Print 17 comment(s) - last by yumbrad.. on May 24 at 1:56 PM

HDCP may not be necessary until after 2010

In the plethora of copy protection schemes, the most recent one that has come to light is the Image Constraint Token, which exists to penalize viewers who use component or composite signals rather than truly digital signals. 

The Image Constraint Token (ICT) was the solution to upcoming copy protection woes.  The token would force video players that do not support HDCP over DVI-HDCP, HDMI, UDI or DisplayPort to down-grade the signal.  Currently, analog technologies allow a viewer to place a device between the image source and display, and essentially record the signal.  HDCP attempts to block that by forcing the source and the display to authenticate each other -- eliminating the man-in-the-middle approach.  ICT goes one step further, by handicapping the signal at a lower resolution.  With ICT, even if the user manages to record the analog signal, the resolution is significantly lower. 

According to Spiegel Online, movie studios have secretly agreed to not implement such an analog resolution downgrade until after 2010 (English). If an analog HD interface is used, such as HD component, users will still be able to watch their HD movies in full high resolution. This agreement completely bypasses the requirement of HDCP enabled devices for a few more years.

Spiegel reports the deal exists to help the industry transition to HDMI, though it seems clear the PC industry leaders have already agreed on the royalty-free DisplayPort alternative.  HDMI actually has quite a bit of support for the home theater market, but due to the royalties involved there have been virtually no video card nor PC display manufacturers anxious enough to adopt HDMI either -- although Abit recently announced a motherboard with integrated HDMI and ATI does have the upcoming RS690 chipset with native HDMI support as well.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Error, coco.
By Burning Bridges on 5/23/2006 5:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
The token would force video players that do not support HDCP over DVI-HDCP, HDMI, UDI or DisplayPort.

Force them to do what? :)

RE: Error, coco.
By Bruce 1337 on 5/23/2006 11:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
Force them to do what? :)

It will force them to bow down to The Man. I really don't like that HDTV is going the way of digital music. I hardly ever watch TV, but I don't want some DRM telling me when and how many times I can watch a show. Or even better, not allowing me to change channels during commercials.

RE: Error, coco.
By Xavian on 5/24/2006 2:23:09 AM , Rating: 2
personally i think HDCP and any technology that destroys consumer choice on a product you purchased, should be ripped apart in a slow painful manner.

Look at the past:
TV signals Transmitted over airwaves, anyone could view if they had a TV and a arial.

Cable companies put in cable to overcome the inherent limitations of analogue airwave transmissions, the beginnings of Encrypted broadcasting.

VHS/Betamax arrives, allows anyone to copy from any TV source, by utilizing the RF out port on the TV. Content Providers take VHS/Betamax to court about infringement of rights and about how they are 'loosing' all this money to piracy and thus an encryption method must be used on VHS/Betamax. The judge swiftly see's that content providers should NOT control any medium and throws the case out of court.

Digital TV comes, Encrypted Broadcasting goes up a notch, Sky (UK Digital provider) uses Encryption to help force its monopoly in the digital market, charges large prices.

DVD's arrive. DVD forum has bowed to pressure from the then forming MPAA and included CSS protection, this allows them to enforce region locking and thus beings the slow slope of limiting choice, around this time ownership of the item changes to 'licence'.

DVD's CSS encryption is cracked by a relatively unknown hacker called DVD-Jon, he releases the information and how to crack the CSS encryption onto the internet, various DVD-Copy programs appear. Consumer choice is restored, backups of media can be made once again, MPAA is up in arms and threatens every one of these programs and takes them to court, saying once again 'we are losing XXX amounts of money due to piracy it must stop!!'.

HDTV standards are finalised a new interconnect standard is devloped jointly by consumer electronics companies and the content industry. Called HDMI this interconnect standard contains within its specification HDCP a way to encrypt the video stream, this way over-the-top encryption serves no perpose in piracy, yet severely limits choice. It is revealed that unless you buy a TV that is HDCP supported, you will get no/down-converted to DVD quality picture on any HDTV stream. Digital/Cable Encryption and HDCP combine to severely limit any choice avaliable when watching HDTV. Theoretically, the content providers could limit the amount of times you watch a TV show or watch a movie, further enforcing the change to a 'licence' based structure.

Blu-Ray/HD-DVD is finalized, also feature HDCP and a new encrytpion standard AACS, HD-DVD is supported by the DVD-Forum. Blu-ray is supported by the 'blu-ray alliance' a combination of large consumer electronics companies and content providers, the main benefactor of which is Sony Corperation. Blu-ray with AACS includes new proprietary encryption BD+ and ROM-mark, to further prevent choice and move people to a more 'licenced' based system, under the guise of 'piracy-protection'. Blu-ray becomes one of the most heavily DRM-infested formats ever created.

Thats the history lesson, now you see content providers have been planning for this ever since the inception of VHS. They never liked VHS because it couldn't be controlled, it enforced an 'ownership' based system, when content providers wanted a 'licenced' based system. Using Encryption and Region-locking to get what they want, HDCP is one of the final steps.

Personally content providers must MUST realise that you cannot bully people into doing something. Evetually they wont buy your DRM-Infested crap and you will go out of business (not before going even more tougher on DRM and sueing). Content providers should cater to the MARKET not to THEMSELVES, the momement they lost this, is the momement they lost control of the industry and began their slow decent into DRM madness. HDCP should die, along with HDMI. Blu-ray and HD-DVD should die until a less restrictive format comes along (one not supported by the content industries would be preferred), HDTV should have NEVER been infused with HDCP drm crap in the first place, its a picture standard, in which content providers should not be involved in.

In the end MPAA/RIAA should not be allowed into any standards commitee that they could possibly control, they cause massive forks in formats, they cause standards to split, they are the ones causing this confusion all alone, all because they want to control an entire format, lock-stock and barrel.

RE: Error, coco.
By michal1980 on 5/24/06, Rating: -1
RE: Error, coco.
By Topweasel on 5/24/2006 11:23:05 AM , Rating: 2
Wow Alot of people are off base on this one. You more then anyone else. Thiss has no affect of the requirements set by either of the HD optical solutions. The requirements for for BR still if I am aware is a HDCP compatible secure connection, and HD-DVD I think just recently lowered the requirement on HD-DVD playback but still requires it for up converting. This applies more to Future HD cable, satalite, and Computer uses.

RE: Error, coco.
By Topweasel on 5/24/2006 11:25:10 AM , Rating: 2
I forgot to say, that Blu-Ray is evil for their much more bordline illegal and against fair use features like BR+.

Still makes the Xbox360 with an optional (keyword here) USB HD-DVD player a better buy.

By Trisped on 5/23/2006 4:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
I can see why, I just wish they would drop the whole HDMI thing. If you can't do it with DVI, then I don't think it needs to be done.
According to Spiegel Online, movie studios have secretly that they have agreed to not implement such an analog
Please reword this, "movie studios have secretly" doesn't fit with "that they have agreed to not implement such an analog" Maybe, "movie studios have secretly decided that they will not implement..."

RE: Yea
By abhaxus on 5/23/2006 4:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yay now i can buy an HD-DVD player that is more expensive that what I paid for my 27" HDTV without DVI...

RE: Yea
By segagenesis on 5/23/2006 4:37:52 PM , Rating: 3
I wish I could moderate you up now. I applaud you for speaking what should have been obvious the the movie industry. Movies are not being pirated over DVI as it is now. It would not be any different with high definition content and likewise far more difficult given the bandwidth involved. And this is with an unencrypted signal.

It seems like they are more worried about content control rather than piracy. Forcing people to re-buy the same stuff over and over again is the name of the game. Movies will get handed around the black market one way or another and punishing those who are legitimate with downgraded pictures creates more problems than it solves.

As far as HDMI goes on the PC, the average folk may not care if the monitor is hooked up with lamp cord... but when it comes to Linux I'm unaware if the licensing issues would affect its operability in such circumstances.

1080p over component
By dali71 on 5/23/2006 3:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
Even if the studios choose not to enable the ICT, output over component will be limited to a max of 1080i. This is a condition of the AACS license that both Blu-ray and HD-DVD are bound by. Unlike the ICT, there are no provisions in the license which allow this to be bypassed.

RE: 1080p over component
By sotti on 5/23/2006 4:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't think 1080p could even go over components?

What TVs take 1080p over components?

What TV that is 1080p can't do a simple 3:2 pull down for a correctly edited 1080i signal?

RE: 1080p over component
By yumbrad on 5/24/2006 1:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
Output over component will be limited to 1080i not because of the studios, but because component analog video is technically limited to a maximum of 720p/1080i (which both require the same bandwidth). 1080p is impossible over component. No conspiracy here.

Frogs in a pot
By PLaYaHaTeD on 5/23/2006 3:32:24 PM , Rating: 5
Slowly elevate the water's temperature, and the frog will never know that he is being boiled to death.

screw life
By Scabies on 5/23/2006 4:35:24 PM , Rating: 4
So let me get this straight... Big names in technology are thinking that what we have on the market isn't secure, namely in that one could watch public television and make a local copy for playback anytime. Either that, or one could watch a DVD (or HD-DVD / Blu-Ray) with a data-sniffer like device between the player and the display to copy the data to another medium, a hard drive or unlocked disc.
1) Public television? If it's not on fox, nbc or pbs, I payed to get it on schedule, I should be free to watch it again and again without having to wait for the "season x" DVD, considering the cost of hardware and medium (DVR device, discs or HDD space) required to record. Unless I am selling it, who really cares?
2) Cant we just unlock discs and copy them using a computer? I am under the impression that the average consumer will have a PC with an optical drive long before they have a PC-multimedia-in card or DVR-like device.

Further, I am going to have to buy completely new hardware to enjoy future programming? Will I be left out altogether if I choose not to purchase a new TV, tuner and reciever, or do I get a downsampled picture/sound feed?

"Sorry, you're going to have to drive in the far right lanes any time you are on the highway, because we feel that your vehicle is unsafe traveling at full speed. You can use the fast lane and pass people, but only if you buy a 2008 Xxxxxxx. We're doing this for your protection (and the hypothetical revenue derived from traffic tickets when you dont do what we say.)"

DRM yourself right to hell
By rrsurfer1 on 5/23/2006 3:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
This was a good decision. The more DRM media companies add, the more people are going to be turned off to buying media that they can't use in whatever way they see fit. If I purchase something I expect to be able to use it in any way I see fit, and so long as I am not distributing it (which is illegal) I see no reason to complain. However, if I know a piece of media has DRM on it, and therefore that media will not play on a device I own, then why should I purchase this crippled version? You will see many downloading DRM-free versions instead, and watch your customer base decrease more than it already has.

They blew it
By Lifted on 5/23/2006 3:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
I think the movie studios realize they were too late with all of this. The non HDMI TV's are out there, and at this point they had better just wait for the next format before they implement any DRM like this or the uproar is going to be pretty huge and damage the adoption of HDTV and the HD disc formats as it's all a bit too confusing for 90% of consumers.

Might this only apply to the US?
By Fluppeteer on 5/24/2006 11:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'm curious. Supposedly the reason that the studios are letting up on the ICT is the size of the analogue HDTV installed base. This is certainly an issue in the US, but less so in the UK, where there's been a big push for "HD-ready" HDCP-capable systems and HDTV is just taking off - the high-def transmissions that are just starting in the UK do honour HDCP, or will soon. There are some analogue HDTVs in the hands of early adopters in the UK, but nothing like the size of the US installed base, and HDTV CRTs are almost unheard of (other than computer monitors, obviously).

I don't know the extent to which the UK is representative of the rest of its region, but I wonder whether studios producing the next generation disk formats will enforce the ICT outside the US before its enforced there. There's certainly less of a market benefit in supporting component HDTV - and there are suggestions that the UK release of the PS3 will only be of the higher-end HDCP-capable version.

"English" is an interesting way to describe that translation, by the way, so forgive me if this is answered. :-)

Not that I'm in any way in favour of content protection, but I'm not going to start believing that I can rely on my computer monitors for HDTV playback just yet. (Shame about the 1080p restriction, btw.)


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki