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DRM Entertainment

With Cinavia DRM, Is Blu-ray On a Path To Self-Destruction? 429 429

suraj.sun tips an article at AnandTech about a Blu-ray DRM scheme called Cinavia. The author makes the case that software like Cinavia is hastening the death of a Blu-ray industry already struggling to compete with online media streaming. Quoting: "In our opinion, it is the studios and the Blu-ray system manufacturers who have had the say in deciding upon the suitability of a particular DRM scheme. Consumers have had to put up with whatever has been thrust upon them. The rise in popularity of streaming services (such as Netflix and Vudu) which provide instant gratification should make the Blu-ray industry realize its follies. The only reason that streaming services haven't completely phased out Blu-rays is the fact that a majority of the consumers don't have a fast and reliable Internet connection. Once such connections become ubiquitous, most of the titles owned by consumers would probably end up being stored in the cloud. ... The addition of new licensing requirements such as Cinavia are preventing the natural downward price progression of Blu-ray related technology. Instead of spending time, money and effort on new DRM measures that get circumvented within a few days of release, the industry would do well to lower the launch price of Blu-rays. There is really no justification for the current media pricing."
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With Cinavia DRM, Is Blu-ray On a Path To Self-Destruction?

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  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:26AM (#39450947) Homepage

    I didn't know conglomerates were law enforcement agencies? Why would they stop harassing and assulting citizens unless forced to?

    I'll buy your argument as soon as "conglomerates" stop getting special legal task forces and swat teams to enforce their copyright schemes.

  • It's Sony again (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:29AM (#39450981)

    They're the one pushing this audio watermark in their movies. Piracy has nothing to do with it, they want to license this crap to others and get a Sony tax on every audio track and device that supports this offensive DRM (playback will stop if the source is from an unregistered device, so forget legal rips).

  • by LehiNephi (695428) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:29AM (#39450983) Journal
    The author throws this premise and assumption in without giving it too much examination:

    a majority of the consumers don't have a fast and reliable Internet connection. Once such connections become ubiquitous...

    That's a big leap. Countries with high populations densities, such as those in Europe and the Far East, will have a much easier/cheaper time of building out the infrastructure for reliable high-speed internet to a vast majority of their population. Here in the US, however, it's a lot more expensive. Simply hand-waving the "once such connections become ubiquitous" ignores the cost of installing that infrastructure, and the time required to extend it to enough households.

    Besides, a 1080p movie is going to suck a lot of bandwidth, and I'm guessing most people won't want to pay for a connection fast enough when they can save a few bucks with a slower connection. Not to mention the whole throttling/bandwidth cap issue.

  • by rbrander (73222) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:32AM (#39451025) Homepage

    All the video stores - I mean all but three in a city of 1.1M, none within many miles of my house - have closed. And I don't get streaming, in every sense of the word "get".

    In Canada, at least, Netflix recently reduced it's bandwidth again, down below 1Mbps - sub DVD, much less Blu-Ray. Why bother having HDTV if you use it?

    I've become a steady browser at the library, where they have more DVD titles than any video store - but for anything popular, put the disc on a hold and wait 3 months, and all Blu-Rays (about 5% of the collection) are out all the time. And, no, I'm not paying $29.99 for "Contagion" to watch it once, possibly twice ten years later.

    The rental people had about the right number - $5 for an evening for something quite popular, a little less for the older ones. And there are few movies I'll watch twice, very, very few more than twice, so $10 as a purchase price is already high for most discs. For me.

    So I do seem to be trapped in some kind of market failure here, where I've got the money, want the product, and the one market mechanism for meeting product with customer at an agreeable price has just collapsed, beaten out by "good enough"....and if 1Mbps is "good enough" (is it really that people are too damn lazy to go to the mall to browse instead of clicking from the sofa??), then maybe BR is doomed because nobody appreciates resolution. And not having freezes and artifacts and glitches.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:32AM (#39451027)

    Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

    I have a rather vast collection of DVD's. Several hundred, in fact. I don't actually watch a lot of films, but I do enjoy owning the ones I like.
    When Blu-ray first came along, or rather when I first got a Blu-ray player (A PS3 I managed to grab on the cheap, back when they were still £350+), I started the transition to Blu-ray. If I bought a new film, I'd buy the Blu-ray version instead of the DVD. If I wanted to watch an old film, I'd see if I could find it on blu-ray before raiding my collection.
    Then the irregularities hit - obviously being a collector, I'd want to get the "best" version of the films in question. Yet for the longest time, you could get a "vanilla" DVD, a "Special" DVD (which often came with a second disk full of "Features" and maybe some art cards) or THE blu-ray. Which came with only some, or none, of the special features. And it was still £5 more than the special DVD.

    I stopped buying either. I found that I could just as easily spend £10 a month on a newsgroup subscription and download whatever film I wanted in whatever quality I wanted, whenever I wanted. Why rebuy my whole collection when I can just watch what I want, when I want? If I wanted the extras, I could have them as well - at no extra cost. What's more, I could play them wherever I wanted, including streaming them to various other non-bluray capable devices. Much how people preferred MP3's simply because anything could play them, I now prefer downloaded copies for the same reason. I'm sorry that "crooks" are getting my money instead of the people who made the films, but it all just got too much. I will switch to a streaming service as soon as one offers a decent catalogue of films without charging stupid amounts. I refuse to "rent" films for anything more than £1 a pop - particularly as brand new DVDs can be had for less than £5 and most streams are NOT actually HD quality (they're often about as good as DVD quality, maybe a bit better - certainly no 1080p). The content is the killer though - why does Netflix US have 10x the content than Netflix UK does? Oh yeah, because the Movie companies are plainly greedy. They want licensing rights done on a per-country basis so they can squeeze as much out of everyone. Well fuck you, how about you let anyone access all your content for a set price and let competition do the work.

  • by Technician (215283) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:33AM (#39451037)

    At $5 per disk, I would not have them because of the player cost, unless I find a great price on a used one somewhere.

    I made the mistake of buying a Laserdisk player. The disks were supposed to be cheaper than videotape because they could be easly mass produced. Video tape prices fell and laserdisk remained expensive. DVD's filled the promise with many titles in the bins under $5.

    Blue-ray started at a higher price and remain at a higher price for the player and content. No thanks.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:37AM (#39451079) Homepage

    The only reason that streaming services haven't completely phased out Blu-rays is the fact that a majority of the consumers don't have a fast and reliable Internet connection. Once such connections become ubiquitous, most of the titles owned by consumers would probably end up being stored in the cloud.

    Some of us have no interest in streaming our media. And many of us have no interest in storing our stuff in the cloud.

    I want my movies stored local, offline, and accessible when I want it and without asking permission. Streaming is just going to lead to 'monetizing' each view. Storing it in the cloud means I can't watch movies on the plane, in bed, or by the pool.

    I'm probably old fashioned, but I still buy Blu Ray discs and CDs which I rip to MP3. With ISPs adding bandwidth caps and the like, I'm not going to pay to stream down a movie I've already bought, and then pay my ISP again for the bandwidth for re-watching the movie again. Everyone wants a piece of that action, and I'm not playing.

    So, for many of us, the physical disk is going to remain as the way we play these movies for a long time yet.

  • Re:Proof (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:42AM (#39451159)
    What doesnt help is that there are maybe 3 media player programs that can run Blu-rays, all of them about 90-95 megabytes, all of them $100 or more. Thats more than I paid for the DRIVE.
  • by Zoson (300530) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:45AM (#39451195) Journal

    After updating my PS3's firmware, I could no longer play my blu-ray backups that I had ripped with AC3 audio.
    I didn't hesitate. I sold my PS3 and bought parts to build an HTPC - and never looked back.

    I don't regret the decision at all. Neither will you.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#39451291)

    I'm probably old fashioned, but I still buy Blu Ray discs and CDs which I rip to MP3.

    I download ripped copies and put the original in a box in my loft, often unopened.

    If I'm ever sent a C&D letter from a protection racket^W^Wlaw firm, my response will more than likely be a photograph of the original disk and the receipt (also stored in the box), accompanying the words "I refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram."

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:00AM (#39451377)

    One slight problem .. Iron Man 2 is available for streaming, but Iron Man is not. No high speed streaming solution is going to help out when there is a legal roadblock to streaming movies.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:04AM (#39451419)
    Sorry but no. Blu-ray content is absent from my computer because it requires HDCP protected equipment and DRM-laden OS, which while now ubiquitous in the form of HDMI connectivity on graphics cards, TVs etc, is absent from my home setup. My monitor doesn't support HDMI despite being over 1080p in resolution, and I've no intention of "upgrading" it any time soon.

    A Blu-ray player may well be $42, but the accompanying 1080p TV and speaker system are considerably more. I would expect a system which can actually make use of the improved video and sound quality of Blu-Ray to cost at least $1000, whereas my existing DVD playback system has no problems at all.
  • by dwillden (521345) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:10AM (#39451521) Homepage
    Player cost? Really, that's your issue. When Wal-mart and other retailers are selling 1080p players for $89 or even less some times? Granted you can get a DVD player that upscales quite decently for $29 at Walmart. But if $90 is too expensive for you to handle I doubt you are buying many DVDs either.
  • How about 1080p (Score:4, Interesting)

    by speedlaw (878924) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:25AM (#39451705) Homepage
    I have a VERY fast internet connection with a VERY fast wifi node. I get Netflix best HD stream but Blu Rays still look better. Netflix also sends down a stereo audio feed, not 5.1 or Master Mass market won't care, they are still watching fat people (stretch) on the HD set, but if you do care, Netlfix is a movie, but the Blu Ray can be an experience. Depends on the movie if that matters.
  • by Rakarra (112805) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:35PM (#39453565)

    Region restrictions serve primarily three purposes:
    1) Ensuring that Blu-Ray sales in one region don't compete with theatrical attendance in other regions. Releasing on the same day globally is very expensive, and different countries have different high-periods for movie attendance.

    2) Localization, something I'm not a fan of anyway. I'd much rather cultural references fly over my head than have them be removed. That applies to dubbing as well.

    3) Enforcing distribution agreements. Sometimes a distributor is not legally or contractually allowed to distribute a movie/show outside of its

    That being said, I believe Blu-Rays are actually far more lax with region encoding than DVDs are. There are only three regions for Blu-Rays (as opposed to 7? 9? for DVDs) meaning any particular Blu-Ray will play in a larger area than an equivalent Blu-Ray. Region restrictions are enforced by player software, not hardware, so you'll have less of the "you get 5 region changes" situations than you would have had with DVDs. Also, it's far more likely that a Blu-Ray will be released region-free. All of Paramount's and Universal's titles are region-free, while other studios have differing percentages of titles.

    Sadly, DRM is far more onerous, even while region locking has become less of a problem.

How can you do 'New Math' problems with an 'Old Math' mind? -- Charles Schulz