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ATI quietly modifies specifications

ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition on Apple's store

VistionTek ATI board on CompUSA

ATI's own 9800 Pro Mac Edition spec page

Sony's VAIO VGX-XL1 system contains full HDMI output

Silicon Image says HDCP is the "only" protection to be used. FCC has also adopted HDMI says Silicon Image.
ATI, most of its partners, retailers claiming shipping consumer cards are HDCP-ready. These claims are untrue

Last week, several journals reported about the current state of HDCP support in graphics cards. The article touched on several topics, such as what is HDCP, what cards currently shipping supported HDCP, and why were cards being advertised as being HDCP ready, were in actually not ready at all. This was the case for every manufacturer, regardless of ATI and NVIDIA GPUs.

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. For a manufacturer that wishes to use HDCP technology on its products, a signup with Digital CP is required. Upon a signed agreement, the manufacturer must pay the committee an annual fee of $15,000 and a royalty fee of $0.005 per product sold.  This allows a manufacturer to provide DVI/HDCP support, sufficient for high-resolution output.  If a manufacturer wants to implement HDMI, a DVI-compatible connector, an additional $15,000 annual fee to HDMI is needed along with $0.04 per product. To actually implement HDCP protection, unique keys are required on a per product basis which is provided by the committee and requires implementation at the manufacturing level. According to NVIDIA, an extra chip is required that stores unique decoding keys.

Most of ATI's recent retail products are currently shipping with advertisements claiming that the products are HDCP-ready. On ATI's website, the term HDCP-ready was also used, for example on the X1900 series specifications page. Curiously, ATI's professional products such as FireGL list "HDCP-compliant". We spoke to ATI and asked it why the terminology difference and what the difference was in its view, between compliance and ready. Unfortunately, we did not receive a sound response to that question. In an interesting turn of events, today ATI has begun to silently remove references to HDCP-ready on its consumer products.

The image to the right is a screenshot that shows a Google cache of ATI's X1900 specifications page compared to what the specifications page is today. Google's cache clearly highlights the missing HDCP-ready claim that was present since launch. While FiringSquad's article presents a significant problem with ATI's claims of HDCP support, the problems go much deeper than expected.

A quick search on etailers such as NewEgg, CompUSA, Best Buy, and a host of other stores also list ATI's specifications, and most of ATI's recent products are listed as supporting HDCP. In fact, many of ATI's add-in board partners like Diamond, HIS (the Excalibur line), PowerColor, and VisionTek all list HDCP-ready. The ATI store, Apple store, and OEMs such as BOXX Tech all list ATI products as support HDCP.  We've included screenshots of some of the websites boasting identical information to ATI's spec-sheets.

We spoke to a number of ATI's partners and asked if the boards were ready to output a HDCP-DVI signal and unfortunately the general answer was no. Some board manufacturers said that the boards that are currently shipping do not contain the HDCP decryption keys necessary to support HDCP at the board level. Regardless of the GPU, if the board does not have the necessary component and key, HDCP will not work. We further asked ATI's partners as to what possible reason board level support for HDCP was left out but the same reason was given almost unanimously: ATI did not consider HDCP to be ready because copy protection for Blu-ray and HD DVD was still up in the air, and therefore did not feel it was worth it to pay the licensing fees necessary to be fully HDCP-compliant.

This is where ATI's professional products differentiate from consumer level products. So if no money was spent on including HDCP support, why claim HDCP-ready? More AIB partners explained to us that upon the release of Vista, a driver update can be applied to enable HDCP output. Unfortunately, we already know that this is not the case from information provided to us directly from other AIB partners.  To enable HDCP, a board must include the necessary hardware and key at the time of manufacturing.  It may be possible to send in your board to an AIB partner and RMA it for a new HDCP compliant board (which would involve new hardware, but potential reuse of key components such as the memory).  NVIDIA stated that a BIOS upgrade, a driver upgrade, or retrofitting a board after the fact will not work.

AIB partners say ATI claims the uncertainty of Blu-ray and HD DVD is the reason why keys were not purchased. However, according to Microsoft's HD content protection documents, it is clearly defined that Windows Vista will ship with HDCP support and will also contain support for both high-defintion formats. ATI argues that HDCP may end  up not being required for Blu-ray and HD DVD playback but according to the MPAA, this is not the case. Considering how hard the RIAA is pushing on MP3 copyright issues, the MPAA will be very adamant that high-definition movies be protected.

Visiting, several hundred supporters of the technology are listed on the adopters page, and ATI Technologies is one of them. With a significant amount of industry leaders backing HDMI/HDCP, and ATI's clear presence on the HDMI members board, the argument that HDCP might not be required is far fetched. Audio/Video products such as home receivers, flat panel TVs and other devices have been shipping with HDMI and full HDCP compliancy for well over a year now. In fact, Sony is already shipping PCs with full HDCP compliancy.

According to Godfrey Cheng, ATI's marketing director, it is up to the board partners to put in the necessary keys for HDCP-DVI decoding. Unfortunately, this still does not explain why ATI's own "Built-by-ATI" video cards also claim HDCP support when this is clearly not the truth. Users who visit ATI's latest website revision, especially for the X1900 series, are now greeted with a "fixed" specifications page that omits any reference to HDCP support. However, those who visited ATI's website before yesterday and purchased any one of ATI's cards will be disappointed to know that they will not be able to play back HDCP-DVI signals, either from Blu-ray, HD DVD, or Windows Vista. A search on ATI's website on various consumer products now show "HDMI interoperable", which means there is either a physical HDMI connector available or a DVI to HDMI adapter supplied. This solution however, only outputs a standard DVI signal. ATI does not currently ship a consumer video card with an HDCP/HDMI or HDCP/DVI output.

The bottom line: ATI has publicized that many of its consumer products are HDCP ready, when in fact are not. 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. Products such as ATI's own X1900XT claim to support HDMI connectivity. Unfortunately, HDMI compatibility doesn't mean that the board can output a HDCP-DVI or HDCP-HDMI signal. Customers who have any one of ATI's currently shipping consumer (enthusiast, mainstream, gaming, entry level) products that were advertised to support HDCP were misled. Many of ATI's add-in board partners also repeated the same specifications as those listed by ATI.

ATI was unreachable for comment at the time of publication. Instead, ATI's website has been changing gradually to remove any previous mention of "HDCP-ready" and specifications have been replaced with a more generic "HDMI interoperable" spec.

ATI has sold millions of products with a claimed feature that does not and will not work and most customers will not find this out until they attempt to play Blu-ray and HD DVD titles. As a company with an incredibly loyal following, this is a big issue that ATI needs to address to its customers immediately.

Update: ATI has restored the HDCP wording on its website as of 1:05PM EST today (02/17/06).  Unfortunately, it's back to the original phrasing.

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oh lordy
By NoToRiOuS1 on 2/17/2006 5:24:44 AM , Rating: 2
this really isn't gonna be pretty for ATi. I didn't think they were the type of company who would do such a thing but I guess one should never assume such things.

RE: oh lordy
By Sharky974 on 2/17/06, Rating: -1
RE: oh lordy
By JarredWalton on 2/17/2006 5:55:24 AM , Rating: 5
ATI makes cards, NVIDIA does not. That's why ATI is singled out more. All of the NVIDIA and ATI card manufacturers are similarly to blame, but in truth the real blame belongs with HDCP, HDMI, and all the other lousy attempts to limit what people can do with hardware. As Ars Technica so elegantly put it, the irony is that purchased BluRay/HD-DVD content won't work properly without buying a new graphics card for your PC (once HDCP is finalized), while the pirated content will work flawlessly. Oops! Way to go MPAA.

RE: oh lordy
By Sharky974 on 2/17/06, Rating: -1
RE: oh lordy
By hemmy on 2/17/2006 12:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
NVIDIA creates the GPUs, ATI creates the GPUs

Sapphire makes the Built By ATI cards, ATI does not. They simply replace the sticker

RE: oh lordy
By CheesePoofs on 2/17/2006 10:33:21 PM , Rating: 2
its still sold under their name. There are no "built by nvidia" cards

RE: oh lordy
By stmok on 2/18/2006 2:29:50 AM , Rating: 3
NVIDIA creates the GPUs

Actually, they don't make them. They design them, and then email the designs to a semiconductor manufacturer (TSMC most probably) and TSMC actually builds the GPU and some other company makes the reference design boards for them. (They design the reference boards, but they don't make them).

Once they get the initial design back, they'll test it if it works as planned. All designs that Nvidia does is on the computer, they won't actually know if it will actually work as planned until they get the first samples back from TSMC.

Nvidia (once satisfied with the design), then gives those reference boards to software developers and companies like ASUS and such to base their products on. The cheap way would be to just copy the reference board. The more expensive solutions will use their own cooling solutions. They also let hardware sites try out the new video cards to give the public an idea of what to expect.

This is different to ATI, where they actually make their own GPUs designs and reference board. For mass production, they get someone else to do it. Although, last time I heard, they were looking at trying to be more like Nvidia in the design process. It apparently saves a great deal of money.

But its disadvantage is that you must rely on a third-party to build the designs for you...If they can't you'll run into trouble. This is what happened to Nvidia in the past. Because of a production related issue with TSMC. (it was the shrinking of the manufacturing process that was the source of headaches).

As for ATI getting total blame for this HDCP nonsense?

Both Nvidia and ATI don't work with this DRM standard. Ati shouldn't be the only one taking the heat. Although, they should take responsibilty on the advertising part. (should have released a notice or something).

This is more of a public relations issue. If a company is more upfront and responsive to the public, this article won't exist.

RE: oh lordy
By hemmy on 2/18/2006 10:33:47 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't say the create the actual silicon


RE: oh lordy
By Lakku on 2/18/2006 5:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
I believe eVGA makes the reference boards, but I'm not sure. As for HDCP and nVidia, they are not taking heat because they didn't advertise on every product they sold that it was HDCP ready or compliant. They didn't lie, which is the bottom line. Why pay a useless certification board that much money when very few things will need HDCP until late this year? HDCP isn't needed until you get WGF 2.0 compliant cards designed specifically for Vista, which in turn was designed with HDCP, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD in mind.

RE: oh lordy
By Spoonbender on 2/17/06, Rating: 0
RE: oh lordy
By GoatMonkey on 2/17/2006 11:10:01 AM , Rating: 4
I miss 3dfx.

ATI Graphic Cards
By TMLF on 2/21/2006 10:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
The Mason Law Firm, PC is investigating claims arising from ATI's representation that certain of its graphic cards are HDCP-ready. If you are interested in pursuing such a claim, or would like more information about this potential class action, please email Gary E. Mason at For more information about The Mason Law Firm, PC, please visit

RE: oh lordy
By bhall on 2/24/2006 7:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, what is hurts more is the MPAA position and DRM, and like the Sonly / RIAA DRM issue on CD-ROM's, this is another black-eye on the media producers. HDCP does not need to be enabled, there is no reason for it.

However, the MPAA starts with the premise that all consumers are criminals. They do everything in their power to restrict how and when we can watch something we have paid for. They pay off courts to create insane laws like DMCA. In doing so they say that we consumers no longer have fair copy rights to make backup copies.

Any other capitalistic market item, companies do the opposite. They market to their customers, where they live, when they want to do business. They try to be friendly and reasonable "the customer is always right". As long as you don't want to compete head-to-head, they let you have the recipe for black-eyed stew.

In other words, it's better to build a business relationship on trust and mutual needs, than on harsh layering and criminal threats. In the end, the criminals who want to mass-produce copies of the latest HD-DVD will do so, just as bank robbers still rob banks. But treating all your bank customers as robbers will do nothing but alienate consumers.

By deeznuts on 2/17/2006 3:30:20 PM , Rating: 2
Since this article did not provide a link to the product page at ATI where those cached pages were, I wandered to the ATI site to take a look. I notice at the bottom of the page there is an addendum, saying ATI added back in the language it took out.

This nVidia not being a cardmaker and ATI being one (well they outsource it but they do brand it, same thing) piqued my curiousity. If you go to the homepage for the X1900 series on the ATI site, here:, you will notice that there are two menu buttons on the left. One for X1900 technology, and one for ATI products. If you click on the one for X1900 technology, and go to specifications, you do see it saying that the X1900 chip is HDCP ready: If you go to their X1900 products page, where they talk about actual cards,, on none of their specifications do they list HDCP ready capabilities.

So their X1900 technology page, talking strictly about the GPU is analagous to nVidia claiming HDCP ready. When you go to their products page, they do not list HDCP ready or compliance. What their AIB partners did was on their own (just like nVidia). So unless someone has a cache of ATI's site with the PRODUCTS specifications claiming HDCP, I don't see what ATI did was different than nVidia, or therefore totally wrong. A little misleading maybe, but nothing egregious. What happened I bet was that ATI got scared, pulled the language, realized what they did wasn't legally wrong (after talking to lawyers), and put it back.

This took me 2 minutes to do btw, and several others quickly did too.

By Tuan Nguyen on 2/17/2006 3:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
The link to Google's cache is in the article. But here it is again:

Also, notice the update at the end. Since this morning, ATI has re-edited its spec pages to include the HDCP-ready bit once more. So now both the cache and the currently available spec page are the same. Prior to this morning, they were as they looked in the first screenshot.


By Tuan Nguyen on 2/17/2006 3:35:32 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, about NVIDIA, since it doesn't produce boards, it hasn't claimed anything. The chip containing the approved HDCP keys are done at the board manufacturing level. If NVIDIA board partners have claimed HDCP-compliance without keys, then they are in the same boat as ATI. This article mainly points out ATI because it produces its own boards as well as marketing.

By deeznuts on 2/17/2006 3:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, that link you provided to me shows they are claiming HDCP readiness at the GPU level, the X1900. It says at the top "Radeon® X1900 Graphics Technology - Specifications." Notice the Graphics Technology. As I said earlier, this is analogous to nVidia's site, since it is just talking about the GPU, not actual cards. If you go to ATI's product page, here:
and select any of their products, actual cards, and go to specifications, you notice that none of the specs list HDCP readiness.

So how is this wrong or different than nVidia?

By Tuan Nguyen on 2/17/2006 3:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
See here:

:) "HDCP ready"

NVIDIA doesn't claim HDCP readiness or compliancy, it leaves that up to its board makers. NVIDIA doesn't make boards, ATI does.

By deeznuts on 2/17/2006 3:58:20 PM , Rating: 3
Ummm, bro, did you read my posts? I've said it twice now, here is the third. Those are specs of the GPU. Not the card. Ok I'll break it down further, here are direct links to their "PRODUCT" specifications.
XT -
Crossfire -

No mention of HDCP.

On the page you linked
They also list Crossfire features a few lines below the HDCP language. Does this mean all X1900 cards have Crossfire features? No, this is a list of capabilities, not actual features found on all cards.

By Questar on 2/17/2006 4:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
Tuan, he's right.

What you have linked to is a technology page (it says so at the top), not a product page.

By deeznuts on 2/17/2006 3:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and I forgot to add. Don't you question why ATI would add back in this language? A huge company with a multibillion market cap, in-house legal team with probably several top notch law firms on tap, in my opinion would not haphazardly add back in language especially when it pulled it amid media furor.

I think they spoke with their counsel and came to the conclusion what they did was not wrong.

By BCanR2D2 on 2/17/2006 10:21:11 PM , Rating: 3
Just because their legal dept/counsel says that the wording is fine DOESN'T make it misleading the general public, as this discussion has shown.

Wouldn't it make more sense to at least state that with the appropriate hardware configuration, it can handle HDCP.

Clearing up muddied waters is what is required - leave the GPU specs to have HDCP, but at least let people know what boards that support it. At least let people know that without the appropriate hardware, included at manufacture that this feature will only work at that time.

Confusion like this means only one thing - money for lawyers.

Still doesn't mean ATI is in the clear, since they lead the companies they supply GPU's to believing they had hardware capable of producing HDCP content.

There's no such thing as HDCP compliant
By Questar on 2/17/06, Rating: 0
RE: There's no such thing as HDCP compliant
By Tuan Nguyen on 2/17/2006 10:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
The HDCP specification was completed more than a year ago and products have been shipping with full HDCP compliancy for a while now.

Take for example Pioneer's PDP-504CMX, it has HDCP support. TVs have been shipping with HDCP support since 2002.

The following is an official HDCP spec, which is dated 2003, and is in revision 1.1:

Here is version 1.1:
It is dated February 2000.

You may want to review <a href="">this document from Microsoft</a>.

Saying that the HDCP is not yet complete is 100% untrue. Please recheck your sources.


By Tuan Nguyen on 2/17/2006 10:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I meant to say "Here is version 1.0"

RE: There's no such thing as HDCP compliant
By Questar on 2/17/2006 11:03:32 AM , Rating: 1

HDCP requires AACS. The AACS specification has not been finalised. Therefore it is impossible to make a HDCP compliant device.

If a component of the specification is not complete, then the specification containing that component cannot not be considered complete.

RE: There's no such thing as HDCP compliant
By Tuan Nguyen on 2/17/2006 11:12:38 AM , Rating: 2
HDCP does not require AACS. HD-DVD and Blu-RAY require AACS. Sony has an HDCP compliant PC product at retail.

When AACS is complete, Microsoft will make sure that it's possible to handle the encrypted video data using the Protected Video Pathway


RE: There's no such thing as HDCP compliant
By Questar on 2/17/2006 11:34:17 AM , Rating: 2
The whole point of HDCP is the content is protected. Look at the title of the document you linked to - "High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection System". If the protection system is not complete (AACS), then you can't make a compliant product.

From John Swinimer, ATI PR Manager - "Retail cards will eventually be available once the technological specifications are finalized."

It is impossible at this time to make any HDCP product that will will play HD content.

RE: There's no such thing as HDCP compliant
By ViRGE on 2/17/2006 1:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
Questar, you still don't get it. You don't need AACS for HDCP, the former merely passes off data to the later. For example, Intervideo comes out with WinDVD+BluRay, it then tells Vista that it wants to send a hi-def video signal, Vista checked to make sure the path is secure, and then the signal is passed off to Vista and wrapped in HDCP, and finally sent off to the monitor. HDCP doesn't need AACS, anything can be HDCP secured if it asks for it.

Now the inverse relationship will be true for AACS; the only players that will be authorized will no doubt be those that support HDCP and will make sure a hi-def signal is never sent to a non-complaint monitor/TV.

RE: There's no such thing as HDCP compliant
By Questar on 2/17/2006 1:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
If that is the case what is the encryption algorythm used for HD content over HDCP?

By MrPeach on 2/17/2006 2:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
HDCP *IS* the encryption algorithm. Go read the spec. The transmission method is DVI or HDMI, both of which are basically identical transmission mediums with just a different plug (ignoring the fact that HDMI also allows other data like audio to be multiplexed onto the signal).

Basically there is a pseudo random number generator that runs on both sides of the transmission line that gets initialized by shared secrets at initial negotiation and refreshed the start of each encrypted frame. The output of this PRNG is xor'ed against the clear video at sending and at receiving. If all went well during the secrets negotiation phase the two generators are in sync and the output is properly decrypted.

There is more detail than this (available in the spec) but that is the jist of it.

By MrPeach on 2/17/2006 2:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
Just to clarify, in case you don't read my entire reply later in this thread, the missing element is the ability of the DVI/HDMI transmitter to accept internally encrypted incoming content (from memory), decrypt that (using the as yet established decryption method) then re-encrypt with HDCP.

That "as yet determined" decryption method is what isn't in place and couldn't have been because that specification hasn't been established yet. HDCP works just fine.

Blame Hollywood, not ATI or nVidia. If these people would just get off our backs and let us make great hardware without having to implement their stupid content restrictions everyone would be better off.

How do we KNOW it can't be added later?
By Alereon on 2/17/2006 10:59:39 AM , Rating: 2
It seems like it would be a pretty simple matter to have already included the hardware necessary to support HDCP and then, for example, flash the keys into the BIOS or other protected storage at a later date. nVidia says it requires additional hardware, but that may only apply to nVidia's implementation.

RE: How do we KNOW it can't be added later?
By Questar on 2/17/2006 11:04:36 AM , Rating: 4
AACS keys cannot be flashed. They must be included at the time of manufacture for any device.

By FoxFour on 2/17/2006 11:24:00 AM , Rating: 4
And none of that means beans, because the problem is NOT that the products can't be HDCP-ready.

The problem is that ATI CLAIMED THEY WERE knowing full well that they are not.

Arguing about the specification is a waste of time. Argue instead about how a company like ATI can get away with such blatant false advertising without consequences.

Has to be said
By wifuzzy on 2/17/2006 1:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
I just need to say the one thing that everone is not. Way to go ATI and Nvidia.It would be a real bitch for the MPAA if these two did not support it....poor MPAA.
Ya...I know...they will, but i can think about it and smile : )

RE: Has to be said
By Questar on 2/17/2006 1:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
It would not be a bitch for the MPAA at all.

It would be a bitch for all the consumers that can't play HD content without it.

RE: Has to be said
By tfranzese on 2/17/2006 2:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
Which would = a bitch for the MPAA.

If consumers can't play it (easily) they won't buy it. For a new standard like this to work they'll need all the adoption they can get to make it stick. So it would certainly help if media centers and desktops are ready for it.

RE: Has to be said
By Questar on 2/17/2006 3:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
And how many people out of the world populace are not going to buy HD content just because they can't play it on a particular pc?

First, what percentage of the world actually uses a pc to watch DVD's? Pick a number, but I can tell you that I know two people that have, and that's it.

Now multiply that number by the percentage of people that wouldn't buy anything because they can't play it on their pc. You result is going to be pretty darn close to zero.

RE: Has to be said
By Sunbird on 2/17/2006 2:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
If only the consumers didn't fold and buy it, it would be a stare down match, and the MPAA would eventually have to give in.

So what?
By Bull Dog on 2/17/2006 2:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I'm glad my X1900XT doesn't have HDCP support. I hate it, and will fight it tooth and nail.

RE: So what?
By melgross on 2/17/2006 2:44:14 PM , Rating: 2
Be realistic. You're not going to be fighting anything.

If you don't buy something, that's about all you will be able to do.

And, whether you, or anyone else, who isn't happy about HDCP says that they will fight to the last drop of blood, you will give in at the end and buy it anyway.

Either that, or you're a fanatic, who will just shut himself off from reality. Unless, of course, you plan on pirating the few things that you can get your hands on.

RE: So what?
By mindless1 on 2/17/2006 9:25:46 PM , Rating: 2
It would seem you have no morals, are just a weak willed person who takes the path of least resistance but is too short-sighted to see that the path of least resistance is exactly WHY we are in this mess to begin with. You are a perfect example and to blame for these problems with HDCP, because every time you accept erosion of your computing freedoms and are willing to foot the bill, you perpetuate and encourage industry to do this as a profitable venture.

Be realistic. Other people have morals and "fight" doesn't have to mean physical violence nor walking around with billboards picketing businesses.

If you don't buy something, that is exactly the thing that keeps products as usable as they are. Take literally "ANY" feature in any product- If customers aren't willing to buy it, no market, or features are added. In every possible product this is the case, it is marketed and designed to appeal and make a customer buy, necessarily and will have to be bought. Choose not to and they must redesign.

Overdramatization like "last drop of blood" is a clear indicator you have no valid argument. Since your moral fiber is weak you may buy it. Thinking you'll tell us we are weak and will do the same as you is just pure stupidity! Not true at all, there are millions of products out there and ways to be entertained. If you feel compelled to buy such things it's not our burden.

RE: So what?
By Reflex on 2/17/2006 10:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
No, he's a realist. The simple fact is that the world dosen't revolve around PC users and to the average consumer, this whole battle is completely irrelevant as the equipment they buy will include it and the media they purchase will play on it and esoteric arguments about how that is accomplished will be irrelevant.

I remember years ago people saying they would boycott DVD over CSS. Yeah, that worked out real well. More recently, people went on about how they'd never support DRM on music, yet here we are with iTunes selling millions of songs.

You can personally boycott all you wish. Heck, you can join like minded communities and do the same with them all. But even if every popular tech website managed to organize all of their users against it, and they all averaged all of their friends and families against it, it would not be even a barely noticable blip on the radar screens of the content companies. There simply are not enough of us, and no one is taking the steps necessary to educate the general public as to why this is a problem.

RE: So what?
By Scrogneugneu on 2/18/2006 12:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
You know, I don't think I,ll buy anything HD or that kind of stuff. Why?

Simply because I don't need it and because media to go with it is nowhere to be found. When every single monitor / TV / Video card out there will be compliant, then I'll have one (simply because I'll be upgrading by then). There's no need to get it, and there's absolutely no rush.

To provide us with HD content for movies, the industry needs HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. Those are far from here (you could guess that in a year or two we'll consider them fully operational with somewhat reasonable prices), and until they are, there's no reason to get those super HD tv.

Article Screenshots
By Primitivus on 2/17/2006 7:22:26 AM , Rating: 2
Not related to the topic but could someone tell me which is that Firefox theme Used in the screenshots? Cheers

RE: Article Screenshots
By Tuan Nguyen on 2/17/2006 9:32:34 AM , Rating: 2
I'm using a StyleXP theme called Milk. :)


RE: Article Screenshots
By NullSubroutine on 2/19/2006 7:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
actually there is a program that adds it without that gay ass style xp program


adds the mac osx look (even dock if you want) and its changeable just like blue/silver/green

RE: Article Screenshots
By inthell on 2/17/2006 2:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
looks like the default, pinball and phoenity are way better

This is bad alright
By Plasmoid on 2/17/2006 1:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
As bad as this is for Ati and all the other graphics board manufacturers i think this is just as bad for HDCP.

Surely its ludicrous to be rolling out this big massive be all end all protection system that to date, only a tiny fraction of a fraction of PC's worldwide can use. How did the people behind HDCP allow this to happen. Its going to be years before there is any significant market penetration for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players when you consider their cost, the lack of people with HD Tv's especially outside the US and the mediocre improvments.

Meanwhile, Pc's which are usually the first devices that get things like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD (at least thats how things happened with CD's and DVD's) are completly ignored by those behind HDCP. Considering HDCP is optonal for the content i wouldnt be suprised if we see a small ammount of content that would have been protected ship unprotected and underminning the whole HDDCP system.

I guess the board manufacturers that have tried to lie to and misleed their customers will get away with this one as usuall.... some kind of statement that these claims reffered to the GPU and reffered to the potential HDCP readyness of the GPU's with the right on board chips....

RE: This is bad alright
By melgross on 2/17/2006 2:40:07 PM , Rating: 2
Those of us with computers always seem to think that we are the center of the universe. But we're not.

The vast majority of people watching HD of any kind, will be doing so from cable, or satellite. Most of the rest will either be using their PS3 or stand alone player.

The industry won't be shell shocked by this board problem.

By the time they are really needed, they will work fine.

After all, how many large screen hi-res computer monitors right now can accept HDMI HDCP signals? One, two? Maybe?

Those monitors are going to cost a lot more than the boards themselves. In a year from now, when they are needed, most people will be either buying new computers, or boards anyway. They will also be needing new large hi-res monitors.

So, while this isn't proper right now, the problem really isn't such a big one.

RE: This is bad alright
By deeznuts on 2/17/2006 3:06:37 PM , Rating: 2
Meanwhile, Pc's which are usually the first devices that get things like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD (at least thats how things happened with CD's and DVD's) are completly ignored by those behind HDCP.

Umm, didn't CD's come out in the early 80's, I don't think CD-Roms existed then, I still remember using 5 1/4 "floppy" disks, and I think my dad's buddy installed 128K of ram or something like that. And I do remember several thousand dollar standalone dvd players before DVD-Roms for the computer, so I'm not sure what you are getting at here.

The target market will be an affluent but computer un-savvy consumers who will buy a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player which will play the disk they bought, the only requirement being their display being HDCP compliant.

RE: This is bad alright
By Plasmoid on 2/17/2006 7:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well in particular im taking about video Cd's when i say Cd's.

Basically when video cd's came out PC's with the right software could play them... but standalone vcd players never took of outside Asia. The available base of CD players in Europe at least meant VCD's got used.

Sure, standalone DVD players were about well before PC's had DVD drivers, but this was also well before DVD took off. The first players were around in 1996, but it wasent until 2000 around the time the PS2 came out that players became mainstream priced as opposed to a solely for the early adopters. At the same time PC's were shipping with dvd drives as standard, even on lowly Dell's in 1999. They came with free dvd playing software and for that brief 1 year period PC's were very viable options for DVD consdering the comparitive cost of a dvd drive vs a standalone player.

By oxid on 2/17/2006 8:22:47 AM , Rating: 2
you people forget none of nVidia cards support HDCP EXCEPT the ones that nVidia itself makes for sony.
so, the only video cards with HDCP are the ones in the sony pc's.

RE: eh...
By MrSmurf on 2/17/2006 9:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
No one is forgeting. Nvidia never claimed they did, obvioulsy ATI did thus the article.

RE: eh...
By Questar on 2/17/2006 10:23:07 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, they are not compliant either.

ARS Covered it three days ago...
By tfranzese on 2/17/2006 12:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
Quoted from IPFreely on Slashdot:

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

It's stories like this that put me off about Dailytech/Anandtech. It doesn't seem to be only ATi, but you know pointing the finger gets you hits.

Further, anyone who actually wants HDCP has a hole in their head.

By MrPeach on 2/17/2006 2:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
Amen brother!

By Questar on 2/17/2006 3:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, Ars does a much better job reporting than does Dailytech. But then I also beleive that Ars targets a different audience. The ars audience seems to be much less fanboy-ish and gives greater consideration. And - dare I say it - they at least appear to better educated than the readers here.

Nvidia does have HDCP support
By Unknown Soldier on 2/18/2006 2:11:07 PM , Rating: 2

ForceWare Release 75 Graphics Driver

In conjunction with the announcement of GeForce 7800 GTX, we have announced immediate availability of our new Windows Hardware Qualification Labs (WHQL)-certified NVIDIA ForceWare Release 75 graphics driver. The new driver supports more than seven different operating systems and more than 250 NVIDIA products. This new driver features:

* Support for OpenGL 2.0. The latest API and new extensions enable rich shader effects on NVIDIA GPUs.
* Improved SLI Performance and Features. Allows end users to achieve incredible performance for games and applications and enable SLI in any game for maximum flexibility; includes broader SLI validation and optimizations for the latest games.
* Improved Video Functionality. Includes support for inverse 2:2 pull-down detection and correction, high definition 1080i deinterlacing, [b]HDCP support[/b], and more.
* Support for Windows XP, Windows XP Profession x64, Windows NT4, Windows 9x/ME, Linux 32-bit, Linux 64-bit, FreeBSD, and Solaris.

RE: Nvidia does have HDCP support
By Lifted on 2/18/2006 5:28:38 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sorry, could you repeat that?

Some Things Never Change
By losmemeII on 2/17/2006 11:55:12 AM , Rating: 2
So, ATI is up to it's old tricks again, huh?

Same sort of thing I encountered with them a year ago and a Radeon 9200 PCI card that was advertised as being compatible with all Macintsoh G3's. Only, it obviously wasn't compatible with all G3s.

The time I spent just convincing ATI reps that a PCI version of the 9200 existed for the Mac platform was enough to keep me away from ATI products for life.

They are too concerned with pumping product out the door to fatten their own bottom lines. Whether the product actually works as advertised is secondary to these people. They already have your money, along with a return policy that will ensure you never see your money again, ever. With a corporate culture such as this, why waste time making a product that works??

ATI, never again!

RE: Some Things Never Change
By fools on 2/17/2006 12:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
What I'd like to know is if anyone who's boycotting ATI because of this marketting ploy has actually bought an ATI card because they were marked "HDCP-ready."

I know I couldn't care less about if it supported HDCP or not, except for catering to "the Man" when all my existing DVDs become obsolete. All in all, I'm pretty tired of being a consumer that's treated by the industry as a criminal. The industry has to add additional protection to complicate my purchasing decisions (do I buy now, or later!?!?!) that some piracy ring in Asia will circumvent anyways.

If you want to read a good article on HDCP to help clear your head, try visiting the following link:

HDCP will be irrelevant for PCs anyway
By PrinceGaz on 2/17/2006 7:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
HDCP has already been broken and by the time the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies are available, it's likely to be only a matter of months before an unofficial (read "illegal") player is available that can play them without having to verify keys. In fact, the master HDCP key may already have been posted anonymously somewhere which will render the whole system useless in terms of preventing copying, in the same way that CSS on standard DVDs was cracked, except in this case, it has been cracked before the discs even become available.

In my opinion it is a good thing if it is cracked and rendered useless as there will be no need for graphics-card manufacturers to waste money on stupid licenses and chips to verify hardware ID. I don't wan't my usage of discs I bought to be determined by someone else, I want to be able to transcode them freely for use on other devices I own as I wish.

The MPAA will doubtless say any breaking of HDCP will mean movie-companies lose vast amounts of money and are no longer able to spend as much as they do on new movies. Much like the RIAA claims that unauthorised distribution of music has all but killed the music industry -- a claim which runs totally contrary to all evidence which suggests that the free swapping of music is the main reason why music sales have increased. I've said it many times and I'll say it again -- "Try before you buy". Instead of trying to punish consumers, just let us have anything we want, and we'll decide what is worth buying.

By athens101 on 2/17/2006 8:48:26 PM , Rating: 2
since the nvidia cards dont have HDCP. can we send the card in to add it on?

Why does this article only mention ATI?
By Sharky974 on 2/18/06, Rating: 0
RE: Why does this article only mention ATI?
By Sharky974 on 2/18/06, Rating: 0
By Bremen7000 on 2/18/2006 1:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
From the end of the FiringSquad article:
"What about NVIDIA? Personally, I think they have the least blood on their hand for two reasons. One, they aren’t a board manufacturer. That excuse alone wouldn’t be good enough for me though.

What really gets them off the hook is that NVIDIA has been offering their board manufacturing partners designs with HDCP support since May 2005. Likewise, NVIDIA has actually shipped HDCP-enabled GeForce 6200 and 6600’s in Sony Media Center PCs. Those boards just aren’t manufactured at retail. In retrospect, they did their part. It was the board manufacturers who failed us. I don’t need to name names, because they ALL failed us."

So it appears nVidia is at least less deserving of blame than ATi this time.

By Knish on 2/18/2006 3:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like the whole article is wrong
By Nacho on 2/20/2006 5:48:56 PM , Rating: 2
The writer checked the X1900 GPU specs, not the BBA Card Specs.

The X1900 chip is HDCP ready, as stated in the GPU specs.
The BBA X1900 cards aren't HDCP ready, please show me where ATI said they were.

By deeznuts on 2/21/2006 12:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that's what my whole discussion with the author above was about. I was trying to point that out to him, yet he didn't see or want to see it.

The level of due diligence in this report is lacking ...

By misterv on 2/21/2006 5:25:58 AM , Rating: 2
This is why we should just watch movies on betamax.

RE: Eh...
By p00pa on 3/9/2006 9:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
secretly betamax was actually a lot better then vhs...

By tjr508 on 2/17/2006 7:39:00 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone getting refunds?

I agree ATI and NVIDIA both act like they have 3 year olds working PR for them. Expecially NVidia's preemptive strike on X-fire which at the time may have been had some basis but was far off the retail release. Also, I agree that these new specifications coming out one after another is terrible for the industry, but that is still no excuse to come out and lie about features.

Too bad the biggest liars of the computer world are the people that made the machine those screenshots are taken from.
Core Duo: Offering four times the performance of the g5 that offered twice the performance of the 3.8 prescott.

More Work for Lawyers
By TomZ on 2/17/2006 11:34:13 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like another opportunity for some lawyers to press a class-action lawsuit. How could ATI be so careless?

By segagenesis on 2/17/2006 1:14:52 PM , Rating: 2
... about them squabbling over AACS and HDCP and whatever else. If they didnt try this in the first place, this would not have been a problem.

I don't think I will go for high definition if it requires me to re-buy everything I have just to participate. And I just upgraded all my stuff in the past month. At least VCRs and DVD players didnt require me to buy a new TV.

By MrPeach on 2/17/2006 2:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
The purpose of HDCP is to create a secure communications channel between two consumer devices.

As someone who has participated in the implementation of HDCP support (and CGMS/A, Macrovision, and others) I believe I can speak more authoritatively than any of you folks on this matter. :p (note that I hate this part of my job - CP is just a waste of people's time and resources)

Keys have to be placed in the hardware when it's made (or placed there later by someone who remains in the "trust chain"). Keys cannot be in BIOS and having keys in external chips is just not right either. The idea here is that the key and the hardware are integral - you cannot replace the keys at some later point by swapping BIOS, key PROMs or reprogramming with software.

As far as Blu-ray and so forth, those are like CSS - content protection at the source.

The glue that makes this all come together is an environment where the content is never snoopable - the disc contents are read from the disk, decrypted then immediately re-encrypted with an internal cypher (3DES or the like). The data has to remain encrypted with this internal cyper anytime the contents are snoopable (memory or bus transactions) until it is handed off to the display chip which then de-cyphers it and applies HDCP. It is this last step that is lacking - the ability to decrypt from the internal cypher to clear within the DVI/HDMI transmitter that is missing.

By garywinn on 2/17/06, Rating: 0
RE: wow
By Scrogneugneu on 2/18/2006 12:20:13 AM , Rating: 2
That is not something you should have done.

Even if I liked your music, I wouldn't care anymore, because I now know you are the kind of people that advertise where they should not.

Learn to respect people, and people will learn to respect you.

Dial 911
By Griswold on 2/18/2006 11:14:40 AM , Rating: 2
Somebody call the whaaaaambulance!

By Unknown Soldier on 2/18/2006 2:11:05 PM , Rating: 2

ForceWare Release 75 Graphics Driver

In conjunction with the announcement of GeForce 7800 GTX, we have announced immediate availability of our new Windows Hardware Qualification Labs (WHQL)-certified NVIDIA ForceWare Release 75 graphics driver. The new driver supports more than seven different operating systems and more than 250 NVIDIA products. This new driver features:

* Support for OpenGL 2.0. The latest API and new extensions enable rich shader effects on NVIDIA GPUs.
* Improved SLI Performance and Features. Allows end users to achieve incredible performance for games and applications and enable SLI in any game for maximum flexibility; includes broader SLI validation and optimizations for the latest games.
* Improved Video Functionality. Includes support for inverse 2:2 pull-down detection and correction, high definition 1080i deinterlacing, [b]HDCP support[/b], and more.
* Support for Windows XP, Windows XP Profession x64, Windows NT4, Windows 9x/ME, Linux 32-bit, Linux 64-bit, FreeBSD, and Solaris.

By Unknown Soldier on 2/18/2006 2:11:06 PM , Rating: 2

ForceWare Release 75 Graphics Driver

In conjunction with the announcement of GeForce 7800 GTX, we have announced immediate availability of our new Windows Hardware Qualification Labs (WHQL)-certified NVIDIA ForceWare Release 75 graphics driver. The new driver supports more than seven different operating systems and more than 250 NVIDIA products. This new driver features:

* Support for OpenGL 2.0. The latest API and new extensions enable rich shader effects on NVIDIA GPUs.
* Improved SLI Performance and Features. Allows end users to achieve incredible performance for games and applications and enable SLI in any game for maximum flexibility; includes broader SLI validation and optimizations for the latest games.
* Improved Video Functionality. Includes support for inverse 2:2 pull-down detection and correction, high definition 1080i deinterlacing, [b]HDCP support[/b], and more.
* Support for Windows XP, Windows XP Profession x64, Windows NT4, Windows 9x/ME, Linux 32-bit, Linux 64-bit, FreeBSD, and Solaris.

adding hdcp through manufacturer
By athens101 on 2/18/2006 8:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
do you people think that, when vista comes out and hdcp, they will let users, with certain cards, to be able to send them in to the manufacturer to add the feature?

By raymondlangley on 2/21/2006 8:10:46 AM , Rating: 2
Once again if you want to meet a standard that means nothing you have to pay someone for it. All to put a logo on your hardware and then pass the cost on to the consumer

oh what the hell ..
By Kalidren on 2/22/2006 12:04:56 AM , Rating: 2
I am going to go on ATI's defense here. I won't bother to back it up.. it's a personal opinion after all.

I've found in the last 5-6 years ATI has been alot more upfront then Nvidia. They (for the most part) have not misled consumers with there products or tried to bully anyone. I believe they try to to appear a trustworthy company.. and probably don't like this adverse publicity since naturally it tarnishes that image.

This whole problem with false advertising I am wondering.. what the real deal is behind it. Did they willfully try to mislead us? Or, did they believe there would be some workaround solution to back up their claims to compliance?

Ho hum
By Sharky974 on 2/17/06, Rating: -1
RE: Ho hum
By Spoonbender on 2/17/2006 6:44:34 AM , Rating: 2
You refuse to believe it until NVidia gets caught at the same thing?

Riiiiiight... by that logic, Bush cannot be blamed for anything unless it is proven that Clinton did the same?

That's ridiculous. The evidence is there to see. They tell you exactly how to check it. They give you a link to ATI's current specs, and tell you to check Google's cache. Is it a conspiracy to make ATI sound bad? If so, Google is obviously in on it.

That's the dumbest thing I've heard all day. "I don't want to believe that the object of my fanboyism can be caught doing something wrong. Hence it must be untrue, *despite* the evidence being publicly available".

Good morning, wake up. This is the real world calling.

As for the "Why don't people criticize Nvidia" whining, again, wakey wakey! They do.
Several sites have criticised the 7800 512 availability (Although it wasn't as bad as the R520. The 7800 was available at launch, it just got sold out very quickly, and they couldn't keep up for a while. That's not comparable to the absolute lack of anything R520. But NVidia did take a lot of flak for it. And just a week or two ago, NVidia was attacked for posting positive posts about them on forums or something. And for posting slides about how evil ATI were.)

If we can get over the whining and bitching and "I refuse to believe that my company can screw up" stupidity, *both* companies have always acted like 3-year olds. When they're not engaged in mudflinging against each others, they're always promising more than they can deliver, and claiming support for things they can't do.

So stop the ATI whining.

RE: Ho hum
By z3R0C00L on 2/17/2006 10:15:21 AM , Rating: 3
nVidia WAS CAUGHT with the same thing.. remember Purevideo on NV40 hardware (6800GT and 6800 Ultra). To this day those cards to no support Hardware Purevideo. In fact they don't even support WMV HDTV acceleration like they claimed.

What do you have to say about that?

RE: Ho hum
By RobFDB on 2/17/2006 7:22:30 AM , Rating: 3
Are you completely brain dead? Seriously just look at the pictures. The article isn't some kind of flame designed to damage ATI, it's designed to show that ATI have mislead consumers about the specifications of their graphics cards.

Closing your eyes, putting your hands over your ears and shouting "LA LA LA LA I CANT HEAR YOU." doesn't change the fact ATI said some of their cards are HDCP ready and they clearly aren't. The evidence is there.

Dailytech aren't some trashy tabloid news service. And why are you so keen on stopping people commenting on this article? Blind fanboyism really winds me up.. And before you take a shot at me, I have 2 systems, one has a 9800 Pro in it, and the other a x850 XT PE.

RE: Ho hum
By smitty3268 on 2/17/2006 7:43:27 AM , Rating: 3
Just like every site trashed ATI for short R520 supply, and exactly zero have trashed Nvidia for FAR FAR worse 7800 512 supply.

Anandtech, a related site, has trashed Nvidia for poor supply of the 7800GTX 512s. As much as they did about poor R520 supply anyway.

I will give these stories as soon as I see some about Nvidia lying.

Umm, don't you remember that big story a while back about how Nvidia was cheating in its drivers and artificially boosting benchmark scores by lowering quality? Or does that not count as cheating?

RE: Ho hum
By smitty3268 on 2/17/2006 7:47:36 AM , Rating: 2
*******! I meant to say "lying", not "cheating" at the end of my previous post.

And I'm actually an ATI fan, here, with both of my systems currently running Radeon cards. But the kind of blind fanboyism you're showing really irritates me.

RE: Ho hum
By DigitalFreak on 2/17/06, Rating: 0
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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