Daily Archives: January 29, 2007

Windows Vista DRM causing concern

A lot of the hoopla surrounding the new Windows Vista operating system (os) is based on it’s new multimedia capabilities. However, people purchasing it to use these enhanced multimedia capabilities to watch high definition or blu-ray dvds or to listen to some audio cds may be in for a very upsetting surprise.

In a disturbing albeit eye-opening white paper detailing a cost analysis of Windows Vista Contect Protection, Peter Gutmann (a Department of Computer Science security engineering researcher at the University of Auckland, New Zealand) details the consequences of Microsoft’s new Digital Rights Management (DRM) cost in terms of system performance, system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software costs and their affect on Windows Vista users and the computer industry.

Basically the paper explains how a new kind of technology is built into Windows Vista that will take high-definition or blu-ray dvds you purchase as well as audio discs and degrade the play back quality drastically because of the content protection mechanism built in and the Microsoft requirements for drivers. At one point he refers to the new content protection scheme as suicidal.

Per the white paper the new operating system will limit the functionality of certain pieces of hardware such as video cards and monitors from viewing High Definition (HD) content, requires customized device drivers and it requires that vendors of the hardware get the ok from major movie studios such as MGM, 20th Century Fox and Disney.

On top of that, more additional costs will be incurred by vendors of the above mentioned devices because Microsoft disallows a one-size-fits-all design for devices in the new system and it bans the use of add-ons such as TV-out encoders, DVI circuitry and other add-ons since the new system disallows the feeding of unprotected video and audio to external components.

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