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Bill Gates Speaks Out Against Next-Gen DVDs

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the format-independent dept.

Media 446

jZnat writes "Although we all know that Microsoft hates Blu-Ray, Bill Gates doesn't seem to like HD-DVD either. Primarily, it seems, because Mr. Gates believes media storage on hard drives is likely to be the default standard sooner rather than later. From the interview: 'Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [MPAA] got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'"

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No it isn't (-1)

Jonnty (910561) | about 9 years ago | (#13851816)

Hard drive are going to be out within 5 years, it's going to be Flash or NRAM. But having those instead of DVDs is a good idea.

i am not a blue-ray fan either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851835)

a better solution might be USB flash drive (suppose it is big enought to store high-quality movies). they are going to replace laser-based medias.

Re:i am not a blue-ray fan either (4, Insightful)

Meagermanx (768421) | about 9 years ago | (#13851865)

Too expensive.
Let's face it: For distributable media, people don't care about RW capabilities.
That's where next-gen recordable media comes in.

people do care about RW capabilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13852060)

let's face it. don't you want to download "something" from the internet to your small & portable usb flash drive, and then plug and play it in your tv directly?

the next-gen recordable media solution looks even more costly to me, considering the device you need.

Re:No it isn't (2, Interesting)

gvc (167165) | about 9 years ago | (#13851877)

Maybe. At this time there's still a factor of 100 or so difference in price/byte and a big performance differenc, too. Flash is great for portability but it has a long way to go before being the method of choice for archival storage of videos. Hard drive is already there.

Re:No it isn't (3, Insightful)

0xC0FFEE (763100) | about 9 years ago | (#13851937)

Way of missing the idea. What he's saying is that static media is not consumer friendly. In expanded form, this means that a product shouldn't be tied to its original media (Gates should take note of where his flights of thought bring him). This is kind of obvious when you consider that a static media is nothing more than a transit system between the media producer and you. It can also act as backup.

The conceptualization of a "disk" where you can read and write frequently at relative high speed doesn't change whether it's HD based, flash based, internet based or hologram based. I'm sure Gates still wants a file to be DRM'ed to death, he must make sure that MS are the gatekeepers.

Still. Cryptographic locks are potentially very interesting features for securing content, assessing authorship. Paraphrasing Linus: "_real_ men just upload their important stuff encrypted on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it". You're not really putting up stuff on ftp, but who knows what can be accessed without your explicit approval/knowledge. Preemptively act as if that was the case. Contrary to material properties, information is very resilient and durable. The only downsides are that it can be lost in an instant (hence the need for redundancy and backups) and can be disclosed in an innoportune fashion (hence the need for cryptographic protection).

As we embark (on the inevitable) road to making information a full-fledged property, we need to make sure all the usual ingredients of a property are present. Some will say that instead of trying to fit information in the usual definition of (material) property, we should instead enlarge and refine the definition of property. Sure, that doesn't invalidate the fact that we want to be able to protect and lock down information properties. What I guess I'm saying is that a property has attributes that are requisite for trade and that since our civilization is mostly built on that (and some form of democracy), any new property will have to incorporate those attributes we have come to rely upon.

Re:No it isn't (5, Insightful)

n0-0p (325773) | about 9 years ago | (#13852095)

I think MS can just see the real implications of Blu-Ray and they know it's a danger to them (and consumers in general). I don't think MS is being altruistic here, it's just that this time the general good happens to coincide with their goals. I've talked to a few people involved in DRM work at MS. They say that MS is only supporting DRM to appease content providers. From their point of view it limits their capabilities and doesn't really buy them anything. However DRM is the only way to get content providers to play ball.

Now the real danger in the whole Blu-Ray issue is this. The DRM model for Blu-Ray is extremely restrictive and especially wouldn't play nice in a PC type environment. Also, Blu-Ray is a closed spec that must be licensed, so any deviation from this DRM model risks legal action by Sony. The content providers like this because it's a model with legal and/or technical barriers at every link in the chain. However if Blu-Ray really becomes the preferred format for HD media we risk a situation where Sony gets final say in all HD content distribution because they own this heavily restricted standard. So in the end Blu-Ray would become a monopoly coup for Sony and fair use would be seriously crippled in the HD world.

So I'd prefer HD-DVD mostly because it's an open spec that is by nature more consumer friendly. Of course, it also helps that HD-DVD will be significantly less expensive and available for large-scale production in the near term.

Storage on hard drives (3, Insightful)

Data Link Layer (743774) | about 9 years ago | (#13851817)

Is an interesting idea, but, for it too work there has to be a distorbution system in place, that means high bandwidth. I think disks will be around a lot longer then mr. Gates thinks.

Re:Storage on hard drives (5, Funny)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | about 9 years ago | (#13851874)

DISTORBUTION - (n) A corruptive distortion-like field generated with the intent to imbue the subject with a sense of acceptance.

Re:Storage on hard drives (2, Interesting)

pete19 (874979) | about 9 years ago | (#13851890)

I was thinking much the same thing, but if it was done right this could be a big boost to something like Bittorrent.

I don't use ITMS, so I don't know what the file sizes are like for their video downloads, but if people were willing to wait a little longer I guess it could work for DVD type videos too.

Re:Storage on hard drives (2, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 9 years ago | (#13852017)

Is an interesting idea, but, for it too work there has to be a distorbution system in place,

There is [] .

Seriously, (ATTENTION MEDIA EXECS) do you know why I prefer P2P over DVDs ? Because:

  1. Getting a DVD forces me to get out and go to a shop. And, if I don't find what I want at the first shop I'll go to, I'll have to look around for it. On the other hand, a torrent search engine or P2P program finds me the movie in seconds, without me having to move more than my fingers.
  2. If I have a "HitMovie.avi" file, I'll watch it by giving the command "xine HitMovie.avi" to the computer. If I have a HitMovie DVD, I'll have to suffer trough FBI warnings (and possibly MPAA's "piracy is theft" music video wannabe), fuck around with the start menu, then I'll finally get to see the movie. Of course, all this assumes that HitMovie has already been released to DVD - HitMovie.avi is typically available before the movie's first shown in theaters.
  3. A typical movie, when encoded with a good encoder to a reasonably high quality file, takes from 700 MB to 1.5 GB - lets say 2 GB to get a good, round number. A 200 GB hard drive can store a hundred such movies and fits to my hand. A typical DVD case is half a centimeter thick, so a hundred such cases take half a meter of shelf space.
  4. When searching my collection, "locate -i HitMovie" returns in seconds, while a by-eye search of my shelf takes easily minutes - not for a hundred DVDs, of course, but locate keeps on returning the results in seconds even with a thousand movies (10 200GB disks, or 4 500GB disks).
  5. DRM. Files loaded from P2P don't have any crap in them that tries to stop me from watching and using them how, where or when I see fit. DVDs have unskippable parts, region codes and CSS encryption, and the movie producers are using profits from DVD sales to buy laws to make DRM compulsory in computer devices. Why on Earth would I want to pay someone who will then use the money against me ?

Re:Storage on hard drives (4, Insightful)

Tet (2721) | about 9 years ago | (#13852059)

Of course, all this assumes that HitMovie has already been released to DVD - HitMovie.avi is typically available before the movie's first shown in theaters.

You say that like it's a good thing. Much as I dislike the MPAA, the fact is that movies cost money to make. A lot of money. Yet you're proposing that the best way to view those movies is to download an unauthorised copy from the net before it's even hit the cinemas. That brings in precisely zero revenue to recoup the cost of making the film. I hate to break it to you, but there won't be a HitMovie.avi for you to download in a few years if this becomes the norm.

Wow (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851819)

I hate to admit it but, I actually agree w/ Billy on this one...

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13851837)

Agreeing with Bill Gates is an odd experience .
I just can't help shake the "What's his angle " .
  Then Thinking a little more , I imagine It will be HDD based WMA files with MS DRM that is consumer friendly .
  Cutting out Sony , Philips etc. with their nasty DRM and allowing free reign for his slightly less nasty DRM

Re:Wow (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | about 9 years ago | (#13851869)

Aye, ah hink ye hit ra nail skweerly oan ra heid thir chookie...

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 9 years ago | (#13851904)

I cant but agree. For me the first thing that hit my mind was Bill G wanting all media being stored under Windows powered appliances instead. Those pesky DVD things arent really tied to one vendor, namely Microsoft. I do want my media tied to a movable disc much more than i want it tied to a specific computer or appliance. I also dont believe for a second that the DRM from Microsoft will be one bit friendlier than the ones on the new DVD formats. Who will decide that, Microsoft or the media companies? Just because MS wants it nice and friendly does not say RIAA and MPAA will follow their wishes.

All DRM sucks as it tries to take away basic functions from the consumer by technichs when laws say otherwise. Its just a way to sidestep fair use law.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

Gherald (682277) | about 9 years ago | (#13852079)

> All DRM sucks as it tries to take away basic functions from the consumer by technichs when laws say otherwise. Its just a way to sidestep fair use law.
The DMCA already took care of sidestepping fair use. DRM is just an implementation.

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

ebuck (585470) | about 9 years ago | (#13851917)

I believe that his "angle" is that a very large corporation which is directly responsible is releasing a new operating system who's only major advertisable feature is a new media player.

So, it might do Bill some personal economic good to talk about how the future of film / media distribution will not use the DVDs/HDVDs/Blu-Rays but will use hard disks, which will only be enjoyable with a media player. And since this corporation has such market penetration and will be giving away said media player pre-installed, such perceived needs only move to drive the perceived need to adopt this (so-called) new operating system.

And I didn't even have to add in the DRM angle.

Re:Wow (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 9 years ago | (#13852023)

will be giving away said media player pre-installed

Not in Europe he wont.

Re:Wow (1)

EvilNTUser (573674) | about 9 years ago | (#13851921)

"Cutting out Sony , Philips etc. with their nasty DRM and allowing free reign for his slightly less nasty DRM"

Well of course he's going to be pushing his own DRM format, but that doesn't mean we can't agree with him. Personally, I detest DRM in every form, but if one happens to believe that DRM is the only way studios will agree to online distribution, then Microsoft's method is certainly more consumer friendly.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the studios want to control how and where we watch our media, whereas Microsoft just wants to force us to use their software to do it. While both approaches are evil, I'm fairly sure Microsoft would still like to offer the consumer more features than the paranoid studios would. For example, if Microsoft was in control, I doubt we'd have ridiculous pricing schemes where you pay once for the TV broadcast, again for a DVD and again for a UMD. No, you'd just pay for that one file and be able to put it on any (MS) device.

I'm also delighted that someone with Gates' power would say that physical formats are a thing of the past. One of the main things I hate about DVD:s is how wasteful they are. We're filling up our landfills for no good reason at all, when networks and rewritable, high density hard drives could do the work for us. Even worse is the idea of disposable DVD rentals that pops up every year. The faster we can kill plastic discs the better.

What's his angle? (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | about 9 years ago | (#13852004)

The evolution of corporate avarice:

Fred Flintstone:

1. Whose baby is that?

2. What's your angle?

3. I'll buy that!

Bill Gates:

1. Whose baby is that?

2. What's my angle?

3. I'll assimilate that!

4. Profit!

Re:Wow (1)

CDPatten (907182) | about 9 years ago | (#13852049)

I cna't believe that got modded with a 5 and insightful.

News flash, HD-DVD and BR both use Billy's codec. Their format VC1, is short for Microsoft Video Codec 1, and that is almost identical to his latest .wmv format. So in short sony is already using his format. Cutting out disks doesn't increase his market, it only makes it easier for companies like apple and real to compete. As of today, HD-DVD and BR both are locked into his format.

Re:Wow (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13852100)

Bill gates has by many been called a control freak .
Sure HD-DVD may use some of his technology but he does not have total control over it .
He more strongly Rubbish's BRD as it has nothing to do with his Tech IIRC .
HD-DVD is his second choice , as at least he has some slice of the cake .
WMA DRM'd download media means he has a monopoly on it .

HDD downloaded Media is the future hopefully , but if he gets the studios to sign up to his ideas then it is an MS-Future.

Re:Wow (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 9 years ago | (#13851939)

Has it occured to anyone that perhaps the interview is fake? From the quote: "the [MPAA] got too much protection" and "play movies and do software".. "Do" software ??? Does Bill Gates really talk like that? Sounds like some illiterate teenager...

I think we can safely assume that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13852086)

an alien has taken control of Bill Gates' body and is having fun f*cking with people's mind.

How far wrong is he? (5, Interesting)

Derg (557233) | about 9 years ago | (#13851821)

Come on. 60 gigs in less space than a twinkie. I cant see this prognostication being that far off, except that its ironic he makes claims about being anti-consumer while pushing his own flavor of DRM down our throats. *sigh*

Re:How far wrong is he? (4, Funny)

ebuck (585470) | about 9 years ago | (#13851926)

Winston: I'm worried, Ray. All my readings point to something big on the horizon.

Ray: What do you mean, big?

Winston: Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of hard drive space in a New York area desktop. Based on this morning's reading, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

Ray: That's a big Twinkie.

Re:How far wrong is he? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851947)

For only about the, I don't know, millionth time, Microsoft have DRM "down our throats" because if they want their format to actually be used by the studios and record labels, the companies that own the copyright on the content of the WMA or WMV files want there to be an iron clad DRM system in place.

Isn't it funny (4, Insightful)

the_unknown_soldier (675161) | about 9 years ago | (#13851825)

While Bill Gates talks about how content should be hard drive based, The ITMS actually lets you buy epsisodes of lost for $2.

If you are going to make a format irrelevant, provide a viable alternative Bill.

Re:Isn't it funny (1)

zootm (850416) | about 9 years ago | (#13851949)

While Bill Gates talks about how content should be hard drive based, The ITMS actually lets you buy epsisodes of lost for $2.

Irrelevant. Microsoft don't sell content, they sell technology. There are several sites selling MSDRM-covered content (although none with the real clout of ITMS, with the possible exception of the BBC online service tests, which use Microsoft's DRM). They've provided a technological alternative, but content selling is not their market sector — they have, however, provided tools to help other companies provide these services. The fact that Apple do both is not really an issue here. It's just a different business plan.

Re:Isn't it funny (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 9 years ago | (#13851959)

He's discounting a technology that's designed to give you HDTV quality content because he thinks people want to store that content on their hard drives. How exactly is that content going to get from the distributor to your hard drive? Am I expected to download 50 gig of data? Even over an 8Mbps connection (which is far in excess of what _most_ people have these days) that's over 14 hours assuming I can saturate the connection. And most home-user connections are asymmetrical so peer2peer won't help nearly as much as you might think so the distributors will need stupid amounts of bandwidth. I don't think it's reasonable to make people wait 14 hours for something they would normally walk round the corner to the DVD shop for - instant gratification is a big deal in the retail sector.

This is a far cry from downloading sub-DVD quality content from ITMS - he's talking about HDTV content.

I don't doubt that in 5-10 years the average home-user will have enough bandwidth to make this feasable, but Blu-Ray is on sale *now* and it has 5-10 years to be useful.

Besides, I for one prefer to buy stuff on a physical medium that I can store how I want (on a shelf or ripped to my hard drive) - that's why I still buy CDs.

You're missing the point. (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | about 9 years ago | (#13852055)

Besides, I for one prefer to buy stuff on a physical medium that I can store how I want (on a shelf or ripped to my hard drive) - that's why I still buy CDs.
Gee, I can remember when ripping CDs was completely impractical. PCs were too slow. The CD rom drives couldn't read the audio correctly. Where in the world were you going to put six hundred and fifty MEGABYTES of data for each and every CD when your hard drive was only about 2 gigabytes anyway? Oh, MP3? Wasn't invented yet.

You enjoy the freedom you have with CDs. DVDJon not withstanding, doing the same thing with DVDs is not so easy, not because 9.4 GB is an overwhelming amount of data, but because of the CSS you have to deal with.

If BluRay doesn't make the PC copy feature mandatory, it may very well be impossible, at least in your lifetime, to have any freedom with the next generation DVD.

Saying you don't need that freedom because today's hardware can't take advantage of it is incredibly short-sighted.

Re:You're missing the point. (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 9 years ago | (#13852104)

Saying you don't need that freedom because today's hardware can't take advantage of it is incredibly short-sighted.

When exactly did I say that? I think if you re-read my post you will see that I said the idea of _not_ having a physical medium for HDTV quality content (which is what Bill seems to be suggesting) doesn't seem practical in the short term since there's no sane way to transfer the data over current internet connections. Saying "we don't need freedom" is *not* the same as "we'd like freedom but the technology that will give us that freedom won't be at all practical for a few more years".

And frankly, if a product can't do what I need then I won't buy it coz it's useless to me - many of the "copy protected" optical disks that are being claimed to be CDs won't let you rip them, and won't play in CD-ROM drives and car stereos, etc. Now given that I almost exclusively listen to music when using the computer or in the car this makes those CDs pretty much useless to me so I don't buy them.

At the moment this debate sparked by Bill is _nothing_ to do with freedoms and _everything_ to do with practicality - if there is a very restrictive option on the market at the moment and a free option which won't be useful for 5 years then what do you think is going to happen?

Re:Isn't it funny (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13852010)

While Bill Gates talks about how content should be hard drive based, The ITMS actually lets you buy epsisodes of lost for $2.

No it doesn't. I tried, but it seems to think that only Americans are allowed to buy episodes of Lost.

Like it or not, one of the advantages of current-generation optical media is that it doesn't make it easy for companies to introduce artificial barriers to free trade. I can buy DVDs from America or Japan and play them on my computer, any time I want to.

But the next generation (with stronger region coding), and online distribution (with region-based blocking), make it impossible for people living outside a target region to purchase and enjoy certain content - while paradoxically they can easily steal it.

I find it rather hard to understand quite why these companies think they're doing themselves a favour by ensuring that huge numbers of potential customers are going to be locked out of buying their products, and forced to acquire them through illegal channels. Something just isn't adding up here...

Anti-Consumer? (0, Troll)

auctoris (888249) | about 9 years ago | (#13851827)

Is he kidding? Anti-Consumer? Kind of like a company that gets sued every other day for anti-competitive and monopolistic practices which are the definition of anti-consumer. Blu-Ray may be anti-consumer, I don't know, but that cause most definitely needs a spokesman that doesn't look like a pot yelling at a kettle.

Re:Anti-Consumer? (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | about 9 years ago | (#13851943)

Yeah, Microsoft is definitely not the poster boy of consumer friendliness. On the other hand, Sony beats them hands down in terms of hostility to consumers. They had made this bookreader with E-Ink display, and not only was their selection bad, but they were only public domain works, which they nonetheless felt compelled to prohibit you from copying by locking them tight into DRM. It was a sad read.

I don't know if I remember correctly, but I think the files you bought had limited life too. I mean how can you expect to sell even one of those things?

Is this the same Bill Gates? (3, Interesting)

badfish99 (826052) | about 9 years ago | (#13851834)

What? Bill Gates thinks that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer? Is this the same Bill Gates who is responsible for the copy protection schema for Windows XP?

Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (4, Insightful)

Xyrus (755017) | about 9 years ago | (#13851847)

It should be noted that every decision at MS is not necessarily Billy Boy's decision. Bill Gates is a public figure, the public knows him. But companies are not just one man shows, especially ones as large as MS.


Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (4, Funny)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | about 9 years ago | (#13851852)

Ala Keyser Soze - "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist"


Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851875)

Of course the scheme is anti-consumer -- on that I agree with Gates. However, the HD-DVD is also anti-consumer, only marginally less so. The fact is *both* of these new standards are anti-consumer and both make sure that the players are never truly out of the control of the manufacturers... they are never really "owned" by the people who pay for them.

Gates' problem with Blu-ray is that it is controlled by Sony, the big dog in the console world where Microsoft wants to play. His "anti-consumer" argument is pure hypocrisy. Nevertheless, his outburst will hopefully highlight the issue and shine a light on the bullshit in both the HD-DVD camp and Blu-Ray and get some much needed publicity. Sadly, I don't expect mant journalists to either understand it, or investigate it properly -- they'll just let Gates frame the argument as HD-DVD = the consumer's friend, Blu-Ray = consumer's enemy.

Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (1)

zootm (850416) | about 9 years ago | (#13851969)

Wasn't a major difference that HD-DVD specified a method for ripping content (albeit still DRMed to the best of my knowledge), whereas Blu-Ray completely denies any possibility?

Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851911)

And is it the same Bill Gates who's responsible for the "new standard for content distribution and digital rights management" ? nt_System []
"The group developing it includes Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Matsushita, Warner Brothers, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony. The standard has been adopted as the access restriction scheme for HD-DVD and Blu-ray."


Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (1, Flamebait)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 9 years ago | (#13851961)

Bill G says it's anti consumer not because it's anti-consumer, though it is, but because it's not completely controlled by Microsoft. Anti-consumer implementations of technologies that are Micrsoft owned and controlled are just fine for him.

Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (1)

ebuck (585470) | about 9 years ago | (#13851973)

Of course Blu-Ray is anti-consumer. It can be played on a Blu-Ray disk player without the need for a licenced copy of Windows-whatever. Same goes for HDDVD, and even for the old-fashioned DVD / VHS / Beta / film reel formats.

Note that there's virtually no copy protection on the older formats, it just costs more to duplicate the media. So, I'm not so sure that copy protection schemas have anything to do with Bill's definition of pro-consumer / anti-consumer. Perhaps the article should have mentioned who's consumers Bill was referring to? As far as the DRM goes, there's nothing like throwing around a good buzzword to "tech-up" what is basically a "fluff" piece.

Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 9 years ago | (#13851976)

Windows XP activation takes about 10 seconds to do. It's not anti-consumer... at least, not nearly as much as a DVD format that doesn't allow ripping to HD *at all*. HD DVD had provisions for that, Blu-ray doesn't.

Re:Is this the same Bill Gates? (1)

cnettel (836611) | about 9 years ago | (#13852028)

XP allows you to install it on your machine over and over again, transfer it between HDs, slipstream a service pack into your setup image. Activation is more draconic than previous Windows releases, but compared to for example dongle use, the SafeDisc protection for games or the original CSS scheme, it's kind of benign. It doesn't prevent you to install it on the machine where you want to use it. It doesn't really enforce anything other than not spreading your setup image to just about everyone, which, by incidence, is not covered by fair use for software.

If Bill Gates spoke out against jumping off cliffs (4, Funny)

Hosiah (849792) | about 9 years ago | (#13851848)

...I would sprint for the cliff out of sheer reflex. I wasn't so sure about Blu-Ray before, but anybody Bill Gates doesn't like is a friend of mine!

As for the Redmond round table: I just realized that every time I hear Microsoft open it's mouth these days, it's complaining or unhappy about something. Is this what a mastodon sounds like as it sinks into a tar pit?

Re:If Bill Gates spoke out against jumping off cli (3, Funny)

aurb (674003) | about 9 years ago | (#13851896)

He may be Bill Gates, but I think he's right this time.

*ducks under the table*

Ad Hominem (1, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | about 9 years ago | (#13851928)

What the hell .. we are going to like DRM because Bill Gates says it's wrong?

How stupid.

Anyone who realizes this cult mentality can use it against us. What if he's really pro DRM and saying he isn't? LOL!

Most of the postings on here are actually supporting DRM !! WTF??

Has their seething hatred of Bill Gates caused people to blindly lose their sense of reason??

Isn't it possible to hate without losing a sense of reason?

Re:If Bill Gates spoke out against jumping off cli (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13852013)

On the other hand, if Bill Gates is saying, "Uh uh, even I won't screw consumers over that badly!" then we may have grounds for concern.

Erp? (4, Funny)

hardgeus (6813) | about 9 years ago | (#13851853)

So...confused...don't know which evil to side with...

Re:Erp? (1)

mattfite (244768) | about 9 years ago | (#13851936)

the enemy of my enemy...

Re:Erp? (paranoid version) (1)

BeerCat (685972) | about 9 years ago | (#13851974)

... is also my enemy.

Re:Erp? (indecisive version) (1)

BeerCat (685972) | about 9 years ago | (#13851983)

... is my friend. For now. Maybe.

Or at least until my new friend becomes my enemy.

Nice move sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851854)

PC owners might have a few problems, but they'll be easy to play on the new Playstation ! Sony's extra expense on the blu-ray drives has turned them into an exellent trojan horse against the pc, and maybe even against windows.

Blu-Ray really a non-starter (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851858)

It is true that organizations are looking at blu-ray only to hedge their bets. Blu-ray can easily prevent people from properly using the format - it is loaded with an unprecidented amount of "control" technology that can be used to target or knock out particular hardware or software products. If I were a hardware or software vendor, I'd be very concerned about blu-ray. As a consumer, I'd be only more concerned - what if the disc I buy rejects my player or computer or software package? Instead of one simple standard like the classic CD, suddenly there are thousands of incompatibilities, all with the name "blu-ray". Crazy! I can foresee the side panel of blu-ray box, with a technology compatibility list 100 lines long. This is not what we need.

As a system that is loaded with patents and license agreements, you can bet that blu-ray will be well supported by industry licensees until the key patents start to expire. Then you can expect a mass-exodus to a new, yet unnamed "standard" that has more patent protection. Given the most of the patents involved are 3-10 years old, give Blu-Ray a 10 year life.

Sour Grapes? (4, Insightful)

bbzzdd (769894) | about 9 years ago | (#13851861)

Funny how he was riding the HD-DVD parade all the way up until Warner Bros jumped ship this week, spelling pretty much the death of the format. Now, he's all about direct digital distribution? Sure optical media is going the way of the dodo, but Gates is very much flop-flopping here.

Re:Sour Grapes? (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | about 9 years ago | (#13851885)

it's flip-flopping.

Re:Sour Grapes? (2, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | about 9 years ago | (#13852012)


I think they had that planned with their DRM anyway. Think iTunes and multiple registered computers. So you could share out your hd-dvd stuff to another device (probably with a codec shuffle or recompression).

They have simply dropped the media and pushing digital distribution.

That might work somewhere else, but I didn't think HD codecs were good enough for the typical broadband found in American homes.

It's just a grab for something in the mist, but I don't believe the media partners are going to follow his tune right now. The problem lies in rallying the proverbial troops to push a consumer demand for a product they don't currently possess.

So basically Bill Gates just said download ITMS and watch Lost.

Re:Sour Grapes? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13852053)

Sure optical media is going the way of the dodo...

I'm not sure it is. I find it hard to believe that throw-away and WORM media will ever become obsolete. There will be times when I need something that I can just give to someone in the real world, and not worry about getting it back. We'll need backups and archives. Even if media distribution (movies, music) goes completely on-line, without any physical media whatsoever, I don't think that it means disposable high-capacity removable media will be obsolete in computing terms.

Ok, so you said "optical media". Maybe optical media will die sooner or later, but I'm not aware yet as to what it would be replaced with. Either way, I think the internet won't quite manage to obsolete removable media, even if it has greatly reduced the importance of it.

iam shocked... (0, Redundant)

cycledance (812080) | about 9 years ago | (#13851862)

i agree with bill gates!

Re:iam shocked... (1)

Moggie68 (614870) | about 9 years ago | (#13851956)

Amen brother! I'm about to look out for flying pigs when I go outside....

Isn't this the same guy who... (-1, Troll)

drkstrm (921693) | about 9 years ago | (#13851870)

said "640k of memory should be enough for everyone"?.. personally I think taking any forward looking statements from Mr. Gates require a fair amount of salt.

Re:Isn't this the same guy who... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 9 years ago | (#13851918)

"I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time. Meanwhile, I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed to me that says 640K of memory is enough. There's never a citation; the quotation just floats like a rumor, repeated again and again."

Bill Gates, 1996

right on the spot (4, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | about 9 years ago | (#13851876)

He is right in his view that the MPAA will back blue ray because of the anticonsumer copy protection in the format.
He is also right when he says that people is increasingly storing stuff in hard drives because they are competitive on the price per dollar side and they are much more reliable than the easily scratched current recordable DVDs.

He is mostly wrong about a lot of other stuff, but I have to give him this one.

Re:right on the spot (1)

packslash (788926) | about 9 years ago | (#13852005)

Hardrives are not more reliable than commericial optical media in storage life or in physical abuse. try dropping a hardrive a few times on concrete see how well the platter spins up. I've had several hard drives fail over the years I've yet to have one commercial dvd or cd "fail"

Re:right on the spot (1)

javilon (99157) | about 9 years ago | (#13852037)

I've yet to have one commercial dvd or cd "fail"

Commercial dvd's are alright, if you take care of them.
On the other hand, recordable dvds are too easily scratched. My experience with them is appaling.

Hard drives come in cases, so you don't have the scratch problem. Of course if you drop them they will break but that is a different problem.

welcome to the club, Mr. Gates. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 9 years ago | (#13852051)

Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer ... it won't work well on PCs.

I'm glad Mr. Gates has finally come around to my way of thinking. For years, I've been bothered by my inability of his anti-consumer media formats that take months or years to be decoded so that I can use them and my favorite toys under free software. Now if only he'd view free software like he does trivial things like movie formats, I'd be very happy.

Mr. Gates will come to understand fully how rotten M$ is. It will happen when he's no longer calling the shots.

Uh huh...same guy who.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851881)

...said all we need is 640K of RAM.

Re:Uh huh...same guy who.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851993)


let him do the E^3 (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 9 years ago | (#13851882)

If Bill Gates is so angry, let him attempt the E^3. That is, E mbrace, E xtend and finally E xtinguish, on all non-conforming entities. After all, he still has loads of cash to spend.

The sole reason he doesn't like Blu-Ray: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851893)

Its DRM is Java-based.

Re:The sole reason he doesn't like Blu-Ray: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13852041)

Oh great. Does that mean each time a 'DVD' (or whatever they become) will display a nice JAVA screen saying "Please wait, initalizing interface" for 10 seconds between chapters?

Or alternatively, players requiring a minimum of 128 mb of RAM, dedicated to the JAVA DRM system...

Ignore the Audience (3, Interesting)

ebuck (585470) | about 9 years ago | (#13851895)

Bill Gates can speak out against whatever he wishes. Until he considers who his audience is, it won't do very much.

The distributers of media want a format that is not-alterable. That way, there's not even the discussion of loss of data / corruption of data in transit. The consumers want a format that is not-alterable. If I buy a movie, I don't want to find that it's been "modified" rendering it useless, or worse yet, partially useful.

Sure, there is a market for downloading movies onto a hard drive, but realistically, hard drives fail, and I'll want a backup. DVD's may not be the best technology in the world, but it comes with a built-in feature, it is read-only. I don't want to be saddled with the responsibility for determining the validity of burnt DVDs, because I really can't do that for all of the films I intend to own. Especially when the previous expectation is for the PRODUCER of the content to produce copies of it for my consumption.

Any technology that is read-write could be overwritten, which isn't a pretty thought to consider when you just paid for the CONTENT on the media.

Re:Ignore the Audience (1)

Tidal Flame (658452) | about 9 years ago | (#13851909)

I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I'm willing to bet that hard drives are quite a bit more reliable than optical media. Perhaps not if you go around dropping them, but under normal use...

Anyway, any reliable online media store keeps records of your purchases and allows you to download the media you've purchased multiple times. This means that if you manage to lose the media, you can always just download it again. Granted, if the company goes out of business, then you're in trouble... but it's a bit of a safegaurd, anyway.

I don't know about you, but I'd take a RAID array over a bunch of (HD-)DVDs any day. (If I could afford a RAID array.)

Distribution formats: disks v bandwidth (3, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | about 9 years ago | (#13851905)

Physical disks are just a means to an end. Why buy a physical disk player and physical disks when bandwidth provides the same experience? Physical formats add bulk without adding much value (in most cases). I'd bet that most people want the content and relatively few people want the artifact.

I wonder how CD player and disk sales are doing? Last I heard both were flat or declining. Once people realized that they wanted their music on an iPod, the CD became an added hassle. The same process will occur with DVDs.

But DVDs won't die for 10-20 years because some collectors will be willing to pay handsomely for the "Extended Platinum Director's Super Secret Cut Anniversary Re-release edition with matching book-ends." What will occur is that fewer B-list titles will appear on DVD because video-on-demand/pay-per-view/download services will offer a larger play list with lower distribution costs.

Re:Distribution formats: disks v bandwidth (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 9 years ago | (#13851988)

All I want is to turn on my TV and watch a movie. I really don't care what format the movie is in. The easiest way to do this is to plug something directly into my TV, or something attached to my TV. I don't was the hassle of booting up my PC, waiting 8 hours to download it, then connecting that PC to something that has a big enough display to watch (I don't know about you but my PC display is not 60" wide).

And for those of you that think the PC and TV will merge someday: the first day I have to reboot my TV is the last day I watch it.

Re:Distribution formats: disks v bandwidth (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 9 years ago | (#13852008)

Why buy a physical disk player and physical disks when bandwidth provides the same experience?

I'm with you, believe me I am. But there is still a good reason to buy or rent a physical disc. For one thing speed. I can go to the local video store and rent a flick in about an hour. That's 4 to 8 gigs/hr. Further I can buy/rent more than one flick. That's pretty snazzy, equal to a 10 to 20mbit connection. Further I can buy/rent more than one. But the main reason to go with physical discs is for the concept of ownership. I can borrow or lend a disc and this is OK. You can't really lend a file.

Lets Just say... (3, Informative)

thebdj (768618) | about 9 years ago | (#13851915)

that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD use their full dual-layer storage capacities of 50GB and 30GB respectively. Now, the largest currently available 3.5" internal HDD is 500 GB. Presently that would mean a maximum of ~10 Blu-Ray movies or ~16 HD-DVD movies. This is not a lot considering I counted over 200 DVDs on my shelf, making over the 500GB alone.

Another mentioned problem is distribution. The largest "widely" available download speeds available from Verizon via FIOS (which I will admit is not that widely available), is 30 Mbps. Now assuming you get the peak download speeds, we are talking about downloading 400,000 Mb or 240,000 Mb depending on the media. This would result in download times of 3 to 4 hours for Blu-Ray type media and of 2 to 3 hours for HD-DVD Media. On the more standard 6 Mbps connection these times would be nearly 5x larger. I think I can get to Best Bu,y Circuit City, or some other store and home in about 30 minutes tops. You have to remember a great number of consumers still pay for convenience, even in DVD purchases.

I think the hard drive storage Bill is hoping for is a pipe dream, unless of course he is planning on HDDs becoming so cheap you can sell a movie on one and then just pop it into your "player" and let it go...but HDDs are so big, and they do come with a host of their own problems...

Interesting reading (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851929)

Ars Technica goes Inside Microsoft's decision to back HD DVD crosoft-hd-dvd.ars [] Bluray fires back =32 [] Microsoft Responds .html []

But do you have to encrypt, Bill? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 9 years ago | (#13851934)

You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'"

That the MPAA will release its movies only with DRM seems obvious. But I see no reason why the use of the new format for other purposes is more restricted that the use of, say, CD-R.
Is there a mandatory copy protection I have missed?

Since when does Bill Gates care about consumers? (3, Insightful)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | about 9 years ago | (#13851941)

Bill Gates doesn't care that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD use restrictive, anti-customer technologies. After all, Gates is that one who's letting Hollywood studios design the high-powered DRM in Windows Vista. He's the one crippling media playback on non-approved PC peripherals.

What Gates mostly cares about, I'll bet, is that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD keep your data chained to another vendor's disc. Microsoft could have a few problems with this; after all, the inability to back up or rip discs will make Windows look like a second-rate OS, while Linux will undoubtedly end up with open source DRM-cracking tools. Gates would rather keep your data locked into your Windows installation. That way, Microsoft-approved devices like the Xbox will work with it, but non-approved devices like the iPod won't.

No one will ever need 30GB DVDs .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851948)

I can agree with Mr Gatesd on that - who would need 30GB DVDs ? specially when they are not playble in the
newest Xbox!

Didn't work for the WWW, won't work now (3, Insightful)

krygny (473134) | about 9 years ago | (#13851952)

Every time something he doesn't like (for whatever reason) starts to gain prominence, he makes comments like this in an attempt to freeze the market and play the White Knight with an alternative that is really, REALLY bad for consumers, but much better for him.

For once, I agree - with Bill G... (-1, Offtopic)

Wonderkid (541329) | about 9 years ago | (#13851957)

As per my (password protected) blog at, where I provide some 'tech tips' to my technically illiterate friends and family, keeping all your content on one (frequently backed up) hard drive is the only way forward. It's convenient, you can always upgrade to a large hard drive as your needs dictate and your data will always remain accessible due to the fact hard drive interface technologies will advance at the same rate you upgrade to a larger drive. IE, SCSI, Parallel, USB 1.0, USB 2.0, Firewire, ??? Etc. All these DRM technologies and issues are a waste of time. Like printed books, let people freely loan (lend) or borrow content! There will always be enough people who purchase the first original copy. After all, how would a band or author become popular if it wasn't for a few loaned copies? Want access to my blog? Write to 'alexblok AT owonder DOT com'.

Re:For once, I agree - with Bill G... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13852089)

Want access to my blog?

No we don't

Yes Mr Stallman (4, Funny)

strider44 (650833) | about 9 years ago | (#13851970)

'Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [MPAA] got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'

Yes Mr Stallman, but I think that this sort of thing is bound to happen whatever you...Bill who said what?

the two-headed sony monster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13851972)

the problem is just the same like with the goverment.
you don't want the police man to write the law AND be
the judge at the same time ...
with sony(mt) it is so that they are a "lable/recording"
company and at the same time make the hardware to store
and play this software ... in political speak, we have
a monarchy ...
sony is okay a company i guess, the walkman was a
cool invention ... it is just to bad that they have
forgoten where their roots lie ... in the begining sony
just made hardware and some recording media, tape cassets,
but somebody hired the wrong guy (marketing?) and sony
made a un-lawfull wedding with the recording industry ...
i think the company they bought (one of many meanwhile)
was ABC or the such ...
if american law makers (and european etc.) value the
basic idea of fairness / freedom / demoncracy, they should
really pass a very simple law, that a policeman should not
be allowed to make laws and be a judge all in one ...
sony ... a judge dread indeed :)

128 MB of an 250 MB system disk (1, Offtopic)

klang (27062) | about 9 years ago | (#13852021)

.. so, if harddisk storage is so important for Bill Gates, why do I have to jump through hoops to get Windows 2000 to see more than 137 GB [] ?

I know!! 137GB's aught to be enough for anybody, right?

he is right. (1)

CDPatten (907182) | about 9 years ago | (#13852024)

the idea of cd media is obsolete. Soon flash drives will be 100gig, so that can take care of pc storage, and as far as the movie industry goes, an online blockbuster paper view hybrid works best for them. You pay $2 to "rent" a movie for a week and at the end of the week it expires. That is why all the telcos are spending a fortune to get fiber to everyone's doorstep. check out Verizon's FIOS service. Comcost is starting to up the anti as well, as they start to increase their compression and equipment.

Its only a matter of (short) time that people stop going to by movies at a store, and start browsing catalogs online. I say we see it in pass within 5 years.

I hate Blue Ray as well (0, Troll)

cybrthng (22291) | about 9 years ago | (#13852025)

* You can't stick it in a binder
* It will be useless in cars with DVD systems
* It will destroy portable dvd player market
* You think netflix will still offer free shipping on that stupid catridge?
* Will you really want to redesign your shelfs and entertainrooms around bigger/goofier looking catridges?
* Will you really let your kids touch something like this?
* Do you really think *SONY* is good or even better than Microsoft? Sony isn't Mr Corporate Friendly last time i checked.

Blue Ray destroys everything that is GOOD about DVD and CD type technology and takes us back to the days of proprietary zip disk looking things that may be the talk of the town for a short while but don't do anything but give us space that we won't use for a while.

Blu-ray no longer requires a cartridge (1)

Mind Mage (410686) | about 9 years ago | (#13852085)

From the Blu-ray FAQ: []

"1.10 Will Blu-ray discs require a cartridge?

No, the development of new low cost hard-coating technologies has made the cartridge obsolete. Blu-ray will instead rely on hard-coating for protection, which when applied will make the discs even more resistant to scratches and fingerprints than todays DVDs, while still preserving the same look and feel. The adoption of hard-coating will also allow manufacturers to downsize players/drives and lower their overall media production costs."

A telling quote (2, Insightful)

markbark (174009) | about 9 years ago | (#13852030)

"'Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [MPAA] got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'"

Translation: ANY version of DRM where WE don't hold the keys? That will not do!


Bill is threatening the movie / consumer industry (3, Insightful)

sane? (179855) | about 9 years ago | (#13852034)

Hmm, I have to wonder if this might be a shot across the bows of the movie industry. Consider that Bill wants the PC (and Media Centre) to be at the heart of the future home. As it stands the PC will be at best an expensive HD delivery mechanism, since they are trying to prevent you downloading and storing the HD disk on your hard disk.

Bill is not happy.

However, he has WMV9, DRM and high bandwidth broadband connections to play with. If he launches a solution that will enable you to encode and replay HD content via your PC - with say a movie at 720p in 10-15Gb then he can say to content providers "sell your content with my DRM, in my store, to replay on this system". They will say no, but he doesn't care, he just waits for the hackers to create a system to extract and replay Blu-Ray content via the new system. They can distribute it in the same way they distribute DVDs - at the same time fixing the existing holes that RIAA exploit.

People then have a choice of paying lots for a new system, and new content - or just a HD capable PC and the file sharing that people are already happy with. Cue movie industry meltdown.

This looks to be very much "play nice or I'll get nasty". He can make it so that the easiest HD solution is one based on file sharing. Expect to see secure download to your PC as part of an updated Blu-Ray and HD-DVD spec.

Hard disks are so 00's (1)

Nice2Cats (557310) | about 9 years ago | (#13852035)

I certainly don't hope hard disks are the way of the future -- I want get away from these lound power-hungrey spinning accidents waiting to happen and start moving stuff to flash solid-state memory. If the iPod Nano can have it, why not my next iBook?

Open Source Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13852058)

I found the answer to the Open Source question quite interesting as well. Notice how he frames the inswer in terms of the cost rather than the freedom of Open Source.

DP: Some of your competitors are increasingly embracing open-source software as part of their development process. Do you see Microsoft moving in the same direction?

Gates: We encourage everyone to develop in our environment. Free software's nothing new ... There was an early browser, an early mail program. But as times moved on, it's been the commercial programs that get the support, get the richness.

The magic thing has been the high-volume, low-price approach that we've taken, where you can go to an employee of a corporation and say, "Hey, for a hundred dollars a year, you can have the very best software so your productivity, your communication and collaboration is the best possible." And of all the investments [a corporation] makes in an employee's productivity, that's almost a rounding error and yet they get all of those capabilities.

We have lots of free software, as I said. In the educational realm we make tons of stuff free. But we also have commercial software because in terms of giving people a career, you know, they want to send their kids to school, buy food, and things like that. There'll always be a mix. Fortunately, with the commercial what we can do is a lot broader than what any other model can do.

Or.... (1)

DiogoFerreira (844415) | about 9 years ago | (#13852064)

You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.
... until DVD Jon cracks it. Then again, why is this tagged under 'Games'?

Not that long ago... (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 years ago | (#13852071)

...I'd say that HDDs were the future. If the movie companies took the original footage (not DVDs that have been compressed a round already), compressed it with modern codecs and you'd have at least 100 movies in a standard 250GB HDD of equal to or higher than DVD quality.

Now, Blue-Ray is promising 25GB/disc encoded with high quality codecs. 10 in a 250GB HDD? That's a dead proposition. People won't have a whole RAID array spinning just to have a 40-50 film library. And harddisks haven't been significly improving since 250GB drives arrived (gone from 83GB/platter to 133GB/platter, the rest is more platters).

In the long term, maybe we have the bandwidth to do streaming on demand. But that will not take off until you can do that from anywhere in the world, not on my cable/DSLs poor and expensive selection. Want the last episode of Stargate? Go to and stream it for some $$$. Except I know my line can't handle that, I'd have to download and wait. There's no instant satisfaction, no resemblance of tuning in the TV. I know it works the same as BitTorrent, but well - people put up with a lot when it is free (as in beer). And I much rather suspect that huge bandwidth = passing around TV shows/movies as if they were mp3s instead.

Economy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13852078)

Uncle Bill is seeing at it from a software distribution point of view, they are selling max. 2 ~ 3 cd's (or dvd's) a year to the same consumer, an entertaiment business (f.ex. Sony) may sell 20 disk's a year to the same consumer.
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