Monday, February 13, 2006

HDCP Fiasco

Wow, this is a sleeping bomb if I ever saw one. Someone deserves to get strung up about this.

Basically what this article means in plain english is that in 2007 when Windows Vista is released that every video card you have bought before today and almost every monitor you have bought before today (well there are 10 available in todays market) will only be able to display 1/4 of it's display capability.

If you want to watch movies at 1980x1080, your system will need to support HDCP. If you don’t have HDCP support, you’ll only get a quarter of the resolution. A 75% loss in pixel density is a pretty big deal – Wouldn’t you be angry if your car was advertised as doing 16 mpg, and you only got 4 mpg? Or if you bought a 2 GHz CPU and found out that it only ran at 500 MHz?

Some of these video cards cost $500 and basically they are now worthless as none of them are HDCP compliant even though they were advertised as such (and some have been for the last 2 years).

This insanity out of Hollywood has to stop - copyright protection has gone too far when it prevents us from using equipment we already rightly paid for.


P.S. UPDATE: Another article is located here it's a less technical explanation, whilst it's nice to hear that Microsoft are stating that only BlueRay and HD-DVD content will be considered DRM restricted at the moment but thats not to stop anyone else licensing this DRM (or even Microsoft itself saying all Vista content is DRM restricted forcing a wholesale update to hobbled monitor equipment).

P.P.S. UPDATE: ATI are now being sued for HDCP complain claims (and rightly so)
I hope they aren't the first hardware vendor to be sued for doing so.

1 comment:

  1. I recently built a new computer using a ASUS P5E-VM HDMI motherboard for the sake of using it as a HDCP compliant media center machine.

    After the 6th failed Windows Vista 64bit edition install (legal copy shipped from Redmond as a thank you for participating in a feedback program none the less) I started getting a bit frustrated as it would hang after about 30 minutes with no explaination of why it failed. And it seemed to always happen during the "finalizing installation" stage.

    So I pulled up my other computer and started searching for a solution online, eventually I found a few posts saying that it could take several hours for your computer to finalize the installation and that this was a known issue. Great, so I leave it on over night and take a look at it the next morning... it's still hanging on finalizing installation.

    Ok... So I do some more research and find out that Windows Vista 64bit edition has a known issue when installing on a system using 4GB of memory... wait, isn't 64bit edition MADE for systems with 4GB of memory or more? Anyway, I pull out one of my 2GB sticks, disable ALL onboard devices except for the GPU and try again. This time it actually installed! I put in my other 2GB of memory, enable all onboard devices and woila the system is up and running!

    Ok at this point I'm very happy, I have an HDMI cable going to my Regza 42" 1080p display and everything seems to be working after a few driver updates, great! So now I hook the HDMI up to my Integra DTC 9.8 pre-amp and switch inputs on my tv, all other equipment in my living room is feeding through the same pre-amp but for testing I just hooked directly up to the TV to eliminate any other potential problems. Once I hook up to my pre-amp I am no longer getting a picture on the TV, after lots and lots of swapping / updating drivers I finnaly got it to work, that is, until Vista auto-updated my driver and now the driver will reset resolution to 800x600 any time I disconnect the HDMI or change inputs on my pre-amp. I have the pre-amp set to just pass source instead of scaling it to 1080p but it's still not able to pass the signal... I have still not been able to resolve this issue over the past 2 months so eventually I said screw it and just hooked up to the TV.

    So fast forward a month and I decide to buy a combo blu-ray/hd-dvd drive (despite the fact that I have both a 360 and ps3), I get an LG one at fry's for about $129 and pop it in the computer and install AnyDVD that came free with the drive. I then pop in a blu-ray disc (remember the computer is connected to the TV through a single HDMI cable) and get the error message saying that my display is not HDCP compliant... that... is just fucking great.

    In the end I had to purchase slysoft AnyDVD-HD to break the copy protection on the discs just so I can play it back on my FULLY FUCKING HDCP COMPLIANT SETUP!

    So fast forward a few months and now I'm reading that Microsoft and Netflix will be providing netflix streaming for xbox 360, that's awesome! So I run out and get an xbox gold membership in anticipation of the software update comming out next month. Then today, as I'm reading, I see that they are implimenting a HDCP scheem for HD streams and that all of the first generation 360 owners are basically screwed when it comes to HD content.

    So by being an early adopter, and dealing with the massive amount of hardware issues that Microsoft had, this is how we get repaid? You are crippling the functionality of your own hardware for the sake of copy protection? Obviously you need to reconsider the concept of how you handle copy protection if your only solution is to cripple your own product despite the fact that it is fully capable of displaying the content.

    I'm that guy that will buy assloads of hardware that I don't need just because I can! But as of writing this I'm about an inch away from selling everything I own except for my 13" and 42" TV's and just renting some receivers from Comcast for $3 a month.

    I really hope you do understand that you're not punishing the people that pirate and distribute copyrighted material, you are punishing the consumer! because the implementation of your copy protection scheem is shit. If I really wanted to I could copy and distribute any dvd/blu-ray/hd-dvd considering AnyDVD HD will remove ALL copy protection from any disc for a one time fee of $49.99. I would never even have bought this program if Vista had recognize my fully HDCP compliant hardware as HDCP compliant.

    I have been a loyal customer of both Microsoft products and Netflix but that stops today.