DRM Prevents AppleTV From Working On Some Hardware

from the thank-you,-DRM dept

Kevin Stapp writes "The infinite wisdom of the entertainment industry has decided to place DRM on AppleTV downloads that can make the content incompatible with many hardware configurations. If your hardware doesn't support HDCP you can't watch content you legitimately rented via AppleTV. Now that's a great way to treat a PAYING customer." This seems to happen all too frequently these days. DRM isn't being used to prevent copying, but it sure does make life a lot more difficult for users. Whatever happened to Steve Jobs being against DRM? Oh, right, that was only for music, not video.
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Filed Under: apple tv, drm
Companies: apple

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  1. icon
    Eric Aitala (profile), 27 Feb 2008 @ 7:28pm

    In other news...

    ... my Honda Civic will not run on diesel fuel.

    Did anyone not notice the guy in question had a computer monitor hooked up to his AppleTV? And that the tech specs for Apple TV list a requirement for HDMI ??


    While one can debate the 'merits' and drawbacks of DRM, this problem is due to not paying attention.... RTFM


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Rickler, 27 Feb 2008 @ 7:40pm

    This just in: HDMI =! HDCP

    HDCP even works with DVI.

    The more you know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Hellsvilla, 27 Feb 2008 @ 7:44pm

    wow, how lame

    I read the /specs page, and noticed immediately that HDMI is listed as a requirement, with a tiny footnote (7).

    So you go searching for that 7 in tiny light grey print at the bottom of the page and there it lists that HDCP is required. WTF?

    That is not acceptable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Bryan Young, 27 Feb 2008 @ 8:09pm


    That's why it's called 'AppleTV' not 'AppleMonitor'.

    The rentals work just fine with an analog component signal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    bob, 27 Feb 2008 @ 8:18pm


    This is just going to create more pirates. Arrgh!

    This mean I got to go out and buy a new TV/monitor with HDCP just so I can watch some of some content from the AppleTV. Pfft. Sorry Apple, I already got my 42inch glossy widescreen and a 20inch glossy wide monitor. That's another reason why the AppleTV sucks.

    And the root of all this evil is that consumers are too idiotic to tell Apple to shove it in their anus and some of the other products that Apple makes (iMac - buy a new monitor every time you buy a new computer), but I am!


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Freedom, 27 Feb 2008 @ 8:21pm

    DRM - PriceLess :)

    In the end, someone will still find a way to copy the movie and put it up via BT and other means. So all the extra protection (i.e. requiring an interface with HDCP support) does is reduce your potential client base.

    Knowing that you can't prevent 100% of the people from making an un-authorized copy no matter how much protection is used, why even bother if all it will do is reduce your client base/potential and increase your support and product costs?

    People just want a KIS type solution and the majority of them will more than happily pay for it as long as it is easier than the alternative. The #1 reason people download stuff from BT and the like is because they can get the material without DRM restrictions. If your business model means that you pay for something and get a more restrictive product than you are doing something fundementally wrong.

    Bottom line - make it easier for the consumer - not harder!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Buzz, 27 Feb 2008 @ 8:32pm

    Oh the irony

    I still find it amazing that DRM's purpose is to stop piracy, but it fails at exactly that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Pete, 27 Feb 2008 @ 9:13pm

    All the fuss!

    I can't believe people complaining about what a product is not supposed to do.

    Yesterday I saw a fellow purchase a Toshiba DVD recorder explaining to me his intention to recored HD programing from his cable provider, not knowing the recorder does not record HD.
    Apple TV has been out for a year now. Go to the Apple store and ask them about your configuration or intention on how to use the product before you buy it. Eric (the first poster) is right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Mike Coop, 27 Feb 2008 @ 9:44pm

    Actually, the article is totally accurate...

    Nothing to see here. This isn't a discussion about digital rights management (DRM), which protects files. This is a discussion about high bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP), which is the link protection used on HDMI and DVI, and is also available on DisplayPort. If you're playing out high definition content (720p/1080i/1080p) on an HDMI interface, the source and the sink (display) need to be able to properly negotiate protection of the link to allow the content to play. No HDCP, no content playback.

    TFA is accurate...and, the author also points out that one can view the content via the analog hole by using component (analog) connectivity.

    To the earlier post that HDMI=HDCP, not exactly. Retailers are selling upconverting DVD players by the truckload. These devices play out existing (standard definition) content via an HDMI port, but do NOT utilize HDCP. Upconverting DVD players have a scaler which takes the original SD DVD (480i on NTSC, 576i on PAL/SECAM) and converts the output to 720p/1080i/1080p for output to a display. The player and the display can be connected via HDMI or DVI, and do *not* require HDCP to function, since the source content is *not* in high definition. Plus, at ~$79 (here in the U.S.) for a decent upconverting DVD player, this was the path of least resistance for the vast majority of consumers prior to Blu-ray emerging victorious in the format war.

    So, don't take Apple to task here; this has nothing to do with them. HDCP is a spec developed by Intel, managed by DCP, LLC, and is in place due to the requirements of the content creators (studios). If you have a beef, it's not with the folks making hardware...they're simply following the mandates of the studios.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Code, 27 Feb 2008 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Actually, the article is totally accurate...

    What you may not have noticed is that the earlier post actually stated HDMI =! HDCP, which any programmer would realise means that they don't equal one another (note the exclamation mark).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Able-X, 27 Feb 2008 @ 11:03pm

    in other news...

    In other news, the AppleTV works as advertised. I have my own issues with it since take 2 came out as I have been a user since 1.0, but this is definately not one of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Wesha, 27 Feb 2008 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Oh the irony

    Not only that -- it *promotes* piracy: pirated content has no trouble playing because it has no "copyrighted" bit set, and legal content annoys paying customers to the hell and back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Cixelsid, 28 Feb 2008 @ 12:40am

    Re: Re: Actually, the article is totally accurate.

    Erm... C type syntax:


    or if you prefer bitwise ops

    & ~

    I don't know what lame PL you're using.

    But yeah, I don't quite get how people don't understand that HDMI is not HDCP. Maybe some of these RTFM people should GSFB (Get some fucking brains).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    mike allen, 28 Feb 2008 @ 1:57am


    DRM does not stop piracy as anyone with a analogue output on the monitor knows just record on DVD or even dare i say tape. all DRM does is p"""s off your customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2008 @ 5:19am

    Content Protection does induce copyright violation

    I have to agree with everyone who says that overly restrictive DRM drives people to piracy. I have a Blu-Ray drive in my computer, I have my computer hooked up to an HDTV, but I am running Windows XP, so any DRMed files will either not play at all, or will downsample themselves to SD before playing (Due to the lack of HDCP support in WinXP). Sure I could go out and spend $XXX dollars on an expensive stand-alone player, or more money on an operating system that will make my computer slower, but I should not have to. So when I want to watch something in actual HD, Instead of spending my money on the Disc, I go to Pirate bay. Not because I don't have the money to buy the disc, or because I'm a rotten person, but because it's the only way I can watch it in it's full quality with my current setup. Why pay more for something that I can't even use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Franssu, 28 Feb 2008 @ 7:41am

    Re: Actually, the article is totally accurate...

    Whether you want it or not, HDCP is a DRM technique, it's a software protocol used to enforce DRM shenanigans. The main problem here is always the same. By using this moronic techniques, content providers (and their hardware lackeys) are making legitimate content harder to use than pirated content.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    kipster, 28 Feb 2008 @ 8:42am


    i bought a new car and i didnt know it ran on helium! my gas station doesnt sell helium!! those assholes! well, it says it on the contract, but i didnt read that and end user licensing agreements are BS anyways!!

    now i have to steal helium at The Helium Bay and eventually buy a new gas car.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2008 @ 10:07am

    Re: duh!

    Now, see, you're joking, but think about it. If you're smart, you read the contract when you buy a car. If you're smart, you also buy a car once every, what, five or ten years? And if you don't like the contract, you can argue the point, negotiate a new one, or take your business elsewhere.

    EULAs have lots of problems, as was pointed out on TechDirt earlier. If you're reading it, you've probably already agreed to it ("By opening this package, you have agreed to..). If you're up on technology, you might be getting new software every couple of months or so; even if you aren't, odds are the EULA's changing on you that fast any ways. If you don't like it, you're stuck: you can't negotiate a EULA. And you probably can't take your business elsewhere, either: AppleTV, if not unique, is fairly cutting-edge with little competition.

    Oh, wait, that's right. The Pirate Bay IS taking your business elsewhere. They offer the product you want, high-definition, easy to use, easy to manage. The big companies are devaluing their product my making it less-usable for consumers. They're making their car run on helium, and they're getting hardware manufactures to set up helium stations, and they're calling you a criminal if you use gas or ride a bike.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Buzz, 28 Feb 2008 @ 12:58pm

    Re: duh!

    There people go again comparing stealing to pirating.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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