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Monday, January 29, 2007

The truth about Vista DRM

A few months ago a "paper, "A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection", written by Pat Gutmann in New Zealand, began circulating on the internet. It made all sorts of claims about the DRM system used by Microsoft Vista, such as that playing protected content would then degrade all content displayed on the computer, even things like images, even images (for example) from medical scanners.

This seemed to be very well referenced, but heavily spun against Microsoft, and borderline FUD. I couldn't believe it to be true - it were, it was commercial suicide for Microsoft, and they don't do things like that.

I was waiting for a rebuttal from Microsoft and now here it is. Yes, it is true that unless you use a video card and monitor that both support HDCP, you will not get full HD quality playback for HD video. But why would someone want to use their computer to watch HD material? Are people really going to begin plugging their PCs into their large screen HDTVs? No, no more than people already do the same to watch DVDs - they buy cheap stand-alone players. If you do want to watch HD content on your PC, then you know what to do - use HDCP compliant equipment.

Other than that Gutmann's article is plain wrong - read the Vista blog post to see why.

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