Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Coming DRM Debacle

This weeks Engadget podcast (a good way to keep up with gadget tech if you have a spare hour) reminded me of a subject that I have mentioned before, the coming DRM debacle. Windows Vista is supposed to ship before the end of the year. The question is, will it be so wrapped up in DRM security that it will be unusable?

Windows has succeeded in the past because it has been an open platform that has accommodated a myriad of components and software. According to the Engadget crew you will not be able to use a Cable Card 2 (the one you want) with a PC unless the whole system, hardware and software has been certified. This means that you will not be able to build your own system and you will not be able to upgrade your certified system if you want to use a cable card.

So what use is a Media PC if it cannot be upgraded and connected to a cable system or a Blu-Ray media player? I am fearful to suggest it, but it sounds like a Media PC may be more useful to the hackers in Russia than it will be to its owner. The worst thing, as the Engadget guys say, is that Microsoft is spinelessly falling in with the media interests rather than showing any sign of standing up to them. Seems like we need them to think different.