. By downloading Corel's free update, you will be able to continue to enjoy the latest HD DVD/BD content, while ensuring that copyrighted materials are properly protected.

Please be aware that failure to apply the update will result in AACS-protected HD DVD and BD playback being disabled.

Your continued enjoyment of our software is Corel's primary concern. If you have any questions about the WinDVD security update, please contact Corel's Customer Support Team at or by calling (800) 772-6735.

It's important to note that this update only affects WinDVD users who play HD-DVD and Blu-ray media.  No other software or hardware players are currently affected.  No current hardware Blu-ray or HD-DVD players need updated keys.  Also, the issue will not affect existing HD and Blu-ray discs, only new ones which which won't support the revoked key.  However, it is possible for a disc containing an updated Host Revocation List (HRL) to disable a player until it is updated.

It's a trivial matter to update a software player.  Just download the patch and apply it.  Hardware players are a different matter.  A network jack is mandatory on HD-DVD players but optional on Blu-ray players.  I can see a point coming when hardware players could need updating, and imagine that when that happens those will be tough days for the tech support personnel having to field calls from angry owners just wanting to play a disc.  It's possible that firmware patches could be delivered directly on HD-DVD and Blu-ray media, eliminating the hassles of having to connect the player to the Internet.  Truth be told though, I don't see the patches being delivered directly on the media though, that would require an extremely high level of organization.  My guess is that when keys are revoked for hardware players many owners are going to experience a high degree of hassle.

Question: How long are InterVideo going to release updates to WinDVD 8 after the next version is released?  How long until users will be left with a revoked player and be forced to upgrade?

In other developments, hackers over on Xboxhacker have come up with a way to get a unmodified Microsoft Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive to pass a disc's Volume ID before it has been authenticated by AACS.  This doesn't allow discs to be copied but it does allow copied discs to be played back as though they were originals.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • People react to what they see...

    ... and what they will see is a box from manufacturer XXXXXXX that won't play their disc for them. Most of them have never heard of Intervideo or Corel and so they won't blame them for problems. They'll blame Sony, Toshiba, or whoever's name is on the front panel.

    The laughable bit is that this probably won't hurt DRM but will hurt any manufacturers who products are difficult to update.
  • Errr... Adrian - how do you update these things?

    Say I have a dodgy player. It does not play the DRM'd disc. How do I update this? Do they send me a disc with the encryption key on it (Duh!!!).

    I noticed you mentioned network connections. Am I supposed to have an ethernet in my house? (OK so I *do* have a house wide ethernet - but hey - geeks are exceptions, not the rule).

    Is there even any point to updating the keys? The hackers know how to find them now. Issue new keys today, crack them tomorrow, publish cracked keys the day after.
  • Ahhh... The sound of the DRM jackboots stepping on the first necks.

    At least as far as WinDVD goes.

    So, it's update or:
    1. You won't be able to play new titles.
    2. Your player may be disabled if you try to play a new title.

    Wow, now how long until the "updates" cost money?

    For hardware players, it's even better. The DRM lets the media companies dictate what you must do with the hardware you own. Would you tolerate Ford or Chevy telling you what you must do with your car?
    • It depends

      If the argument is that it keeps you safe, or "it's for the children," people are more
      than happy to let big brother tell them how to live their lives. No trans fat foods. No
      smoking in a restaurant. No disabling the air bags on your car.

      The problem is, the media industry hasn't found a way to market their big brotherism
      in such a nannystate package. When they do, people who think safe is better than
      free will bow down and scrape the ground for them.
      • Thanks for the laugh frgough!!

        [i]people are more than happy to let big brother tell them how to live their lives.[/i]

        Coming from an Apple zealot like you that pays Jobs to make all of your decisions for you, your attempt to deride people who are [b]exactly like you[/b] is quite humorous to say the least!!

        [i]When they do, people who think safe is better than
        free will bow down and scrape the ground for them.[/i]

        INDEED!!! Of course, what would you know about "free"? You are a Mac user. :)
    • that is why DRM should be declared illegal

      The fact that those illegal DRM did not work in the 1st prove once more that they are totally useless. Since when i need a internet connection to whatch a HD DVD? witch clown at the goverment have let such a grosse anti-consumer useless function like that slip trough the crack? All we need now is some hacker to get keys from a couple of setup players (and they will) and it will be total chaos.
      • And the answer is...

        [i]"witch clown at the goverment have let such a grosse anti-consumer useless function like that slip trough the crack?"[/i]

        Find out where the DRM spent its lobbying money and you'll have your answer.
  • Can we make it any more complex?

    People only care about buying / renting a disk bringing it home and it working. We already have 2 standards to deal with, now we may also have to worry about revoked keys and updating players. The only way this could possible be simple for the user is if the disks did the updates automatically. But would you want any old disk you stick into your player to be able to update the control list?

    Also the network jack is fine but honestly how many people have their players hooked to a network jack. Or for that matter would know how to unplug their dvd player to where their internet connection is. Remember this would also require hooking it up to a TV so you would also have to move a TV. Then you have to deal with the fact that your probably are not going to move you big tv so you have to connect the dvd player over a different connection (if available, such as RCA or component instead of HDMI). This is the LAST thing i want to be dealing with on a Friday night after i popped my popcorn and sat down to find out my movie doesn't work play. Then there is the question on how well the individual DVD player handles this error. Does it just give a verbose message like "Improper disk" "Can't Read" etc. Or do you see something like the encryption key on your unit is no longer supported. Please follow the directions to update your device.

    Now what if i am up at my cabin which is no where near a phone line or internet? I guess i have to wait till i get home to fix my fancy hd-dvd.

    For me this is just another nail in the coffin for HD-DVD. I have always felt that the majority can't overwhelming tell the difference from HD and a DVD. Espically from the average distance which is further away from the recommended viewing distance for max effect (which is surprising close). It's not like the Jump from Broadcast TV weather it's Cable or Dish to HD. That anyone can notice. DVD is already a leap ahead of standard tv so the difference from a DVD to HD-dvd has less of a margin.
    • False Assumption

      You are working from the premise that customer experience is important to them. It isn't, their #1 goal is control, enforcement of your reduction in rights, preserving their revenue stream, vendor lock in and market manipulation to inflate prices. Your actual ability to watch a movie comes last. Now, this last one is important, but not at the expense of their more important goals.

      They have proven time and time again that it is more important for 100 innocent people to be punished, inconvenienced and pay more out of pocket in lost time, effort and upgrades than it is to have 1 guilty person watch/listen to content illegally.


      P.S. The good news is, the gauntlet has been re-thrown, a few $millions in rework later (yes, it will, this time, finally be money well spent [rolleyes] ), hackers will be working overtime to break the "latest and greatest" version.
      • Nicely Stated!

        When it comes down to it anything digital can be and will be circumvented!

        When you think about it having DVD players stop working in the future would be a way to get people to purchase new ones.

        Even if a customer gets mad and says "I am never buying a Sony DVD player again" they will buy one from another company. And the chances of someone who has purchased one from the other company is likely to make the same decision and get a Sony so it will balance out anyway.
    • There's even less margin...

      [i]"DVD is already a leap ahead of standard tv so the difference from a DVD to HD-dvd has less of a margin."[/i]

      ... over in the UK and Europe where we use PAL rather than NTSC. PAL's resolution is about 20% higher. Also,a high proportion of terrestrial TV signals are digital in format giving another quality boost. Here in the UK the analogue TV signals start getting switched off in the next 12 months and by 2012 all UK TV broadcasts will be digital.

      The EU now has a population of 400 million and all on PAL or digital. Will HD succeed in such an environment? There doesn't seem to be an appetite for HD at present.

      In such an environment, HD's only real advantage is for massive screens 50+ inches and up where the conventional picture gets stretched to the point of "fuzziness".
  • That's why I wrote this

    Top 5 reasons Blu-Ray will never be in my home. Amazingly, the naysayers chalked all my arguments up to "paranoia". I can't wait until the first recorded report of a group of friends getting together on a Friday night to watch a movie and an unsuspecting victim's house to read this on their screen.

    [B]"This DVD can't be certified by our servers, you will NOT be allowed to watch this movie, we're sorry for the inconvenience. If you feel this message is being displayed in error..."[/B]

  • Sony? Aim at Blockbuster...

    So Joe Consumer rents a new video from Blockbuster,
    takes it home and it disables his HD player.

    Joe Consumer is really Joe Consumer Esq. (a lawyer),
    and decides to sue someone for the grief and anguish...
    (let's make that sometwo or somefifty).
    First: Blockbuster, for failing to warn him of the disk-carried lock. (now, will Blockbuster turn around and sue the DRM crowd?
    I can dream, can't I?)
    (then he'll continue up/down the chain of MGM (for the disk),
    Sony (for the player), Corel/InterVideo, etc.etc.)

    The future is truly bright...

    disclaimer: yes, I know that it would be BD for Sony