March 31, 2005

The Coming Death of TV II

It turns out that the problem with viewing The Strand isn't in format but rather in DRM. Microsoft has not created the facility to play its current DRM in the Macintosh as far as I can tell so Mac users are being held at bay by Microsoft.

Things are not so simple though. Ambrosia Software makes a wonderful screen capture utility called SnapzProX that's now able to capture not only screen stills but also moving pictures. You can get a 30 day demo but it's commercial software at $69.

A Mac user with a much faster Mac than my own (G4 800Mhz, don't laugh just send me money) could run VirtualPC, run the Strand inside that virtual session, and capture the episode to an unprotected quicktime movie using SnapzProX. Today, it would be foolish to do it because it's a considerable amount of pain for just a little gain but if DRM protected content gets to be popular, there will be people who strip the DRM out just to gain the ability to play on their platform just as DeCSS was created in order to make sure that Linux users could use their DVDs.

All that need happen is that one subscriber possess the right hardware/software to view it himself and be annoyed enough to record it and put the now unprotected content on P2P.

By the way, it's fairly trivial to beat the P2P networks as a practical matter. You just make it easy and cheap to buy your stuff and put enough bogus copies (of the right length) out on the networks that the pain to get a watchable pirated copy is greater than the cost of the legitimate product.

The Strand project has got much of the game down. They only have to sort out how to not tick off the minority platform people and they've got a winning formula.

Posted by TMLutas at March 31, 2005 10:44 AM