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Media Movies Piracy

Goodbye, HD Component Video 469

glogger writes "Jim Willcox, the video expert at Consumer Reports, bids farewell to our ability to get high-definition video via the analog component-video connections on Blu-ray players. Thanks to Hollywood pirate-paranoia, potentially millions of law-abiding viewers will have their choices restricted. Quoting: 'Hollywood studios now have the right to insert an ICT "flag" into a Blu-ray movie; if it detects that a player is using an analog connection that doesn't support HDCP, it downconverts the video's 1080p (1920 by 1080) native resolution to 960 by 540 (540p): better than DVD quality but only about one-quarter of full HD quality. This ensures that high-def video is available only through the copy-protected HDMI outputs.'"
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Goodbye, HD Component Video

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  • i know what you need (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:16PM (#35247770)
    You need an HDFuryII []
    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      That site got slashdotted! :)

      • by grub ( 11606 )

        Hehe, they're probably wondering "What did we do to piss off Anonymous?!"
    • What happens when DCP LLC revokes HDFury's HDCP key and this revocation is encoded on each new Blu-ray Disc?
  • Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:16PM (#35247774)

    So... this prevents someone copying a BD disk with a VCR? Or a TV capture card?

    I’m actually confused here. Do people actually copy digital media this way any more? What does this prevent?

    This kind of sounds like something that has been in the works for a while and is now irrelevant (now that AACS has been dealt with), but the guy’s at the top are two stupid (or afraid of getting fired) to stop it.

    • This kind of sounds like something that has been in the works for a while and is now irrelevant (now that AACS has been dealt with), but the guy’s at the top are two stupid (or afraid of getting fired) to stop it.

      The whole thing seems like putting a band-aid on a gangrenous leg. I think it's more a case of trying to prove to shareholders that they're doing something to combat piracy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jeng ( 926980 )

      Doesn't matter. Once consumers get hit by this they will freak out and the studios will find out how much of a bad idea this is.

      • by maxume ( 22995 )

        Consumers don't notice aspect ratio problems, or like them wrong. I doubt they will notice this.

      • Doesn't matter. Once consumers get hit by this they will freak out and the studios will find out how much of a bad idea this is.

        No, they won't.

        Consumers (or at least, consumers in the U.S., in my experience) have shown again and again that they will take whatever crap and whatever restrictions are shoved at them as long as they can continue to get their entertainment fix. "Showing the much of a bad idea this is" requires patience and discipline -- two virtues that one would be hard pressed to find in this country anymore.

        (Sorry -- I'm in an uncharacteristically pessimistic mood today).

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      * are too stupid

      may the great fire cactus forgive me... it's Friday :(

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      I agree - and where are my mod points when I need them? Parent to me modded "Insightful".

      The movie industry doesn't seem to get it at all - and the big issue isn't Blu-Ray copying anyway - the future will be streaming video on the net instead. Then the movie industry can try to get paid per view instead.

      • by Wansu ( 846 )

          The movie industry doesn't seem to get it at all - and the big issue isn't Blu-Ray copying anyway - the future will be streaming video on the net instead.

        Yep. This is just another nail in Blu-Ray's coffin.

        • except for the increase in bandwidth caps, rising rates, etc. You're going to need a lot of nails for that coffin
      • Exactly. I got a shiny new Blu-Ray player recently, and most of our movie-watching is with Netflix online viewing, or watching stuff I downloaded on BitTorrent and put on a USB drive. The Blu-Ray player is very easy to use and inexpensive (much cheaper than building a MythTV box), but we almost never put physical discs in it, and instead use the online and USB functions.

        Just make sure to get a player that has built-in wi-fi, unless running a cat5e cable isn't a problem for you. Some sneakily advertise "W
    • Even more worthless than that [] That means it would be trivial to make a transceiver that takes in HDMI (complete with HDCP support) and outputs component video.

    • Re:Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pentium100 ( 1240090 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:26PM (#35247916)

      It does not. They lower the resolution, but if you record to (S)VHS you will get an even lower resolution (especially with VHS) so there is no difference. SVHS records about the same resolution as DVD, so there is no problem with the downscaled video.

      This move is stupid - HDCP was completely broken, devices like HDFury are available. So, again, the only people who will have problems are the honest paying customers who have an older TV. Some of them will now learn about ripping, TPB and HDFury type devices.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Or just rip the bluray and reburn it without this nonsense. Problem solved.

        • True...I'm sure that AnyDVD will disable this flag on copies.

          I'm much more worried about Cinavia audio watermarking, since that will likely mark the end of playing copies on any BDA-compliant device, at least without jumping through some major hoops.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:30PM (#35247956) Homepage

      Yes. It was the idea that there's be a secure box connected over a secure cable to a secure playback device. It may be irrelevant but they still use CSS. They still prosecute companies that ship a DVD backup/converter program. It's still a DMCA/EUCD violation since there's "fair use" but no "fair circumvention". They can not stop you doing it, but they do everything to argue that it's wrong and that you're a criminal by doing it. When they introduce their next DRM format they will pretend nothing is taken away, because you were never supposed to be able to do it to begin with. Oh well...

    • Utterly pointless in more ways than one.

      The people who want it for free won't care if it's not 1080p. Non-HD quality is good enough for a decently sized portion of the population. If it's a story-driven movie to begin with, enhanced visuals aren't going to make it any better.

      The dedicated pirates aren't going to care either. They'll find another way to rip the 1080p stream or if nothing else exists they can point a 1080p camera at the screen and record it that way. Until humans have a digital jack imp
    • Only an idiot would actually buy a Bluray film. Get a 1080P tv and it'll probably do 1080P through a PC, which is higher quality, means you can download the movies and never have to pay for a Bluray player/device. Buy your cables on monoprice and you're done.

      • by afex ( 693734 )
        i 100% agree with you but I do want to point out that the scene rips you (and I!) download are not bluray quality in terms of bitrate.

        Is this noticeble? in my opinion (of having hundreds of x264's but only seeing a few BD's), no.

        But it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people just want to talk resolution without talking bitrate, which is a huge issue if we are talking things like netflix HD. (which is ~3.5Mbit, no where NEAR what a usual scene rip is) Pop open the codec info window ('o' if you're
    • The whole thing is utterly stupid. Copying HD in analog is lossy, and it's already pretty trivial to use a BD-ROM drive in your computer to rip BD discs natively, with no loss whatsoever. Why mess around with cables and converters and such when you can just buy a BD-ROM drive from for $90 and use some open-source software to rip Blu-Ray discs and upload them to BitTorrent?
  • So I asked my iPhone "Mystic Mirror" if Hollywood studios are clueless about consumer choice... Answer: "Without a doubt" Classic.
  • Hello HDFury (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:22PM (#35247844)

    Seriously, if you've need to get HD component video, or VGA, from an HDMI or DVI source, the HDFury products are what you need. We got one at work because we needed to hook an AVCHD camera, which only had HDMI out, to a projector that only had VGA input. Worked perfectly. Fully supports HDCP. The one we got, the HDFury 2 is switchable between VGA and component mode.

    So not only is this a dick move, it is 100% ineffective. You just go and buy an HDFury and you are back in business. I'm sure there will be others as this ramps up. []

    • by IICV ( 652597 )

      So not only is this a dick move, it is 100% ineffective. You just go and buy an HDFury and you are back in business. I'm sure there will be others as this ramps up.

      Not any more, actually - after someone got first post with a link to their site, they seem to be down :)

      Clearly that was a tricky plot by the MPAA!

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      How does HDFury get around the DMCA? This is a circumvention device, right?

  • Blurry (Score:2, Funny)

    by iangoldby ( 552781 )

    Was I the only one who read the blueray tag as 'blurry'?

  • the analog hole []? That's always seemed to have been the one weak spot with the industry's hard on to stop all pirating. Ultimately I can see "don't-play-if-anything-analog-is-hooked-to-it".
    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      The funny thing is, it's not going to stop pirates; if you look at pirated movies, what you'll see are first telesyncs & then later BD Rips. No one is bothering to mess with any analog holes.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdfl[ ]com ['at.' in gap]> on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:26PM (#35247906) Journal

    They are doing this supposedly doing this to stop piracy.

    I'd be willing to bet, however, that it's to force people to buy newer televisions with an HDMI input.

    And of course it's only going to be effective at controlling unauthorized copying as long as AACS doesn't get cracked. Oh, wait....

    • by c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:31PM (#35247988)

      The next step is probably obligatory DRM, so your collection of ripped movies won't play on your home entertainment system any longer. Only licensed stuff allowed.

      • by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

        Yeah right. That will last right up until grandma & grandpa can't watch home movies on their new HDTV.

    • by darjen ( 879890 )

      I've had an older CRT HDTV for years, that doesn't have HDMI inputs. I'll be damned if I have buy a new TV just to get HDMI. Although it's only 1080i/720p it still works fine...

    • Of course what it really does is encourage me to delay buying a Blue-ray player even longer.
  • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:27PM (#35247922)

    If you did a bit-for-bit copy of a Blu-ray disc, wouldn't the copy protection go along with it?

    • by GrBear ( 63712 )

      The question is why would you do a bit-for-bit copy? Use a program like AnyDVD HD and simply make a copy of the disc with the protection removed. Not only can you then put your originals away and only play the copy, you can put a copy on your media server as well (via handbreak)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:35PM (#35248044)

      Apparently not:

      "BD-ROM Mark is a small amount of cryptographic data that is stored separately from normal Blu-ray Disc data. Bit-by-bit copies that do not replicate the BD-ROM Mark have no known decoding method. A specially licensed piece of hardware is required to insert the ROM-mark into the media during replication."

    • Yes and no. The copy protection of a blu-ray disk depends on a special region of a disk which can't be burned by commercial blu-ray burners (in fact it's prerecorded with a serial number). So if you had special hardware, yes, a bit-by-bit copy including that region would work, but most people don't have access to that hardware.
  • by c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:27PM (#35247924)

    Until they fix the "give me a good reason to buy it" hole, their vision of a world of perfect DRM won't be quite as wonderfully lucrative as they imagine it to be. To date, I've neither purchased nor pirated any Blu-Ray media. This measure doesn't change that situation one bit. Won't pirate it, won't buy it. Hope that fortune you spent on DRM was worth it.

    • The summary blows "give me a reason to buy" out of the water. When all new media (heck maybe even live TV) have these hidden flags toggled on, you'll have your good reason shoved down your throat.

      • The summary blows "give me a reason to buy" out of the water. When all new media (heck maybe even live TV) have these hidden flags toggled on, you'll have your good reason shoved down your throat.

        I've got no mod points, so I'm responding that you're right on target.

        • I think you & Godfather missed c0...'s point: If the content being produced is of no interest, the delivery method doesn't matter.
      • That only holds true as long as we're interested in "consuming" the "content" in the first place.
      • The summary blows "give me a reason to buy" out of the water. When all new media (heck maybe even live TV) have these hidden flags toggled on, you'll have your good reason shoved down your throat.

        Not really, I haven't bought any new media in quite some time. This sort of thing is why. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I know anyone who owns a Blue-ray player

  • by AtomicDevice ( 926814 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:32PM (#35247994)

    How is this going to make me *less* likely to pirate?

    My choices are:
    By a blu-ray - do I have the right player? Will it down-convert to less-than-advertized quality? will it cost way too much? who knows (except for costing too much, that I know is a yes)?

    Pirate it for free at a good quality, I don't have to leave my house and new releases are ready to watch in an hour tops. Also I now have just a regular old video file that I can do anything with that I want.

    Why studios haven't caught onto this is a mystery to me. Seems like piracy would be dead in the water if ALL movies were offered as unprotected files for a low cost at high speed. If anyone could download any movie ever made at 1meg/s for 1 or 2 bucks with no DRM BS why even bother playing the bittorrent roulette? would some people still do it? probably. Would most law abiding citizens happliy pay rental-prices-or-less to just buy the movie they want? probably. Could they stop wasting their time and money on anti-customer schemes and start worrying about making movies? probably.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:33PM (#35248018) Homepage

    High minded types merely "ascend" and avoid the limitations of the physical body... er, media.

    Yeah. Talk about yet another reason to RIP or just plain pirate.

    This will be the biggest burden to the most clueless users out there, once again proving that DRM only punishes the paying customer.

  • Video is largely 960 x 540 anyways because of both 4:2:2 downconversion and Bayer pattern sensors.

  • Well, if they actually do start forcing low res output, the old joke name of blur-ray will actually finally be appropriate.

  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:38PM (#35248086) Journal

    ...are legitimate users of video content, sometimes even when it isn't hi def...

    My setup is a total pain in the a** because of HDCP.

    I wanted to do something really simple this summer - show my cable box feed on the TV in our home gym (a glorified name for room with treadmill in it), so I looked at my options:

    (1)Get another Cable box for that TV - no, I'm not interested in paying another $15/month just so I can watch TV in a room for an hour every other day.
    (2)Run yet another HDMI cable to the TV - this was not really an option since it would be 35 feet from the cable box with various openings between the box and the destination TV - ergo, expensive, mess, and requiring HDMI amplifies and extremely long cable runs.
    (3)Go wireless and get an Air Synch HD (or something similar) - up front cost is not cheap, but no new cables, no new box, only turn it on when I want, et cetera.

    So, I get my new wireless HDMI system in, yay! Looks cool, setup seems simple - so I try it out. Cool, XBox 360 play over it just fine, BluRay player works over it just fine, cable box? Oh, whoops, green screen on cable. Never seen that before.

    So, long story short, it turns out there's this little feature of HDCP that is only just now starting to bite people in the a** called "downstream devices." Apparently, a source device using HDCP can restrict the number OF HDCP CAPABLE DEVICES that can be chained together to get to your TV or projector. Note that it is a restriction on LEGITIMATE HDCP licensed devices ffs. Most HDCP capable devices have a somewhat large number of possible downstream devices (there's no requirement in the standard - the bastards) but some of them just one or two. This means that if you connect your source device, such as my Motorola DVR, to a receiver (which counts as an HDCP device in this chain) and your projector connects to the receiver you've maxed out the number of devices.

    Along comes some poor schmuck (me in this scenario) and puts a wireless HDMI transmitter between my TV and my receiver - *bang* the cable box says "you're trying to pirate my HDCP encrypted signal, I will show you a green screen."

    Do they really think they're preventing movie piracy when someone can simply use some soldering tools and an programmable gate array and components available over the internet and strip HDCP? Hell, you can buy HDFury and setup a good recording system.

    The only people they're actually screwing are people like me who sit around for 15 seconds waiting for all their HDCP devices to decide to get along and show video and/or audio.

    (BTW, I simply connected the cable box to the receiver with component cables and optical audio - but I guess that solution will be on its way to the trash can as soon as Motorola can get around to it, eh?)


    • I got burnt by this same flaw. Cursed Verizon out over they flawed Motorola STBs. They have promised a fix by the end of the year. Don't you love it when you plug in your brand new HDTV and the only thing it will show is an HDCP handshake failed message?

      Their work around is to use component out from the STB and feed it to the receiver. Then let the receiver convert the component back to HDMI. Of course I was less than pleased with them for forcing me to buy a new $500 receiver to make my HDTV work. Now I ta

    • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:04PM (#35249158) Homepage

      This basically sums up the frustration of the modern law abiding A/V nerd. I can't count the number of times I've wanted to do something with equipment I own using media I paid for and been thwarted because 'I might be a pirate'.

      MythTV? Tried that. Loved it until I was forced into the digital world by the cable company. Everything needed to be re-engineered and there were complicated cards that may or may not work and may or may not be supported by the cable co. I could've wrestled through it, upgrading hardware and spending hours (again) getting things working - until the next time the cable company forced a change. Because I might be a pirate.

      New HD Television? I plan my purchases and already owned a receiver with two digital audio channels. Since all my video sources were HDMI, the obvious solution here is to run everything to the TV and run a single audio out from the TV to the receiver. Fewer remotes, fewer wires, better Wife Acceptance Factor. Nope. The TV down samples everything that comes out the digital audio out jack to 2 channel stereo*. Instead I have to run all my sources to my receiver that only has 2 digital inputs. Or upgrade the receiver. Because I might be a pirate

      BluRay Player? It came as a bundle when I purchased my TV and was effectively free. Cool, I'll check that out. This has been the absolute worst playback device I've ever seen. Boot times are extreme. Menus are sluggish. Firmware updates are a necessity if you want to play any recent releases. Because I might be a pirate.

      At every turn where you're blocked from doing something, the only solution is to upgrade your entire chain of hardware - and you still likely won't be able to do what you want. In the meantime, the pirates don't have to worry about any of this shit. It's pretty plain to me that the industry doesn't actually care about piracy, but instead is trying to drive purchases of new hardware and media.

      * Incidentally, what's the point of a digital audio out if the only thing that ever comes out of it is 2 channel stereo?

  • by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:41PM (#35248134)

    "This ensure that high-def video is available only through the copy-protected HDMI outputs or from Bittorrent"?

    Damn dyslexia...

  • My HDCP protected Verizon FIOS STB still can't manage to make a HDMI connection to my new Samsung TV. After dozens of calls and emails Verizon admits it is a flaw in the STB and it will be fixed before the end of this year. Meanwhile I was forced to buy an amp with component to HDMI conversion. So I take the digital signal going into the STB, convert it to analog component, send it to the receiver and convert it back to HDMI. All of this wasted time and money just to make HDCP work on a signal I am paying

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Stop buying faulty shit and paying for subscriptions / devices that don't work because of admitted flaws and "bodge-job" hardware.

      Simple really. You're paying for something you can't use.

  • by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @04:52PM (#35248262) Homepage

    Conceptually, I don't have a problem with their proposal...but only on new equipment. To impose this kind of restriction or format change on existing equipment amounts to nothing more than a bait and switch: Sell a product to a consumer (who does not have nor need to have the specific technical understanding of Blu-ray technology--it's just cool HD) and then later enable and impose new features that restrict what the consumer paid for.

    I guess this is really nothing new, just different equipment.

  • Obviously. If you cause a worse viewing experience for the paying customers, that paying customer might just as well turn to pirated copies, which may have the same or better quality, and are free.

  • Which will do nothing but drive people to buy "crackers" to allow HDMI to broadcast without encryption (some of which have already been mentioned).

  • wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @05:18PM (#35248620)
    I'm sure glad I pirate all my movies and this wont affect me. I feel sorry for all you suckers that buy them legitimately.
  • by 517714 ( 762276 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:04PM (#35249160)
    They would not have put ICT into the Blu-Ray spec unless they intended to use it. HDCP was approved by the FCC in August 2004, (it was part of the DVI spec in 1999) anybody paying attention would not have bought a device without HDMI (or DVI) since then. ICT is not new, here is a discussion on the same issue five years ago []. At the time no Blu-Ray media had the flag turned on although some HD-DVD media did. The article speculates that the ICT flag would be turned on "several years later" ..."to get those with incompliant TVs to think of buying a new set ... " Several years has arrived, and it is no surprise to many of us.

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