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is vista/drm hurting innovation in pc industry

Last response: in Windows Vista
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March 16, 2007 5:02:29 PM

I am posting this here so as to provide a discussion area on the issue of drm and vista. I was posting comments under a different topic but then was told to move this discussion and cross post to another topic. But that topic did not really fit the topic either and thought that this topic really deserves its own thread so as not to drown out other topics given the amount of comments on this subject.

For me, I am concerned that vista and drm is increasing costs of the pc and hurting innovation in the pc industry. I really would like to hear logical arguments and opinions on the subject whether they are for, or against, or come from a different perspective. I realize this subject is a very emotional issue for some and would appreciate if you would keep senseless flaming and personnel attacks out of this discussion as this does not serve or benefit anyone.

I am going to start, by leaving off with my last comment that I was told to cross post:

KwyjiboNL77,

Thanks, for the reply. It is good to hear from someone that wants to discuss this subject from a more logical standpoint.

I am not going to repeat what I already said relating to increase hardware costs but will repeat that ATI has said that it does increase costs. As you said, "ATI stated that they are going to pass on their cost to consumers, whereas they are not in a position to claim that is necessery". I am unsure what you mean by "they are not in a position to claim that is necessary" as you seem to saying that any company cant recoup costs. You also state "ATI has the choice of offering solutions without support for protected content playback. ATI chooses not to do that" ---- thus leaving future support for any non protected version os (ie:linux) suspect or at the very least more expensive.

You also state 'ATI could reduce their profit margin on each chip sold in order to accomodate costs involved with ensuring compatibility with the emerging HD market. ATI chooses not to do that and instead pass that cost on to its clients". This also means more cost to the pc. You also state "ATI chooses to blame MS/Vista for the rising price of their products, forgetting that the windows platform is ATI's main reason of existance". I agree that ms/vista is reason for rising price of their products. Additionally, I also agree that windows platform is main reason for ATI existance; however, the new requirements for drm at both the software and hardware level introduces a layer of complexity that means longer and more costly development time for pc hardware and software. The new complexity that drm and vista at both the hardware and software level negates the policy of the past leaving the potential of the pc market suspect --- if I were ATI --- I would be concerned about future.

You also state "the PC in its current state is all based on content. The current PC has evolved from a typewriter replacement to a machine that can handle complex 3D tasks, HD video playback, enormous storage needs, world wide connectivity etc. It has done so because of consumer demand". I agree with you and want to continue to see the pc to evolve rather than become stuck as a overpriced dvd player. When the pc first came out --- no one saw what it be able to do at present. The same holds true now --- no one knows where the pc might evolve to in future --- but the spec is now controlled by the content providers --- this may hinder its evolution in ways we cannot fully comprehend as one must get the approval of content owners for any change in the spec. This type of limitation did not exist in the past leaving future innovation in question.

You state "Can you explain to me exactly what the difference is with the current situation? If your hardware doesn't support protected HD media playback, then there is nothing for the DRM to protect in the first place so it will be a complete non-issue. Why would that require a different version of Vista?" . A none drm version of vista would remove all the drm stuff from the vista kernal --- drm adds unnecessary complexity to both the hardware and software and wastes computer resources and to me represents an engineering defect. A non drm version would also allow the adding of open source (none drm) hardware that is outside of requirements of content owners.

There are also other concerns that I have with the content providors controling the pc market as it is negatively (in some cases eliminating) effecting segments of pc software in addition to hardware even though it does not relate to drm (if you ask I can get into --- but trying to keep my response to you from being to long). For example, alternative virtualization technologies such as vmware face elimination from the market place because of the "potential" threat virtualization poses to drm protection. This is problem with content providors having to much control in the pc industry --- technologies are either eliminated or become so laced with limitations so as to hinder its usefulness because of "mere threat" to protected content even when protected content is not relavent to drm.

You also state "What I am trying to say is that some people want it all. They want HD, but they don't want to pay for it". Personnally, I dont know anyone that has not been paying for dvd's. All the people I know have loads of dvd's ---- my own dvd collection takes up a whole closet. The content providers could of released hd dvd's long ago if they were not so paranoid about all the drm protection. In my opinion, the protected content owners have already missed out on numerous marketing opportunities and potential increased revenues because of shear paranoia.

Please note I do not disagree with you at all relating to content owners having right to protect content; only believe there is an underlying issue here that is of far greater concern whether you believe in drm or not and wonder if there is any alternative which might be option--- maybe there is not --- but thought it be worth asking.
March 17, 2007 10:48:14 PM

Vista works with non-DRM hardware... there is really no need for a non-DRM version of Vista for "open source hardware". None of the components on my PC are DRM compliant... and not a single one of them has been disabled or crippled in any fashion.

Speculation is fun; but in the end it accomplishes little. Vista is out there now, so the time for speculation is over... it's now a matter of let's wait and see what happens for those that haven't yet taken the plunge. So far, none of the horror stories I've heard hold any water whatsoever. Yes, there are driver problems, but that was to be expected. I have yet to hear of anyone complain that their hardware was disabled / crippled because of DRM.
March 18, 2007 7:21:01 AM

did not know on non drm hardware --- that vista would work?. I also agree that vista is out there --- so speculation is over.

I guess its the wait and see that I would be curious about as I would like to hear about some positives with drm --- but only hear the negative side. For example, if microsoft drm protection could allow home owners to legally copy there high def media to a central data base through some type of licensing arrangement--- this is a benefit to the consumer-- but silence is maintained by microsoft.

Additionally, high def and internet could open other doors as well. For example, downloading high def from internet.... even though protected by drm could give benefits--- ie --- itunes has no high def option --- and currently allows downloading only for 5 devices - but if this is increased to atleast to 10 devices (5 makes it none option === already tried) --- then streaming your content to everyone through a cental server becomes option---- another positive side.

Also i would like to hear a little from microsoft on not displacing technologies such as virtualization just because they represent mere threat to drm--- if something could be worked out between the two --- I would like to hear that option.

Another concern that I have is when editing my home movies as i wanted to add music but realized the music was on itunes. I could not use the music as it was drm protected --- if all content is protected in future---- would like to hear from someone like microsoft that addresses this concern --- if this concerned is addressed --- then this fear is unwarranted.

edit-

I dont think its all dark and gloom. As you said zoron, speculation is fun and in the end accomplishes little -- your right with this and I think it may be time to stop posting on this topic --- thought i would end post with something positive--- thanks for input.
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March 19, 2007 9:14:31 AM

dsharp9000,

Vista runs fine on non-PMP/DRM/HDCP compliant hardware. The only part that will not work (apparently, I haven't got a drive to test this with) is protected HD content (BlueRay HDDVD). I can confirm that Vista has no trouble with my 3 year old Athlon 2800, 1GB, ATI X800 system. I plays back everything I throw at it (within reason of course, this system wasn't really built to offer 1080p playback, so your experience 'may vary'). The PMP is only there to protect 'premium' HD content, so if you steer clear of that (as you should, until the content providers wise up) it will not affect you in the least.

About iTunes, I think you are mistaken there. iTunes allows up to 5 PC's at one time to be authorised for a purchased song. You can deauthorize a PC any time, in order to authorize another PC (if you have authorized 5 times, and for some reason you can no longer deauthorize one of the PCs, IE because of a crashed harddrive or a stolen PC, Apple will allow a periodical reset of authorizations, restarting at 0 out of 5) . The song can be transferred to an unlimited amount of iPods, provided you transfer it from an authorized database. iTunes also allows you to burn a purchased song to a CD, making it in turn possible to re-import it into your database (free of DRM). I think that makes it a very fair example of DRM.

As for Virtualization. I can confirm from expereince that, at least with Virtual PC 2007, Vista has no problem with virtualization (running a virtual PC with Ubuntu Linux, and with Win98 at the moment). Again, I haven't tried any commercial packages like VMware, because I'm not interested in paying for something Microsoft is offering for free. These Virtual PC's are not hamperred in any way by DRM, except perhaps the modest performance of the System specs that make out the Virtualized PC (PIII class CPU, S3 Trio 32 graphics card). Since it is MS themselves that offer this software (free of charge), your comment about Microsoft 'displacing Virtualization technologies' seems a little far-fetched, and I wonder were you got that impression...

Thing is, I'm not speculating here. I am using Vista as my primary (and only) OS, in a production environment. I have examples from my own experience that can counter nearly every DRM speculation that has been uttered on these boards (I am saying nearly, because I am not yet on the HD-DVD/BlueRay bandwagon, so I have no way to confirm or deny playback issues of those media, nor does it really bother me, since I consider those media only usefull in a large screen (32" and up) environment, something that IMO automatically eliminates my PC as a viable playback solution).
March 19, 2007 9:32:49 AM

I can confirm no playback issues when you -are- using HDCP equipment (HD-DVDs play fine, don't have a Blu-Ray drive though). I don't have a non-HDCP GPU or monitor to test it on otherwise.

EDIT: I should also add that my GPU has S-Video out on it, but I do not have anything connected to it. I could try connecting up my TV to it and see what happens..

I'll do that tonight.
March 20, 2007 7:50:54 PM

I'm curious about something, are all the anti-vista people who are using DRM as a big argument suggesting that Microsoft should not have put in any of the DRM code needed to run HiDef content that is protected by the new HDCP? If they had indeed left that out then no one would be able to play most of the Bluray and HD-DVD discs in the near future on their computer. Is that what is being suggested? I'm sorry but that is just incredibly unrealistic. How could MS possibly compete at all in the consumer market if that were the case?
March 20, 2007 8:22:37 PM

Quote:
I'm curious about something, are all the anti-vista people who are using DRM as a big argument suggesting that Microsoft should not have put in any of the DRM code needed to run HiDef content that is protected by the new HDCP? If they had indeed left that out then no one would be able to play most of the Bluray and HD-DVD discs in the near future on their computer. Is that what is being suggested? I'm sorry but that is just incredibly unrealistic. How could MS possibly compete at all in the consumer market if that were the case?


From what I understand, that is precisely what they are suggesting...
March 20, 2007 8:47:22 PM

so basically they are suggesting that Microsoft lose their market share in the home consumer department. I mean come on guys, it's not like it's Microsoft's idea to implement DRM in Vista. Seriously, does anyone honestly think that MS would have put this DRM crap in Vista if they had a choice? How does the DRM stuff possibly benefit Microsoft?

This whole DRM thing is solely the fault of the paranoid hollywood production companies. The HDCP copy protection basically just rapes the consumer in every multimedia market, and honestly the computer users are probably affected the least: all we have to do is upgrade our os, video card, and monitor which are all fairly standard upgrades anyways; if we wanted we wouldn't even have to get a new DVD drive because I'm sure (based on current trends) we'll be able to download everything (legit) anyways. Total price for that would probably be about $800 IF you get an awesome videocard. Now lets compare that to the home theater department, you need a new TV with an HDMI or DVI connection, a new DVD player (bluray/hd-dvd), and possibly a new receiver. Just the freaking dvd player will cost you at least $500, plus another $500 (at the min) for a new TV of any quality.

I kind of went off on a tangent there, but the main point I am trying to make is that the DRM thing is not Microsoft's fault, the blame lies with hollywood exes that don't care about their consumers, and also with poorly educated consumers (most of them) who don't know anything about the issue.[/quote]
March 21, 2007 4:43:46 AM

it sounds like everybody is for drm --- so there is little point on going on with this topic other than everybody feels it good to go on with drm as presently formed. This means vista is good --- and perhaps my concerns are unwarranted---
March 21, 2007 5:52:17 AM

I certainly don't agree that DRM is necessarily "good". I would love not to have to deal with it at all. However it is here, and unfortunately, it is here to stay. Microsoft did have a choice; they chose to comply with DRM to ensure that hi-def content would be playable on Windows. Personally, I really don't care to use my PC as a HT box... but I hear there are people out there that like to do just that.

Now we have those that are jumping up and down like mad trying to tell us that this is the end of not only the computer industry; but the world as well. There will always be naysayers when it comes to Microsoft and it's products; that much is assured. Some will go to extremes to try and demonstrate their points and get as much attention as they can. Obviously an article titled "Windows Vista: A MUST HAVE!" isn't going to get nearly as many hits as "Windows Vista: The Great Satan Returns!". No one wants to hear good news... it's always the bad that gets the ratings.

I don't love or hate Vista... at least not yet. I'm just waiting to see how much of the naysayer's nonsense is actually true; if any at all. Some of it has already proven to be false... or at the very least highly exaggerated. We shall see how many of these concerns are warranted in the near future. To me, it will be another case of people putting the cart before the horse... so to speak.
March 21, 2007 3:04:38 PM

I certainly am not for DRM. I really think it is one of the worst things to happen to multimedia in recent history (at least in it's current implementation). However I just do not blame Microsoft for this whole thing. I mean really, how can you say that Microsoft had a choice about implementing it in Vista; with the whole media center thing just getting more and more popular many people would just go with an apple, and then MS would lose that whole market segment.
March 24, 2007 12:26:38 AM

ronin, KwyjiboNL77 and zoron - thanks for input --- you all bring up good points.
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