DRM

Media Center for Windows Deserves Some Respect

Media Center for Windows Deserves Some Respect

When I first was briefed on the Media Center edition of XP by Microsoft, I thought MCE was a pretty bad idea. A lot of my skepticism had to do with the market they claimed they were going after, namely college students in dorm rooms and yuppies living in cramped apartments with no room for both TVs and PCs. Of course, college students mostly buy laptops, and no matter where you live most folks don't watch TV on a small computer monitor from across the room. The short-term market were enthusiasts who understood the value of a DVR such as a TiVo.

Over time, Microsoft tried a few approaches with MCE – from extenders to allow you to view content on other TVs in the home over your network, to creating extender technology for Xbox (which is already hooked up to a TV set) – as well as working with a host of OEMs to create "living room" form factor home theater PCs. The result of these efforts was less than a stellar success and few vendors actively build home theater PCs; these days, if a consumer uses media center they're either an enthusiast or they've tripped over it by mistake trying to do something else. That's a shame, as MCE has evolved over time to become a great technology, one that few people even know exist.

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Kindle DRM confuses: unknown download limits apply

Kindle DRM confuses: unknown download limits apply

The plus side to Amazon's attempts to differentiate ebook hardware and content is being able to read content on more than one device.  However, when one arm of the company is pushing customers to buy more Kindle hardware, and the other has cautious publishers insisting on layers of DRM, confusion is bound to happen.  According to Gear Diary's Dan Cohen, that confusion is already upon us: he's spent his weekend and several long calls with Amazon customer care trying to figure out how many times he can download ebooks he's purchased, and being told different things by different employees.

iPod shuffle “control chip” not DRM, just more licensing

iPod shuffle “control chip” not DRM, just more licensing

After speculation that Apple was using the new iPod shuffle 4GB to launch an "authentication chip" which only licensed headphones would offer, Apple themselves and a number of third-party accessory manufacturers have spoken up about the smallest iPod's hardware.  V-moda, Monster Cable and Scosche have all described it as a "control chip", which uses the microphone channel in the four-channel headphones to send multiple commands: play, pause, volume control and more.

iPod shuffle ‘authentication chip’ threatening headphone DRM?

iPod shuffle ‘authentication chip’ threatening headphone DRM?

For something so small, the new iPod shuffle 3G is causing a whole lot of commotion.  Argument around Apple's tiniest PMP is centering on the control system, which has been shifted from the body of the shuffle itself to an in-line pod in the headphones.   Now there's talk of an "authentication chip" buried inside the shuffle that will act as "headphone DRM", with Apple insisting on licensing fees from any third-party manufacturer wanting to make compatible accessories.

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Apple new MacBook & MacBook Pro HDCP frustrating iTunes users

Apple new MacBook & MacBook Pro HDCP frustrating iTunes users

Apples decision to go with Mini DisplayPort on their new MacBook and MacBook Pro machines, and not include the adapters free, initially frustrated many whose existing monitors simply lacked the connection.  Now there's a whole new level of annoyance, as it becomes clear that Apple have made use of HDCP (High-Definition Content Protection) which renders any display not supporting the encryption technology unable to show a growing amount of content bought through iTunes.

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Netflix’s Instant Watching coming to Macs via Silverlight

Netflix’s Instant Watching coming to Macs via Silverlight

Thanks to Microsoft, Netflix subscribers can now access Watch Instantly service via MS’s Silverlight technology on their Intel –based Macs. The company has a growing library of 12,000 movies and episodes of TV shows available for its unlimited plans customers to stream online, but were limited to PC users due to lack of supports from Apple in DRM licensing.

Not anymore, the online version of Red Envelop has adopted Microsoft latest generation of Silverlight to enable protected content playback on Windows and Apple machines.

Walmart DRM servers get a reprieve

Walmart DRM servers get a reprieve

Walmart has backtracked on its decision to shut down the DRM servers authenticating music tracks purchased from its MP3 Downloads store.  In a message sent to service users, Walmart cites "feedback from our customers" as the motivation for the turnaround, having announced last month that it would take the systems offline as it transitioned to DRM-free MP3s. 

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