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Netflix Wants To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

timothy posted 1 year,7 days | from the nicht-ohne-meine-ketten dept.

Media 394

FuzzNugget writes "In a recent blog post, Netflix details their plans to transition from Silverlight to HTML5, but with one caveat: HTML5 needs to include a built-in DRM scheme. With the W3C's proposed Encrypted Media Extensions, this may come to fruition. But what would we sacrificing in openness and the web as we know it? How will developers of open source browsers like Firefox respond to this?"

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394 comments

Silverlight greatness (3, Funny)

Querrilla (2898723) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460151)

The great thing about Silverlight is its ability to stream content as your internet line can take it. This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content.

That is a clear advantage over Flash and/or HTML5 based video content. Another is the easy integration with other projects when using visual studio. It enables you to rapidly develop new software and code.

This being said, the DRM probably isn't as needed by the Netflix itself but the content providers. It most likely says somewhere in their contracts that Netflix has to use DRM when streaming their content. It's the movie studios that demand it, not Netflix.

Re:Silverlight greatness (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460213)

Netflix probably wants DRM too, FWIW. Remember their model is based upon people getting unlimited access to their library but paying by the month. If it were easy for their customers to simply download and save all the movies they're interested in over the space of a month, and then unsubscribe for a few months until the next time they see movies they're interested in, then the entire model would break down - less revenues received, and more money spent on bandwidth per month.

I'm wondering, actually, if the long term solution is in things like Cinavia [wikipedia.org] , which, in theory, implements enough of the "checking the license in hardware" that the system (or one evolved from it) could conceivably be built into PCs and tablets without preventing the transportation and decoding part of the process being open source.

Of course, that wouldn't work today, it'd require the majority of monitors and tablets support the system to the point people find it difficult to get a device that doesn't have this built in, so it's not really going to work for Netflix today.

Re:Silverlight greatness (5, Insightful)

shemyazaz (1494359) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460405)

If it were easy for their customers to simply download and save all the movies they're interested in over the space of a month, and then unsubscribe for a few months until the next time they see movies they're interested in, then the entire model would break down - less revenues received, and more money spent on bandwidth per month.

That theory is already debunked. If it were true, Netflix and all the other streaming services would have already failed. Since it is tremendously simple to just hop on over to TPB and grab whatever you want in whatever quality you want it in. People want to pay a reasonable price to have this stuff available legally.

Re:Silverlight greatness (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460525)

Netflix also has a great UI, especially for TV episodes. It's a lot easier to deal with than trying to piecemeal together a bunch of pirated stuff. Well worth the $8 a month.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460573)

how much effort is required to stream TPB to your TV in HD?

i have a PS3, xbox and apple TV and use my apple TV the most. it takes seconds to turn it on and find something to watch

Re:Silverlight greatness (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460575)

Very true. Of all of the services I subscribe to, including Internet, cell phone, electric, rent, insurance and so on, I feel Netflix is by far the best value and I'm happy to pay each month less than the cost of a movie ticket at a cheap theater in exchange for entertainment that's only limited by my free time and my crappy ISP (which, coincidentally, is one of the worst values I get for my money).

Likewise, I'll donate a few dollars here and there to software that I use even if it's released for free. It's partially because I want to see development continue but mostly because I feel it's a fair exchange.

Re:Silverlight greatness (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460511)

Netflix probably wants DRM too, FWIW. Remember their model is based upon people getting unlimited access to their library but paying by the month. If it were easy for their customers to simply download and save all the movies they're interested in over the space of a month, and then unsubscribe for a few months until the next time they see movies they're interested in, then the entire model would break down - less revenues received, and more money spent on bandwidth per month.

The problem with that argument is that it's bullshit. If you look at the most popular lists on services like Netflix, they're full of new releases. I don't subscribe to a rental service just because they have a big catalogue, I subscribe to them because they have a big and growing catalogue. At any given time, my DVD rental list has a number of unreleased things, which are added to the main list as they are released. If I had infinite local storage and bandwidth, I could download everything that they had that I might want to watch today, and their service next month would still be valuable to me next month. On the other hand, the fact that I can't download 20 hours of their content today and watch it on a transatlantic flight or a long train journey means that it is less valuable than a DRM-free service would be.

Re:Silverlight greatness (2)

dingen (958134) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460231)

There really is no reason why this feature should be Silverlight-only. Javascript can just as easily measure where you currenly are in a video, compare that to where you should have been and adjust the source of the stream to a lower bitrate version if you lag behind. Upgrading your stream might require an algorithm which is a bit more sophisticated, but there is no reason why it couldn't be done as well.

Re:Silverlight greatness (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460239)

The great thing about Silverlight is its ability to stream content as your internet line can take it. This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content. That is a clear advantage over Flash and/or HTML5 based video content. Another is the easy integration with other projects when using visual studio. It enables you to rapidly develop new software and code.

Yeah, except that, well, Flash does this as well [wikipedia.org] and be prepared to extoll the virtues of all the other technologies on that page.

This being said, the DRM probably isn't as needed by the Netflix itself but the content providers. It most likely says somewhere in their contracts that Netflix has to use DRM when streaming their content. It's the movie studios that demand it, not Netflix.

So then House of Cards is on HTML5?

Thanks for adding nothing to the conversation!

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460399)

So then House of Cards is on HTML5?

IIRC, Netflix doesn't own House of Cards outright. They cut a deal with the studio [wikipedia.org] that actually made it for exclusive streaming rights in exchange for funding the series. I believe the studio, not Netflix, gets all the revenue from the blu-ray sales and foreign distribution, for example. So it's likely that Netflix couldn't just decide on their own to show it DRM-free without the studio going apeshit.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

Enry (630) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460471)

So then House of Cards is on HTML5?

Why would Netflix build a separate infrastructure for the few sets of original content they distribute? Do you really want to have two Netlix apps, log in twice to a web site? Figure out which site has which content? Any money they'd earn in new subscriptions for HoC would be pretty much wiped out by the development and maintenance costs.

Re:Silverlight greatness (2)

laffer1 (701823) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460257)

The great thing about HTML5 is that it runs on many devices unlike Silverlight. With HTML5, there is a chance that I can actually stream content on my tablet, *BSD or Linux computer, Windows, Mac, iPhone, or consoles in my home. Netflix managed to get Wii, PS3, iPhone, iPad, etc. to stream their content so obviously they can already do it without silverlight. With both flash and silverlight dying, netflix has to find a solution to this problem.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1, Interesting)

ssam (2723487) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460319)

But how do you implement DRM in a web browser in *BSD or Linux in such a way that I can't capture the decrypted video to disk?

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460379)

You can't. But there's no way to do it in Windows or Mac, either. There's also nothing you can do to prevent me from running netcat on another box on the network and capturing the stream in its entirety for brute force decryption at a later date.

You can, however, make it enough of a pain in the ass that most people won't bother.

If this means I have to have a Google Chrome installation on my laptop, then great. It means I don't have to run mono + silverlight + wine + whatever else to watch Netflix.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

progician (2451300) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460521)

You can, however, make it enough of a pain in the ass that most people won't bother.

Yet it's enough a single person to decrypt their streams with the necessary means, and distribute the content over p2p networks, where people can easily download and that's it.

Re:Silverlight greatness (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460529)

You can, however, make it enough of a pain in the ass that most people won't bother.

The problem is, it only takes one person to bother and release a nice GUI application that you point at the URL and then everyone can do it.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

Bert64 (520050) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460541)

People won't bother not because it's a pain in the ass, but because its not the best or first way to acquire the content.
It's much easier to just rip the bluray, which is usually available first, and in higher quality than anything on netflix.

As soon as it becomes worth while to do so, you can be sure that people will work out how to rip the streams.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

ssam (2723487) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460565)

why brute force decrypt it? the web browser is already sending a decrypted stream to your graphics server. there is plenty of screen recording software on linux.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460657)

I believe Windows has some sort of DRM protected content path mumbo jumbo. Not sure how the heck it protects itself from a fake video driver, but I am sure they have something.

Winqual (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460987)

Not sure how the heck it protects itself from a fake video driver

That probably has something to do with the "Winqual" process.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1, Interesting)

StuartHankins (1020819) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460325)

I had almost the opposite experience. My iPad, iPhone and Wii stream Netflix fine, but when I wanted to view it on my laptop, they wanted me to install Silverlight (no thanks). I thought it seemed stupid to require that.

Re:Silverlight greatness (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460653)

I had to install the Netflix app to watch it on my phone or tablet. It won't stream to the web browser. Installing an app is little different from installing Silverlight... it's still one more thing to install.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

oldlurker (2502506) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460491)

The great thing about HTML5 is that it runs on many devices unlike Silverlight. With HTML5, there is a chance that I can actually stream content on my tablet, *BSD or Linux computer, Windows, Mac, iPhone, or consoles in my home. Netflix managed to get Wii, PS3, iPhone, iPad, etc. to stream their content so obviously they can already do it without silverlight. With both flash and silverlight dying, netflix has to find a solution to this problem.

A chance is exactly the right word. With the use of HTML5 Netflix is talking about you will be able to stream Netflix to all platforms that Netflix develop and distribute a HTML5 CDM plugin for.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460799)

Which means Windows and OSX.
They will not make a linux or BSD plugin, had they wanted to stream to those platforms it would have already happened.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

teg (97890) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460963)

Which means Windows and OSX. They will not make a linux or BSD plugin, had they wanted to stream to those platforms it would have already happened.

Netflix' computer solution is based on Silverlight, which is not available for platforms other than Windows and OSX. A plugin would be much simpler in scope.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460629)

Seeing as you can already stream on consoles, most Android devices, most iDevices, etc it's obvious they already have non-Silverlight methods of delivery. However, most of the non-Silverlight devices they deliver to have their own methods of DRM built in to the OS or the app (usually both)... not something that's as easily controllable on a PC running a standard web browser.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

Uninvited Guest (237316) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460819)

The great thing about HTML5 is that it runs on all devices at no cost unlike Silverlight.

FTFY

No cost using which codec? (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,7 days | (#43461007)

The great thing about HTML5 is that it runs on all devices at no cost unlike Silverlight.

Using which video codec? AVC has a cost, and VP8 is illegal if the patent court agrees with Nokia.

Re:Silverlight greatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460279)

To the guy(s) that check shills work: don't do that on /...it won't pass, it does not matter how relevant or insightful your shill's comments are. Also Silverlight is fundamentally wrong. As Flash is. And it also needs to die (or to be buried in Silverlight's case).

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460457)

I suspect this is more a troll than a shill. A shill would hopefully use more skill.

Otherwise, I agree with your post.

Re: Silverlight greatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460285)

Flash has done this as well for a long time. It's not just Silverlight...

Re: Silverlight greatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460371)

Flash has done this as well for a long time. It's not just Silverlight...

Silverlight just does it much better in practice, with much lower cpu utilization. At least on Windows. A lot of users are reporting that low end boxes that have trouble with SD flash streaming have no problem with HD silverlight streaming.

Re: Silverlight greatness (1)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460681)

This is because Silverlight actually uses a proper video overlay for the playback. Flash and all the HTML5 players would be much faster if they did this.

Re:Silverlight greatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460309)

... when using visual studio. It enables you to rapidly develop new software and code.

WOHOO Drag and Drop Design!

Re:Silverlight greatness (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460345)

This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content.

I doubt that Silverlight is anything special in that regard. I would be stunned to learn that it used anything other than a standard codec like vc1 and just switches between a couple of different bit-rate streams that were pre-encoded.

This being said, the DRM probably isn't as needed by the Netflix itself but the content providers.

Nope. Netflix lurves DRM. They will force it on viewers even when the producer does not want it. [ninapaley.com] Hell, they won't even let the producer put up a message at the start of the movie to tell viewers they can get a DRM-free copy.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460415)

While I believe Netflix wants DRM to protect their model, I don't think Nina Paley's experience means one thing or another.

Ms Paley was asking that her movie be streamed without DRM, which would mean it would be processed in a completely different way to Netflix's current catalog. I don't think Netflix is unreasonable in requiring everything be streamed the same way - I wouldn't be at all surprised if, in order to implement this, Netflix would have to update and release new versions of all of their Android/iOS/Wii clients, in addition to making changes to their Silverlight client.

And the reason for the request for putting up the message being denied is explained in her own post - Netflix has a strict "No bumpers" policy.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460423)

Netflix should really just go native for all the platforms they support. There's no reason trying to force everything into the browser. Especially for something like Netflix, where more often than not it will be the sole app being used when it's running. They already have native apps for Android and IOS. There's an "app" for Windows 8, but I'm not sure if that's native or just some kind of wrapper around IE and Silverlight. All the other devices they run on (XBOX/PS3/Wii/Roku/Smart TV) don't use the browser with Silverlight to run Netflix, but instead use a "Native App".

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460435)

Um... If you think those things can't be done with Flash or HTML5... That's your problem. Don't inflict your lack of creativity and programming ability on us.

That being said, Flash still needs to die in a fire for being the biggest cross-platform security vulnerability on the internet. Given the Silverlight is probably only "safe" due to a low user base... It can jump in the pit too.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1, Troll)

Inda (580031) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460677)

I promise to wash myself with bleach after this post.

Silverlight is better than Flash in every way and I wish it had gained ground all those years ago. It never ground my PC to a halt. It rarely crashed, if ever. It never hung Firefox. HD video played smoothly; as if I were playing it in VLC.

I know you guys have problems with it on Linux, Unix, BSD, OSX, Android, ..., but it's so much better than Flash on Windows.

I can hear the wife in running me a bath. I'll add my own bleach.

Re:Silverlight greatness (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460727)

Have problems with it?
It does not run at all. That is the problem with it. Had someone else not in the Desktop monopoly market created it, it might have actually been ported. Instead the OSX version lags far behind and everyone else gets nothing. Moonlight does not work, nor is anyone that excited about dealing with Icaza's MS dick sucking.

Re:Silverlight greatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460757)

The great thing about Silverlight is its ability to stream content as your internet line can take it. This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content.

This is not a silverlight-exclusive feature. The popular AVC encoder x.264, for example, can encode multiple streams of differing bitrate in such a way that they can be swapped out on-the-fly during playback.

Re:Silverlight greatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460837)

First... you are incorrect in assuming that silverlight was the only one that could accomplish multibitrate video. That has been a staple of flash streaming for a long time and is also capable in HTML5 for iOS and Android.

The DRM is wanted/needed by corporations so that the streaming content cannot just be downloaded directly and there is some sense of security around it.

And lastly... your statement "It enables you to rapidly develop new software and code" can easily be applied to all of the above. Learn your facts.

Re:Silverlight greatness (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460877)

The great thing about Silverlight is its ability to stream content as your internet line can take it. This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content.

That is a clear advantage over Flash and/or HTML5 based video content.

Now if only Silverlight would sync to vblank on XP.

They (Mozilla) will respond like usual: (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460201)

Throwing a tantrum and crying like babies, instead of enabling users worldwide to use the web in the ways the web offers. Remember the h.264/mp4 debacle? Yeah.

If only (2)

SmSlDoo (414128) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460203)

... they would transition to providing shows I actually want to watch, and in a timely manner.

Re:If only (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460631)

Perhaps you should send them a list of shows they should be providing, along with all your other demands.

Re:If only (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460827)

If only Walmart would spend the time, money and infrastructure to stock that one brand of cereal that most people don't care about just so I can have it...

Yay for hating the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460211)

Wouldn't be surprised if they're being arm-twisted by their content providing cartel. Nice reminder they haven't up and died yet. As if we needed one, re cispa.

Idiot. (1)

westlake (615356) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460675)

Wouldn't be surprised if they're being arm-twisted by their content providing cartel.

Netflix is producing or more likely, co-producing original content, which in time, will make its way into other distribution channels.

Re: your dumbass strategy (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460225)

You went with Silverlight. Now have fun being stuck with Silverlight. The end.

Re: your dumbass strategy (2)

greenfruitsalad (2008354) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460265)

also, anything that can be displayed on my screen can be recorded and saved into a file. it doesn't matter if it's in silverlight, flash or html

Re: your dumbass strategy (1)

sammy baby (14909) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460331)

Yeah, they could have used.... Flash. Hooray? Or Apple HLS?

The bottom line is that non DRMed content is a non-starter for them. It's not that they can't figure out how to get away from Silverlight, it's that they can't figure out where to go instead.

Re: your dumbass strategy (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460689)

At least flash is supported on more platforms.

The simple answer is just make a native netflix application. The web browser is not needed.

Not Netflix (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460235)

The Studios That Provide Content for Netflix Want To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

FTFY

Re:Not Netflix (1)

cffrost (885375) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460733)

The Studios That Provide Content for Netflix Want To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

FTFY

Do you have a source which shows Netflix stating it doesn't want to use DRM?

Re:Not Netflix (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460811)

No you didn't fix it, you made it wrong. Netflix (not the studios) wants to go to HTML5 (the studios couldn't care less about HTML5 vs. Silverlight outside of DRM.) The studios won't licenses content to Netflix without Netflix using DRM, so Netflix also wants to continue to use DRM. (The studios are happy enough not selling to Netflix, since there are plenty of other streaming rental outlets that do use DRM, so if Netflix chooses not to, it hurts Netflix -- who loses content and, shortly afterward, customers -- but not so much the studios.)

leave it alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460237)

For the love of all that is good NetFlix, just leave it alone. Currently you have the smoothest video streaming service available, there's nothing wrong with it. Leave it alone.

not much better (5, Interesting)

ssam (2723487) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460267)

The only way DRM can work if if you make the decrypted video uncaptureable. So on any system where the root user can read the frame buffer there is no point. HTML5 DRM will only work on systems that have DRM build in to the OS, which is pretty much the same systems that have silverlight.

The only way i can see it ever getting to linux is if the encrypted stream can be passed to rights managed hardware on a GPU. but then if i have a GPU that can effectively play the encrypted stream, why would i ever worry about decrypting it in the first place, i could dump the network stream to disk, and play back through GPU whenever I wanted.

Re:not much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460507)

Linux, MacOS, and FreeBSD have DRM built into the OS?

Because I sure as hell can easily get silverlight (Moonlight) running on them.

Re:not much better (2)

kraln (1477093) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460531)

And moonlight definitely supports netflix and DRM'd videos... oh wait. No, no it doesn't.

Re:not much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460619)

Have you tried netflix with moonlight?

Re:not much better (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460751)

Moonlight is not silverlight. It is many version behind, it is not stable nor quick and it lacks any and all DRM functions. As far as I know no big commercial silverlight sites have ever worked in moonlight.

Working on Linux (5, Informative)

Parker Lewis (999165) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460535)

Just a side note: to use current Netflix on Linux, guys uses wine + firefox + moonlight. And it works pretty fine. See more here, a working ppa with all the solution working: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2084592 [ubuntuforums.org] This is a good point about current Linux distros status: if you don't want port your application, no problem, we can simulate your environment. Ok, not FOSS solution, but at least works.

Re:not much better (3, Insightful)

ZephyrXero (750822) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460557)

The point of DRM is not to give you absolutely no way to capture the content, but simply to make it difficult enough that the average person doesn't just right click and say save file to disk. It's like the lock on my front door. Do people know how to pick it? With enough effort can it be knocked down by brute force, sure. But most people will not attempt to open a locked door, so it serves it's purpose.

Re:not much better (1)

progician (2451300) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460585)

Your metaphor doesn't work here. It's rather than copy the key with brute force (i'm not sure what would be that IRL), and send the copies out all over the place, without going back to the original lock. Not every user has to brute force it, only a single one. The whole idea of DRM is completely broken.

Re:not much better (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460919)

Not really. For DRM to be effective, there needs to be two parts.

1) Makes non-legitimate sources more difficult, lower quality, etc compared to the legitimate source (the locked door analogy above). Netflix does this pretty well... it takes more time and effort for me to find a given episode of Star Trek on TPB than it does on Netflix, and I have to wait for it to download from TPB whereas Netflix I can start watching in seconds. Netflix also gives me a known quality of video, whereas TPB's quality is unknown until I spend the time waiting for it to download.

2) The pricing/acquisition model has to be reasonable enough that people are willing to pay for the convenience of getting it from the legitimate source. Netflix does this very well. I spend more going to McDonalds twice a month than I do on Netflix.

Re:not much better (1)

ssam (2723487) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460859)

there are several ways to break DRM.
The first its to break the encryption. The CSS encryption on DVDs was weak, so to play a DVD you just brute force it.
Or you can get hold of a key. Bluray players each have a key, if you can extract one of these you can then use it to play blurays
Or you let the DRM software do the decryption, and then just capture the output. A locked down OS can prevent you from doing this, for example it can disable the screen shot function when you look at the DRM media. With an open OS and admin privileges i can always read the frame buffer.

PDF has a 'feature' to make a document un-printable. If the no printing flag is set in a file then the adobe pdf viewer will refuse to print it. some of the opensource pdf viewers have a build time options as to whether they respect this 'feature' https://lwn.net/Articles/335415/ [lwn.net]

Re:not much better (1)

Rich0 (548339) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460589)

The main defense against replay attacks is a clock. That makes network replay attacks pretty hard to pull off since most PCs have a clock (and messing with it is inconvenient, but patching the OS is of course possible and if you can do that then just strip the DRM in the first place). GPUs typically do not have clocks, and including them creates issues like batteries, and resetting the clock. Messing with a GPU RTC also isn't that inconvenient since nothing but DRM would use it anyway, so hardening a GPU against a replay would be difficult.

The other defense is to give each stream a unique ID and put in the GPU a non-volatile storage for every ID that has been seen. If the IDs are authenticated and based on the time, then another approach is to store the last one seen, and reject any ID that is lower in value. If you can authenticate a fake ID then that gives you a great way to brick a GPU, however - just feed it a really high value and now it can no longer play DRM video.

Re:not much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460671)

No need for such complicated schemes - just have the GPU talk SSL to the online server, with the host PC acting as a proxy of sorts. MiTM and replay attacks are already a solved problem in that context, at least if we can assume protected storage on the GPU for encryption certificates..

Re:not much better (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460833)

Why in the hell would I ever buy a GPU like that?
That is even worse than a binary driver. That is hardware with DMA that I do not control.

Re:not much better (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460839)

Yeah, but capturing from the frame buffer and then trying to sync the result with the captured audio can be very problematic, and creates less than stellar copies. All this for stuff that's available on DVD anyway. There's much better ways to go about getting a good copy of whatever content is out there, especially since BluRay and DVD encryption have been broken for a long time.

Re:not much better (1)

ssam (2723487) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460907)

> There's much better ways to go about getting a good copy of whatever content is out there, especially since BluRay and DVD encryption have been broken for a long time.

i don't think that line of argument will convince netflix (or the studios) that easily breakable DRM is good enough.

Re:not much better (1)

deadlock911 (629647) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460967)

When I first heard about DRM music, way back in the 90's, I just looked at my male to male audio cable and thought "Press play on one end and record on the other. If you can view it, you can capture it" Still true today. The whole idea is an exercise in futility.

They can add DRM all they want. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460323)

Won't stop it from being cracked on the same day it is implemented.
And then they will be stuck with broken DRM for ages at the pace W3C goes at.

To create an incredibly complex DRM scheme would require a lot of resources to do in realtime.
Not only that, it will STILL be displayed on a screen, and it will STILL be sending audio through a sound driver.
It is trivial to setup both a screen recorder and virtual audio capture driver.

I really don't see why people are worrying.

What do they actually want? (4, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460475)

They want DRM but since that doesn't actually work they'll be wanting secure boot with a signed software stack all the way down. This would require the exclusion of Firefox and others. Somehow I doubt the Encrypted Media Extension would actually allow the plugin to work in an open source browser. If it does, then all it really does is allow a locked down app to be displayed in the web browser and get stuff fed into it from said browser. Why not just give people your locked down app and forget about the browser? The browser can still be told to open links using external apps, so this would still allow people to link to videos and such.

I really don't see the need for adding EME to HTML5. What are the actual use cases that don't have simple solutions without it?

Re:What do they actually want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460895)

What Netflix wants is simple: Something that gets people to throw money at them while appeasing a bunch of old, fat, spoiled white dudes supplying them with the content they're showing (that is, the reason people throw money at them).

It's that whole "appeasing a bunch of old, fat, spoiled white dudes" part that's getting in the way of sense and logic in the face of modern technology.

NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460483)

I'm done with DRM. If it's required, then I'm not interested.

Re:NO (1)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460683)

I agree if we are talking about purchases, but for a streaming service I just don't care. If one day I look at Netflix and see nothing to watch, I'll stop paying the whole 8 bucks a month and move on with life.

Re:NO (1, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460805)

I don't see DRM as "all or nothing". Lightweight, non-intrusive DRM isn't bad. Currently, Netflix's DRM only affects me by requiring me to have Silverlight installed... a minor nuisance for a majority of people that is usually forgotten once it's installed. Sure, there will also be some fringe cases where it prevents them from doing what they want, but the vast majority isn't bothered by it in the least. I also don't mind games that want to phone home once a month or so to verify the product key. I can accept the little stuff like this as protecting their business model... if someone wants to get around it, it's not difficult but it will keep most customers paying because it's not worth the hassle to them.

However, super tight DRM, like the "always on" shit we're seeing with Diablo III and SimCity 5 is a major nuisance and will keep my dollars in my wallet.

W3C DRM proposal is OPEN! (5, Insightful)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460547)

"But what would we sacrificing in openness and the web as we know it?"

Let's recap. The proposal for opened and standardized DRM method in HTML is just a bunch of callback and methods so a media content can say it has a protection and then the web browser can look up in its plugin repository if a DRM plugin can decrypt the content. The HTML part is 100% open and standardized. The actual DRM encryption and keys are not. Which is the point of any DRM scheme.

So adding DRM support into HTML, as media play/pause/method already did, won't make the Web more closed or more proprietary. The opposite is true.
Currently, media owner that choose to use protection for their content must rely on proprietary technologies. With a standard DRM framework (ie for distributing and handling protected content, not the part of decrypting it), at least, we could have much more openness on this kind of content.

Now, adding DRM to HTML does NOT change the web. Should an actor decide to use those DRMs features, you are totally free to NOT use their services. But the thing for sure is that we will have much more actors ready to use standard and open functionality to distribute their content in a protected way.

Re:W3C DRM proposal is OPEN! (1, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460693)

"Now, adding VBScript to HTML does NOT change the web. Should an actor decide to use those VBScript features, you are totally free to NOT use their services."

There is NOTHING that this buys anyone except a single client software download. The thing that this costs is an officially sanctioned DRM scheme by all web parties, which quite frankly have no business in DRM or protected content to begin with. The alternative, have an officially supported plugin that does everything the in-browser function would do anyways, but has the added benefit of BEING OPTIONAL.

If you want locked content, use a plugin designed to decode it. End of story. I mean frankly you'll need an out of browser component to make this work anyways, so why not just BUILD a DRM component yourself, you lazy content industry? Why shove -your- monetary scheme down the throats of everyone who may or may not want to buy into your business models? Hell, the MPAA's gotta be good for something. Get them to pay for it.

Re:W3C DRM proposal is OPEN! (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460851)

Having a plugin is what they do already. It is in fact the problems with these plugins that are causing this move.

It really doesn't matter because you are ending up with DRM in your browser either way.

Re:W3C DRM proposal is OPEN! (4, Insightful)

progician (2451300) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460793)

Inviting DRM in to standard browser tech is a sort of thing, that directly turn the internet to be more closed information system. For the moment, the reason that not all media provider goes with DRM is that DRM still loomes over the user and exclude a portion of the population, because it can't be done without user interaction. If user interaction won't be required any more we'll soon will see large migration to DRM scheme.

The problem is that if content providers move en mass to DRM schemes, your choice is not simply not discard DRMed providers, but not to consume entertainment at all or install god-knows-what binary blobs on your system, forced to use software which you wouldn't normally buy or even trust, and so on. DRM scheme, along with many "invention" of the tech/entertainment industry is a fraudulent scheme, nothing else.

Already using it (1)

Dan East (318230) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460555)

Netflix is already using HTML5 for Chromebook. It was already discussed here on Slashdot [slashdot.org] .

How come they can't roll this out to web browsers more generically? Getting the DRM binary blob installed in the client's web browser is an issue or something?

Re:Already using it (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460725)

etflix is already using HTML5 for Chromebook. [...] How come they can't roll this out to web browsers more generically? Getting the DRM binary blob installed in the client's web browser is an issue or something?

Chrome, unlike "web browsers more generically", already supports the Encrypted Media Extensions discussed in TFS. So, yes, the mechanism they use to support Chromebooks doesn't work more generically.

Netflix is one of the places where DRM makes sense (4, Interesting)

ZephyrXero (750822) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460595)

I know it's blasphemy to say so, especially on Slashdot, but I have zero problem with Netflix using DRM. Why? It's a rental service. I have not purchased these videos. I do not own them. Therefore I have no expectation of any sort of rights to do what I want with them. So, as while I'm totally against it for things like iTunes or a BluRay. It completely makes sense to me that Netflix needs some sort of mechanism, even if it only keep 99% of people from keeping a local copy.

Re:Netflix is one of the places where DRM makes se (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460775)

Why do they need DRM, when they already only send you data in real time? There is an inherent limit to how much you could possibly pirate with Netflix (wall clock) and it seems like it'd be pretty easy to figure out when someone was programmatically stream ripping (everyone has to sleep... eventually).

Amazon Prime and Hulu have effectively no DRM (they use RTMPE, known broken for years and years through a trivial MITM attack) and I don't think anything on TPB comes from either of them.

Re:Netflix is one of the places where DRM makes se (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460817)

Yes, and the killswitch too.

Re:Netflix is one of the places where DRM makes se (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460855)

I know it's blasphemy to say so, especially on Slashdot,

Pretty much yeah.

but I have zero problem with Netflix using DRM

Curious.

It's a rental service. I have not purchased these videos. I do not own them. Therefore I have no expectation of any sort of rights to do what I want with them.

What so? You can (or used to be able to) rent DVDs and do whatever the hell you liked with them within the bounds of copyright law. Making something a rental does not magically make it different.

even if it only keep 99% of people from keeping a local copy.

Says the man with a good internet connection.

I find it much better to download a high quality local copy and then watch that, then delete it (e.g. on iPlayer). That's also a perfectly reasonable way to use such a service, especially as with that I'm not held to ransom by my crappy internet connection.

And can you rent a copy, put it on your phone (no not stream to the phone) as a downloaded copy so you can watch it with no cell service?

You may support defective by design software because it happens to suppor the small subset of things that you happen to do with it, but do not pretend that is is reasonable or lets people do all the reasonable things they want.

There is no technical difference between a reasonable copy for reasonable purposes and an illegal copy for nefarious ones. That is why DRM is always, without exception, bad.

Re:Netflix is one of the places where DRM makes se (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460965)

Since he (and no on besides you) gives a shit about the things you bring up your point is moot.

Big deal (4, Insightful)

gravis777 (123605) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460685)

I know that people are generally opposed to DRM - shoot, I am one of them, because half the time, it doesn't work right, but if the system works.... I bought an eInk reader a few months back, and actually tried buying books through them, but the books would only stay authorized for a few days - to get them to work again, I had to delete both the book and the sql database off the tablett and resync. CD checks on games are always a bitch, and internet-verification games - shoot, I almost always download cracks for them, even though I legally own them.

But when DRM works fine - IE, I stick a DVD in my player and it plays, or I stick a Blu-Ray in and it plays, I am fine. Oh, upconverting only works over HDMI? No problem, I haven't run component in years (well, except for the XBox as I have one of the early models). What does annoy me is when you get a Blu-Ray that won't play on certain players (ie non-PS3s) until you apply some firmware update (actually, may have the issues with non-patched PS3s as well, but I normally keep it updated to stream Netflix).

I have considered jailbreaking the PS3, though, to play region-locked discs. Luckily, many Blu-Rays are region-free, or are available in the US, but I have come across a few region B locked discs that don't have US releases.

Had to replace an HDMI cable a few months ago because it was having handshake issues. Granted, HDMI cables are only a couple of bucks, but the only issue I had with this cable was that it would loose sync for about half-a-second every 30 minutes or so, didn't really even notice, until I moved and plugged that cable up to my Blu-Ray player instead of to the cable-box, and in my new area, then realizing that my new cable company DRMed everything, even free OTA channels.

Netflix is currently the only streaming video app that seems to work on my rooted Android tablet (Time Warner Cable, Hulu, and Ultraviolet in Flixster won't work on rooted devices), not sure what streaming methodology they are using on Android, but willing to bet its not silverlight. As long as I can still use it on my tablett, I am fine.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, so I am fine with DRM IF IT WORKS and is WELL IMPLEMENTED. I understand protecting your stuff, and I am a collector, so like to have Physical media in my hands anyways. But if I have authorization errors, handshake issues, and my legal media just doesn't work, I will break your DRM or pirate the product. I tried playing your game, but if you don't play nice....

So, as long as the HTML5 DRM works, I am fine with it.

3 letter to Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460699)

Dear Netflix,

                  Fuck you.

Sincerely,
Everyone.

Huh? "Sacrificing Openness?" (-1, Flamebait)

sirwired (27582) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460857)

I don't see DRM as being incompatible with openness. The ability to save off content has nothing to do with how open (or not) a standard is. Why wouldn't Firefox implement it?

I think the summary writer is confusing "non-openness" with "things I don't like".

Turn a deaf ear to DRM demands (3, Insightful)

Uninvited Guest (237316) | 1 year,7 days | (#43460885)

Netflix is facing some hard choices. With Microsoft abandoning Silverlight on its own sites, the writing is on the wall. I say, let Netflix demand anything it pleases, and ignore all such demands. Eventually, Netflix will have to switch from Silverlight to something, and HTML5 is the obvious choice. If Netflix can't get DRM in the standard, they'll still have to find a way to keep streaming using existing standards.

Sacrificing a "be" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43460939)

It's missing from the last sentence of the summary and it makes no sense without it.

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