DRM Drains Your Battery

Discussion in 'News' started by Wayde, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. Wayde

    Wayde
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    In recent MP3 player testing Cnet demonstrated an alarming correlation between DRM (Digital Rights Management) and shortened battery life. It seems the extra processing power required to decode DRM can shorten a battery's charge up to 25%.

    &#8226; Rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 12 hours of playback

    Typically the battery life specification is rated in the number of hours you can expect a single charge to last. According Cnet's study most manufacturers meet or exceed their own rating but only under optimal conditions. These conditions include playing 128 kbps MP3s using the included ear-buds but only at a 50% - 75% volume. You should only playback in one or two sessions, don't use any EQ, DSP other even select other menu options as they all cost more of your batteries charge. Few people would ever meet these requirements for optimal battery performance, using bigger headphones for instance is a serious battery killer as is consistent use of the backlight.

    Consider that your rechargeable battery only has a finite number of charges. Many popular MP3 players like the iPod don't have user replaceable batteries and require that you send the MP3 player to a repair facility for battery replacement. Getting the most of out of your battery is suddenly very important.

    Cnet found that playing back copy protected MP3s also helps suck the life out of your battery. The worst offenders are the subscriber digital music services online, like Napster and Yahoo Music. With these services, as long as you're subscribed you have unlimited access to its library of songs you can download and playback in any DRM 10 compatible device. They're encoded with Microsoft's DRM 10 PlaysForSure.

    Creative Zen Vision: M was tested to exceed the manufacturer's rating of 14 hours when it ran for 16 in testing. But playing back WMA files encoded with Microsoft's DRM 10 the charge was reduced to only 12 hours. All that extra power goes into processing the DRM which includes checking the song isn't expired, checking that it's playing back on a compatible PlaysForSure device.

    Similar results are found on any popular MP3 player, DRM costs power that you pay for in your batteries life. FairPlay is the name of Apple's own DRM used on iTunes downloads and it's no exception to this general rule. When the iPod uses FairPlay batty life will decline by about 8%. That's not quite as bad as PlaysForSure but an annoyance if you use iTunes and strive to get as many cycles as possible out of your iPod. Apple says the iPod should be good for around 500 charges before it needs to have the battery replaced.

    Wayde Robson

    www.hometheaterfocus.com
    www.gizmocafe.com
     

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