DRM

Basic TV hack cuts HDCP copy-protection out of HDMI signal

Basic TV hack cuts HDCP copy-protection out of HDMI signal

Opening up your brand new HDTV and soldering wires directly to its control board takes a certain type of devil-may-care attitude, but in doing so one new owner found he could bypass HDCP.  HDCP is the often-frustrating copy-protection system that insists on a "digital handshake" between DVI/HDMI connected components; however, the InstaPort Fast HDMI Switching system in this "big brand" TV fails to re-encrypt with HDCP in-between the control board and the switcher.

Amazon 1984 ebook case settled: new remote-delete policy revealed

Amazon 1984 ebook case settled: new remote-delete policy revealed

Amazon's attempt to placate the braying crowds with a $30 kiss-and-make-up check and a grovelling apology after the deleted 1984 ebook fiasco worked with most Kindle customers, but it wasn't enough to dissuade suing student Justin Gawronski from his court case.  Amazon have now settled with the Michigan teen, to the amount of $150,000 in fact, which he will share with his legal team and a co-plaintiff; meanwhile, the retailer has taken steps to make its deletion policy clearer.

Full policy after the cut

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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