High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection

I have an HDTV that is capable of displaying content in 1080i format. I decided that I would bite on the opportunity and pick up a cheap DVD upscaler from Circuit City, so I can watch something in HD. I looked at one of the models on the shelves and it said it upscaled to 1080i, but only via HDMI. Well, I don’t have an HDMI connector on my HDTV, so I put it down, and moved on to the next model. Same thing. As I looked at all of the upscaling players, I noticed the trend. Someone has very intentionally disabled the ability to view HD content over component inputs.

I came home, to find out that the situation really is that sinister. From Wikipedia,

…high-definition digital video content must be restricted to DVD quality on non-HDCP compliant video outputs when requested by the source. DVD-Audio content is restricted to DAT quality on non-HDCP digital audio outputs (analog audio outputs have no quality limits).

Intel wants money, and they are doing something that really is wrong. They have jumped in bed with the courts to pass a regulation that restricts HD content from being broadcasted without being encrypted. It is so acinine for companies to form an alliance and adopt these kinds of technologies. Why does HD content have to be encrypted? So it can’t be viewed without having paid royalties to Intel first. But you as the consumer have already purchased rights to view your content by purchasing or renting your DVD. But that does not entitle you to watch it in an upscaled format. Intel wants extra money for that.

So, in order for me to view content in HD that I have already paid a license to view, I now have to pay for another license to view the same shit. Thanks a lot Intel. I knew I bought AMD for a reason…



  1. I think it has more to do with the content producers than with Intel. Could be wrong on that, though. The Xbox 360 will upscale DVDs — if you are using VGA. I guess the new boxes with an HDMI output upscale over HDMI, but since I don’t have one on my console I haven’t checked. I would use the VGA output for upconversion if I weren’t using the VGA input on my television for video from my computer.

    At the moment, I get all of my HD content from Usenet. Once I can get the time to go up to Fry’s and buy a CM4228 antenna, I’ll get HD stuff Over-the-Air again. If your television has an ATSC tuner, you should really hook up a terrestrial antenna. Currently, it is the only way to get HD signal in full. The limited bandwidth of cable and satellite means you’re not getting as much as you can. If you’re able to get a strong OTA signal, there is a noticeable difference.


  2. John says:

    I am with Mr Smners on this one. This issue has a lot more to do with the content producers then it does Intel. The MPAA is the one who has been lobbying hard to get this and to push all televisions to be digital by 2008 (got pushed back to 2010 I think now). It is because they are worried about something they cannot stop. As James said, you can just use Usenet to get HD content.


  3. Ben Simpson says:

    I am angry, but I want it to be directed at the appropriate parties. This is good information to know. Whatever companies are involved in pushing this HDMI agenda, have failed to sell their garbage to this consumer.

    As James suggested, maybe I will look into HD bunny ears. “Keep TV free” and all that.


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