HD1080i De-mystify HDTV 1080i ::: know why before you buy

Friday, December 29, 2006


.. OOPS - Digital Rights Management.

Something called AACS was developed to assure usage and copy protection for Movie titles. It took a hacker on a windows machine 8 days to get around it for an HD-DVD. I'm like - so what? the average user is not going to de-encrypt anything, that noise is all the realm of the total geek., also this hack is for a specific Windows based player for HD-DVD on an XBOX USB HD-DVD player.

As usual there is a large underlying basic reasoning deficiency in all this furor.

The point that people are missing is that the decryption AACS key crack is only useful to people who do not have HDCP, which is the handshake performed by the video device firmware ( graphics card or HDTV ) and the AACS in the player. An HDTV with HDCP requires a valid Key or it will not allow full resolution play. All new players and displays have HDCP.

Basically you need old equipment (HD display with old DVI or VGA graphics card on a PC), the desire and ability to run Java code on your PC, and a lot of hard disc space... e.g. you gotta be a geek with old school stuff. If your display video card has HDCP then this crack of the PowerDVD 6.5 player is not needed for HD-DVD play, and therefore not worth the bother. About all you can do is what the hacker did.. play an HD-DVD file off a hard drive into a NON HDCP enabled system.

Its important to note that AACS as an encryption method has not been broken, only the access to a Title Key has been accomplished. This is comparable to designing a very hard to break door lock, and then accidentally allowing a lot of Keys to that door to get out and be copied. The Lock itself is still just as tough, the weakness is in the Key that opens it ... Hence you actually still need the door and its lock to get in, but now you have the key and can take whatever you want through the door ( the reason for the lock in the first place ) . How do you fix this problem? Change the lock of course, and this how AACS corrects the issue, revoke the keycode in future releases. This is rather like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, so to speak, by the time you change your lock & Key, what you were trying to protect has left the building.

Actually re-writing the movie DRM-Free into a new file that can be copied to a blank HD-DVD and played in a Set-top or something other than a PC is a subsequent step. When Mpeg4 or Vc-1 format converted copies of even one HD-DVD movie shows up and PC users come to prefer that method of viewing HD Movies, then we will know that the purpose of AACS has been circumvented for that audience only, basically HD file sharing amongst XBOX HD-DVD drives with PCs connected to an HDTV.

I suspect this HD-DVD crack will be the straw breaking Toshiba's back only when someone drops a dozen cracked and pirated HD-DVD movie titles on some movie executive's desk. Probably a copy, WMV-HD formatted and no menus, just play on a PC with windows media Player 11. ( which by the way looks great... 720p or 1080p, both are superb )

HD-DVD releases are set to happen at the same time as HD pay-per-view availability on cable/dish HD networks, so all these movies may aleady be sitting on Tivos across the world anyhow. I sort of doubt that cracked DRM-Free downloads will show up everywhere since 20-25 gigs of HD is just a lot of too much data for todays connection speeds, and i would imagine that any "FREE" cracked software for HD-DVD will become rife with virus and trojans, making it risky to trust anything associated with it.

I do wonder what Toshiba / Warner / Microsoft has for Plan "B" - should be an interesting exposure of thier ability to damage control PR on this one, and how they manage the deal they have with cyberlink's Power DVD 6.5 software dvd player. I doubt they will be able to explain the real situation of HCDP to your average user, so this is a spin-doctor job for them. Bottom line? This AACS on HD-DVD furor is all noise and no real impact yet. However, this saga does not end here, it begins here.... and it is :


It's the format converted HD quality copy of a movie, duplicated in quantity and readily available ... that is feared by hollywood, and Asian duplication / knockoff houses doing it -- that is the real deal to consider, and great care must be taken by HD-DVD proponents, since it is by this means that some chinaman will be eating your lunch, and the HD-DVD will be how that was enabled.

Blu-ray key grabbing workaround for AACS has also been done. Its important to note that the crowd doing that is not the joe-sixpack average owner, but the PC user with lots of time on his/her hands and a willingness to spend large amounts of effort in dealing with downloads and hack software. Not a big contingent, but worth looking into, since all it takes is one enterprising character to create a mindlessly dumb and easy to use Keygrabber/converter and then a "borrowed" high def movie disc is copyable and can be played without HDCP/AACS in it.

My Observation is: that the usual buyer of High Def movies is not going to want to bother with any of this nonsense, and the studios have little to worry about from joe sixpack or his kids... i think more troublesome is the knockoff houses that counterfeit the movie and sell it like its an original copy.


Post a Comment

<< Home