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Goodbye, HD Component Video

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the pixels-are-a-privilege-not-a-right dept.

Media 469

glogger writes "Jim Willcox, the video expert at Consumer Reports, bids farewell to our ability to get high-definition video via the analog component-video connections on Blu-ray players. Thanks to Hollywood pirate-paranoia, potentially millions of law-abiding viewers will have their choices restricted. Quoting: 'Hollywood studios now have the right to insert an ICT "flag" into a Blu-ray movie; if it detects that a player is using an analog connection that doesn't support HDCP, it downconverts the video's 1080p (1920 by 1080) native resolution to 960 by 540 (540p): better than DVD quality but only about one-quarter of full HD quality. This ensures that high-def video is available only through the copy-protected HDMI outputs.'"

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469 comments

i know what you need (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247770)

You need an HDFuryII http://www.hdfury.com/ [hdfury.com]

Re:i know what you need (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247818)

I don't have a problem with that. I rip all my BluRay films as soon as they arrive.
I don't even have a stand-alone player for this kind of reason.

If they ever change things so I can't rip my movies I'll just stop buying them completely.

Re:i know what you need (1)

davecotter (1297617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247882)

sorry, i meant to clarify: the HDFuryII is for hooking a digital source up to an analog display, not the other way around as this article is talking about. But it means you can use the digital out connector (HDMI + HDCP) from your blu-ray player, pass it thru the HDFuryII, and on to your analog (component) TV, and it'll "just work". brilliant.

Re:i know what you need (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247950)

Better yet, why not just rip the blu-ray and put it on a network media center? Skip the middle man, and not have to bother wondering where your 3-year-old hid the disk or worry that he scratched it up since you can then put the disc away in a very safe, secure place.

Re:i know what you need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248040)

Umm, how much room do you have in your NAS? Because mine tops out at around 4 TB, that's not that many HD movies unless you compress the crap out of them and then you've basically done what the ICT flag would do, reduced the quality.

I'm all for compressing crap I don't much care about, but what's the point of compressing your favorite shows that you spent extra to get in HD?

Re:i know what you need (2)

davecotter (1297617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248192)

seems 4TB holds quite a few HD movies, at least according to my calculations. Take Avatar, a 3 hour movie. compressed to m4v, that's 30GB, still with stunning quality. that's about 136 3 hour movies. probably more since movies are usually less than 3 hours. i think.

Re:i know what you need (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248278)

For any BDs that use MPEG2 encoding, you should be able to recompress them in MPEG4 and use only half the space without any difference in picture quality. (I think most newer BDs use MPEG4 now, so this probably only applies to older ones.)

Also, you can leave out all the commentaries and all that crap, and save even more room. With 4TB, you should have enough space for 500-1000 movies that way, I imagine.

Confused (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247774)

So... this prevents someone copying a BD disk with a VCR? Or a TV capture card?

I’m actually confused here. Do people actually copy digital media this way any more? What does this prevent?

This kind of sounds like something that has been in the works for a while and is now irrelevant (now that AACS has been dealt with), but the guy’s at the top are two stupid (or afraid of getting fired) to stop it.

Re:Confused (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247828)

This kind of sounds like something that has been in the works for a while and is now irrelevant (now that AACS has been dealt with), but the guy’s at the top are two stupid (or afraid of getting fired) to stop it.

The whole thing seems like putting a band-aid on a gangrenous leg. I think it's more a case of trying to prove to shareholders that they're doing something to combat piracy.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248146)

> The whole thing seems like putting a band-aid on a gangrenous leg.

Using the same analogy, it's much more like putting the band-aid on the NON gangrenous leg... Nobody copies via analog.

Re:Confused (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248216)

To be a little bit more accurate, I would say it's treating a gangrenous leg by putting a band-aid on the other leg.

Re:Confused (4, Insightful)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248256)

To further the pursuit of accuracy, I would say it is treating a gangrenous leg by hiring a polka band.

Re:Confused (1, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247856)

Doesn't matter. Once consumers get hit by this they will freak out and the studios will find out how much of a bad idea this is.

Re:Confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247902)

Once consumers get hit by this, they will freak out, go to the store and buy a new TV and Sony will find out how much of a good idea this is.

Re:Confused (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248074)

most consumers would never notice the quality drop, the same drooling nimwits trying to sell me on how much better a 1080P tv is while showing me 4:3 480i on comcast so everyone looks like they should be sloth in the goonies

Re:Confused (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248106)

Consumers don't notice aspect ratio problems, or like them wrong. I doubt they will notice this.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248316)

All you have to do is tell consumers that it's "the new thing" and they're more than willing to hop on board. After all, newer is better as far as most consumers are concerned.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247874)

Simply another reason to not buy Blu-Ray players, discs, or pretty much anything else associated with Hollywood. Of course, they treat people not buying their products and ignoring them as evidence of piracy, so what does it matter? I wouldn't even bother actually pirating their stuff. Irrelevance is a much better sentence for them.

Re:Confused (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247896)

I agree - and where are my mod points when I need them? Parent to me modded "Insightful".

The movie industry doesn't seem to get it at all - and the big issue isn't Blu-Ray copying anyway - the future will be streaming video on the net instead. Then the movie industry can try to get paid per view instead.

Re:Confused (1)

Wansu (846) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247958)

  The movie industry doesn't seem to get it at all - and the big issue isn't Blu-Ray copying anyway - the future will be streaming video on the net instead.

Yep. This is just another nail in Blu-Ray's coffin.

Re:Confused (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248070)

except for the increase in bandwidth caps, rising rates, etc. You're going to need a lot of nails for that coffin

Re:Confused (4, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247916)

It does not. They lower the resolution, but if you record to (S)VHS you will get an even lower resolution (especially with VHS) so there is no difference. SVHS records about the same resolution as DVD, so there is no problem with the downscaled video.

This move is stupid - HDCP was completely broken, devices like HDFury are available. So, again, the only people who will have problems are the honest paying customers who have an older TV. Some of them will now learn about ripping, TPB and HDFury type devices.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247920)

It basically requires you to have specific hardware to view BD disks with this enabled. Not all HD TV's have HDCP, therefore they won't play BluRay at true HD anymore. Have older (or less expensive) HD hardware? Guess you'll have to upgrade or watch those new movies in 540p.

http://xkcd.com/129/

Re:Confused (1)

kingbilly (993754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247934)

Agreed. Before HD televisions I would copy my friend's family guy DVD's to VHS before they closed that hole. It wasn't scrambling, but the color kept shifting. Anyway, on our crap tube tv I really wasn't noticing the difference between the DVD and VHS. Now that we have a 42' HDTV and our cable is only standard definition it is too crappy to watch. I can't imagine there is anyone who wanted this particular analog hole to stay open. The only thing I watch is Netflix streaming videos throught my xbox360. And that is only because I feel like I am the one ripping off Hollywood. 11 bucks a month to watch unlimited and we canceled our expanded cable lineup, we don't rent or buy movies.

Re:Confused (3)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247956)

Yes. It was the idea that there's be a secure box connected over a secure cable to a secure playback device. It may be irrelevant but they still use CSS. They still prosecute companies that ship a DVD backup/converter program. It's still a DMCA/EUCD violation since there's "fair use" but no "fair circumvention". They can not stop you doing it, but they do everything to argue that it's wrong and that you're a criminal by doing it. When they introduce their next DRM format they will pretend nothing is taken away, because you were never supposed to be able to do it to begin with. Oh well...

Re:Confused (1, Insightful)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248010)

So... this prevents someone copying a BD disk with a VCR? Or a TV capture card?

I'm actually confused here. Do people actually copy digital media this way any more? What does this prevent?

The only experience I've had with actual "piracy" is from my kids' friends, who don't know or care about "digital rights" or their "management". I'm very picky -- I obtained every movie and .mp3 file I have legally, because as a content generator (computer programmer) I kinda like getting paid. My kids' friends... not so much.

There was one particularly memorable experience, when my daughter's friend brought over her DVD of the "Freaky Friday" remake... the weekend after it opened in theaters. Her mom got it at the local flea market.

It was an obvious bootleg, and darn near unwatchable (even if you liked the movie). It really did look like it was the result of a guy with a cheap digital camcorder set up in the back of a movie theater, with scratchy sound patched in. It wasn't HD quality... heck, it wasn't even VHS-on-the-car-dashboard quality. But the teens thought it was great.

That's the sort of "piracy" I'd like to see the maf-IAA focusing on, because it has actual consequences for real people. Those bootleg DVDs, their little brothers the bootleg CDs, their cousins the bootleg shoes, and their close friends the stolen goods, fund the same underground economy that supports drug running and other nasty social ills.

Applying strongarm tactics there would be good for society... but probably wouldn't generate as much profit as shaking down college kids.

Re:Confused (5, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248202)

I'm not sure how you draw a comparison to pirating media, to drug running. Drug runners are supported by the drugs they run, not pirated DVDs....

Re:Confused (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248226)

I'm very picky -- I obtained every movie and .mp3 file I have legally, because as a content generator (computer programmer) I kinda like getting paid.

But you do understand that the economy does not and should not have an aneurysm because some people take things they shouldn't, right? Like, about 3% of Best Buy's products get stolen; but they don't escort every single person through the store with an armed guard, or put absolutely everything behind locked bullet proof glass. It's good that you don't steal; but you have to accept the trade-off between relying on the general honesty of people and having a functional society.

A society where we try to eliminate 100% of the wrongness-- I mean honestly TRY-- is a horrible society. We have to accept some loss; at a level we must take some serious steps to curb that loss, but below that we have to accept it as a price of living in a pleasant, civilized society with something we like to call "freedom." Those of us who are upstanding citizens are essential to maintaining this "freedom," and even those of us that aren't but only occasionally lean across the ethical barriers we normally respect are keeping the system healthy by not building our house over on that side or making regular visits.

Re:Confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248248)

Stooge. As soon as you equate copyright infringement with drug gangs, you show your true colors and that you're deluded or paid to talk crap.

Re:Confused (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248178)

Utterly pointless in more ways than one.

The people who want it for free won't care if it's not 1080p. Non-HD quality is good enough for a decently sized portion of the population. If it's a story-driven movie to begin with, enhanced visuals aren't going to make it any better.

The dedicated pirates aren't going to care either. They'll find another way to rip the 1080p stream or if nothing else exists they can point a 1080p camera at the screen and record it that way. Until humans have a digital jack implanted in their heads, there's always going to be a weakness once you have to present the media. Sophisticated recording hardware keeps getting cheaper making it even easier to produce a high quality 'pirated' version.

The only people who could benefit from this are the people who make and sell HDMI cables.

Re:Confused (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248250)

Only an idiot would actually buy a Bluray film. Get a 1080P tv and it'll probably do 1080P through a PC, which is higher quality, means you can download the movies and never have to pay for a Bluray player/device. Buy your cables on monoprice and you're done.

Re:Confused (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248276)

The only thing to do is go buy one of the first titles that does this and return it telling the store that its has aweful picture quality...

Retailers do not like returns and if they see a large influx they could stop bringing in titles that support this flag...

Re:Confused (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248326)

The whole thing is utterly stupid. Copying HD in analog is lossy, and it's already pretty trivial to use a BD-ROM drive in your computer to rip BD discs natively, with no loss whatsoever. Why mess around with cables and converters and such when you can just buy a BD-ROM drive from Newegg.com for $90 and use some open-source software to rip Blu-Ray discs and upload them to BitTorrent?

Uncrackable this time! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247776)

Guaranteed!*

*not a guarantee

HD via compent looks terrible anyways... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247790)

It just does.

Re:HD via compent looks terrible anyways... (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248000)

It does? Maybe you need better cables. There doesn't seem to be any real difference to me unless you
freeze-frame and compare artefacts and if you're doing that then you're missing the point of watching it.

While I'll admit HD might look a little nicer the difference between HD and SD matters very little to me.
If its a good film the picture quality wont matter that much. The first time I watched The Matrix was a
a pirated VCD where the quality was so bad that you couldn't even see most of the action and effects.
The picture quality didn't matter as the film itself was engrossing. Since then I've since bought it three
times.

Re:HD via compent looks terrible anyways... (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248116)

No it doesn't. Component cables are fine.

If we did a blind "taste test" you would probably flunk it.

No it doesn't, your cables are bad (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248150)

Seriously.

I have a 108 inch picture on the wall, provided by a DLP projector. Up until a few months ago, it was connected via component video. Any HDMI sources were converted to component before the receiver which we use to select sources, by HDFury IIs. There's a 50 foot component cable running to the projector; there is now a 50 foot HDMI cable doing the same job.

Before Christmas I got a new receiver which switches HDMI and converts any analog video inputs to HDMI (quite well, actually; video from my old Gamecube looks fantastic). Other than a couple of old game systems, the signal path from source to projector is all digital now.

It made only a very slight difference in the picture quality. This is at 1080P, over more than 50 feet of cable.

The secret? I bought good cables. Not Monster Cable, good, heavy-gauge cables.

My only problem with the switch to HDMI has been that the long cable to the projector is so heavy that the HDMI connectors won't physically hold the cable in place unless they're anchored in place with velcro straps around the cable. It's not a very good connector design from a physical standpoint.

Re:HD via component looks terrible anyways... (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248182)

Hear, hear! I did a quick taste test and found component cable transmission just gives that fuzzy analog feel (for good reason). HDMI is so crisp...

Hollywood studios are clueless (2)

Chuckles08 (1277062) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247796)

So I asked my iPhone "Mystic Mirror" if Hollywood studios are clueless about consumer choice... Answer: "Without a doubt" Classic.

Hello HDFury (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247844)

Seriously, if you've need to get HD component video, or VGA, from an HDMI or DVI source, the HDFury products are what you need. We got one at work because we needed to hook an AVCHD camera, which only had HDMI out, to a projector that only had VGA input. Worked perfectly. Fully supports HDCP. The one we got, the HDFury 2 is switchable between VGA and component mode.

So not only is this a dick move, it is 100% ineffective. You just go and buy an HDFury and you are back in business. I'm sure there will be others as this ramps up.

http://www.hdfury.com/ [hdfury.com]

Re:Hello HDFury (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248028)

So how long until Hollywood goes after HDFury?

I dunno, I think it is legal (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248072)

It's been around a long time and you can get them in some mainstream stores. Guess we'll see, but I don't think they can do anything.

Re:Hello HDFury (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248104)

So not only is this a dick move, it is 100% ineffective. You just go and buy an HDFury and you are back in business. I'm sure there will be others as this ramps up.

Not any more, actually - after someone got first post with a link to their site, they seem to be down :)

Clearly that was a tricky plot by the MPAA!

Re:Hello HDFury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248138)

My first DVD player did not work because my only TV at the time was a TV/VCR combo and (selected) DVDs would do that Macrovision fade in and out. So, I walked across the street and paid $20 for a Macrovision defeater.

These tactics will never work because there is simply too much demand to legally view content in situations like mine and in the parent's example. HDfury's website is suffering right now, which means they will probably be in good business in the near future.

Re:Hello HDFury (1)

Rossman (593924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248270)

Um, won't this just mean their next logical step will be to file suit against HDFury to close this "loophole"?

The fact that HDFury gets around this screams a lawsuit just waiting to be filed. Make no mistake, they will close every loophole they can, any way they can.

Obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247846)

As long as they want our devices to eventually decode stuff in order to display it there will be piracy.

epic fail (1)

pasv (755179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247850)

The only person hurt here is the consumer, pirates will do what they do regardless and now the consumer has just that many fewer options to enjoy their product. Good job hollywood, you shoot yourself in the foot yet again

Less lines than SD in PAL (1)

jd3nn1s (613014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247864)

540p would be less lines than SD in PAL regions where SD is 576i. Actually 576i is called out as SD at the beginning of TFA. Would progressive scan really make up for this?

FUBAR (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247872)

This is fucked. Plain and simple. Hollywood: if you treat me and my friends like criminals by restricting MY legally-bought hardware, then I have no problem stealing your shit. Keep that in mind.

So is the whole point of this to plug..... (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247888)

the analog hole [wikipedia.org] ? That's always seemed to have been the one weak spot with the industry's hard on to stop all pirating. Ultimately I can see "don't-play-if-anything-analog-is-hooked-to-it".

Re:So is the whole point of this to plug..... (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247940)

The funny thing is, it's not going to stop pirates; if you look at pirated movies, what you'll see are first telesyncs & then later BD Rips. No one is bothering to mess with any analog holes.

Not what they say it is.... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247906)

They are doing this supposedly doing this to stop piracy.

I'd be willing to bet, however, that it's to force people to buy newer televisions with an HDMI input.

And of course it's only going to be effective at controlling unauthorized copying as long as AACS doesn't get cracked. Oh, wait....

Re:Not what they say it is.... (3, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247988)

The next step is probably obligatory DRM, so your collection of ripped movies won't play on your home entertainment system any longer. Only licensed stuff allowed.

Re:Not what they say it is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248114)

They already have Cinavia to prevent you from playing Blu-ray rips. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinavia They can't refuse to play all non-DRMed content because home videos are non-DRMed.

Re:Not what they say it is.... (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248060)

I've had an older CRT HDTV for years, that doesn't have HDMI inputs. I'll be damned if I have buy a new TV just to get HDMI. Although it's only 1080i/720p it still works fine...

Re:Not what they say it is.... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248172)

How does SD content look on it, particularly video games? I've always got the impression that HD CRTs basically are fixed-frequency computer monitors running at 1080p/i, so that if you feed it a lower resolution, it digitizes it, then upscales (and thus looks crappy, like on an LCD). I've been holding on to my SD CRT for playing video games, but keep seeing people getting rid of HD CRTs (for free, even).

Re:Not what they say it is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248120)

Yup. The "evil pirates" are mainly just an excuse to exert an ever-tighter grip on the market.

Sort of like the way marijuana was used in previous decades to shape US foreign policy. Bogeymen are great for when you want to trick people into going along with something they should be resisting.

I don't understand (2)

slapout (93640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247922)

If you did a bit-for-bit copy of a Blu-ray disc, wouldn't the copy protection go along with it?

Re:I don't understand (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248036)

The question is why would you do a bit-for-bit copy? Use a program like AnyDVD HD and simply make a copy of the disc with the protection removed. Not only can you then put your originals away and only play the copy, you can put a copy on your media server as well (via handbreak)

Re:I don't understand (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248044)

Apparently not:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu_ray#Advanced_Access_Content_System

"BD-ROM Mark is a small amount of cryptographic data that is stored separately from normal Blu-ray Disc data. Bit-by-bit copies that do not replicate the BD-ROM Mark have no known decoding method. A specially licensed piece of hardware is required to insert the ROM-mark into the media during replication."

Re:I don't understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248212)

Bit-for-bit is harder than it seems. It assumes you have access to a reader that really represents the bits on the media.

The way this kind of copy protection works is to put something in between the player and the machine that reads the media. The thing in between intercepts calls from the player -- something like "send me the next block of video" -- and interprets it according to the protection scheme in a hidden way. It then delivers up the next block after transforming it in some way that makes sense to the reader.

The result is you don't get a raw byte-for-byte stream of the media straight to the player. You get an interpreted stream of bits transformed by the scheme, and the readers are created in such a way that requires the scheme to be in place before they'll do a read.

Of course, if you happen to lay your hands on something that *can* do a raw read... more power to you. Now all you have to do is get something that can do a raw bit-for-bit *write*, and you're in the piracy business.

Or you're an MPAA publisher. But I repeat myself.

Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247924)

Until they fix the "give me a good reason to buy it" hole, their vision of a world of perfect DRM won't be quite as wonderfully lucrative as they imagine it to be. To date, I've neither purchased nor pirated any Blu-Ray media. This measure doesn't change that situation one bit. Won't pirate it, won't buy it. Hope that fortune you spent on DRM was worth it.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248042)

>To date, I've neither purchased nor pirated any Blu-Ray media.

I've never even seen one. Is it a popular format for something?

Re:Good luck with that (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248126)

The summary blows "give me a reason to buy" out of the water. When all new media (heck maybe even live TV) have these hidden flags toggled on, you'll have your good reason shoved down your throat.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248204)

The summary blows "give me a reason to buy" out of the water. When all new media (heck maybe even live TV) have these hidden flags toggled on, you'll have your good reason shoved down your throat.

I've got no mod points, so I'm responding that you're right on target.

Re:Good luck with that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248320)

I'm sure they miss your $40. Cool story bro.

not really new, just use SDI (1)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247966)

I work with HD video tech (embedded software) and I believe this has been around right from the start with Blu-Ray and HDMI. It's rare to see the vendor set the copy-protection bit though. There is literally a bit to set in the register of HDMI transmitter chips for "enable copy protection". It's rare to see a Blu-Ray that uses it though. I guess all that this is saying is that it's going to become a lot more common. Regardless, one can purchase kits or pre-modified Blu-Ray players in the $2000 range, that provide SDI outputs. SDI is the pro-video standard for those who don't know, and is by definition unencrypted and unaltered digital video. These Blu-ray players are legal in Canada and most of Europe I believe. I have one on my desk at work right now. All you need is some pro gear to capture the SDI stream. They work with 1080p24, but I haven't yet tried with a Blu-ray disk that actually sets the copy protection bit. I suspect they might still work because they're unofficial mods, and the copy-protection bit is in the physical HDMI driver chip, which the SDI output doesn't rely on.

Sony used screwing over the legitimate consumer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35247980)

...it's not very effective!

How do they plan for this to work (5, Insightful)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35247994)

How is this going to make me *less* likely to pirate?

My choices are:
By a blu-ray - do I have the right player? Will it down-convert to less-than-advertized quality? will it cost way too much? who knows (except for costing too much, that I know is a yes)?

Or:
Pirate it for free at a good quality, I don't have to leave my house and new releases are ready to watch in an hour tops. Also I now have just a regular old video file that I can do anything with that I want.

Why studios haven't caught onto this is a mystery to me. Seems like piracy would be dead in the water if ALL movies were offered as unprotected files for a low cost at high speed. If anyone could download any movie ever made at 1meg/s for 1 or 2 bucks with no DRM BS why even bother playing the bittorrent roulette? would some people still do it? probably. Would most law abiding citizens happliy pay rental-prices-or-less to just buy the movie they want? probably. Could they stop wasting their time and money on anti-customer schemes and start worrying about making movies? probably.

High minded types will simply ascend... (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248018)

High minded types merely "ascend" and avoid the limitations of the physical body... er, media.

Yeah. Talk about yet another reason to RIP or just plain pirate.

This will be the biggest burden to the most clueless users out there, once again proving that DRM only punishes the paying customer.

But then again (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248022)

Video is largely 960 x 540 anyways because of both 4:2:2 downconversion and Bayer pattern sensors.

Why don't they get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248032)

The only people this hurts are folks like my parents, not the pirates. This is why technology is confusing to most casual consumers. My first exposure to the joys of HDMI copy protection was when I finally broke down and bought a Blu-Ray player for my computer. A few hundred bucks later I tried to play my first Blu-Ray only to get a message "Your monitor does not support playback". Me: "WTF, my monitor works fine? It's even DVI? What's it talking about?" It didn't have the magic HDMI "copy protection" firmware. I wasn't trying to copy a Blu-Ray I was just trying to watch my dang movie! So I had to shell out even more for a new monitor. Artificial restrictions are asinine.

What a scam...

Blur-ray (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248034)

Well, if they actually do start forcing low res output, the old joke name of blur-ray will actually finally be appropriate.

There will always be an analog loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248054)

The interesting aspect of copy protection is there will always be an "analog loop" because in order for humans to perceive the visual and sound content of movies and music the images must travel through space via physical light waves and the sound must travel physically through the air. I imagine there are studio execs who would like to insert HDCP chips into our brains with an HDMI connector on the back of our heads (properly a proprietary connector for each studio house) but all these encryption schemes do is limit how the average consumer can connect devices and consume HD content. They don't prevent pirate shops from ripping and copying. They prevent your Mom, Dad and sister from copying their blue ray disc to a open platform display device of some sort whereby they can enjoy the movie on their own time somewhere else.

The only people they're stopping... (5, Interesting)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248086)

...are legitimate users of video content, sometimes even when it isn't hi def...

My setup is a total pain in the a** because of HDCP.

I wanted to do something really simple this summer - show my cable box feed on the TV in our home gym (a glorified name for room with treadmill in it), so I looked at my options:

(1)Get another Cable box for that TV - no, I'm not interested in paying another $15/month just so I can watch TV in a room for an hour every other day.
(2)Run yet another HDMI cable to the TV - this was not really an option since it would be 35 feet from the cable box with various openings between the box and the destination TV - ergo, expensive, mess, and requiring HDMI amplifies and extremely long cable runs.
(3)Go wireless and get an Air Synch HD (or something similar) - up front cost is not cheap, but no new cables, no new box, only turn it on when I want, et cetera.

So, I get my new wireless HDMI system in, yay! Looks cool, setup seems simple - so I try it out. Cool, XBox 360 play over it just fine, BluRay player works over it just fine, cable box? Oh, whoops, green screen on cable. Never seen that before.

So, long story short, it turns out there's this little feature of HDCP that is only just now starting to bite people in the a** called "downstream devices." Apparently, a source device using HDCP can restrict the number OF HDCP CAPABLE DEVICES that can be chained together to get to your TV or projector. Note that it is a restriction on LEGITIMATE HDCP licensed devices ffs. Most HDCP capable devices have a somewhat large number of possible downstream devices (there's no requirement in the standard - the bastards) but some of them just one or two. This means that if you connect your source device, such as my Motorola DVR, to a receiver (which counts as an HDCP device in this chain) and your projector connects to the receiver you've maxed out the number of devices.

Along comes some poor schmuck (me in this scenario) and puts a wireless HDMI transmitter between my TV and my receiver - *bang* the cable box says "you're trying to pirate my HDCP encrypted signal, I will show you a green screen."

Do they really think they're preventing movie piracy when someone can simply use some soldering tools and an programmable gate array and components available over the internet and strip HDCP? Hell, you can buy HDFury and setup a good recording system.

The only people they're actually screwing are people like me who sit around for 15 seconds waiting for all their HDCP devices to decide to get along and show video and/or audio.

(BTW, I simply connected the cable box to the receiver with component cables and optical audio - but I guess that solution will be on its way to the trash can as soon as Motorola can get around to it, eh?)

</RANT>

Re:The only people they're stopping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248244)

While I agree with your sentiments, and hate the DRM mess. The locks on my house merely keep the honest people out, skilled thieves can get in and pillage to their hearts content. I never hear people telling me I shouldn't have locks?

Re:The only people they're stopping... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35248310)

In this case you are a criminal for jimmying your window open to get in the door or having a locksmith open the lock for you, and Door Lock Associate Alliance think that even spare keys should be illegal since it cuts into the keymaker's profits.

Re:The only people they're stopping... (1)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248322)

I got burnt by this same flaw. Cursed Verizon out over they flawed Motorola STBs. They have promised a fix by the end of the year. Don't you love it when you plug in your brand new HDTV and the only thing it will show is an HDCP handshake failed message?

Their work around is to use component out from the STB and feed it to the receiver. Then let the receiver convert the component back to HDMI. Of course I was less than pleased with them for forcing me to buy a new $500 receiver to make my HDTV work. Now I take my digital FIOS signal, convert it to analog component, send it into the receiver which redigitizes it back to HDMI, which sends it over the HDMI repeater to the TV.

When are we getting All-Vid so that I can get rid of these awful STB boxes? Ethernet to a wall hung HDTV and my life would be so simple.

Did anyone else read it as: (5, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248134)

"This ensure that high-def video is available only through the copy-protected HDMI outputs or from Bittorrent"?

Damn dyslexia...

How does this stop pirating? (1)

Schwhat (1993980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248148)

Last time I heard most of the stuff being pirated are the movies currently in the theaters. So chances of it being a good version that it's HD quality rather than a CAM version is...? Pirates don't care as long as there is a decent viewable version of the movie. If it's just released on DVD/Blu-ray for rentals, I'm sure a large majority will agree to the statement above.

HDCP is mess (1)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248158)

My HDCP protected Verizon FIOS STB still can't manage to make a HDMI connection to my new Samsung TV. After dozens of calls and emails Verizon admits it is a flaw in the STB and it will be fixed before the end of this year. Meanwhile I was forced to buy an amp with component to HDMI conversion. So I take the digital signal going into the STB, convert it to analog component, send it to the receiver and convert it back to HDMI. All of this wasted time and money just to make HDCP work on a signal I am paying for. You got to love it when you plug in your brand new HDTV and the only thing it will show you is a screen saying HDCP handshake failed.

Bring on All-Vid and let me run Ethernet to the TV.

Re:HDCP is mess (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248196)

Stop buying faulty shit and paying for subscriptions / devices that don't work because of admitted flaws and "bodge-job" hardware.

Simple really. You're paying for something you can't use.

Crap salad (0)

korgitser (1809018) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248198)

How about actually making a good movie for a change? I probably would buy it and probably wouldn't bother to upload it anywhere. Take this to an economy of scale and voila: 3) profit. But no, I am supposed to buy crap movies and suffer antipiracy crap on the side. How did this ever turn into a business model?

Let's face it, all of this dvd->hd->3d stuff is there to hide the fact that the movies suck. 3d was already there in the 50s and nobody cared. Pre-digital cinema was already more hd than any resolution we come up with now. How come the indies are able to actually make good movies but hollywood can't? It is because the hollywood administration guarantees that any good movie idea born there is born dead. Take that to your ict flag.

Bait and switch (2)

jbarr (2233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248262)

Conceptually, I don't have a problem with their proposal...but only on new equipment. To impose this kind of restriction or format change on existing equipment amounts to nothing more than a bait and switch: Sell a product to a consumer (who does not have nor need to have the specific technical understanding of Blu-ray technology--it's just cool HD) and then later enable and impose new features that restrict what the consumer paid for.

I guess this is really nothing new, just different equipment.

This move will encourage piracy (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35248286)

Obviously. If you cause a worse viewing experience for the paying customers, that paying customer might just as well turn to pirated copies, which may have the same or better quality, and are free.

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