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Windows Media Center Restricts Cable TV

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-HBO-for-you dept.

Microsoft 448

PrescriptionWarning writes "With the latest Media Center Edition update from Microsoft, I and many others are finding that content available on television is now completely unwatchable from Media Center. The message states: 'Restricted Content: Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator of the content prohibit playback of the program on this computer.' A simple search on the subject reveals that HBO programming and, in my case, Braveheart on AMC are among the many selections now restricted for playback or recording by Windows Media Center Edition. What's next, restricting every piece of programming on television?"

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448 comments

Try myself (3, Interesting)

TheSciBoy (1050166) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206317)

Does this only apply to Media Center? Maybe I'm wierd, but this actually makes me more interested in buying a cable-digital card for my computer and running MythTV or something. :)

Re:Try myself (2, Interesting)

TheSciBoy (1050166) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206899)

I was unclear in my post. What I was asking was if the problem is unique to just Media Center? If this is some kind of industry standard blocking ability, then it should be present in more systems, no?

Also, whatever the reason for the block, what I meant about the other part was that I've been looking into buying a digital decoder for cable for my computer (quite expensive today, terrestrial decoders are half the price, I guess the card reader is a part of the problem). And that I found it strange that reports of this kind of problem just makes me more interested in trying for some reason.

Re:Try myself (4, Interesting)

paganizer (566360) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206941)

I am not 100% certain, but I think the problem is directly related to the DRM subsystem that is installed with Windows Media player 11.

It's not the content that's being restricted (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206331)

...it's the user.

Why invite Microsoft into your living room when you can set up MythTV? DRM opponents have been telling you all for how long... and you people still buy Microsoft products and then complain when they behave as expected?

Pfft!

Re:It's not the content that's being restricted (5, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206487)

and you people still buy Microsoft products and then complain when they behave as expected?

That's the thing, exactly! Who'd think things coming from Microsoft would behave as expected!

Re:It's not the content that's being restricted (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206729)

That is because MythTV is only available in Linux running on the only card worse than an ATI tv card, the WinTV card. That sucker crashes more often than my All In Wonder Card.

But yeah, why use Microsoft when you can use ATI's software.

Re:It's not the content that's being restricted (3, Interesting)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206871)

What? How in the hell have you had it crash? It has been in (almost total) constant use for me for three solid years and has never been the result of a crash once. This is in Windows XP *and* Ubuntu (SageTV and MythTV, respectively).

Either your particular card is somehow faulty, or you're trying to run it on a blender. There's no reason for it to crash even once. My old roommate had one as well and he never had a crash that I noticed, ever (his was the one hooked up to the primary TV in the apartment, so I would have noticed it).

Re:It's not the content that's being restricted (2, Interesting)

jeroen94704 (542819) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206821)

For the longest time, I absolutely refused to install Windows MCE on my media PC for exactly that reason. However, after finally giving it a test-drive (just to confirm my prejudice, you know), the surprising conclusion was obvious: I've tried pretty much all mediacenter packages out there, and NONE (even the commercial alternatives) are even within shouting distance of MCE when it comes to ease of installation, stability and user friendliness. I can get a clean machine up and running in an hour with MCE. Compare that to the RedHat MythTV Howto [wilsonet.com], which takes many hours for even a basic install. And after that, it's a pain to get everything set up and working as it should. All that is a steep price for avoiding DRM that (in my experience) never gets in the way. Of course, all this changes when suddenly a bunch of content becomes impossible to record, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there (or when it gets here, across the big pond).

Re:It's not the content that's being restricted (1, Insightful)

gigne (990887) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206903)

All that is a steep price for avoiding DRM that (in my experience) never gets in the way. Of course, all this changes when suddenly a bunch of content becomes impossible to record, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there (or when it gets here, across the big pond).

So you have 1 hour to set up windows, but now you can't watch anything because it's DRM'd so you need to invest in another package.
So now you are going to spend a couple of hours thinking about what new system to use, a couple of hours to backup all important stuff from the existing box, and (say) three hours to setup (Insert new PVR solution here)
When you look at it like that, it would have been quicker to choose the solution that was least likely to screw you over at a later date. You would have saved a few hours if you carefully considered this initially. The price for DRM is very high when you factor in the "oh shit, DRM" cost. It's not like we didn't know it was going to happen.

Re:It's not the content that's being restricted (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206905)

As a user of windows since v2.0, a Systems & computer pro since before that, a MCSE, and (insert all sorts of other essentially meaningless crap here), I've come to an amazing conclusion: While they on occasion accidentally do something right, Microsoft Sucks. I bought a HP DV8230US desktop replacement laptop last year with Win MCE on it; I thought the Tivo-ish feature might come in handy when I was travelling. And, it does in fact rock. and rock hard. I've been doing digital recording for a lot of years, and this is just freaking sweet. and super easy to use. BUT. You can count on Microsoft to mess up a wet dream. The Media player 11 "update" installs some draconian DRM, that spreads to the recording capabilities of MCE (and kills your already downloaded content, and loses your licenses, and...). Luckily, anyone who is of a right mind AND still uses a microsoft product.... well, all 3 of us, know to turn OFF windows update and completely research any "upgrade" they want to make to your systems. And if they are Evil, don't do them. So, my uber-laptop dtill works great. And somehow, I'll live without the untold joys of Windows Media Player 11.

Re:It's not the content that's being restricted (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206907)

Why invite Microsoft into your living room when you can set up MythTV?

Please tell me where I can buy cablecard ready tuner cards for MythTV. Comcast here has new boxes that DELETE the firewire port, it's not even an option. Therefore recording is limited to Standard Def only.

Until someone hacks and then cracks cablecard, or get's off their butts and get s the hdmi or dvi capture cards working MythTV is not an option for recording CableTV HDTV.

if you want to record from Cable and get any of the channels to record that are not encrypted, you have to have microsoft.

Evil bit! (2, Funny)

DrDribble (859883) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206349)

Ah, now I get it - that's where the Evil bit went! They can pry my MythTV boxes from my dead, cold fingers. Dr

Nothing to see here, please move along. (1, Insightful)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206351)

Honestly, is anyone surprised? Why would you buy a microsoft product for something that just begs to be DRM'ed?

It's almost as if... (5, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206359)

...they WANT us to download things off of P2P.

Re:It's almost as if... (2, Insightful)

nikostheater (956769) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206417)

Isn't it stupid for a company to sell MCE and then to resctrict what a person can and cannot watch? What's the point to bother marketing such a product? And then they wonder why customers hate DRM and their stupid "IP rights"..

Re:It's almost as if... (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206739)

In the article about renaming DRM, I asked the question of what the HBO guy thought user could do with DRM'd content that they couldn't do with the same content if it were not DRM'd. Now I know the answer; they can go outside and get some fresh air without the TV. Obviously, HBO are just thinking of everyone's health this summer.

Re:It's almost as if... (1)

jwilcox154 (469038) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206781)

The problem is not really from Microsoft, but the MAFIAA. If they had their way we wouldn't even had VCRs. With technology today we can record the movies off of HBO, trim the video and redistribute it and/or save it. Their solution to that? Attempt people from copying it to begin with. That is why WMC is restricting it, not because they want to but because they have to. Otherwise the MAFIAA would collectively sue the pants off of Microsoft and go all the way to win big.

Old news???? (4, Informative)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206365)

First google link: Published Monday, October 31, 2005 6:41 PM by astebner

Second google link: Posted February 14th, 2006

Third google link: Last Review : August 17, 2006

Fourth google link: Friday, January 28, 2005 1:00 AM PST

Fifth google link: June 2nd, 2006

You get the idea....

Re:Old news???? (0)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206415)

If (and this is purely pictional) the media finds a telephone recording in wich Bush says to Bin Laden "I will make sure you are able to penetrate those airplanes into WTC with no resistence", and it is recorded in 2002, is that old news? No, just because it did not happen this year does not mean it is not news.

Re:Old news???? (0, Offtopic)

Stephen H-B (771203) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206591)

Given that this hypothetical conversation was recorded in 2002, the pertinent question would be "What WTC are you talking about?"

TV? (4, Insightful)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206383)

TV is an outdated concept... I hardly watch any television anymore myself, why would I want to watch something on a specified date and time? I'll watch it whenever I feel like it!

Record it from TV? Oh yea, I'm gonna wait until some station decides to air it and then record it with advertising...

There is nothing which interests me on television anyway which I can't find somewhere else. And the rest? Game shows, reality shows, ... I couldn't care less about them!

With these kind of restrictions it seems like television stations are going the **AA way... Desperately trying to hold on to an outdated concept, which has made them alot of money in the past. Too blind and stuck in their old patterns to find new ways of making money...

Re:TV? (2, Interesting)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206467)

TV is an outdated concept
Well, it maybe for you but for many others it's not. What is an increasingly outdated concept is the delivery method. Various timeshifting methods - I personally use Sky+ - allow the consumer to watch in their own schedule and to edit out the ads where appropriate.

As for there being nothing on worth watching - Yesterday I watched 'To have and have not', got up to date with Heroes, watched Saturday's Dr Who, and finished off with a fascinating documentary about Jimi Hendrix. Ok, none of it was earth shattering but hardly nothing to watch. And yes, I could have downloaded all of these but I saved myself a lot of time and effort by not downloading.

Re:TV? (5, Interesting)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206867)

You're British, aren't you?

Here's the thing: The Brits actually have good TV, because it's publically funded. It used to mean that the BBC produced series that were cheap - look at the production values of a classic Dr. Who episode compared to a classic Star Trek episode of the same time frame, but as the private networks in the U.S. have found that they can make more money by producing nothing but super-cheap TV shows and cancelling anything that doesn't get a hell of an audience immediately, now it is the British, who care about providing good value for the tax revenue rather than stuffing pockets, that produces superior television shows.

I mean, I saw the BBC Casanova miniseries, and can you imagine an American show going that far, production wise, for a three-episode mini series?

Additionally, all the good news channels - CBC, BBC, CNN International - aren't available in America on any of the different ways to get television here. HDNet has Dan Rather, but I don't have an HDTV and even if I did I don't have a local provider for it either.

So when you hear people complain about there being nothing good on TV which to record - yeah, I can see that. I don't know when I last turned on the television here but I don't think it even has the rabbit ears hooked up!

Re:TV? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#19207005)

The US also make loads of good TV the like of which don't tend to get made by the BBC and other British companies. Examples include Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, Deadwood and Lost. Basically drama serials and also a lot of comedies.

The last really good British comedy I remember was Spaced and that wasn't on the BBC, although Romans Empire on at the moment is also pretty good and that is on the BBC. The closest thing we get to that are historic mini series and Dr Who, the first of which are usually pretty boring and don't last very long and Dr Who which is let down by the ( lack of ) an overall plot and the characters in it.

Re:TV? (2, Interesting)

grimJester (890090) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206481)

There is nothing which interests me on television anyway which I can't find somewhere else. And the rest? Game shows, reality shows, ... I couldn't care less about them!

Almost by definition, peer-to-peer networks contain what the users want. Shows no-one is interested in are left out.

Incidentally, watching anything I want whenever I want is exactly the service I'd be willing to pay for. Go figure.

Re:TV? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206571)

And that's exactly the concept the content industry fails to grasp. People are indeed very willing to pay for content and avoid the hassle of searching through .torrents, downloading, waiting, waiting more, waiting even more, and finally hoping they get what they downloaded and not some gay porn movie (unless they tried to download a gay porn... you get the idea), then downloading some codec because that movie had to be packed with some esotheric encoding mechanism, then hoping it's really a good copy of the movie and not some cell-cam version with popcorn rustling in the background... Not to mention the legal matters.

What keeps people from going the legal way is the terms of service. First of all, the hassle is not less, it's more. Incompatible DRM with this or that player, installing licenses, and finally hoping that what they got can actually be watched, if not, more try and error with DRM... And of course the fear that, as soon as their computer dies, all the content is digital junk because DRM thinks you're a different person.

I know that a lot of people, if not the overwhelming majority, is very willing to pay for content that simply works, hassle-free and without problems and tinkering. But currently, with DRM in place, it's anything but that. More often than not, you buy something only to find out that it would have been less hassle to simply search for a .torrent, download it, wait for a while...

Re:TV? (2, Funny)

duguk (589689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206771)

downloaded and not some gay porn movie (unless they tried to download a gay porn... you get the idea)


Your downloads sounds interesting and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:TV? (2, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206753)

Almost by definition, peer-to-peer networks contain what the users want. Shows no-one is interested in are left out.

Never heard of the Long Tail [wikipedia.org], I guess. Hint: it's the reason why companies like Amazon and Netflix are successful. Another hint: it's not because they only carry the top 5% of products that 80% of the world is interested in. It's because they carry the other 95%.

The fact that I can't get those shows "no-one is interested in" on p2p is precisely why it is not very useful to me, or a lot of other people. Because, see, while you can have an individual show that's liked by 50% of people, you can also guarantee that there are 20 other shows liked collectively by 100% of people... even though individually they may not reach over 5% each. It's those 20 smaller shows that make any content delivery system useful, not the one show that's popular. You can get that one popular show anywhere; it's the place you can get those 20 smaller shows that's special. (And that includes regular old cable TV, which is hardly "irrelevant" as some here have suggested. p2p can never be as relevant as cable, because of the long tail.)

You would think people here would be celebrating the long tail - which is all about choice, after all - rather than promoting only those things that the mainstream is interested in.

Re:TV? (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206511)

TV is an outdated concept... I hardly watch any television anymore myself, why would I want to watch something on a specified date and time? I'll watch it whenever I feel like it!
It's funny that you say that TV is an outdated concept.

I recall reading an article which discussed how people are moving away from movies and towards TV, because TV shows come in smaller chunks with more plot and character development.

There is nothing which interests me on television anyway which I can't find somewhere else. And the rest? Game shows, reality shows, ... I couldn't care less about them!
Your interests are just that. Yours.
Millions of people are watching these shows and those eyeballs draw billions in advertising revenue.

Desperately trying to hold on to an outdated concept, which has made them alot of money in the past. Too blind and stuck in their old patterns to find new ways of making money...
Blind and stuck in their old patterns...
TV shows on DVD, they're doing that.
TV on the internet? They're doing that.

It's easy to criticize what you perceive as the status quo, so tell us:
What's your alternative.

Re:TV? (1)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206565)

What's your alternative.

I am trying to stop being their plaything...

I am through with being told what to like, what to listen to, what to watch, what to eat, ... I will decide that for myself, and if it means I can't take part in the extremely interesting discussion around the coffee machine on what happened in last nights episode of big brother, well then: so be it...

I believe people have gotten stuck in front of their television, it's like being fed through a tube... There are so much more entertaining things to do then to watch tv!

Re:TV? (1)

swissfondue (819240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206763)

"

I believe people have gotten stuck in front of their television, it's like being fed through a tube...
" ... and the alternative is watching a PC screen showing video you got from a network of tubes?

Re:TV? (1)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206901)

... and the alternative is watching a PC screen showing video you got from a network of tubes?

Where exactly did I say that I do this? None of today's methods in delivering media to the user really appeal to me:

- TV: It's free, but it doesn't allow me to watch what I want, when I want. And also the fact that I am constantly being told to buy product A, subscribe to product B, ... completely puts me off!
- Download (paid): So basically DRM, no thank you...
- Download (free): The quality of the media just isn't worth the trouble in finding/downloading/running it.
- Store: Unfortunately going to a store and buying the physical thing is still the best option (if they didn't put their nasty DRM on it as well), considering the technology that is around this is a huge shame. But I just don't like the way that technology is being used today, it's all about limiting the user!

So as you might have guessed, I have escaped from my prison that is called the couch in front of the tv... And I can tell you, it's still pretty safe to go outside! Unlike what they try to tell you on the tv!

Re:TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206599)

I recall reading an article which discussed how people are moving away from movies and towards TV, because TV shows come in smaller chunks with more plot and character development.
Maybe its because people are only producing mainly rubbish movies.

Re:TV? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206769)

I believe the grandparent was talking about TV-the-delivery-system, rather than TV-the-content. I don't watch TV-the-delivery-system anymore, but most of what I rent on DVDs is TV-the-content. I value my time, and don't want to waste 25% of my entertainment time watching adverts, so I simply don't watch TV. I want to watch things when I have time, not when the broadcaster decides it's the optimal time to show it. I want to be able to take the show with me, and watch it while travelling on my laptop.

I would love to be able to buy TV show on a per-season basis, with no DRM and the ability to re-download (I don't want to bother having to archive them myself), or for less if I don't have the re-download ability (for stuff I'm likely to only want to watch once).

TV viewership is dropping as it has to compete with more convenient forms of entertainment. Expect the status quo to change when enough people have broadband that the studios can sell more by selling to the viewers than to the distributors.

Re:TV? (3, Insightful)

Targon (17348) | more than 6 years ago | (#19207021)

I don't think that viewership is dropping as much as the idiotic method of tracking how many people are watching just doesn't work anymore. If someone records a show because they can't be home, that in no way means that people don't end up watching. There seems to be progress in getting away from the current system, but who knows if it will ever happen.

A big problem I see with the different distribution methods out there is how to fund the production of the good shows. Honestly, if the TV distribution method is going to change, and advertisements change as well, a better way for these shows to generate money will be needed, and the possibilities are scary. Will we have running advertisements along the bottom and/or top of the screen as we watch? Will the users be required to pay to view the content without advertisements? If we are given a choice(pay and get no advertisements, or get it for free with advertisements), the peer to peer downloads will hurt the chances for good shows to be renewed.

Remember, money is the reason we get ANYTHING on TV in the first place. If the production studios don't make money on the development of the shows/movies, they will NOT continue to make the shows we care about. So, how do we make sure that the good shows continue while the crap is dropped?

Re:TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206521)

Dugg for correct usage of "I couldn't care less".

Re:TV? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206543)

this is exactly what the media companies want you to do, watch stuff when you want, and within certain limits, with what you want.

*but* they want you to consider it a premium service that requires lots of money before you can partake. Free? Pah, that's for losers..

It's a flawed idea according to the consumer, but not according to the producers of that which is consumed, and they control the stage.

You could do what I did, give your tv away and refuse to let another one in the house. I watch dvds, listen to radio, read books, and use the bbc website for news, so I don't get bombarded with adverts and an endless stream of low budget high profit mush. I'm something of an SF series addict, so I buy the box sets and enjoy whole seasons advertisement free, it rocks.

It's amazing, after the first bit of adjusting, you start to see other people sitting in front of their brain sucking boxes and realising how worrying it is that they depend on them.

Re:TV? (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206743)

You could do what I did, give your tv away and refuse to let another one in the house. I watch dvds,

So does the whole family gather 'round the PC in your den? Or do you put your laptop on the coffee table?

Re:TV? (2, Insightful)

FST777 (913657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206889)

Which is exactly my fear when the TV stops being profitable: that it disapears and be replaced by internet-TV (like Joost). Then there is no point anymore in socialising in front of the TV, watching shows with your children, talking with your colleagues about that great show that was on yesterday...

If I throw out the TV, I miss my primary source of news: it's more convenient than looking up the news online. I also miss some of the fun programs that I watch now which I never would bother to download. There would be less incentive to watch something which happens to be on air with my wife. I wouldn't partake in the benefit shows which are on air when a disaster happened and the people are asked to donate money (those are highly succesfull means fo charity here). All that is lost.

That might well be a threat to socialisation. Not because it disapears, but because it is replaced by a less social medium: the internet. Sure, you can socialise more while watching TV via the internet (channel based chats, program based discussions) but that is not the same as laughing about a show with the wife and / or friends, collectively as a nation worry about something that needs to be done (and doing so because of that) or discussing a controversial documentary with your colleagues.

Re:TV? (1)

Flentil (765056) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206761)

Well jeez maybe you should take the next step and toss out your computer. You are sitting mesmerized by it right now, just like those people you mentioned who are busy enjoying TV shows on TV. I don't see much of a difference. Brain sucking boxes? Why the elitist attitude? You are looking at a very similar box right now, just like TV watchers, except they are more comfortable on their living room couches.

Microsoft once again demonstrates... (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206385)

Microsoft once again demonstrates who its customers are. It isn't the people who buy their products, but big busines. Hence the heavy-DRM tie-ins they've developed for Vista among other products in the past (such as Windows Media Player)

Re:Microsoft once again demonstrates... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206451)

Bah, this isn't necessarily M$ problem although much of it probably is.

Regardless you can't pin it all on M$, some of it has to go to the content providers who bitch that M$ is allowing something they shouldn't allow. Chances are this is part of M$'s tactic to dodge provider lawsuits.

Sure, it's probably a case M$ would win, yet it's away of avoiding legal fees and the like.....
I suppose.... O.o?

Re:Microsoft once again demonstrates... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206773)

Regardless you can't pin it all on M$
Are they being legally forced to add this DRM? Are the television stations able to stop the WMC from recording videos without Microsoft's aid? If no, then it sounds like they're getting into bed with big business. Sure they're screwing over the customers so they can avoid lawsuits (or so you say), however they're lawsuits Microsoft can win and afford. Sounds like they're willingly getting into bed with big business to me.

Re:Microsoft once again demonstrates... (3, Funny)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206597)

No, no! You've got it all wrong!

DRM is your friend! If Microsoft didn't include it in Windows, the big media corporations would quickly sue the pants off of them, making it impossible to sell Windows. Why, that would be a disaster for the consumer! This way, we can at least still enjoy some forms of copyrighted content.


;-)

Re:Microsoft once again demonstrates... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206755)

Wrong, people are still buying their stuff despite its increasingly user-unfriendly restrictions. So Microsoft gets away with pleasing big business by including DRM stuff.
I wonder when they will go too far and trigger an avalanche of dissatisfied users moving off Windows.
Personally, I'm somewhere in between at the moment (playing with Linux now and then, but mostly holding out on Win 2000). But I guess the way Microsoft is going will eventually drive me to make the transition.

Re:Microsoft once again demonstrates... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206883)

Are people its customers or is Microsoft selling a user base to big business? Seems the latter to me. After all, we don't say viewers of tv are customers of the television company but are in fact the product sold to advertisers. Same with google.

Re:Microsoft once again demonstrates... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206957)

Hmm...

one could view it that way, but unlike free TV, Microsoft gains much of its income from the licenses the "user base" buys. So they are as much customers as the big business partners of Microsoft. Your analogy works a lot better for Google, which charges its users nothing and lives entirely off advertising revenue.

But either way, Microsoft cannot afford to lose its user base by annoying it too much ;-)

Heading in the right direction (2, Funny)

nmoog (701216) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206391)

It's a good start by Microsoft. But I found that you can implement a more efficient DRM system by snapping off the rabbit-ear antennae on top of your TV. I did it eight months ago and I found that when I go to bed now my brain doesn't feel like it's been mushed to pulp by ads and boring drivel. Good luck you noble DRM!

What's next... (4, Funny)

Bowdie (11884) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206411)

>What's next, restricting every piece of programming on television?

Yes. Didn't you get the memo?

DRM safety (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206469)

Like other safety concerns, it's better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. With DRM, in order to be completly safe, sometimes content will recieve additional protections. But isn't that better than not enough protection, where one of your favorite movies might be viewed accidently?

Everyone votes pro-DRM or pro-FairUse with their dollars. So purchase services and electronics that reflect your values, and what you want to protect. As for the rest... Smash [youtube.com]

This is what DRM *is*... (5, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206439)

...and what DRM is for.

Its sole purpose is to keep you from using the media you would otherwise have rightful access to in any way other than what the copyright holder explicitly wants.

In short, its sole purpose is, ultimately, to make you pay every time you make use of the media, and to control the flow of information.

DRM is how the media megacorporations intend to rein in the internet. For instance, you can't prove that the media broadcast a story when the story can't be recorded.

DRM is how the big corporations intend to remove your right to read [gnu.org].

This is just the first shot across the bow. It's going to get worse. A lot worse. Read all you can about "trusted computing" [wikipedia.org] to see where this is going. All they have to do is to remove your ability to boot an unsigned bootloader, and the game is over (with you as the loser).

If you think this is paranoid ranting, well, so did people who thought habeus corpus would never be removed. That doesn't make what I say right, but since the same people are ultimately involved, you shouldn't dismiss the above as paranoid ranting on the basis of incredulity alone.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (2, Interesting)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206537)

...and what DRM is for.

Its sole purpose is to keep you from using the media you would otherwise have rightful access to in any way other than what the copyright holder explicitly wants.

In short, its sole purpose is, ultimately, to make you pay every time you make use of the media, and to control the flow of information.
I personally look forward to the day, when I can get *any* movie or TV series episode for one-time (or one-day or whatever) viewing for a few euros, legally. I'm also looking forward for the day when I can get *any* piece of music playing once for a few cents, preferably with heuristic music selection service ("people who liked the songs you listen also liked these songs, add to your playlist?").

I don't need to *own* that music, or those TV shows, or those movies. I just want to have access to them, any time I want. And I don't mind paying more for items I want to hear/watch often. Actually, now that I think about it, quite the opposite: I'm more than happy to pay little for one viewing/listening, and more for those I like enough to listen/view many times.

If only somebody at entertainment industry had the vision *and* the power to make that happen, offer that feature integrated into a set-top box type device, he'd make trillions. DRM is not really an issue, ease of use is the issue. Of course that might be the beginning of the end for regular TV and radio programming, so there are powerful players who'll oppose this at all costs.

And I don't see the problem of information control. Quite the opposite, if you have the freedom to view any news broadcast from all over the world with a click (well, that's reality even now, I think), there's no control. If people want information, they'll get it easily (well, at least here in the free world). If they don't want it, no DRM is going to make them want it.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206679)

And you think that -- just because you're paying for the content -- they won't attempt to get more revenue by including advertising?

Of course, once it's all DRM-protected, you won't be able to get rid of the advertisements.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (0, Troll)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206935)

And you think that -- just because you're paying for the content -- they won't attempt to get more revenue by including advertising?
Of course, once it's all DRM-protected, you won't be able to get rid of the advertisements.
Why on Earth would I want to pay for content with intrusive advertising in it? There are multiple ways to get rid of the ads, starting from going to the fridge, ending in dropping the TV from a great height and watching the shards fly...

Only reason I'm watching TV at all these days, is that I can record the shows, and then watch at my convenience, while skipping the ads. I'm willing spend my money for fun, but I'm not willing to waste my time (ie watch ads, search the torrent channel for right episodes) for fun. My money, I can control that, but the damn clock just keeps ticking away, no matter what I do.

I pity those who feel they're "slaves" to the entertainment industry, those who will have to choose between DRM and legality and convenience. I can choose to turn of the TV, and just wait for the day when enough people realize they can do the same, if the entertainment industry tries to enslave us instead of serving us.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (1)

Stinky Fartface (852045) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206807)

The Long Tail economic model is something we all wish we had, sure, but this is *exactly* what the media companies are fighting against. This is, in fact, the root of the problem. They currently make the big bucks by withholding content, not making it always available. They want people to be deprived of something for so long that, when they finally do release it, they can whip everyone up into a frenzy about it. They can make people, who otherwise wouldn't have considered purchasing that product, become so desirous that it's all they can think about. Personally, I think that, in this day and age, this business model is naive and outdated, but they are going to fight tooth and nail to preserve it.

There's still Control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206819)

if you have the freedom to view any news broadcast from all over the world with a click (well, that's reality even now, I think), there's no control.
In other news today, Khalid Khaliq, from Beeston, Leeds, has been charged with possessing [bbc.co.uk] a document which is widely available on the Internet including being previously mentioned on Slashdot. He was suspected of being Muslim apparantly.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (2, Interesting)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206851)

I personally look forward to the day, when I can get *any* movie or TV series episode for one-time (or one-day or whatever) viewing for a few euros, legally. I'm also looking forward for the day when I can get *any* piece of music playing once for a few cents, preferably with heuristic music selection service ("people who liked the songs you listen also liked these songs, add to your playlist?").
You want to pay for you music every time you listen to it? Why don't you just get a service like Rhapsody where you pay a monthly fee to have access to all their songs? As for TV shows, I don't know how it is in Europe, but in America, you can buy most TV shows for a couple dollars, if that. DVD sets cost between $30 and $45 for 13 to 25 episodes, iTunes sells episodes for $2, and most TV channels even stream their episodes from their website for free (though ad-supported). If you really hate owning things, you can delete it from iTunes after watching it or give the DVD set to a library. I don't think it would be a plus to have it delete itself automatically, but still charge the same price, and I can't believe it's that much more expensive to get TV shows in Europe so that would seem like a deal there.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (3, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206861)

And I don't see the problem of information control. Quite the opposite, if you have the freedom to view any news broadcast from all over the world with a click (well, that's reality even now, I think), there's no control. If people want information, they'll get it easily (well, at least here in the free world). If they don't want it, no DRM is going to make them want it.

Do you really think it would be hard to block your access to foreign news broadcasts via DRM?

The mere existence of this broadcast flag threatens your ability to record the present and document the past. It drives a nail through some of the more basic requirements for a democracy, which is the right and need to be and stay well informed.

After all, we've always been at war with Eastasia.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206789)

All they have to do is to remove your ability to boot an unsigned bootloader, and the game is over (with you as the loser).

Um no. In a free market, the alternatives look better. In a non-free market, the alternatives are outlawed. Game is over only when the alternatives are restricted. DRM TV content will have to contend with non-over the air alternatives such as the Internet.

Re:This is what DRM *is*... (2, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206913)

Um no. In a free market, the alternatives look better. In a non-free market, the alternatives are outlawed.

And what makes you think the market in the U.S. is a "free market"?

The people who are pushing for DRM are precisely the people who have the greatest amount of control over the U.S. government, because they control what gets advertised about the candidates during election time. Frankly, I'm a little surprised DRM hardware of the kind I described hasn't already been mandated, but I suspect that's probably because the people in control know that fascism has to be implemented slowly for it to work. That's the lesson I think they learned from the early to mid 20th century.

Well, Microsoft think it's a bug... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206463)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/913800 [microsoft.com]

Cockup rather than conspiracy?

Re:Well, Microsoft think it's a bug... (1)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206601)

Yep, apparently a bug that only applies to XP Media Center 2005. Can someone who experiences this problem confirm that they are not using Vista Home Premium or Ultimate?

Re:Well, Microsoft think it's a bug... (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206801)

You see, the problem here is all Microsoft. After years of naming their patches: "Service Pack", "Critical Update", "Security Update", "Huge Update", "Gigantic Update","Mother-of-All Update", they decided to name this update "Update Rollup". Clearly it confused the consumer with what was consistent naming, and he/she probably didn't download it much less install it. :P

Re:Well, Microsoft think it's a bug... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206835)

Cockup rather than conspiracy?

It really doesn't matter, does it? Whether or not they made a mistake in what they restrict with DRM, the problem is that they can restrict it with DRM! As predicted here many moons ago, it makes Microsoft's product much less usable. Hopefully there will be many more mistakes like this along with enough legitimate(?) restrictions that their product will just wither on the vine.

Fuck 'em! Just fuck 'em!

SkyNet: turns out it began as DRM software (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206953)

If the bug can string together a sentence like "Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator of the content prohibit playback of the program on this computer" I'd suggest it's a sentient bug!!!

Wasn't this a driver problem? (4, Informative)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206475)

I wouldn't take the summary at face value for this one - IIRC, there are some driver issues that cause this flag to pop up when it's really not supposed to. More info, including Microsoft's mostly-official response, at:

http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/176207.asp x [thegreenbutton.com]

Re:Wasn't this a driver problem? (3, Interesting)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206549)

Reading that thread, it does not look like driver problems, but broadcasters spuriously adding copy protection flags to their broadcasts.

Re:Wasn't this a driver problem? (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206631)

I just re-read it, too. Looks as if it's also mostly a Canadian problem, too. Someone also claimed that the FCC apparently didn't allow it to be set spuriously, so that's something to check into for US citizens.

Re:Wasn't this a driver problem? (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206775)

The FCC doesn't regulate cable television.

Re:Wasn't this a driver problem? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206811)

Yes, it does. It just uses a different set of rules than for broadcast TV. In fact, the FCC is looking at tightening those up, and it's already in their power to do so.

You didn't listen to us........ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206489)

You didn't support Linux....

Now look what you get! You are fucked.

and WE TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!

Re:You didn't listen to us........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206535)

I listened to you. But you kept using the words "M$" and "Windoze" and that caused me to ignore your message.

the tale of two neighbors (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206553)

There are those two neighbors, Joe Sixpack and Joe Sixbit. The first buys whatever the ads say and just brought home his new shiny Microsoft Media Center PC, the second enjoys spending some time learning how to build things and just installed Freevo or MythTV on a spare box.
For a while Joe Sixbit was laughed at by Joe Sixpack because while he was working on his ugly PC, Joe Sixpack's MSMCE-PC was already working and indeed looked more professional.
Then, after some time, Joe Sixpack started to face some problems: failed updates, unsupported codecs, and every time he had to call a number where someone gave the same not working answers. Joe Sixbit's system, instead, was working better and better: not only it supported every media it was thrown at, but it was also possible upgrading it to new media without waiting for a single software house approval. It could show weather forecasts and web pages, but also it run games, voip phonecalls, videoconferencing and other tasks it wasn't designed to thanks to an active community.

After some months Joe Sixbit still enjoys his self made media center and has learned a lot working on it, which pays he back of the time he spent, while Joe Sixpack only learned he has to reinstall the Windows MCE every now and then to make it work again after a software install screws the system, and still there are tasks he cannot perform and media he cannot play, which pays he back much less for the time and money he spent.

The moral is.. HECK! you still need a moral to stop using proprietary software after it's so clear how it's screwing you?

Joe Wiseman (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206695)

Meanwhile, Joel Wiseman bought a Mac MINI and wonders why Sixbit and Sixpack spent all the time and money on systems dedicated to trying to grab content from a stream, when they could spend less of both just buying songs individually on demand.

He uses the extra time and money saved to read books.

Re:Joe Wiseman (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#19207017)

"He uses the extra time saved to read books he checked out of the library, because he ran out of cash trying to buy all the content he wanted to see off of iTMS."

There, fixed that for you. You see, the idea is that TV has always been "free" for the viewer, and the intent of these things is to leverage that content to reduce the regular outlay of cash associated with paying for every instance of a recording. If you don't understand that economy (spending time to save money), then you are detached from most of America. Then again, you seem to be a mac fan, so...

Re:Joe Wiseman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19207029)

Songs?

Eh..you're not getting the point are you.

What about the free movies, the free TV shows from bit torrent? What about the active community that keeps adding functionality to the media center that he has built, and all free of charge.

Methinks Joel Wiseman may actually be Joel ThickieMan, who hasn't got the brains to configure or cope with a real computer.

But hey its ok, as long as poor Joel thinks he's making a lifestyle choice that expresses something about himself with his shiny purchase then all is well. And apple have another 'satisfied' customer.

Microsoft chasing its customers away again (1)

ironcake (1096227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206615)

Ladies, sirs, things, This is exactly the kind of behaviour that chased me away from MS Windows, into an OS that is on my side. Bill, Steve: Please go on biting the hand that feeds you. When Microsoft starves to death, I will dance on its grave.

How it is being done? (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206623)

I guess the banned channels on cable transmit somekind of watermark signal along with normal TV signal? You can probably easly (with simple $20 device) strip the watermark with somekind of hardware filter on the cable. Am I right?

Re:How it is being done? (0, Troll)

the100rabh (947158) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206667)

Hey great idea....but why not just download MythTV for free????

Re:How it is being done? (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206803)

> Hey great idea....but why not just download MythTV for free????

Because somebody who uses Windows Media Center probably has reasons to do so (DRMed content).

WTF... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206663)

It is "Windows Media Center"... and Windows Media Center is what you get!

So don't complain if you're not fanboy enough.

old news (5, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206675)

If you read on like the poster suggested (and obviously the poster himself didn't read the articles) you'd find out that
1. This is an old problem
2. This was a driver issue that only affected people who had changed hardware components.

Re:old news (2, Interesting)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206721)

Exactly. Good post. At worst MS can be charged w/ not making their DRM software user friendly enough.

DRM is the way of artificial shortage (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206693)

Makes sense, doesn't it? Only if there is a limited supply, something gets some value in our world. Think of precious metals, pieces of art, anything collectible. By itself, not really valuable. Gold is actually quite worthless, from an industrial point of view. Aside of a few applications where its physical and chemical properties (like being almost impossible to corrode and very resistant to acids) come to shine, it's quite useless or easily replaced by other metals. But it's rare. So it's precious. It has been since the dawn of humanity.

Pieces of art, paintings of old masters, are nice to look at, but by no means necessary for survival. Even more, it's something to look at, not something to consume. You can look at the Mona Lisa, take the experience with you and go on with your life. Still, it's invaluable. It's a one-of-a-kind.

And let's not even get to Magic the Gathering cards or rare stamps.

All those things have a high value because they're rare. Not because people need them. They are valuable because people want them and only a selected few can have them. That's what makes their price tag to up.

Content, now, is by its very definition not scarce. Reproducing content is easy and has been cheap from the beginning of the printing press. With computers and digitalized content, the cost for reproduction has been brought very close to zero. In other words, unrestricted content has no value in our world because it is anything but scarce. Everyone can have it.

DRM now imposes an artificial shortage onto something that is available in abundance, with the sole goal to make the value (or rather, the price) of information go up. Disney understood this concept from early on, making its movies only available every few years for a short time, so people don't even ponder twice before buying. Either you get it now or you can't get it for a long, long time. So they pay, any price.

DRM should now make the same possible for every kind of digital content. The content industry dictates when and at what terms you may get it. The goal is, amongst others, that by creating an artificial shortage of a movie, the movie becomes a hot seller again, no matter how old it is. Think of, say, Casablanca. A good movie, but we've all seen it for ... how many times? Provided you're interested in that kinda movie, granted. Now imagine you couldn't see it anymore. For a long, long time. And then, for about 2 months, it is on sale again.

People would buy more. They would buy it THEN, not put it back 'til they want to see it again, they will buy then because of the fear that you can't get it for a long time anymore afterwards.

And, of course, you won't be able to watch it forever. You will watch it for as long as the content industry lets you.

This also creates a nice way of restricting the access to movies that ain't so much in sync with political views anymore. When was the last time you saw Rambo III [wikipedia.org] on a TV network? And how many copies that you can still buy contain the words "This movie is dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan" in the closing credits?

Could you see a few people who'd want this movie to disappear once and for all, as if it never existed? Or at least alter a few things?

It's not like movie altering isn't done already. But you can easily remove all existing copies of the "original" version with DRM. Movies have a best before date with it. Who could claim that Han shot first anymore without looking stupid to people who ain't old enough to remember?

Tastes a bit of Orwell, ain't it?

I really can't let this one go.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19206997)

"..Gold is actually quite worthless, from an industrial point of view. Aside of a few applications where its physical and chemical properties (like being almost impossible to corrode and very resistant to acids) come to shine, it's quite useless or easily replaced by other metals...."

You are over-egging the pudding fantastically, to make a point.

Gold is actually quite valuable, from an industrial point of view. In spite of it's rarity it is pretty unmatched for corrosion resistance. Good conductor for electrical work. Very dense - better than lead and would be used for all lead's appplications if it didn't cost so much. And finally, it's the most malleable of all the metals - you can beat it out to a foil just a few atoms thick.

It wasn't just it's rarity which made it valuable. If that were tha case four-leafed clovers (some do exist, you know) would be immensely valuable. No, it was it's utility which gave it a value, and it's rarity which made that value high (though not in South America dutring some periods in history!)

 

Windows Media Censor (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206751)

A simple search [google.co.uk] on the subject reveals that HBO programming and, in my case, Braveheart on AMC are among the many selections now restricted for playback or recording by Windows Media Censor Edition.

Re:Windows Media Censor (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206827)

Anyone taking bets on Microsoft launching a Joost competitor in the next few months, with those now-banned services signing up for the revenue?

This was bound to happen to MS. (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206917)

MS is a big player in OS's not in video or music, so they must pander to the executives of those companies with stuff like DRM and what not. If it wasn't for the record industry the zune would let you play song unlimited times when you transfer it from a friend not just 3 like it does now. The people at MS realize this too, in a couple of year they may have the pull of apple, to have that they'd have to start buying every record label and movie studio, but then can you say monolopy, and the government would be on their asses again for something stupid. People aren't installing mythtv by the millions, but if MS put something out that didn't enable DRM, then people might be, and the studios would be after them too. People must realize that every thing MS does, must go trough a legal department just to make sure that MS doesn't have any more trouble with the justice department or the EU.

Windows Media Center and MP3's (0, Offtopic)

overlook77 (988190) | more than 6 years ago | (#19206949)

This is semi-related, but has anyone else noticed that Windows Media will not play some 'borrowed' MP3's but iTunes has no problem with the same file?
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