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High-Definition, Highly Limiting

High-definition films with more than six times the detail as existing DVDs? That’s the promise of the next generation of hi-def discs, both the HD-DVD format and rival Blu-ray. But the picture isn’t all rosy, so to speak. These new discs will have a new copy-protection scheme called AACS.

High-definition films with more than six times the detail as existing DVDs? That’s the promise of the next generation of hi-def discs, both the HD-DVD format and rival Blu-ray. But the picture isn’t all rosy, so to speak. These new discs will have a new copy-protection scheme called AACS. For consumers, the prospect of buying new hi-def devices and movies is already messy, given the competition between the two formats, but the limits emposed by the extra copy-protection may put people off completely.

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What are some of the measures the Hollywood studios are implementing? If you use standard analog wires (like the common three pronged yellow-red-white cables), the player will automatically worsen the picture quality. The thinking is that anyone copying such a video will not get a perfect duplicate. Or how about this: If you hook up your next-gen player to a computer, you won’t be able to record the film as a movie file. To play hi-def movies directly on a computer, users will need the draconian new software that will ensure you are not ripping the film onto your hard drive or another disk.

When did something I buy stop being mine to do with as I please? Why can’t I get a screen capture when I want? Or watch the movie in the way I want, like on an iPod screen? And why is it that an upgrade in technology now means a downgrade in functionality?

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About the author

His work has also been published by Kill Screen, Tom's Guide, Tech Times, MTV Geek, GameSpot, Gamasutra, Laptop Mag, Co.Create, and Co.Labs. Focusing on the creativity and business of gaming, he is always up for a good interview or an intriguing feature.

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