Archive for October 3rd, 2006

Experiment – A post a day

I’m going to publish one post a day for the next week, well, starting yesterday (Monday), just to see if I can actually come up with something to talk about without getting too boring.

You never know, I may come up with something profound. But don’t bet on it, especially if you live in the US where they’ve just banned internet gambling. Hmm, perhaps that’s an idea for a post!

October 3rd, 2006

Why I won’t be buying Blue Ray or HD-DVD

I was an early adopter of DVD, I’ve had a DVD player for over eight years, many hundreds of DVDs from several different regions, and enjoy the format immensely.

I won’t be getting either a Blue Ray or HD-DVD player for the foreseeable future.

Why? I don’t want to be buying into another Betamax, and at the moment there isn’t a clear winner in the format war and I’m not going to be on the losing side. Plus there are some fairly onerous DRM restrictions built into both platforms that, frankly, give me the willies. Case in point, I recently blogged that I love my Media Centre pc, well one of the things I occasionally do is copy a DVD onto the hard drive so I can have it available more conveniently. This, naturally, won’t be possible with the next-gen disk formats as they’re all about control, and the control is given to the content producers, not the consumers. This is also why I don’t use services like iTunes or Napster, if I can’t do what I like wit the media I purchase, then I’m not interested.

Case in point, I’m a huge Mike Oldfield fan, and a few years ago he released a re-recording of Tubular Bells, and the cd was copy-protected (or as we say in these here parts, broken). I couldn’t play it on my PC and copying it to play in my in-car cd changer was similarly difficult (I never use original cds in the car). So, facing this dilemma I decided to do what all true geeks would, I googled and I found out how to break through these silly copy protection systems and rip a copy of the cd. It took some time and effort, with some tracks requiring multiple passes to get a decent copy, but I eventually managed it.

The net result –  I had a copy of the cd for my car, an mp3 for my pc, and a slew of new knowledge on how to bypass copy protection schemes.

I’ve had similar problems with copy protection schemes with games, when I couldn’t play No-one Lives Forever because the brain-damaged DRM system wouldn’t work with my DVD drive, I had to resort to finding a no-cd crack to actually play the game I had purchased. None of the pirates had this problem, naturally; I was being penalised for being a paying customer.

DRM should be renamed to Consumer Rights Limitation, because that is exactly what they aim to do, prevent us, as the consumers, from using our purchased products as we wish. Imagine a washing machine that only allowed certain type of detergent, not because it couldn’t use more types, but because the manufacturers wouldn’t allow it. Or as in the case of iTunes / Napster et al, once you had washed your clothes in it they were not able to be washed in any other washing machine, even if you had to change it because it had broken!

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October 3rd, 2006


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