Audio output and copyright protection

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike_Yi, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. Mike_Yi

    Mike_Yi Auditioning

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    I just got a Panasonic RP56 progressive DVD player. I was reading the instruction booklet yesterday and came across something that distressed me. I'm a newbie to this stuff so I'm still learning what a lot of it is. When I was looking through the DVD setups, I saw a setting for PCM under audio. Having no idea what this was, I watched for it in the manual and when I found it I read that section carefully.

    It turns out that the manual does not explain it (I've since discovered elsewhere what it is). However, I found something that made me kinda mad.

    According to the manual, when using analog audio output, the audio is converted and output at 48 kHz if PCM is set to On and output at 96 kHz if PCM is set to Off. However, I've got digital output. With a digital connection, I will get 96 kHz if PCM is set to Off ONLY if the disc is not copy protected. If the disc is copy protected, I will get NO AUDIO out. If I set PCM to On with digital output, it will be converted to 48 kHz/16 bit.

    Now I can understand that they are doing this to prevent people from copying high-quality DVD audio and burning their own. However, I am not, have never been, and will never be a pirate. Therefore, I am a bit put off that my audio output is being crippled to prevent me from pirating.

    So I'm wondering if this is a normal practice or if this is something that only Panasonic does. If it's only Panasonic, I will definitely return my DVD player and get another. I would probably pick up the Sony DVPNS700P if I can verify that it does not do this.

    FWIW, I don't know yet if my audio components are capable of handling 96 kHz signals, but that is moot as far as I'm concerned. My primary concern is that I don't want to support any company that assumes their customers are engaging in piracy, or are willing to make their honest customers suffer due to the minority of dishonest customers.

    Mike
     
  2. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Mike,
    Your beef is really with the content providers.
    Ignoring the Copy_Inhibit flag is a quick way to get your butt into the courts [​IMG]
    Most of the newer players will now transfer the 24/96K signal as long as the content provider permits it.
    The 24/96K DADs (not DVD-Audio discs) that I have tested are all permitted to transfer the 24/96K bitstream, and have succesfully done so on a number of players with several titles.
    Regards,
     
  3. Mike_Yi

    Mike_Yi Auditioning

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    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Ignoring the Copy_Inhibit flag is a quick way to get your butt into the courts

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    What do you mean by that? What Copy_Inhibit flag? As I've said, I don't intend to copy any copyrighted material.

    Yes, I agree that I have a gripe with the content providers. However, I'm betting that this will become more widespread. If I purchase content that is capable of 96 kHz, I should be able to enjoy it that way regardless of copy protection (especially, since I'm not going to copy it).

    BTW, I happen to live in Elgin also.

    Mike
     
  4. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Mike,

    Copy_Inhibit is (I think) the flag that blocks digital transmission of 24/96K, I'd have to study the flags to be sure of its name.

    It doesn't matter what YOUR intentions are, the content providers are a bit beyond paranoid. We are now assumed guilty, ie we're going to copy, whether we do or not. Given that the digital signal is transferred in the clear, it is possible to do lossless copying. Note: I am not saying you are going to do this, I'm saying the means to do so is readily available to do so.

    The hardware manufacturers are delivering what they can without getting sued.

    Regards,
     
  5. eric

    eric Agent

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    so is there a way to bypass this? i dont have means to copy dvd's, but for his sake, im curious as to whether you can modify it to play correctly.

    eric
     
  6. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Eric,

    It plays correctly assuming you always use DACs internal to the player.

    At issue is the transfer of the 24/96K signal between the player and a receiver (or processor). To always pass a 24/96K signal, you have to find a player which ignores the Copy_Inhibit flag.

    Regards,
     
  7. Mike_Yi

    Mike_Yi Auditioning

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    I see. So what you said before about the lawsuit was refering to the DVD player manufacturer. Right? If they make their player to ignore the Copy_Inhibit flag, they may be liable to be sued by the content providers?

    Mike
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Guys, we are not a hacker site. Please dont post questions about how-to defeat copy protection.
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John said:

     
  10. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Bob,

    No one is discussing how to defeat the COPY_INHIBIT flag. So far I've stated that it wouldn't be impossible for a manufacturer to ignore that flag. How does that even remotely resemble hacking?

    Regards,
     
  11. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,
    It's the big boys that haven't released too much content with 24/96K -- and they're the ones most likely to block the copy.
    The small guys (Chesky and Classic Records) have no issues because they are well aware that a digital copy or two floating around might actually increase sales.
    Regards,
     
  12. Mike_Yi

    Mike_Yi Auditioning

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    Then for the time being, there is probably very little content that would be available at 24/96 and it's no big deal. Thanks for informing me John.

    I sure wasn't asking how to defeat copy protection. I was only asking if all manufacturers are including this limitation on their hardware.

    Mike
     
  13. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    John, let me ask you this:

    Would it be possible (if Chesky or Classic Records was taken over by a mega corporate empire) that a 24/96 DAD disc could be authored with the Copy_Inhibit flag 'ON', thereby causing my RP-91 to degrade the digital output stream to 16/48 ?

    -JNS
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John said:

     
  15. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,

    I don't know on DTS and Capitol. My source at DTS never answered the question.

    I have yet to hear copy protection in a recording reputed to have it... maybe my ears are batty, maybe my brain filters it out.

    I have no doubts the watermark can be audible, assuming worst case / most aggressive watermarking is employed. The amount of watermarking is adjustable, so it could be that in the field less watermarking is present than in the British test.

    Regards,
     
  16. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Jagan,

    I don't recall if the downsample is 16/48, 20/48 or 24/48 but what you described is certainly possible.

    Regards,
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, thanks for the info. While I have never had anyone point out watermarking on a DVD-Audio disc to me (i.e., while listening, "There it is! Do you hear that?!"), I have never heard anything unusual on my Warner discs. They sound great to my ears.

    I find the whole bashing of watermarking on Audio Asylum a bit amusing. Now, let me say that I don't like the idea of watermarking. However, while certain DVD-Audio discs are watermarked (not that I can hear it), DVD-Audio does allow for digital output of the material, albeit in downsampled form. The only way to output SACD in the digital domain is via the megabuck Accuphase two-box system, and you have to use the Accuphase processor (maybe the expensive Sharp system works similarly?). Obviously, real-world SACD players do not allow for output of the DSD bitstream. On the other hand, Denon is moving forward with a proprietary digital output of DVD-Audio between its DVD-9000 DVD-Audio player and AVR-5803 receiver. One may liken this to the Accuphase SACD set-up, but the Denon set-up will be much cheaper. Finally, we all know that Denon was hoping to incorporate SACD playback into the '9000, but Sony nixed that idea. Despite this set-back, Denon is taking DVD-Audio in the right direction. So, while many "golden ears" on Audio Asylum bash watermarking, and I am skeptical of claims that the watermarking scheme on Warner discs is audible, DVD-Audio is ahead of the game in terms of digital output of high-resolution music.
     
  18. Mike_Yi

    Mike_Yi Auditioning

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    I would probably never hear watermarking either (because my system is relatively cheap and probably not nearly accurate enough to make it audible). I've got a problem with the whole watermarking idea though - "fair use" and all that is my right by law. I want to have the option to to excercise my rights under fair use if I so choose.

    Having said that, I just have to say that pirates suck. They're gonna make all of us honest people suffer for their lack of morals.

    Mike
     
  19. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith and Mike,
    I agree. It was a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea to include audible watermarking, when metadata watermarking would have sufficed IMO. Even if (as implemented) it turns out to be completely inaudible, the stigma will always be there.
    Yes, the Sharp's have proprietary digital outs, and the universal solution they demo'd at CES in January was:
    US$30K for the processor
    US$19K for each of the three amplifiers
    US$20K for the transport.
    That's a cool US$107K for a product that isn't yet on the market. I believe the term YIKES is in order.
    Denon is going in the right direction.
    I raised this issue in another forum:
    DSD, as it stands today, cannot do DSP. The Sonoma editing station takes the DSD bitstream in and converts to 32bit/352K PCM. The Sony editing station takes the 1-bit 2.8mHz input to 8-bit, 2.8mHz PCM. When all operations are complete, the output is then transferred to 1-bit 2.8mHz DSD once more. There are almost literally 0 recordings out there without some type of editing.
    Lots to ponder guys.
    Regards,
     

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