Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Macs won't let some video play on projectors

Old televisions, projectors, LCD panels -- they're not "HDCP" compliant. So they won't always work as expected with new Macs. Only media that enforce the DRM chain are fully acceptable (emphasis mine)...
AppleInsider | Apple's new MacBooks have built-in copy protection measures

Apple's new MacBook lines include a form of digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-infused iTunes movies, from playing back on devices that aren't compliant with the new priority protection measures.

The Intel-developed technology is called High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and aims to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across a variety of display connectors, even if such copying is not in violation of fair use laws.

Among the connectors supported by the technology are the Mini DisplayPort found on Apple's latest MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, in addition to others such as Digital Visual Interface (DVI), High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), Gigabit Video Interface (GVIF), and Unified Display Interface (UDI).

ArsTechnica reports that Apple has apparently acquired a license for the technology and is now using it across its DisplayPort-enabled MacBook lines to to prevent transmission of purchased iTunes content to devices that don't include support for HDCP.

"When my friend John, a high school teacher, attempted to play Hellboy 2 on his classroom's projector with a new aluminum MacBook over lunch, he was denied by the error you see [below]," writes Ars' David Chartier. "John's using a Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter, plugged into a Sanyo projector that is part of his room's Promethean system."

... As a licensed adopter of HDCP, Apple agrees to pay an annual fee and abide by the conditions set forth in Inte's HDCP License Agreement [PDF].

For example, the terms stipulate that high-definition digital video sources must not transmit protected content to non-HDCP-compliant receivers, as described above, and DVD-Audio content must be restricted to CD-audio quality or less when played back over non-HDCP-digital audio outputs.

Hardware vendors are also barred from allowing their devices to make copies of content, and must design their products in ways that "effectively frustrate attempts to defeat the content protection requirements."...
Gee, I wonder why the makers of Audio Hijack couldn't get permission to put their apps on the iPhone.

We know where this ends up.

We will all have little chips implanted into our acoustic and ocular nerves. The chips will decode encrypted media, which will look and sound like nonsense to the unchipped. That way every family member will pay separately for their holograms.

You think I'm joking.


Anyone know how I can make anonymous cash donations to the bandits of Sherwood Forest 2.0?

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

See also: Palladium.

Update 11/20/08: Additional details. If Apple had provided another port they'd have been ok, but that would have ruined the vibe.

Update 11/25/08: This is partly a bug. Apple has a QT fix. The Macs were supposed to be able to output regular video to non-compliant monitors, but not HD video.

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