Storage players pitch DRM tech for downloads
If World+Dog streams HD, who'll buy our hard drives then?
Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox have said they are working on yet another DRM technology for HD video, this time with the support of storage companies WD and SanDisk.
The endeavour is codenamed 'Project Phenix' [sic] and if it won't do much for consumers' ability to spell, it will, the principals promised, give them "an easier and faster way to organise, store and move their HD digital movies and TV shows across multiple devices".
Since we're talking about DRM, we'll take that claim with a pinch of salt: it's one more label you have to look for on the box of the kit you're about to buy to check whether its compatible with the content you already own.
The presence of WD and SanDisk is key: Phoenix is all about protecting downloaded content. The initiative will work with the cloud-based, streaming-centric Ultraviolet, but it's predicated on the idea that some folk will prefer to download files because these files will - notionally - contain content encoded at a higher bitrate - higher quality, in other words - than streaming allows.
Streaming is not in the interests of the likes of WD, SanDisk and other storage companies, almost all of who rely on consumers hoarding digital content rather than simply viewing it online to keep selling ever higher-capacity hard drives to keep it all on.
Phoenix will work with online library services like UV because it's often necessary to re-download a movie you've purchased to get it onto another device - your tablet while you're away on holiday, for instance.
Of course, UV, for one - and the compatible-with-no-one-else iTunes, for another - already enable downloading, so you have to ask, is Phoenix really necessary?
Phoenix will only be a success if other storage and player makers - WD does both, for example - license the technology and build it into their kit. The Phoenix partners have formed a company, the Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA), to make the technology available to others. The SCSA will do so later this year, it said. ®
What is so special about HD content that it needs protecting? It's just a way to put a false value on something so the public buy into it. Why not protect colour or stereo sound? On that's right the boat has sailed.
And yet even more bollocks
There seems to be absolutely nothing in this for the consumer, and it is just more trouble. Why don't they realise that DRM only inconveniences the paying punter, while making the pirate's experience better by comparison.
In this particular case I wonder how one goes about backing up that ever-so-precious content to a NAS or new HDD, and how one recovers the data in the event of the HDD (and thus one presumes the encryption key) failing?
Or is that the scam, get punters on to an HDD-based key that fails at 1-3% per annum, and the roger the unfortunate ones that have it fail in the time scale where they wanted to 'own' the media?
And to answer the question about HD being precious - it isn't - it is just a new set of media & standards that the content industry believes it can DRM-encumber in ways that have failed for the original 'SD' of free-to-air TV and the weak CSS of DVDs.
"an easier and faster way to organise, store and move their HD digital movies and TV shows across multiple devices"
What...Easier copying than drag/drop
Faster copying than FTP/Samba/USB3/SATAxxx
Easier organisation than XBMC library
What they really mean is "way to copy files between (some supported) systems using a (proprietary) tool/technology that checks (slowly) for licence existence (and needs an internet connection) and then organises (completely messes up, a la iTunes) your media library".
Lets face it, even iTunes is pretty rubbish at all 3, and that doesn't even have DRM to worry about.
Remind me why we need this again...oh yeah. that s***ty DRM thing. Sorry I don't do DRM.
Death to DRM
1) New DRM scheme hits the market.
2) Within a month or two, new DRM scheme is cracked and no longer poses a problem to copyright infringers.
3) Paying customers continue to have headaches caused by the DRM for years. Their new videos won't play on their old devices, they risk loosing their video collection because the DRM prevents them from making easy backups, and thousands, if not milliions, will buy a new device only to get it home and find out it doesn't support the DRM in thier videos.
4) New DRM scheme hits the market because someone finally realized that the last one they reseased was cracked years ago.
5) Lather, rinse, repeat. Paying customers have to pay more to cover the cost of the DRM, those copying media before continue to do so with no problems, and companies waste time fighting a war they can never win.
Conclusion: DRM is a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
More companies to ignore whenever possible
Apple - iStore greed, patent nastiness.
Sony - George Hotz, !Linux on PS3 (didn't upgrade, still on mine)
Sandisk, WD - DRM suckup.
When I purchase equipment and entertainment media, I expect to own it.