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ATI Claims HDCP Then Covers Its Tracks

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-so-fast-hotshot dept.

328

BigControversy writes "It looks like a big can of worms is being opened. The DailyTech.com is reporting that ATI sold millions of video cards knowing that HDCP support was not enabled. Despite that, the cards were sold and advertised to its customers as having HDCP capabilities. A day or two after this information was revealed, HDMI.org went completely password protected and ATI is now modifying key areas of its website, removing any mention of 'HDCP-ready'."

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328 comments

Can you blame them? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742379)

Should they leave it up there?

FP!

Re:Can you blame them? (2, Interesting)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742569)

Actually, rather than remove each reference to it, they should REPLACE it with references on how to get a refund.

i smell (4, Insightful)

DisplacedJoshua (919071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742387)

an opportunity for a class action!

Re:i smell (4, Funny)

moseman (190361) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742427)

Darn it - you beat me to it. As an owner of one of them fancy Gateway monitors with HDCP built in, I purchased a graphics card for HDCP support. SHould have bought some vasoline while I was at it.

When I learned of this I wrote to ATI costumer relations (Tuesday) and they had already covered thier tracks by sending me the "specs" showing no HDCP listed.

Re:i smell (2, Interesting)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742562)

When I learned of this I wrote to ATI costumer relations (Tuesday) and they had already covered thier tracks by sending me the "specs" showing no HDCP listed.

See that's what I don't understand - why do you (likes of ATI) think your customers, especially the techie types are idiots. Average Joe doesn't understand what HDCP (or for that matter any thing on the spec sheet) means and probably doesn't even know what a video card is. Its only the slashdot type gaming crowd that is more or less interested in the bleeding edge graphics card and probably they are the ones who even know what things like HDCP means. For argument sake lets consider that not every gamer knows their hardware but would probably know about it eventually somewhere - like slashdot or at their LAN parties. Now these folks buy something only after looking at specs and shell out a lot of hard earned money. So by changing the specs I don't understand who they are fooling. Instead if they come out clean and say "hey we fucked up, our cute marketing rep thought she could get away with it", I think is much better way to deal with issues like this. For one, admitting your mistake is much better than hoping your customers are idiots. Take a clue from the Sony fiasco.

Stop treating your customers like they are ignorant fools.

Hello Eliot Spitzer (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742500)

The AG is New York (Eliot Spitzer) seems keen on these sorts of things... Whenever some huge consumer action comes up, his name is usually someplace around.

Sony rumored to be buying ATI (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742758)

Sony rumored to be buying ATI :-) Fits right in with their business model........

ATI Code of Ethics (5, Funny)

aitio (794921) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742782)

ATI Code of Ethics [corporate-ir.net]

At ATI, we are committed to conducting our business with the highest level of integrity, honesty and professionalism. Maintaining high standards are also critical for maintaining investor confidence and shareholder value as a publicly traded and world-leading high-tech company.

The Code of Ethics outlines the key principles and policies that define our business practices and formalizes these standards. The rules set out in the Code serve as a complement to the corporate by-laws, policies and other corporate requirements and directives governing the conduct of ATI and its employees. In its application, the Code applies to all ATI directors, officers, and employees, whether full-time or part-time, and to all other service providers including, contractors and consultants.

ATI's Code of Ethics extends to wherever business is carried out on ATI's behalf including ATI offices, business travel and any other work-related functions such as meetings with third parties, seminars, conferences and training programs. As everyone lives up to the expectations in all places of business, in this regard ATI's reputation as an excellent company with high ethical standards will be upheld.

Awww (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742392)

Awww, I love ATI. I'd hate to see them in a bad light over this. Hopefully it's just a mixup and they are taking action to correct it.

Re:Awww (2, Interesting)

Rhoon (785258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742469)

Which is what I can't figure out. If the company messed up, why not issue an apology and offer to replace /refund any defective products? Why put a bad light forward that you won't stand behind your products that you sold incomplete and then force your legal team to charge you more money to which they will just settle the class action suit to just do the same (replace the products) in the end anyway?

Re:Awww (5, Informative)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742487)

It's no mixup, as the "related story" (aka dupe) explains. There's no method of retroactively enabling HDCP. From TOldFA:
"The boards themselves must be designed with an extra chip when the board is manufactured. The extra chip stores a crypto key, and you cannot retrofit an existing board after the board is produced."
ATI knew this. Everybody knew this. Somebody in marketing decided to advertise it anyway, nobody corrected them, and now they're trying to clean up the mess.

Re:Awww (4, Insightful)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742910)

Actually, wrong.

*IF* the driver is trusted, the chip is not needed. But, such a driver *may* be trusted by Microsoft, but won't be trusted by the "copyright industry".

So, no content for you. The CI has spoken.

If Microsoft said "HDCP" will be supported in Vista, why wouldn't the video board manufacturers believe it? Microsoft cowed to the CIs, and ATi and nVidia can't put the feature in the driver, and customers are left holding the bag of shit.

Go ahead -- sue suE SUE!!! It will be fun to watch. Class action against ATi (and nVidia). Who, in turn sue Microsoft, who, in turn, sues (?) in the CI business.

Ratboy

Whoa... How did they get away with this? (4, Informative)

beacher (82033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742393)

"Some products boast HDMI connectivity, when they do not even have a physical HDMI connector nor do the products ship with an adapter. Even if they do, having a HDMI connector does not mean the board is able to output a HDCP-DVI signal."

How in the world can they ship this? It's not even a firmware bug.. It's missing in its entirety! Been disliking ATI recently.. this dropped them down to the "I'd rather buy a S3 Virge" video card level..
-B

they won't (5, Insightful)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742591)

Like the first post said, it'll end up as a class action suit most likely. Nvidia has the luxury of blaming the board manufacturers, ATi can't hide behind that. Vertical Integration isn't that bad until you screw up and get caught lying about it...
 
Now, this doesn't make nvidia the smarter purchase choice at this point, because none of their boards support it either. Maybe when the 7900 comes along in about a month or so though. Hopefully the board makers (evga, bfg, xfx, etc.) realize that they'd better get it out there after this fiasco.

Re:Whoa... How did they get away with this? (5, Informative)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742701)

HDMI does not inherently include HDCP. The specific is a bit loose in the way people interpret it. HDMI is the physical standard, HDCP is essentially a data layer standard. It's the same as wondering why you only get two channel audio if you use an SPDIF interface (AC-3/Dolby Digital). Sure, SPDIF can carry full 5.1 audio, but that doesn't mean it has to. This is the same with HDMI and HDCP. What I think most people are confused or frustrated with is some displays say HDMI support, and don't tell you that they require HDPC as well. You gotta figure that one out by visiting forums.

Re:Whoa... How did they get away with this? (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742796)

Very true. I think they could get away with advertising HDPC compatible even if it didn't have DVI, because HDCP will be used in the future (if the *IAAs get their way) to connect everything, including those shiney new Blueray DVD drives, HDDVD, etc. If your video card doesn't support HDPC, even with a VGA adaptor, you won't be able to decode the video on the disc.

In this case, however, it sounds like the decoder functions are disabled at the chip level somehow. If a ROM flash fixes it, no harm done, only a bit of bad PR turned into good PR when the fix comes out. This does sound a bit worse though.

Re:Whoa... How did they get away with this? (3, Funny)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742734)

How in the world can they ship this? It's not even a firmware bug.. It's missing in its entirety! Been disliking ATI recently.. this dropped them down to the "I'd rather buy a S3 Virge" video card level..

Ahhh, the good old S3 Virge. Still got one of them lying around. Whenever I'm faced with a machine that refuses to post(or at least refuses to display a screen) I plop in that card to rule out the possibility of the graphics card being the problem. Always works, no matter the OS.

Re:Whoa... How did they get away with this? (1)

pigs,3different1s (949056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742835)

... this dropped them down to the "I'd rather buy a S3 Virge" video card level.
Man, just when I thought I had gotten over buying that POS, you had to go and remind me. ;)

I smell class action lawsuit (3, Insightful)

TerenceRSN (938882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742399)

I think ATI is going to have to do more than cover its tracks to get out of this one. Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag there's no way some enterprising lawyer and disgruntled techies aren't going to start up a class action law suit. And this shouldn't even be hard to prove since it's obvious it just doesn't work/isn't supported unlike some lawsuits where they argue a product didn't "live up" to expectations.

Google Heaven? (4, Insightful)

shdragon (1797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742406)

It looks like the cached copy on Google will be the copy submitted in court. I just bought a new ATI card, one of the reasons was because they claimed to support this feature.

Re:Google Heaven? (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742490)

Really? I think the number of people who bought the cards for HDCP support and not the 3000fps they can get in Doom3 is fairly low.

Basically do what I do. If I buy something that says "AC'97" or "PCI-Express" compatible and doesn't have linux drivers [or compatible drivers] I just return it saying it's defective. So far I've been 100% successful with only having to be marginally rude :-)

So if you bought the card assuming HDCP support worked out of the box and it doesn't return it. If everyone did the same you'd see retailers scrambling to avoid selling them like the plague.

Tom

Re:Google Heaven? (1)

muhgcee (188154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742706)

Why not save yourself the trouble and check to see if it has Linux drivers beforehand?

I mean, of course there is the aspect of "customer feedback" which might push changes in the product lines, which I believe in, but I think if this is what you're going for then maybe a letter or two would be more effective.

Re:Google Heaven? (1)

Raistlin77 (754120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742891)

Nobody reads those letters. You get a canned response (if anything at all) that says something along the lines of "Thank you for contacting us... blah blah blah... yadda yadda yadda..."

Now hitting the retailers where it counts - sales/returns - THAT gets a response. If suddenly Best Buy refuses to sell certain ATI cards based on defective returns, you bet your ass ATI will look into it.

Re:Google Heaven? (1)

Karem Lore (649920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742685)

What about if your cards are over a year old? I bought mine last January...For HDCP...I now have my 32" LCD HDTV and my cards are supposedly HDTV ready (includes HDCP otherwise it is known as HD Ready)...Can I still complain (maybe get a discount on a new card?

Karem

Re:Google Heaven? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742880)

A lot of people in the "HDTV revolution" are ending up looking like suckers. Year after year, HDTV plods along, changing all the while, so something bought one year has a _chance_ of living up to its potential the next year. I won't even consider buying an HDTV for at least a few more years.

Re:Google Heaven? (0, Troll)

joseprio (923259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742688)

It looks like the cached copy on Google will be the copy submitted in court. I just bought a new ATI card, one of the reasons was because they claimed to support this feature. This situation reminds me of the Compaq ATI 9000/9200 fiasco, when lots of people complained that they felt cheated, although both graphic chips performed exactly the same! So, when something like this happens, thousands of people claim that they only bought the product for what is failing! Please, grow up...

Ridiculous (5, Insightful)

Wulfstan (180404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742414)

Making a mistake? Fair enough. Treating your customers like idiots and trying to hide what you've done, though, is not something that is going to fly in this day and age. ATI are going to pay through the nose on this one and doing stupid things like this to try to paint over the damage done is just plain stupid.

Come clean, apologise publicly, recall products, do whatever you can to ensure that you have supported and looked after your customers. But to do this sort of thing smacks of burying your head in the sand.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742514)

doing stupid things like this to try to paint over the damage done is just plain stupid.

Are you sure doing stupid things is stupid? Or is it just stupid to do stupid things?

Re:Ridiculous (2, Interesting)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742572)

Come clean, apologise publicly, recall products, do whatever you can to ensure that you have supported and looked after your customers.

Like taking down a web page that has false information on it and making sure that nobody else is being misled? Has ATI denied any wrong doing, or are they more likely just in the process of fixing a mistake?

Re:Ridiculous (4, Insightful)

Wulfstan (180404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742653)

The public apology comes *first*, then comes the fixing of your product specifications and removing incorrect data. You do it in this order and frankly, it's almost certainly a lame attempt at a cover-up.

As Richard Nixon found out... (4, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742605)

It's not the crime that gets you into trouble....it's the cover up. ATI is foolish to try to cover this up. They should have just announced a "mistake" and made some offer to existing customers to make things better. They are a public company and the SEC is going to be very interested in this since they are listed on the NASDAQ exchange in the US.

Re:As Richard Nixon found out... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742730)

No, I'm pretty sure the crime gets you in trouble too. The coverup makes it worse though.

Really, ATI should have either:
1. Offered a free swap to every customer with a broken card for one that matches (or exceeds) the features listed on the original product. However, for various reasons I think this is likely impossible. 2. Offer a 100% buyback offer or a check that covers the difference between having a HDCP enabled card vs. not. Basically pay the customers back for the feature they paid for but didn't get, or if the feature was important to them, buy back the card entirely and let them go somewhere else.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742700)

Agreed. They know that admitting their mistake and making an honest effort to rectify it is going to cost them a lot of money. Worse, they may end up loosing market share to nVidia! Unfortunately, it looks like their CEO has decided instead that the company should simply pretend as though nothing happened. "Hey, what the hell is HDCP anyway? Nobody'll notice the difference if we act as though we never supported it, right?" Truly infantile behaviour.

Not so fast. (4, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742750)

While what you describe might be occurring, I refer you to a basic lifesaving mantra:

  1. Stop the bleeding
  2. Start the breathing
  3. Protect the wound
  4. Treat for shock

ATI may just be stopping the bleeding, that is, first taking steps not to deceive any other potential customers. In fact, if they were to do anything else there would be a situation where they'd be saying "Sorry, we were wrong" while continuing to allow customers to get the wrong idea.

Watch their public statements and what they do next before rushing to judgement.

My Hero Champion (1)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742759)

ATI isn't out to deceive us; oh, no! They're being a counterculture badass, fighting for our right to use unencumbered video transport systems.

Joe User: Can this card output HDCP? I wouldn't want to accidentally expose my system to any high-bandwidth video signals unless they're nice and locked-down.

ATI: Surrrre it can. We completely support content restrictions in the name of protecting copyright... *WINK*

Joe User: Oh. Thanks. Um, I can still watch Terminator on it, right?

ATI: Of course, in glorious, freedom-loving standard def.... You're WELCOME!

Re:Ridiculous (1)

AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742773)

"Treating your customers like idiots and trying to hide what you've done, though, is not something that is going to fly in this day and age"

Uh... what about the RIAA?
well, I guess they're not really trying to hide anything, but rather sticking it in everybody's faces and claiming its legal...

A silver lining? (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742426)

If sufficient chaos ensues, perhaps this can be the issue that pulls HDCP requirements out of Windows. Without support from Microsoft (who has no real financial interest in HDCP), HDCP will probably fail in the marketplace.

Hopefully this little 'mishap' will be the thing that makes it such that all our new LCD monitors aren't obsolete after all.

Hmm. (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742443)

I'm almost tempted to buy a card now knowing it *doesn't* support HDCP so I can avoid all of this nonsense for quite some time.

Too bad ATi's Linux support isn't hot.

Re:Hmm. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742702)

Buy it, sell it on eBay, but keep the reciept & UPC symbol.

I doubt anyone is going to ask for any more proof than that. Fill out the warranty card too, just so you have the product's serial number etc.

I'm not encouraging anyone to try and scam ATI, but if you're going to do it, do it right.

Re:A silver lining? (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742521)

Hopefully this little 'mishap' will be the thing that makes it such that all our new LCD monitors aren't obsolete after all.

As if anyone here needs reminding, planned obsolescence isn't part of Linux and free software. So, Penguin away and be happy.

Fail in the marketplace? (3, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742523)

Its already fairly common in the marketplace. My DVD player uses it, for example.

There's no chaos there. Vista will require HDCP-encrypted channels to display restricted content, which will include purchased online content, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD content, as well as CableCard and DBS content.

People's computers will either work with it, or they'll have to buy new ones.

The support of HDCP is not an optional thing -- the content will not be available without it regardless of what chaos ATI may or may not create through questionable marketing of their products. Since most, if not all, computer monitors do not support HDCP right now, that'll be the place there will be issues. But none of them will cause HDCP to fail.

Re:Fail in the marketplace? External Decoders! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742609)

The support of HDCP is not an optional thing -- the content will not be available without it regardless of what chaos ATI may or may not create through questionable marketing of their products.

I believe there are already external HDCP decoders available in the market. A previous topic listed them for sale in Europe.

So how do we make it fail? (4, Insightful)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742761)

This whole HCDP thing strikes me as being very anti-consumer; I don't know of anyone who would actually want such a thing, since it essentially makes perfectly good equipment obsolete for no (technically valid) reason. The way I see it, it's a way for a few rich people to get even more rich, at our expense.

So, I put forth the question: can it be made to fail?

Re:Fail in the marketplace? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742875)

The support of HDCP is not an optional thing -- the content will not be available without it

You think that without the requested protections, the content industry would pack up and go home? Nope. They'd keep doing their thing, and just bitch a lot.

If the HDCP protected formats fail, the content will become available on the non protected formats.

Since most, if not all, computer monitors do not support HDCP right now, that'll be the place there will be issues. But none of them will cause HDCP to fail.

If there is sufficient uproar amongst consumers that adoption of HDCP compliant equipment doesn't occur than HDCP will fail, or the content distribution industry will go out of business.

People's computers will either work with it, or they'll have to buy new ones.

Two days after HDCP gets in the way of a savvy user, a firmware hack for video cards will be out that tells the OS that HDCP has been enabled even when it hasn't.

They should issue a recall (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742438)

Otherwise they are so wide open to being hit with a class-action lawsuit for bait-and-switch it's not funny. If they cannot replace the cards with what was originally advertised, then they should offer refunds as part of the recall.

Very damning (but only if you care) (4, Insightful)

TheCoders (955280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742441)

This appears to be a serious mis-step on the part of ATI. It's not clear that they intentionally tried to mislead people, but the signs sure point in that direction. It's possible some marketing wonk put out a memo that ATI is now "HDCP ready", and that propogated to all press releases without proper oversight or anyone picking and choosing which cards support it and which don't. Somehow, I doubt a company that has dealt with bleeding-edge technology for so long would make such a mistake. The alternative explanation is they pushed the fancy new buzzword, hoping that the average user would see it and say, "Oh, HDCP, I saw a PC-Magazine headline with that term, it must be good!" and buy the card. These users will never even know that they were duped. The more tech-savvy users are the ones that will really care.

And therein lies the rub. We, the "geek community" are making progress in educating the general populous about the importance of understanding technology, but there is a long way to go. Until more people learn to read advertisements critically and learn that knowing exactly what you're buying is important, companies will continue to perpetuate these deceiving business practices. In this case, ignorance truly is bliss, but it's the average consumer's ignorance that leads to ATI's bliss.

Re:Very damning (but only if you care) (1)

gte910h (239582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742719)

I would then contend the marketing wonk was misleading. The intent of bullshit is pretty much the same as intentional deception, and are ususally indecipherable

devil's advocate... (5, Insightful)

ltwally (313043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742453)

"and ATI is now modifying key areas of its website, removing any mention of 'HDCP-ready'."
While I'm not saying it's cool to advertise features that do not exist in a product, isn't it the responsible thing for ATi to remove references to HDCP-ready on its websites, so as to not further mislead potential customers?

That being said, of course ATi should roll out a driver that has hardware HDCP enabled, or offer some form of compensation to previous buyers whom were mislead.

Re:devil's advocate... (2, Informative)

Svet-Am (413146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742597)

but if there is NO hardware HDCP support, a new driver cannot magically make it appear.

They should print a retraction (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742610)

Rather than remove the information. Denial is not a defense (there's water in de nile and creosote on de fence)!

Re:devil's advocate...NOT A DRIVER ISSUE (4, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742630)

That being said, of course ATi should roll out a driver that has hardware HDCP enabled, or offer some form of compensation to previous buyers whom were mislead.

You can't fix this with a driver. If you could this would be a non-issue. The video card needs a Trusted Computing Module chip installed that contains secret keys that the user cannot access. No chip = No HDCP. And it's not like there's a socket on most video cards waiting to be populated.

Re:devil's advocate... (1)

Hrodvitnir (101283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742634)

FTA: "To enable HDCP, a board must include the necessary hardware and key at the time of manufacturing."

There is no driver upgrade that will "turn on" HDCP functions. They will need to do a complete recall.

article lies... (1)

gandracu (951016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742751)

Do a google search with "inurl:www.ati.com HDCP", then compare the cached pages with the live ones. All mentions are still there.

Let's hope the "best" for HD (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742481)

Well, it's time to admit something: I loathe "HD-ready" and all that surrounds it. DRM, TCPA, all that 3-4 letter acronyms that smell like "hand over your consumer rights".

Now, I'm normally not a person to hop onto FUD and vent it 'til it stinks, but can't we hype that a little 'til no moron buys that crap anymore, and see the whole DRMism bomb like a tacnuke? It would certainly help prevent stripping us of any of the few rights left on our scale in the "balance between producer and consumer" when it comes to content.

So far the consumer drones would buy it for the simple "booooooyehy, look at the stunnin' crystal clear display!" without realizing what comes behind it. They don't care that the content industry dictates what they may see and what not, after all, what they want to see is that latest blockbuster movie and not some small movie maker's gems.

But hearing that their $500 piece of hardware ain't gonna do it should surely be an argument.

To save face... (1)

scarlac (768893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742488)

they could of course try to divert the attention or try to get a better image by making an optimized and open source version of their graphics driver for X.
But that's just me dreaming, and even if they did, that wouldn't make the problems go away. But it would certainly give them some soon-to-be-needed (or already-needed) OSS street credit.

But I just can't help getting the feeling that someting is missing from this story... it seems crazy that they would just sell the cards claiming them to have these features, and they wouldn't... at all. Would ATI really risk lawsuits and a bad image for that?

Re:To save face... (0)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742624)

they could of course try to divert the attention or try to get a better image by making an optimized and open source version of their graphics driver for X.

Dude, they can't even produce an optimised closed source driver for X. A lot of people would be happy if they could produce a completely un-optimised closed source driver for X that didn't crash their box.

Expecting them to produce an optimised open source driver just to make themselves look better is asking a bit much.

One thing they could do to make amends - modify the installer for their Windows Catalyst drivers so that they'll install on laptops without having to be hacked. There is no technical reason why they can't do this - I've always just assumed that they are too busy sucking Satan's cock to perform this simple service to their customers. Anyone with an alternative explanation feel free to chime in.

I'm not an Nvidia fanboy as such. It's just that Nvidia have never gone out of their way to deliberately fuck me up the ass. They therefore win by default.

Re:To save face... (1)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742649)

But I just can't help getting the feeling that someting is missing from this story... it seems crazy that they would just sell the cards claiming them to have these features, and they wouldn't... at all. Would ATI really risk lawsuits and a bad image for that?

Sure they would, if they didn't think they'd get caught! Being nice, it might be a disconnect between the engineering/manufacturing and the Marketing division. IOW, "Our next boards will have to have HD on them." from engineering and marketing going "Our cards have HD compliance!"

As to reputation, ATI has had a mixed one for years. They were notorious for driver issues, and installing one of their "All-in-Wonder" cards was an exercise in frustration. The drivers supplied on the install CD wouldn't work. Then you'd download a revised driver set. Nope. Check again, and there'd be another revision. Eventually you'd give up and get an Nvidia card.

Time for the.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742524)

Wayback Machine! http://tinyurl.com/ddo94 [tinyurl.com]

Had to use tinyurl as slahdot cannot parse the wayback URL properly.

Don't click, link is a goat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742811)

... and Slashdot can handle wayback machine URLs just fine.

Re:Time for the.... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742872)

You also could have used a makeashorterlink [makeashorterlink.com] URL. Which would have the advantage that one can first have a look at the real link to find out if it really points to the expected (after all, noone hinders you to make a tinyurl link to goatse, and then claim it's to some other, work-safe site). I almost never click on tinyurl links.
People who don't want the intermediate site can disable it [makeashorterlink.com]. Note that it is not the creator of the link who disables the page, but the user of the link.

BTW, you would also have had the option to use a plain old HTML anchor tag [w3schools.com], so slashdot wouldn't have to parse the URL. Or to replace the problematic characters (commas, I guess?) by their hex replacement (%xx where xx are the corresponding hex digits, e.g. %2C for the comma).

Lawyers will smell blood in the water (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742532)

You can't hide what was on the website; there are too many archiving mechanisms out there that will reveal the truth. Then, if a fraud has occurred, there'll be class-action litigation undertaken.

If you have ATI stock, dump it, now, before the Chapter 11 filing; you might get a few cents out of it. Otherwise, make plans to obtain another adapter. If ATI can make good on the adapter, it'll be a miracle for them.

But if the info in the article is true, it's the harbinger of the end of ATI as we knew them. Pity.

Re:Lawyers will smell blood in the water (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742593)

If you have ATI stock, dump it, now, before the Chapter 11 filing; you might get a few cents out of it.

Good grief. Do you have any idea how stupid you sound? Does the name "Chicken Little" mean anything to you?

ATI have done something stupid and then compounded their stupidity by not publically admiting their mistake. That's not the end of the fucking world for them though. At worst a class action lawsuit will be filed by the couple of hundred malcontents who purchased a card and want to kick up a stink instead of just returning the damn thing, and ATI will swat them off like gnats. Out of court settlement for a couple of hundred thousand plus lawyers fees, if that.

The issue of trust has been broken (3, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742710)

If you purchased the card for its qualities, then found out that you were LIED to, how are you going to justify purchasing again from that vendor?

Let's say that in a fit of egalitarianism, Apple allowed the iPod to play Ogg Vorbis. You bought one, then found out they lied and covered it up. You have a huge library of media, some of it in Ogg format.

Would that affect your decision to buy something from Apple again, especially an iPod? You'd want to check to make sure that it indeed does play that format. Extending this analogy, let's say that you want to make sure that Vista works on your machine with an ATI card, and ATI says, sure, it works fine. But it doesn't. Are you going to make damn sure that it does? How will you check if the drivers are unvavailable to you because the product, as yet, is unreleased?

Has ATI shown that they're both trustworthy and willing to admit mistakes and deal with the issue? No. Instead, they covered it up. I can't predict whether they'll suffer enough to go into Ch11, but it's not out of the realm of possibilities. What other product promises have they made that are now suspect? No, this is an ethics problem, not to mention fraud. ATI doesn't get away so easily with this.

Re:The issue of trust has been broken (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742894)

If you purchased the card for its qualities, then found out that you were LIED to, how are you going to justify purchasing again from that vendor?

For you and the couple of hundred people who bought this card and care about HDCP support, perhaps it will affect their decision to buy ATI in the future. Luckily for ATI the other millions of consumers and OEMs who couldn't give a rats ass will continue to purchase ATI. ATI wont even notice this screwup as a blip on their share price. No one is going to be off-loading ATI stock in a panic.

I can't predict whether they'll suffer enough to go into Ch11, but it's not out of the realm of possibilities.

In the same vein it's not outside the realm of possibility that aliens from the planet Zog will invade tommorow and enslave all humankind, but no one is going to take such a proposition seriously apart from the tin foil hat brigade and those who are bad at statistics and risk analysis. You seem to fall into at least one of those catagories, by the way.

Re:The issue of trust has been broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742909)

Yes, they will get away easily. They fucked up. They'll pay for it. But going bankrupt is not an option. If they've survived their shit drivers then they'll survive their shit marketing. The lack of HDCP is so glaringly obvious that it can't be anything but incompetence.

acronyms (5, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742574)

My ATI gives BS and my HDCP card is DOA. HDML is MIA and I am PO'd and SOL.

CRAP

I'm getting a feeling that DRM will self-implode. (2, Insightful)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742575)

Between HDCP, HDMI, Blu-Ray, DRM, DCMA, and HD-DVD, I just get a feeling that its all about to crumble. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD will both fail I believe and a 3rd technology will emerge at some point that doesn't have the backing of Hollywood. When will technology companies start producing technology again and stop trying to be the pawns of Hollywood.

Re:I'm getting a feeling that DRM will self-implod (1)

J.R. Random (801334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742828)

So far I haven't seen evidence that any major manufacturers of consumer video/audio are willing to produce a format that isn't backed by Hollywood. Would you spend tens of millions to gear up for manufacturing products that use a format for which people can't find commerically produced movies and songs? How many people will actually buy such a product?

HDCP has already been cracked, so it's just a matter of time before someone makes a cheap converter that decrypts it. Of course it will be illegal in the home of the brave, land of the free.

I Predict... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742587)

A day or two after this information was revealed, HDMI.org went completely password protected and ATI is now modifying key areas of its website, removing any mention of 'HDCP-ready'.

I predict a lot of hits on the Wayback Machine this week.

fi8spt post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742588)

are 7here? Oh,

HDCP (2, Informative)

slackaddict (950042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742595)

"According to the Microsoft specification, high-definition video content that is transported using a DVI signal must be encrypted with HDCP. If HDCP is not present, regardless of whether an attempt at copying is made or not, the video is scaled down to low resolution to deter copying."

Not gfx maker's fault... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742603)

I have strong suspicions that the original plan was to enable HDCP via internal chip "debug" (non-public) interfaces. This of course lowers the board cost and increases flexibility.

In fact, original HDCP specs don't mention anything like a "special" chip - I still have them somewhere. I suspect the HDMI guidelines have changed at some point, probably pretty recent, to a "separate chip" and it is being added in a hurry to reference board designs. (You can't see a place for it on any existing nVidia or ATI reference boards, that's for sure.)

So the cards were meant to have HDCP activated via software, but HDMI changed it's mind getting both nVidia and ATI into hot water.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742641)

im a bit confused, are we in 1984?

Big deal (4, Interesting)

the bluebrain (443451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742644)

I hardly think I'm the only one, but I'll be one of the first to purchase the first consumer level graphics card that puts out an HD signal to a "legacy" DVI monitor. The concept of "illegal technology" just brushes me the wrong way, and I'm confident there's some entrepreneural South Korean or Singaporian manufacturer who just isn't able to, however hard he tries, give a rat's ass about what some *AA halfway round the world thinks of their customers.

ARS Covered it three days ago (4, Insightful)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742655)

ARS covered this three days ago, and better. ARS Technica on HDCP [arstechnica.com]

It's everyone, not just ATI. Plenty of nVidia cards advertise it and don't have it. In fact, no video card in public release truely supports HDCP. So anyone who advertises it is lying.

Re:ARS Covered it three days ago (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742740)

Can you show a link to some sort of proof that nVidia has card they claim to be HDCP but aren't?

Re:ARS Covered it three days ago (1)

korekrash (853240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742790)

But Nvidia never made the claim, only board manufacturers that use there chips. Nvidia is in the clear.

it may not be hiding, exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742670)

By changing their website they may be trying to keep more people from getting the misinformation, heading off many more dubed buyers. Granted that most anyone who buys the card(s) now could still claim to have gotten them based on previously read ads and statements that ATi made.
They should have put a big ugly banner on all of their pages stating that the previously made false statements were false, and then gone about removing the references from individual pages and put more detailed statements in the pages that involved effected hardware.
They KNOW they can't hide that they ever said it. If they don't, they are really dumb.

DRM = Deceptive Restrictive Media (1)

cyranose (522976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742689)

While I'm one of those who bought a card expecting something that I could use for the next 3-5 years, I'm also hoping this helps kill DRM, at least a little. If no one can watch the damn HD movies they're protecting, then MPAA might have a lot of explaining to do when the sales numbers come in. Good job, you protected it so well we couldn't watch it.

Don't sue ATI. Don't even buy ATI or NVidia if you don't have to. Keep your current video card for the next 3 years and stick to good old DVDs--at least until someone figures out what great/cheap HD-DVD player has a secret "strip HDMI" code and we get our fair use rights back.

Because otherwise, at some point, any rights we think we still have will be taken away on a whim, and we'll be living in a world where MPAA can remove even our memories of movies we've seen (unless we pay extra for that particular right).

This is not the first time (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742714)

ATI has promised a card does something, and then it turns out it never did.
Which is why I don't buy ATI.

Re:This is not the first time (4, Interesting)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742888)

ATI has promised a card does something, and then it turns out it never did. Which is why I don't buy ATI.

free Mac mini [freeminimacs.com] Now thats

Then why are you trying to suck people into a pyramid to get a free Mac mini... which uses an ATI video chipset? I guess you'll take ATI for "free" then?

It's fine really... (1)

packetmill (955023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742748)

Just another example of consumers getting screwed. Nothing to get worked up over. P.S I have a GeForce.

This WAS going to happen (5, Informative)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742757)

Of course all those video cards are "HDCPI Ready". They *can* generate the encrypted content. No sweat.

But (and here's the rub), the content providers (strike that, the "copyright industry", or CI) have decided to not trust any "home-brew" system. Which means that the keys won't go to the cards (because the *system* isn't trusted) and the feature is now useless.

Of course, a new system can have exactly the same chip, and it will then work.

Its the CI backlash against the DVD crack (which, of course, a vendor of playback equipment was responsible for -- which is NOT being forgotten). Coupled with some bad crypto choices, and DVDs are now wide open. The CIs would want to prevent this, and are now qualifying everything (my opinion).

External boxes can only produce SD (DVD) quality output on analog, which is what Vista will generate as well.

ATI make chips, boards and drivers. They (in my opinion) couldn't care less -- they just implement the spec. They put it the feature, and now can't use it because of key control concerns; they have been caught with their pants down.

Is is possible for ATI to sue the CIs? Because if I were in ATI, I would be as mad as a wet hen right now.

Ratboy.

You've hit the nail on the head (1)

kid_oliva (899189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742901)

I have to agree with Ratboy, it's all about the keys. It doesn't really matter HDCP whatever, what is important is the keys. If the hardware is not trusted and doesn't have the key, IT IS USELESS.
You can buy this card and that card, but you are jumping the gun until how the keys are going to be handled and who is going to be trusted comes out. Nvidia has the same supported BS but it doesn't matter. Right on Ratboy.

Not nice but... (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742766)

I would be po'ed if I bought a card claiming to have HDCP and wanted it, but personally, I don't. I would rather watch 720p content max than buy into this, or any other DRM scheme. We live in an age when companies are at war with their customers, and in a free market economy, the only way for a consumer to fight back is to not buy. That hasn't started yet in earnest, but I imagine it will. All the vid card manufacturers are to blame here, not just ATI as almost all have claimed this capability and don't deliver (only Sony does at present). What I am interested to see is all the HDTVs that have been sold over the last couple of year could potentially also get degraded signals if the DRM pundits get their way. I wonder what impact that will have on future sales.

Hmmm, I thought we don't want HDCP? (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742772)

Is this a way to hype up demand for DRM tech?

Some people say ATI is being really stupid.

But are they really stupid, or is someone really really cunning and ATI got paid off to "screw up".

This way with all the fuss etc, Joe Public will go: "Wow my next video card MUST HAVE HDCP".

So who's being stupid here?

X800XT Mac Edition (-1, Flamebait)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742778)

I bought at X800XT Mac Edition off the shelves last year and if it doesn't support this video encryption crap then I will absolutlely spazz out!

Re:X800XT Mac Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742868)

Start spazzing.

FYI: HDTV vs HD Ready (1, Informative)

Karem Lore (649920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742809)

HD Ready = Has a DVI slot capable of carrying a HD signal.
HDTV = Has a DVI or HDMI slot capable of carrying a HD signal with HDCP compliancy.

Therefore, HDTV is also mentioned on some sites and would STILL be non-compatible.

BTW, This is UK at least, but I think it is correct for everyone.

karem

Evidence? (0, Redundant)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14742810)

Does it state the 'features' on the box? But the feature was never there? I smell lawsuit..

Regardless of them being a good company or not, this is unacceptable and they should be closed down. Forever. No excuse for this garbage, except pure greed.

...and what about us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742864)

Well this new just sucks. I just pickup an Acer Aspire 5672WLMI, there's an ATI X1400 chip in it. According to ATI's web page it's supposted to be "DVI 1.0 compliant / HDMI interoperable and HDCP ready". How am I suppost to get so satifaction over this?

G.

No ati cards for those sites! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14742907)

As you can understand all those sites reporting this hdcp issue will get no more ati cards to evaluate. Only yes-knodders wil get them.
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