Friday, March 21, 2008

BD+ cracked

One of the key reasons Blu-ray won out in the format war (probably the reason) was an additional layer of copyright protection that HD-DVD lacked, BD+. The existence of this consumer-screwing code in the BR discs was explicitly named by many studio heads as the reason they went with BR. Sony, having won out in the format wars by convincing the movie studios that a more expensive format would be better for their digital media sales (???) now drinks from the chalice of victory: Slysoft, an Antigua-based software company, has cracked BD+. There were some false claims about this last year, but this time it's seems for real.

This is what's so absurd about the whole DRM issue. It's causing large, multi-billion dollar firms to make objectively bad decisions for their bottom line. I'm pretty skeptical that the HD transition would be zipping along in the absence of a format war, but I think it's pretty clear that more people would be buying hi-def movie and players if they were cheaper. HD-DVD was cheaper, BR isn't. In fact, it now looks like, having won the format war, Sony is going to try and keep prices high for at least another year or so. In the absence of BD+, what good reason was there to choose Blu-ray over HD-DVD, if the priority was quickly transitioning to HD?

In a different industry, Stardock games points out the obvious: they're in the business of serving customers, not foiling pirates. DRM pisses off their customers and is barely noticed by pirates, so why bother?

Once I upgrade my desktop and close out this term at school, I'm totally buying some of Stardock's games.

1 comment:

Adam said...

The whole DRM delusion is an ongoing bafflement (is that a word?) for me. Music DRM seems to have missed the fact that unless you prevent music from actually playing out loud, you certainly can't prevent people from recording the sound. People used to make tapes of music off the radio, remember that? Still works, and the principle (recording sound) is pretty tough to suppress. At some point, in order to play, a signal must pass into the speaker wires.

And for movies, a similar thing applies. At some point, every signal must become recognizable so media players can play them. Such a waste of resources. My favourite DRM story was the high-tech CD protection that could be defeated by a sharpie line around the outside of the CD.