More on MCE and HDTV
Chris Lanier has an excellent response to the ongoing discussion over HDTV in Windows Media Center Edition 2005. I don’t agree with 100% of what he’s written, but I agree with most of it, and I think most of our disagreements are based on market approaches more than technical facts. I’ll have more to say about this later.
I was really, really disappointed by Thomas Hawk’s response, however. I though this remark in particular was a cheap shot:
According to Chris, Vista will change everything and finally give us, through our savior DRM, the closed box within an open box and the HDTV that I and others crave along with it.
Thomas is grossly misinterpreting Chris’s argument. To characterize Chris as advocating for “our savior DRM” is insulting and wrong.
Thomas is not alone. Chris has taken a bunch of arrows in the past few months from people who can’t seem to get past their emotional response. They keep ignoring the most essential fact: The DRM is already there in the encrypted cable or satellite signal. Any company – Microsoft, TiVo, the Myth TV community, or any third party – has to deal with it.
The satellite companies have no mechanism of any kind to allow third parties to access the encrypted data stream. None. TiVo cut a deal with DirecTV to build DVR hardware into DirecTV’s set-top box, but DirecTV sells those boxes and owns those customers. TiVo just collects a few dollars per subscriber for supplying the back-end services.
Cable companies have an umbrella organization (CableLabs) and a technology (Open Cable Application Platform) that third parties can implement to get their technologies into the encrypted data stream. Getting certified by CableLabs means you’ve successfully met their requirements for maintaining a secure data path that can’t be copied.
The implication of the sarcastic remarks aimed at Chris is that he is in favor of selling Windows users down the river by advocating that DRM be imposed on our wonderful free digital world. In reality, Chris is explaining what technology companies like Microsoft have to do to play successfully in the modern media universe. You might not like that universe, but that’s the one we live in.