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What Longhorn will mean for HTPCs

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by KraGorn, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Several times I have commented here about the future of HTPCs in the light of developments M$ are doing in addressing Hollywood's demands for DRM on HD material .. I often feel compelled to comment when someone remarks that they expect to see HD DVDs being ripped just like DVDs are now because some l33t haxzorz will crack the protection.

    To those thinking that an HTPC in the future will be able to rip, burn and play HD DVDs (or BD come to that) with an HD equivalent of the now defunct DVD Decrpyter or something like AnyDVD I sugest you read this CNet article which describes the landscape that Longhorn will provide and summarises the reasons just why there'll be on 'DVD Jon'.

    Note that the system includes a 'revocation' capability that can lockout software components if they're compromised .. eg, the recent Winamp hack that allowed protected WMAs to be 'ripped' .. and it's quite probable that a protected internet connection will be needed at some not too distant time given the increasing ubiquity of broadband connections.

    This of course is what Palladium was all about until its' name changed to something less emotive .. Windows Next Generation Base Sevices (or something like) .. which in turn disappeared and simply became part of the DRM features implemented in Longhorn with little public awarenesss. SVA and SVP protec t the audio and video streams while TCPA technology is what provides the 'sandbox' mentioned in the article .. and not even logic analysers on the bus will be able to get the unprotected data.
     
  2. owain_thomas

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    I do hope this turns out to be wrong. unfortunately I fear it won't :(

    It seems odd though, since having all my music and DVDs ripped to hard drive and accessible off the network I can't think about going back to a cd/dvd based system - it just seems really, I don't know, old fashioned...

    I would sincerely hope that there is a way that will allow legitimate software owners to store their purchases in one convenient place for access around the whole house/network.

    would seem odd for MS to start dipping their toes into this market with MCE, then work as hard as they can to destroy it for next gen software formats... but, hey, when did anyone say that MS's decisions had to make sense?
     
  3. JackOTrades

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    Well there is always Linux. A product is only as good as the market it has. And if Longhorn ends up killing the htpc market for microsoft it doesn't necessarily mean that htpc is dead. It may create the needed opportunity for a new star to rise (be it linux based, mac os based or something else altogether). If the demand is there, it will happen.

    Still, I don't necessarily think DRM is a bad thing to uphold. It shouldn't however be done at the expense of ease of use for those of us that are willing to do things legally.

    My two pence.
    Jack
     
  4. The Dude

    The Dude
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    I know what you mean... Longhorn will be the new OS2 if they go ahead with this, surely?

    I'm hanging onto my Win98 CD still, just in case they get jiggy with the security stuff on XP!! :D

    If playing a Rip of a DVD that I legally own messed with my PC in any way,shape, or form, I'd be bunging all my MS disks straight in the bin and installing Linux...., and starting a 'new' career..! :rolleyes:

    I can see them getting tough on PC software, and rightly so as it's their business, but if they get their fingers too far into the Hollywood pie they'll be shooting themselves in the foot...?

    FWIW, I think everything will be downloaded to HD eventually, and soon. I think transferable, removeable media is the root cause of problem, not the solution...
     
  5. owain_thomas

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    thats quite an interesting point, if they came up with a quick reliable way of getting media to our hard drives securely then I doubt there'd be this many problems. Look at sky digital they don't really struggle with this concept do they. I suppose the problem is using a PC instead of proprietary architecture means an easier way in for hackers...

    Still with 8meg connections becoming pretty commonplace downloading a dvd can take less than the film takes to run, why bother with silver disks?
     
  6. Xelon

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    Surely if the Software/Media companies join forces, then subscription based services via broadband will be the ultimate goal, ala: Napster. I'm sure they would prefer to store the actual Media libararies on there own Storage Servers, only streaming DRM/HDCP content to our boxes.

    Maybe if we go with Longhorn we may have to run XP as a virtual machine in order to freely play/view our current media residing on HDD's, that could get awfully messy, guess I'll stick with XP/MCE for the next few years.
     
  7. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    What people who say "there's Linux" are missing is that the codecs for this media won't be in software, they're be in hardware with drivers that will only run in a TCPA-enclosed environment .. clearly there'll be no open source drivers for such hardware. Same things goes for "I'll stick to 98/ME/2K/XP", without drivers that'll work in such enviroments no go.

    It's like DVD-Audio, there is only one possible to play this format on a PC and that's with a Creative audio card. Why? Because the codec isn't licensed for software implementation and only Creative produce a hardware one. Of course, this doesn't make it 100% impossible to subvert, and indeed recently that was done, however it wasn't cracked in the sense the DRM was removed the DRM was simply bypasssed.

    In a TCPA-compliant system the software 'playing' the media is simply passing commands to the codec, at no time is the un-encrpyted data available to be bypassed.

    As for staying with current systems, eg. Linux etc., the point here is with the codecs in hardware that can only be usefully accessed from 'authorised' software which in turn will only run in a 'sandbox' then you simply won't have any way to play this media .. be it HD DVD, BluRay, paid-for downloads etc.


    As for the comments in another current thread reporting the 'cracking' of the WMA DRM on Terminator Extreme .. the techniques used won't work in future since the data needed won't be available in the form necesary to remove the DRM, and even if it were the codec to play the material won't be.
     
  8. tim k

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    does anyone else feel like this is an ID Card style debate.

    I am extremely anti. I respect my privacy in my own house, and i dont think anyone should govern it, even if they are the developer. we should be free to use our pc's how we want. with no military style surveillance.

    i really dont think video piracy is going to be combatted by restricting a hd-dvd dump to the hard drive. and do you really think its going to effect the industry. as stated above there will always be another option, maybe a new o/S or a hacked ver.

    I just hope that by the time hd-dvds are in real circulation sky has got its act together and got a range or movie channels showing high def movies every night, and then with the sky plus features which ive become to know and love there really wont be that much need for a htpc. thats what i hope if microsoft carry on in their american vein
     
  9. meansizzler

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    Loghorn will ship with the Media Center application preinstalled on all versions so no need to worry...
     
  10. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Isn't there some interesting stat somethere that says one of the the prime sources of pirated materialis from within the film industry itself....
     
  11. The Dude

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    and just how are all the windows security flaws so quickly uncovered.....;)
     
  12. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    M$ isn't interested in using TCPA to make its' products less vulnerable, its' main aim is please Hollywood, the MPAA is still very wary of getting into bed with M$ but are slowly being won round largely due to this kind of development.

    In any case a TCPA environment only runs authorised software, debuggers used to reverse engineer and scan for exploits won't be able to see vulnerable code so much current cracking activity will be curtailed.
     
  13. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Hmmm

    The problem I feel M$ will discover in the longer term, is that for video playback, this will remove one of the main reasons for having a HTPC in the first place, over and above a decent standalone (H)DVD player.

    Essentially, this means that much of the actual heavy lifting of decoding, unlocking and playing the audio (I presume this means video too) will happen in what some engineers refer to as a separate "sandbox." Media player applications will send remote control commands such as play, fast-forward or stop into this protected space, without directly handling the data as they do today

    This PVP and "sandbox" approach may well tie people into using the built in OS features and preclude (or make pointless) the use of other "third party" players - this sounds awfully familiar already.........
    It may, if I understand this correctly, reduce the role of a third party HD media player/decoder, say a HD version of Theatertek, to nothing more than a skin.
    I really can't see how this "sandbox" could be made open to third party developers, whilst still remaining secure.

    And hence M$ will have monopolised another area of computer usage - if you want a HD-HTPC, it's M$ or nothing......OH deep joy!!!! :) :)
     
  14. The Dude

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    I still think the much vaunted sandbox technology will quickly leak into the developer community.

    As mentioned, this is heading for a total MS monopoly otherwise, the stakes are too high for too many software companies. MS may monopolise the HTPC software market as far as the MS OS is concerned, but I think the net result will actually be a fair reduction in their share of the OS market.
     
  15. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    This is not about (consumer) piracy.
    This is all about controlling the entire vertical market (and thus making money at every stage), consumer control (thus maximising profits) and pay per view (which has been tried before and no doubt they will try again once the opportunity arises),
    Not to mention M$' desire to have an M$ TV tax.
    This is to shore up lost profits which are eroded by the real pirates. DVD sales/profits outstrip box office takings now - just check the box office for 'National Treasure' versus the DVD sales in the US on (just) the first day of release of the DVD.

    I don't think that China will care....but we should, very much.
     
  16. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    It won't, it's embedded in silicon and can't be probed .. however, only time will show this. :)

    Be aware this is also being deployed in CE equipment like the standalone players, the same chips from intel appear in those as well on moderin PC mobos, it's there primarily to protect the revocation system and also to stop things like region-free firmware hacks because the firmware will have to be digitally signed and that won't be possible. Other mods such as SDI-mods won't be possible because the unencrypted data streams won't be available on a bus to tap.

    Believe me, the freedom we have with how we play DVDs will not be available in the HD world.
     
  17. The Dude

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    I was thinking more along the lines of good old fashioned Industrial espionage rather than outsider probing..? If the technology has been produced, somebody somewhere has access to all the designs/specs...
     

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