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.
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?