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It's Official: HD DVD and Blu-ray Can Limit High Resolution To HDMI Only

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Pete Lee, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    What about other practical concerns?

    If your HD/Blu-ray player requires an internet/phone connection, that will require an entire infrastructure of machines on the other end to acquire and process the information. And a whole beaurocracy of people to tend to the information. Will this be up to each studio individually, or a central clearinghouse?

    What happens when your internet connection goes down? Or if Hollywood's servers go down? When they have a power outage? When they go out of business or on strike? Will I not be able to watch a movie in my home if there is some problem on the other end?

    The whole potential system is (in M*A*S*H-speak) a corporal-captain. "I don't like it. No sir, I don't like it at all."
     
  2. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Central clearinghouse, so the studios can avoid direct culpability ("We at the MPAA are uncertain why everyone's HD disk players have suddenly been de-authorized, and are currently launching an investigation into the authentication body."). As for the infrastructure, it's not all that different from a cable or satellite PPV system, or from Divx, truth be told. I'm sure the servers and stuff are the least of their worries.

    I suspect, in fact, that if mandatory connections are adopted, the model would be quite Divx-esque: machine gives tentative authorization to play a disk if the "account" is in good standing (in this case, if the player has not been identified as "hacked" and deactivated), and dials home periodically (once a week would be enough) to handshake with a central server in order to verify the machine has not been tampered with, and possibly to update new keys.

    Once a week dial-in gives the customer swag time (and, more importantly, gives the authentication body time to get their sith together before people start screaming bloody murder in the event of a power outage or some such) in case of phone difficulties. It is possible immediate connection would be implemented, but I doubt that. Too many customer complaints on server-downs and the like.

    But, yeah, Glenn, these are all legit customer concerns, even though the studios would likely try to make it as seamless and invisible as possible to the end user. Doesn't mean I think it will fly, but it's not like this is unprecedented-- Divx showed it could be done. Even though it ultimately failed in the marketplace, I'm quite sure certain studios consider it "proof of concept".
     
  3. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Those systems have never really been tested. DivX was a commercial failure before even anything remotely like large amounts of customers existed.

    Microsoft still really cannot handle the registration/authorization process of XP.

    If they try to do it, I'm afraid they are bound to miserably fail: they probably cannot handle the traffic in the end (how long is maximally acceptable before an inserted disc starts to play - 1 min, 2 min? I would say: between 20 secs and 1 minute), you're depending on too much parameters (like having paid one's ISP) and future operation isn't guaranteed AT ALL. Dividing it up to different regions/countries/studios would even make it worse, of course, and less predictable.

    And it worsens even more over time.

    As an example: look into one of your backed up "favorites" or "bookmarks" lists of 1998 or 1999 and see how many sites on those lists still exist. Possibly less than 60%!

    It's quite possible that in the future none of our older HD DVDs would be able to play (acquire the necessary authorization) anymore.

    How long is the lifetime of a DVD? And a HD-DVD?

    A mandatory connection ia BAD technical solution, even when we forget about the other evil aspects for a moment.


    Cees
     
  4. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    I project that the first year or so of Blu-ray customers would be roughly equivalent to the number of Divx customers.

    Probably much less, if internet connections are mandated. [​IMG]

    Other than that... well, the problem with posting this stuff (and I'm as much to blame as anyone) is that we're basically preaching to the choir. Unless there are Blu-ray and studio lurkers here, we're just blowing off steam. We probably won't get a real idea what's coming, or be able to speak up on how crappy it is to an actual corporate rep, until January's consumer electronics bonanza. And even then they still might claim "that hasn't been decided yet"-- a "no-go" decision on mandatory connections can actually be made fairly late in the product cycle, since it's only software/firmware.
     
  5. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    A few bad activation stories does not make this so. WinXP activation is such a success that most major software companies are doing it now.

    People afraid of viruses and such...well hackers would have to hack the central servers. Microsoft's XBOX LIVE has not been breached and there are no "XBOX viruses" running around, even with millions of subscribers. XBOX LIVE has the ability to shut down your LIVE account if it finds you've modded your XBOX.
     
  6. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I just can't work out how it serves me, the video viewer, to subscribe to a pay-per-view, dial-in model. If a pay-per-view broadcaster goes belly-up, yes you are left with a useless box, but they've stopped broadcasting so it's no big loss. When DiVX was shut down, the subscribers lost the ability to play their discs; yes they recieved a "cash-out" settlement, but if I have five hundred HD-DVDs or Blu-Rays and no other way to get those movies in HD, I'm going to want a lot more then $27.50 to compensate me for the loss of money, time, and utility, that is the ability to watch my HD movies! Will I get it? The answer is, unless I miss my guess completely, a resounding NO.

    That, plus the monitoring issue [and while Internet connexion insecurity is like someone watching you through an undraped window in your house, this phone-home business is like giving someone a free pass to come in and out, in terms of privacy], plus the hardware deactivation issue, plus the compatibility issue [i.e. what and how likely are the failure modes in terms of consumer impact], are just going to be deal-killers for people who would otherwise have bought in, I think.
     
  7. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Well, pay-per-view HD disks is not even on the table right now-- it exists as a potential business model (which I think would fail, if tried), nothing more.

    However, I think all of your comments are valid even if the model remains merely "mandatory authentication" instead of "pay-per-view".

    There's still a distinct possibility we're getting riled up over nothing (I don't believe this, or I would not be riled up), and we can hope that the Blu-ray folks have learned the lessons of Divxtory and won't try this again. But if not, we shall have to teach it to them again...
     
  8. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Of course, and let's hope so.
    But no harm in letting people know how we feel about it and what potential problems may arise for the studios and their customers!


    Cees
     
  9. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    They're not thinking that far ahead, Cees. Or they are, but they're assuming the complexity scales directly with number of users or disks-- and they may even be right.

    Doesn't matter if they are; if they are thinking about it at all, there's a PowerPoint foil somewhere with overly-optimistic predictions and an overly-optimistic number, and I suspect that they're not worried about it right now because "We have so many users we're swamping our authentication system" is, at this point, a problem they would love to have.
     
  10. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Curious.
    As an IT Admin I'd like to hear your evidence on this.
     
  11. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Or re-activations, for that matter. I got a new motherboard & CPU, and put XP in it, and it went through with no problems. If MS is checking up on copied disks, they sure are behind!

    I did come up with one good use for having an HD player connected. I got the idea from TIVO. If I got burgled and they swiped it, brought it home and plugged it in, they wouldn't get very far. It would make stealing any HD player a really, really stupid thing to do. Ok, crooks are usually stupid, but still.

    Glenn
     
  12. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    MS resets the hardware "hash" after 120 days. If you tried to reactivate within that time it would have had you call the hotline. They're polite and I've never had a problem reactivating, even getting a whole new key when the # of activations I had was exceeded.

    I upgrade a LOT...video cards, CPUs, HDs, etc, and have been using the same OEM Windows XP Pro I bought in August of 2001 (the OEM version for system builders was available before the retail versions).
     
  13. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Lead Actor
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    Has anyone heard anything about when we might see updated surround formats in products on retailers shelves. Has there been any articles or news about that? Am trying to figure out if I should put off upgrading my 5.1 reciever to a 6.1 or 7.1 reciever?
     
  14. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    If their technological protections worked, they would not have a reason to buy off the politacal parties either. The copyright laws would not matter since the rules would be set by the technological protections and they would be impossible to break.
     
  15. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    It is working well for iTunes.
     
  16. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    iTunes isn't a good example. You can burn any music you download from iTunes to a CD and listen to it on any CD player. You can copy it, give it away, pretty much do anything you want with it forever. After I burn it to a CD I rip it as an MP3 and listen to it on a non-Ipod MP3 player.
     
  17. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    Being able to burn a CD and rip an unprotected copy is a security hole than a feature. If they wanted you to be able to get an unprotected copy, the "convert selection to ..." command would work on iTunes purchases.

    Saying iTunes is not a good example is just like saying that the Direc Tivo does not require an Internet/Phone connection on the bases of a hack existing to change that. Granted, there are work arounds and hacks, but it is still a system designed to have the music registered to the purchaser and only playable on devices registered to them to the extent practical.

    What really stops Apple from having burned CDs being protected with something like MediaMax in future iTunes releases and requiring the upgrade be installed if you want to use the iTunes Music Store?
     
  18. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Actually, hack or no, DirecTV Tivo doesn't require a connection. You get bugged all the time for not phoning home, but absolutely no functionality is compromised. The hack is just to shut off the annoying "please phone home" messages.

    If an HD player were to come out which "required" an internet connection in that same manner (i.e. functionality uncompromised by not hooking it up), I'd buy it in an instant. Unfortunately, that would hardly fit with the stated goal of being able to deactivate hacked players remotely, so I don't think it's going to turn out that way.
     
  19. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Not entirely accurate, as they'd still buy them off as self-protection against censorship, and to continually extend their copyrights (otherwise Mickey Mouse would go out of copyright, and we couldn't have that...)

    Don't underestimate the power of copyright protection laws: they are what prevents WalMart from selling bootleg DVDs (or movies which have been "formatted to fit your morality" by someone other than the content owners); this is independent of the technological protection issue. If the DMCA didn't exist, and copyright technology was nonexistent, you still wouldn't find bootlegs at Best Buy and Costco, or even at Amazon.com (at least, on the non-auction portions). And the American consumer, to a large extent, buys from legitimate retailers and not from the guy with a trenchcoat and a blacked-window van.

    Hollywood's error is in mistaking minor, theoretical profits they "could have made" for real, monetary value, and acting accordingly to ensure their profits are "secure". Since they are inherently lazy (most of us are), they spent the money to lobby for the DMCA instead of coming up with more creative ideas, which might have actually solved the problem instead of just making tons of harmless hacking needlessly and uselessly illegal.

    Realistically, their money might be better invested in offered bounties for real actual bootleggers and resellers caught in the act and convicted. I know I'd turn in my useless parasitic relations for $1000 bucks, or even for free Blu-ray disks of Lord of the Rings, for example. [​IMG]
     
  20. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    I had gotten a different impression from your earlier post Aaron_Brez, but thank you for clarifying. For me, nagging is the same as requiring, since the companies really know that the end result will be annoying people to the point of getting them to give in.

    I don't think remote deactivation has to involve a phone line of internet connection. It could an addition to a revocation list or by means of a check subroutine in the playback software on subsequent discs. Whether it is done by the player "phoning or TCP/IPing home" periodically or through the inevitability that people will purchase and rent newer titles, it is still a remote deactivation method.
     

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