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Microsoft Encryption Media Security Television Your Rights Online

Windows Media Center Restricts Cable TV 448

Posted by kdawson
from the no-HBO-for-you dept.
PrescriptionWarning writes "With the latest Media Center Edition update from Microsoft, I and many others are finding that content available on television is now completely unwatchable from Media Center. The message states: 'Restricted Content: Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator of the content prohibit playback of the program on this computer.' A simple search on the subject reveals that HBO programming and, in my case, Braveheart on AMC are among the many selections now restricted for playback or recording by Windows Media Center Edition. What's next, restricting every piece of programming on television?"
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Windows Media Center Restricts Cable TV

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  • Try myself (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheSciBoy (1050166) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:41AM (#19206317)
    Does this only apply to Media Center? Maybe I'm wierd, but this actually makes me more interested in buying a cable-digital card for my computer and running MythTV or something. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TheSciBoy (1050166)

      I was unclear in my post. What I was asking was if the problem is unique to just Media Center? If this is some kind of industry standard blocking ability, then it should be present in more systems, no?

      Also, whatever the reason for the block, what I meant about the other part was that I've been looking into buying a digital decoder for cable for my computer (quite expensive today, terrestrial decoders are half the price, I guess the card reader is a part of the problem). And that I found it strange that rep

      • Re:Try myself (Score:5, Interesting)

        by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1&hotmail,com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:43AM (#19206941) Homepage Journal
        I am not 100% certain, but I think the problem is directly related to the DRM subsystem that is installed with Windows Media player 11.

        • Re:Try myself (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dishevel (1105119) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:52AM (#19208685)
          Nope. It is working as intended. Not a problem.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheNetAvenger (624455)
          am not 100% certain, but I think the problem is directly related to the DRM subsystem that is installed with Windows Media player 11.


          Well, you might be 100% certain, but you happen to be wrong. WMP11 has nothing to do with this issue.

          The Content blockage is NOT specifically by design and happens more often than not because of bad signals from some cable companies marking content as locked, especially via composite output via their digital cable boxes (strangely, especially companies like Charter that use a
      • Re:Try myself (Score:5, Informative)

        by RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:01AM (#19207471) Homepage Journal
        This is due to Windows Media Center being about the only PVR software to obey CGMS-A signals, which come through your cable box via the analog S-Video output.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CGMS-A [wikipedia.org]

        Best ways I've found to avoid these problems:
        1) Turn OFF Windows Update, and/or use a disk imaging system to make sure you can roll back any unwelcome changes like this;
        2) Use different software for recording cable content (MediaPortal, or the scheduling app that comes with most tuner cards, etc.)
        3) Don't pay for HBO; get those shows through alternative providers that have higher-quality, DRM-free, digital copies
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DJCacophony (832334)
        I've been looking into buying a digital decoder for cable for my computer

        Where have you been for the past year? You can't buy a digital cable decoder for your computer. They are only being sold to OEMs that provide "certified" computers to make sure that nobody can hack up the hardware. Even if you did manage to get your hands on one, it wouldn't work on your PC, only a certified one.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Andy Dodd (701)
          Not quite true. You can easily buy tuners for unencrypted digital cable.

          But that's for channels that wouldn't have been affected by this change anyway. A CableCARD-capable tuner (which can tune encrypted channels) is a whole different story. As you have said, you can't buy those except with a CableLabs-certified PC.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cloudkiller (877302)
      I'm running a Win XP PC at home with a hauppage PVR150 in it but instead of running the windows crap for watching TV, I just use gbpvr [gbpvr.com] and I have not had a problem with DRM yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:43AM (#19206331)
    ...it's the user.

    Why invite Microsoft into your living room when you can set up MythTV? DRM opponents have been telling you all for how long... and you people still buy Microsoft products and then complain when they behave as expected?

    Pfft!
    • by laejoh (648921) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:14AM (#19206487)

      and you people still buy Microsoft products and then complain when they behave as expected?

      That's the thing, exactly! Who'd think things coming from Microsoft would behave as expected!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jeroen94704 (542819)
      For the longest time, I absolutely refused to install Windows MCE on my media PC for exactly that reason. However, after finally giving it a test-drive (just to confirm my prejudice, you know), the surprising conclusion was obvious: I've tried pretty much all mediacenter packages out there, and NONE (even the commercial alternatives) are even within shouting distance of MCE when it comes to ease of installation, stability and user friendliness. I can get a clean machine up and running in an hour with MCE.
      • by paganizer (566360)
        As a user of windows since v2.0, a Systems & computer pro since before that, a MCSE, and (insert all sorts of other essentially meaningless crap here), I've come to an amazing conclusion: While they on occasion accidentally do something right, Microsoft Sucks. I bought a HP DV8230US desktop replacement laptop last year with Win MCE on it; I thought the Tivo-ish feature might come in handy when I was travelling. And, it does in fact rock. and rock hard. I've been doing digital recording for a lot of year
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:38AM (#19206907) Homepage
      Why invite Microsoft into your living room when you can set up MythTV?

      Please tell me where I can buy cablecard ready tuner cards for MythTV. Comcast here has new boxes that DELETE the firewire port, it's not even an option. Therefore recording is limited to Standard Def only.

      Until someone hacks and then cracks cablecard, or get's off their butts and get s the hdmi or dvi capture cards working MythTV is not an option for recording CableTV HDTV.

      if you want to record from Cable and get any of the channels to record that are not encrypted, you have to have microsoft.
      • I could be wrong but having that firewire port available may be an FCC requirement - if they aren't living up to it you may be able to force them to provide this functionality. Hopefully others who know the rules on this can better speak to this.

        As for CableCard - good luck. This little device was supposed to help us to get away from STBs. Unfortunatly you cannot just buy one and plug it in. Oh no, it must be plugged in and "activated" by the head end using a crypto handshake after the installer ensures that the box it's plugged into is "certified". So first you must figure out how to get your paws on one and then you must figure out a way to activate it. This isn't so unlike the old cards for activating SAT service I'd imagine except that it's possible these guys have learned from that experience - they appear to be using a 2-way handshake at the very least. Done right you might never see a working hacked cablecard under Myth. Nice huh?

        Personally I see two HUGE problems with MythTV. The biggest is of course cablecard, eventually STBs will go away and we'll be left with these or some other nasty competitor (supposedly one exists, I've heard little about it however). You can bet that no one will ever "bless" Myth working with cablecard unless maybe they provide a closed source binary blob driver that no one finds pallatable and violates who knows what licenses. The second issue I see with Myth is the PITA factor. Myth tries to support so many damned pieces of weirdo' hardware that it's a hassle to setup and strango' things just happen. There have been some "standard" platform suggestions made in the past for Myth but no one seems to really follow them and support remains splintered. It would be nice if someone could take a page out of the TIVO, Apple, and XBMC playbook and choose a seriously solid set of hardware and then refine the hell out of the support. The aTV box could be such a thing maybe although 720P max rez would turn people off and everyone seems to be working on making the Apple software better - the platform is cheap at least. If this were to happen you'd end up with something that "just works" like XBMC only far more powerful - more like TIVO. Good luck with that, even Knoppmyth is a hassle but it was the closest thing to an Easy button I've tried for Myth yet. LinuxMCE sounds like a good idea but it's early yet and again not built for a standard platform.

        I still use a hacked DTIVO despite it's not being HD and XBMC on an old XBOX because nothing I've tried has been so good I had to have it - including MCE. Too bad the S3 TIVO cannot do extraction or I'd have one and bite the bullet on cablecard. The 360 is going to be getting the ability to record and playback IPTV streams it looks like, when that happens I'm sure it will be DRM hell but maybe it will "just work". MythTV sure didn't seem to :-(
      • by samkass (174571) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:28AM (#19207209) Homepage Journal
        Comcast here has new boxes that DELETE the firewire port, it's not even an option.

        FCC mandate Title 47, Chapter 1, Subchapter C, Part 76, Subpart K requires that all cable operators that have not received an explicit exemption from the FCC offer any customer who requests it a high-definition cable box with an operational firewire port.

        It's actually the law that there has to be an HD box option that includes Firewire.
    • by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:03AM (#19207027) Journal
      Remember, it's digital content enablement.

      Don't you feel enabled?
  • Evil bit! (Score:2, Funny)

    by DrDribble (859883)
    Ah, now I get it - that's where the Evil bit went! They can pry my MythTV boxes from my dead, cold fingers. Dr
  • by Perseid (660451) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:45AM (#19206359)
    ...they WANT us to download things off of P2P.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nikostheater (956769)
      Isn't it stupid for a company to sell MCE and then to resctrict what a person can and cannot watch? What's the point to bother marketing such a product? And then they wonder why customers hate DRM and their stupid "IP rights"..
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:05AM (#19206739) Journal
        In the article about renaming DRM, I asked the question of what the HBO guy thought user could do with DRM'd content that they couldn't do with the same content if it were not DRM'd. Now I know the answer; they can go outside and get some fresh air without the TV. Obviously, HBO are just thinking of everyone's health this summer.
      • The problem is not really from Microsoft, but the MAFIAA. If they had their way we wouldn't even had VCRs. With technology today we can record the movies off of HBO, trim the video and redistribute it and/or save it. Their solution to that? Attempt people from copying it to begin with. That is why WMC is restricting it, not because they want to but because they have to. Otherwise the MAFIAA would collectively sue the pants off of Microsoft and go all the way to win big.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:02AM (#19206423)
      Actually, it's almost like they don't want us to watch it.

      Fine with me.
    • by knewter (62953) <<josh.rubyist> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:26AM (#19207185) Homepage
      They determined that one for me quite a bit ago. I subscribe to two music services (Napster and Yahoo), with their MILLIONS OF SONGS!! Anyway, if I want any acoustic content I have to bolt to Soulseek. If I want any live content, can't get it there. If I want to listen to a song by Denison Witmer, why, it's purchase only. He's not a well-known artist. There's no way he's selling a lot of those tracks.

      They've driven me from my fortress of legalitude back into P2P because they won't give me what they have that would make them better than P2P - exclusive live tracks (for a brief period I would have it better than P2Pers in one respect), or at least approaching 60% of the stuff I search for? Because ALL of the P2P apps give me whatever I search for, immediately. I know the RIAA can do better, but they don't understand why it would become infuriating to depend on them to deliver the content I want.

      I will download music. I stopped and tried to go the legal route, and as far as I can tell they want to siphon off every dollar I have that way. This is no different. The faulty business models must be crushed - do your part. Download stuff.
  • Old news???? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maddog Batty (112434) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:48AM (#19206365) Homepage
    First google link: Published Monday, October 31, 2005 6:41 PM by astebner

    Second google link: Posted February 14th, 2006

    Third google link: Last Review : August 17, 2006

    Fourth google link: Friday, January 28, 2005 1:00 AM PST

    Fifth google link: June 2nd, 2006

    You get the idea....
  • TV? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FredDC (1048502) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:52AM (#19206383)
    TV is an outdated concept... I hardly watch any television anymore myself, why would I want to watch something on a specified date and time? I'll watch it whenever I feel like it!

    Record it from TV? Oh yea, I'm gonna wait until some station decides to air it and then record it with advertising...

    There is nothing which interests me on television anyway which I can't find somewhere else. And the rest? Game shows, reality shows, ... I couldn't care less about them!

    With these kind of restrictions it seems like television stations are going the **AA way... Desperately trying to hold on to an outdated concept, which has made them alot of money in the past. Too blind and stuck in their old patterns to find new ways of making money...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Silver Sloth (770927)

      TV is an outdated concept

      Well, it maybe for you but for many others it's not. What is an increasingly outdated concept is the delivery method. Various timeshifting methods - I personally use Sky+ - allow the consumer to watch in their own schedule and to edit out the ads where appropriate.

      As for there being nothing on worth watching - Yesterday I watched 'To have and have not', got up to date with Heroes, watched Saturday's Dr Who, and finished off with a fascinating documentary about Jimi Hendrix. Ok, none of it was earth shatte

      • Re:TV? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:29AM (#19206867)
        You're British, aren't you?

        Here's the thing: The Brits actually have good TV, because it's publically funded. It used to mean that the BBC produced series that were cheap - look at the production values of a classic Dr. Who episode compared to a classic Star Trek episode of the same time frame, but as the private networks in the U.S. have found that they can make more money by producing nothing but super-cheap TV shows and cancelling anything that doesn't get a hell of an audience immediately, now it is the British, who care about providing good value for the tax revenue rather than stuffing pockets, that produces superior television shows.

        I mean, I saw the BBC Casanova miniseries, and can you imagine an American show going that far, production wise, for a three-episode mini series?

        Additionally, all the good news channels - CBC, BBC, CNN International - aren't available in America on any of the different ways to get television here. HDNet has Dan Rather, but I don't have an HDTV and even if I did I don't have a local provider for it either.

        So when you hear people complain about there being nothing good on TV which to record - yeah, I can see that. I don't know when I last turned on the television here but I don't think it even has the rabbit ears hooked up!

        • by CmdrGravy (645153)
          The US also make loads of good TV the like of which don't tend to get made by the BBC and other British companies. Examples include Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, Deadwood and Lost. Basically drama serials and also a lot of comedies.

          The last really good British comedy I remember was Spaced and that wasn't on the BBC, although Romans Empire on at the moment is also pretty good and that is on the BBC. The closest thing we get to that are historic mini series and Dr Who, the first of which are usually pre
      • i watched Dr who last night as well from my mythtv box, it's set to record each episode that is broadcast.
        Sky+ is quite good but unfortunately your limited to the capacity of the hard drive if nothing else.
        There is 300 gig available on my myth backend server and it is capable of outputing to DVD or DivX if I really want it too.
        Perhaps It is the ability to record and post content to the Internet that most upsets the Media companies, however it has never tempted me I just want to watch good qu
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grimJester (890090)
      There is nothing which interests me on television anyway which I can't find somewhere else. And the rest? Game shows, reality shows, ... I couldn't care less about them!

      Almost by definition, peer-to-peer networks contain what the users want. Shows no-one is interested in are left out.

      Incidentally, watching anything I want whenever I want is exactly the service I'd be willing to pay for. Go figure.
      • Re:TV? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:32AM (#19206571)
        And that's exactly the concept the content industry fails to grasp. People are indeed very willing to pay for content and avoid the hassle of searching through .torrents, downloading, waiting, waiting more, waiting even more, and finally hoping they get what they downloaded and not some gay porn movie (unless they tried to download a gay porn... you get the idea), then downloading some codec because that movie had to be packed with some esotheric encoding mechanism, then hoping it's really a good copy of the movie and not some cell-cam version with popcorn rustling in the background... Not to mention the legal matters.

        What keeps people from going the legal way is the terms of service. First of all, the hassle is not less, it's more. Incompatible DRM with this or that player, installing licenses, and finally hoping that what they got can actually be watched, if not, more try and error with DRM... And of course the fear that, as soon as their computer dies, all the content is digital junk because DRM thinks you're a different person.

        I know that a lot of people, if not the overwhelming majority, is very willing to pay for content that simply works, hassle-free and without problems and tinkering. But currently, with DRM in place, it's anything but that. More often than not, you buy something only to find out that it would have been less hassle to simply search for a .torrent, download it, wait for a while...
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by duguk (589689)

          downloaded and not some gay porn movie (unless they tried to download a gay porn... you get the idea)


          Your downloads sounds interesting and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by badasscat (563442)
        Almost by definition, peer-to-peer networks contain what the users want. Shows no-one is interested in are left out.

        Never heard of the Long Tail [wikipedia.org], I guess. Hint: it's the reason why companies like Amazon and Netflix are successful. Another hint: it's not because they only carry the top 5% of products that 80% of the world is interested in. It's because they carry the other 95%.

        The fact that I can't get those shows "no-one is interested in" on p2p is precisely why it is not very useful to me, or a lot of o
    • Re:TV? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:20AM (#19206511) Journal

      TV is an outdated concept... I hardly watch any television anymore myself, why would I want to watch something on a specified date and time? I'll watch it whenever I feel like it!
      It's funny that you say that TV is an outdated concept.

      I recall reading an article which discussed how people are moving away from movies and towards TV, because TV shows come in smaller chunks with more plot and character development.

      There is nothing which interests me on television anyway which I can't find somewhere else. And the rest? Game shows, reality shows, ... I couldn't care less about them!
      Your interests are just that. Yours.
      Millions of people are watching these shows and those eyeballs draw billions in advertising revenue.

      Desperately trying to hold on to an outdated concept, which has made them alot of money in the past. Too blind and stuck in their old patterns to find new ways of making money...
      Blind and stuck in their old patterns...
      TV shows on DVD, they're doing that.
      TV on the internet? They're doing that.

      It's easy to criticize what you perceive as the status quo, so tell us:
      What's your alternative.
      • by FredDC (1048502)
        What's your alternative.

        I am trying to stop being their plaything...

        I am through with being told what to like, what to listen to, what to watch, what to eat, ... I will decide that for myself, and if it means I can't take part in the extremely interesting discussion around the coffee machine on what happened in last nights episode of big brother, well then: so be it...

        I believe people have gotten stuck in front of their television, it's like being fed through a tube... There are so much more entertai
        • "

          I believe people have gotten stuck in front of their television, it's like being fed through a tube...
          " ... and the alternative is watching a PC screen showing video you got from a network of tubes?
          • by FredDC (1048502)
            ... and the alternative is watching a PC screen showing video you got from a network of tubes?

            Where exactly did I say that I do this? None of today's methods in delivering media to the user really appeal to me:

            - TV: It's free, but it doesn't allow me to watch what I want, when I want. And also the fact that I am constantly being told to buy product A, subscribe to product B, ... completely puts me off!
            - Download (paid): So basically DRM, no thank you...
            - Download (free): The quality of the media jus
      • Re:TV? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:11AM (#19206769) Journal
        I believe the grandparent was talking about TV-the-delivery-system, rather than TV-the-content. I don't watch TV-the-delivery-system anymore, but most of what I rent on DVDs is TV-the-content. I value my time, and don't want to waste 25% of my entertainment time watching adverts, so I simply don't watch TV. I want to watch things when I have time, not when the broadcaster decides it's the optimal time to show it. I want to be able to take the show with me, and watch it while travelling on my laptop.

        I would love to be able to buy TV show on a per-season basis, with no DRM and the ability to re-download (I don't want to bother having to archive them myself), or for less if I don't have the re-download ability (for stuff I'm likely to only want to watch once).

        TV viewership is dropping as it has to compete with more convenient forms of entertainment. Expect the status quo to change when enough people have broadband that the studios can sell more by selling to the viewers than to the distributors.

        • Re:TV? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Targon (17348) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:01AM (#19207021)
          I don't think that viewership is dropping as much as the idiotic method of tracking how many people are watching just doesn't work anymore. If someone records a show because they can't be home, that in no way means that people don't end up watching. There seems to be progress in getting away from the current system, but who knows if it will ever happen.

          A big problem I see with the different distribution methods out there is how to fund the production of the good shows. Honestly, if the TV distribution method is going to change, and advertisements change as well, a better way for these shows to generate money will be needed, and the possibilities are scary. Will we have running advertisements along the bottom and/or top of the screen as we watch? Will the users be required to pay to view the content without advertisements? If we are given a choice(pay and get no advertisements, or get it for free with advertisements), the peer to peer downloads will hurt the chances for good shows to be renewed.

          Remember, money is the reason we get ANYTHING on TV in the first place. If the production studios don't make money on the development of the shows/movies, they will NOT continue to make the shows we care about. So, how do we make sure that the good shows continue while the crap is dropped?
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      this is exactly what the media companies want you to do, watch stuff when you want, and within certain limits, with what you want.

      *but* they want you to consider it a premium service that requires lots of money before you can partake. Free? Pah, that's for losers..

      It's a flawed idea according to the consumer, but not according to the producers of that which is consumed, and they control the stage.

      You could do what I did, give your tv away and refuse to let another one in the house. I watch dvds, listen to r
      • You could do what I did, give your tv away and refuse to let another one in the house. I watch dvds,

        So does the whole family gather 'round the PC in your den? Or do you put your laptop on the coffee table?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FST777 (913657)
          Which is exactly my fear when the TV stops being profitable: that it disapears and be replaced by internet-TV (like Joost). Then there is no point anymore in socialising in front of the TV, watching shows with your children, talking with your colleagues about that great show that was on yesterday...

          If I throw out the TV, I miss my primary source of news: it's more convenient than looking up the news online. I also miss some of the fun programs that I watch now which I never would bother to download. Ther
          • by sjames (1099)

            Download podcasts, get a video card w/ an output compatible w/ your TV. Enjoy with family.

  • by aussie_a (778472) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:53AM (#19206385) Journal
    Microsoft once again demonstrates who its customers are. It isn't the people who buy their products, but big busines. Hence the heavy-DRM tie-ins they've developed for Vista among other products in the past (such as Windows Media Player)
    • by FridayBob (619244) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:36AM (#19206597) Homepage
      No, no! You've got it all wrong!

      DRM is your friend! If Microsoft didn't include it in Windows, the big media corporations would quickly sue the pants off of them, making it impossible to sell Windows. Why, that would be a disaster for the consumer! This way, we can at least still enjoy some forms of copyrighted content.


      ;-)
    • Wrong, people are still buying their stuff despite its increasingly user-unfriendly restrictions. So Microsoft gets away with pleasing big business by including DRM stuff.
      I wonder when they will go too far and trigger an avalanche of dissatisfied users moving off Windows.
      Personally, I'm somewhere in between at the moment (playing with Linux now and then, but mostly holding out on Win 2000). But I guess the way Microsoft is going will eventually drive me to make the transition.
  • by nmoog (701216) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:54AM (#19206391) Homepage Journal
    It's a good start by Microsoft. But I found that you can implement a more efficient DRM system by snapping off the rabbit-ear antennae on top of your TV. I did it eight months ago and I found that when I go to bed now my brain doesn't feel like it's been mushed to pulp by ads and boring drivel. Good luck you noble DRM!
  • by Bowdie (11884) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:00AM (#19206411) Homepage
    >What's next, restricting every piece of programming on television?

    Yes. Didn't you get the memo?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MECC (8478) *

      >What's next, restricting every piece of programming on television?

      Yes. Didn't you get the memo?

      Did anyone seriously think for a even a moment that a media package for watching cable TV from microsoft wouldn't try to control everything?

  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:05AM (#19206439)

    ...and what DRM is for.

    Its sole purpose is to keep you from using the media you would otherwise have rightful access to in any way other than what the copyright holder explicitly wants.

    In short, its sole purpose is, ultimately, to make you pay every time you make use of the media, and to control the flow of information.

    DRM is how the media megacorporations intend to rein in the internet. For instance, you can't prove that the media broadcast a story when the story can't be recorded.

    DRM is how the big corporations intend to remove your right to read [gnu.org].

    This is just the first shot across the bow. It's going to get worse. A lot worse. Read all you can about "trusted computing" [wikipedia.org] to see where this is going. All they have to do is to remove your ability to boot an unsigned bootloader, and the game is over (with you as the loser).

    If you think this is paranoid ranting, well, so did people who thought habeus corpus would never be removed. That doesn't make what I say right, but since the same people are ultimately involved, you shouldn't dismiss the above as paranoid ranting on the basis of incredulity alone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Urkki (668283)

      ...and what DRM is for.

      Its sole purpose is to keep you from using the media you would otherwise have rightful access to in any way other than what the copyright holder explicitly wants.

      In short, its sole purpose is, ultimately, to make you pay every time you make use of the media, and to control the flow of information.

      I personally look forward to the day, when I can get *any* movie or TV series episode for one-time (or one-day or whatever) viewing for a few euros, legally. I'm also looking forward for the day when I can get *any* piece of music playing once for a few cents, preferably with heuristic music selection service ("people who liked the songs you listen also liked these songs, add to your playlist?").

      I don't need to *own* that music, or those TV shows, or those movies. I just want to have access to them, a

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And you think that -- just because you're paying for the content -- they won't attempt to get more revenue by including advertising?

        Of course, once it's all DRM-protected, you won't be able to get rid of the advertisements.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ElleyKitten (715519)

        I personally look forward to the day, when I can get *any* movie or TV series episode for one-time (or one-day or whatever) viewing for a few euros, legally. I'm also looking forward for the day when I can get *any* piece of music playing once for a few cents, preferably with heuristic music selection service ("people who liked the songs you listen also liked these songs, add to your playlist?").

        You want to pay for you music every time you listen to it? Why don't you just get a service like Rhapsody wher

      • by rbanffy (584143) on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:28AM (#19206861) Homepage Journal

        And I don't see the problem of information control. Quite the opposite, if you have the freedom to view any news broadcast from all over the world with a click (well, that's reality even now, I think), there's no control. If people want information, they'll get it easily (well, at least here in the free world). If they don't want it, no DRM is going to make them want it.

        Do you really think it would be hard to block your access to foreign news broadcasts via DRM?

        The mere existence of this broadcast flag threatens your ability to record the present and document the past. It drives a nail through some of the more basic requirements for a democracy, which is the right and need to be and stay well informed.

        After all, we've always been at war with Eastasia.

    • All they have to do is to remove your ability to boot an unsigned bootloader, and the game is over (with you as the loser).

      Um no. In a free market, the alternatives look better. In a non-free market, the alternatives are outlawed. Game is over only when the alternatives are restricted. DRM TV content will have to contend with non-over the air alternatives such as the Internet.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kcbrown (7426)

        Um no. In a free market, the alternatives look better. In a non-free market, the alternatives are outlawed.

        And what makes you think the market in the U.S. is a "free market"?

        The people who are pushing for DRM are precisely the people who have the greatest amount of control over the U.S. government, because they control what gets advertised about the candidates during election time. Frankly, I'm a little surprised DRM hardware of the kind I described hasn't already been mandated, but I suspect that'

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by daveschroeder (516195) *
      If you think this is paranoid ranting, well, so did people who thought habeus corpus would never be removed.

      It hasn't been. The Military Commissions Act specifically and explicitly does not apply to US citizens, and doesn't even apply to the José Padilla example.

      The Military Commissions Act properly handles terrorism against the United States as a military and national security issue, not a domestic civil or criminal matter (to treat it as such is ridiculous). This necessarily means that someone has to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:11AM (#19206463)
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/913800 [microsoft.com]

    Cockup rather than conspiracy?
    • by Shemmie (909181)
      Yep, apparently a bug that only applies to XP Media Center 2005. Can someone who experiences this problem confirm that they are not using Vista Home Premium or Ultimate?
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:18AM (#19206801)
      You see, the problem here is all Microsoft. After years of naming their patches: "Service Pack", "Critical Update", "Security Update", "Huge Update", "Gigantic Update","Mother-of-All Update", they decided to name this update "Update Rollup". Clearly it confused the consumer with what was consistent naming, and he/she probably didn't download it much less install it. :P
    • If the bug can string together a sentence like "Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator of the content prohibit playback of the program on this computer" I'd suggest it's a sentient bug!!!
  • by Erwos (553607) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:12AM (#19206475)
    I wouldn't take the summary at face value for this one - IIRC, there are some driver issues that cause this flag to pop up when it's really not supposed to. More info, including Microsoft's mostly-official response, at:

    http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/176207.asp x [thegreenbutton.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:29AM (#19206553)
    There are those two neighbors, Joe Sixpack and Joe Sixbit. The first buys whatever the ads say and just brought home his new shiny Microsoft Media Center PC, the second enjoys spending some time learning how to build things and just installed Freevo or MythTV on a spare box.
    For a while Joe Sixbit was laughed at by Joe Sixpack because while he was working on his ugly PC, Joe Sixpack's MSMCE-PC was already working and indeed looked more professional.
    Then, after some time, Joe Sixpack started to face some problems: failed updates, unsupported codecs, and every time he had to call a number where someone gave the same not working answers. Joe Sixbit's system, instead, was working better and better: not only it supported every media it was thrown at, but it was also possible upgrading it to new media without waiting for a single software house approval. It could show weather forecasts and web pages, but also it run games, voip phonecalls, videoconferencing and other tasks it wasn't designed to thanks to an active community.

    After some months Joe Sixbit still enjoys his self made media center and has learned a lot working on it, which pays he back of the time he spent, while Joe Sixpack only learned he has to reinstall the Windows MCE every now and then to make it work again after a software install screws the system, and still there are tasks he cannot perform and media he cannot play, which pays he back much less for the time and money he spent.

    The moral is.. HECK! you still need a moral to stop using proprietary software after it's so clear how it's screwing you?
    • Joe Wiseman (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:55AM (#19206695)
      Meanwhile, Joel Wiseman bought a Mac MINI and wonders why Sixbit and Sixpack spent all the time and money on systems dedicated to trying to grab content from a stream, when they could spend less of both just buying songs individually on demand.

      He uses the extra time and money saved to read books.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Overzeetop (214511)
        "He uses the extra time saved to read books he checked out of the library, because he ran out of cash trying to buy all the content he wanted to see off of iTMS."

        There, fixed that for you. You see, the idea is that TV has always been "free" for the viewer, and the intent of these things is to leverage that content to reduce the regular outlay of cash associated with paying for every instance of a recording. If you don't understand that economy (spending time to save money), then you are detached from most o
        • Cheaper than cable (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SuperKendall (25149)
          "He uses the extra time saved to read books he checked out of the library, because he ran out of cash trying to buy all the content he wanted to see off of iTMS."

          No, actually he's able to afford the books because he spent less on a Mac MINI plus the purchase of shows he really wanted to watch, rather than an expensive cable subscription.

          ITMS delivers quality equal to most cable feeds, and with no annoying ads or shifts is resolution (for HD feeds) to contend with. I tried recording Heros using OTA HD the o
  • I guess the banned channels on cable transmit somekind of watermark signal along with normal TV signal? You can probably easly (with simple $20 device) strip the watermark with somekind of hardware filter on the cable. Am I right?
  • old news (Score:5, Informative)

    by confused one (671304) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:49AM (#19206675)
    If you read on like the poster suggested (and obviously the poster himself didn't read the articles) you'd find out that
    1. This is an old problem
    2. This was a driver issue that only affected people who had changed hardware components.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ingolfke (515826)
      Exactly. Good post. At worst MS can be charged w/ not making their DRM software user friendly enough.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:55AM (#19206693)
    Makes sense, doesn't it? Only if there is a limited supply, something gets some value in our world. Think of precious metals, pieces of art, anything collectible. By itself, not really valuable. Gold is actually quite worthless, from an industrial point of view. Aside of a few applications where its physical and chemical properties (like being almost impossible to corrode and very resistant to acids) come to shine, it's quite useless or easily replaced by other metals. But it's rare. So it's precious. It has been since the dawn of humanity.

    Pieces of art, paintings of old masters, are nice to look at, but by no means necessary for survival. Even more, it's something to look at, not something to consume. You can look at the Mona Lisa, take the experience with you and go on with your life. Still, it's invaluable. It's a one-of-a-kind.

    And let's not even get to Magic the Gathering cards or rare stamps.

    All those things have a high value because they're rare. Not because people need them. They are valuable because people want them and only a selected few can have them. That's what makes their price tag to up.

    Content, now, is by its very definition not scarce. Reproducing content is easy and has been cheap from the beginning of the printing press. With computers and digitalized content, the cost for reproduction has been brought very close to zero. In other words, unrestricted content has no value in our world because it is anything but scarce. Everyone can have it.

    DRM now imposes an artificial shortage onto something that is available in abundance, with the sole goal to make the value (or rather, the price) of information go up. Disney understood this concept from early on, making its movies only available every few years for a short time, so people don't even ponder twice before buying. Either you get it now or you can't get it for a long, long time. So they pay, any price.

    DRM should now make the same possible for every kind of digital content. The content industry dictates when and at what terms you may get it. The goal is, amongst others, that by creating an artificial shortage of a movie, the movie becomes a hot seller again, no matter how old it is. Think of, say, Casablanca. A good movie, but we've all seen it for ... how many times? Provided you're interested in that kinda movie, granted. Now imagine you couldn't see it anymore. For a long, long time. And then, for about 2 months, it is on sale again.

    People would buy more. They would buy it THEN, not put it back 'til they want to see it again, they will buy then because of the fear that you can't get it for a long time anymore afterwards.

    And, of course, you won't be able to watch it forever. You will watch it for as long as the content industry lets you.

    This also creates a nice way of restricting the access to movies that ain't so much in sync with political views anymore. When was the last time you saw Rambo III [wikipedia.org] on a TV network? And how many copies that you can still buy contain the words "This movie is dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan" in the closing credits?

    Could you see a few people who'd want this movie to disappear once and for all, as if it never existed? Or at least alter a few things?

    It's not like movie altering isn't done already. But you can easily remove all existing copies of the "original" version with DRM. Movies have a best before date with it. Who could claim that Han shot first anymore without looking stupid to people who ain't old enough to remember?

    Tastes a bit of Orwell, ain't it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099)

      Han Solo will never shoot first again and the government never went after ET and the kids with shotguns. While at one level, those are just movies and no big deal, it IS a revision of history, especially the latter example. I can easily see how revisionists would love to be able to take an 'incorrect' movie back after the fact if they could.

      At the rate we're going, how long can it be until police departments start really wishing people coundn't watch movies about police corruption or even those silly movi

  • A simple search [google.co.uk] on the subject reveals that HBO programming and, in my case, Braveheart on AMC are among the many selections now restricted for playback or recording by Windows Media Censor Edition.
  • You know that you're only allowed to record the ads ! /rolls eyes/.
  • by v1 (525388)
    sounds like someone needs an Apple TV. :D

    It's stupid things like this that will eventually drive everyone away from MS.
  • (once you update). Now there's a sales slogan.

    Actually, The Tube music videos on broadcast HD haven't been viewable on my MythTV box here for some weeks even though my signal strength remains the same. I assume they did something but I haven't cared enough to look into it -- or see whether there is a MythTV "fix" on the web ;)
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:23AM (#19207149) Homepage Journal
    Getting down with the VCPs to get the DRM message out ... [With deepest apologies to the Black Eyed Peas for the parody of "Let get Retarded"]

    Vista Retarded is hereSung by the V.C.P.s
    [voiceover] The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history [auckland.ac.nz].

    Vista "Retarded", is here...

    And content not playin' playin', not playin' playin',not playin' playin',not playin' playin', not
    playin' playin', not playin' playin',not playin' playin',not playin' playin', not...

    In this context,Vista disrespects, so when I click to play, the display disconnects.
    We got find methods for us to reconnect to new codecs by the network effect.
    Bout to lose your fair use. Microsoft's institution. Infect your computer with D.R.M. pollution.
    Cause when we click on, the sound is gonna be down. You won't believe how we ow shout out.
    Burn can't cause we locked out, Sample can't cause we locked out, act up from north,west, east south.

    [Chorus:]
    Everybody (ye-a!), everybody (ye-a!), let's get into it (Yea!).
    Get stoopid (click on!).
    Vista retarded (click on!), Vista retarded (click on!), get retarded.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Yeah.

    Lose control, of privacy and goals.
    Won't run too fast cause, bloat makes it slow.
    Won't get away, your locked into it.
    Y'all hear about it, Gutmann'll do it.
    Get Vista, be stoopid.
    Don't worry 'bout it, Ballmer'll walk you though it,
    Step by step, you'll be restricted
    Patch by patch with the new solution.
    Transmit bits, with D.R.M. pollution
    Claim the contents irresistible and that's how they move it.

    [Chorus:]
    Everybody (ye-a!), everybody (ye-a!), let's get into it (Yea!).
    Get stoopid (click on!).
    Vista retarded (click on!), Vista retarded (click on!), get retarded.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Yeah.

    Playin' playin', not playin' playin',not playin' playin',not playin' playin', not...

    C'mon y'all, let's get Do-do! (uh huh)
    Let's get Do-do! (in here) - Right now get Do-do! (uh huh)
    Let's get Do-do! (in here) - Right now get Do-do! (uh huh)
    Let's get Do-do! (in here) Ow, ow, ow!
    Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya...

    Let's get ill, that's the deal
    At the gate, Microsoft restricts your will. (Just)
    Lose your mind this is the time,
    Y'all test this will, Just and download still. (Just)
    Rob the resolution, from your monitor or to your speakers.
    Get pixel-ated and suck.
    Yo' movies past slow-mo' in another head trip.(So)
    Locked in now cannot correct it, so be ig'nant and left apoplectic .

    [Chorus:]
    (yeah)Everybody, (yeah) everybody, (yeah) get locked into it.
    (yeah) Get stupid.
    (click on) Get retarded,(click on) get retarded (yeah), get retarded.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Vista retarded (ha), Vista retarded is here.
    Whoaoa
    Yeah.

    You Cukoo! (A-ha!)
    It's Po-Po! (is here) - Be a Fool! (A-ha!)
    M.S. Tool! (be their) - Like Voodoo! (A-ha!)
    You cukoo! (out here) -Ow, ow!
    Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya...

    Playin' playin', not playin' playin',not playin' playin',not playin' playin'
    [fade]

  • by l3v1 (787564) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:16AM (#19207633)
    Some people just don't get it. It's far enough that we let Microsoft so into our lives as they are now, why on earth would I let them have any kind of control over other aspects of my life, e.g. watching tv ? Why would I tolerate a piece of software that, after I pay money for it, makes my life more restricted instead of easing my life ? Am I stupid enough to believe that this way of life is what I've been waiting and working towards during the last decades ? Hell no. Any software and service I pay for I expect to improve the quality of my life on whichever scale and aspect not make it worse. Before some would ask "then why have you payed for it?" I didn't and I won't. And if the answer is that there's nothing to do, this is the only way from now on, then I'd rather stick to the pathetic miserable level I am at now then to willingly contribute into making our lives suck more.
     

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