Is there a legal way of downloading (say 720p) movies for a HTPC (maybe a subscription website)?
I dont see what diffrence a card swap would make. Only the person ripping the hdtv content will need to subscribe then its business as usualbeeblebrox12 said:If Microsoft's DRM copy protection proves to be tough enough against hacking and pirating over P2P networks (for now it is), then studios may be willing to experiment with HDTV over Internet sooner than most people think.
The fact that you can download an illegal HDTV copy of LOTR now is the biggest problem for legal distribution of HDTV content online. But these two issues are not directly related. Unlike music, piracy of HDTV content can held in check or even completely eliminated if all HDTV sources are secured. All premium pirated HDTV material that is on Internet now has been recorded from hacked satellite services, in fact only 2 of them - DishNetwork in USA and ExpressVu in Canada. I doubt that anyone has managed to do that from cable, it is usually secure. When these 2 services complete their card swap, HDTV material will be simply impossible to distribute. Until satellite pirates are able to compromise the new access cards (if ever).
Movies broadcats over free OTA networks - ABC, NBC and so on - are not scrambled and can be easliy recorded and distributed, but they are usually severely crippled versions, because of the commercials. Last Saturday the showing of Harry Potter 1 took 4 hours broadcast time. Same was with Gladiator a few months ago. Studios are not so afraid from these being pirated.
WM9 DRM has not been compromised so far so there is hope. Unlike DVD, which once hacked is hacked forever, even when hackers finally manage to break DRM on one movie or all movies so far, protection and the required player can be easily changed from that moment on, since they are both software.