the AACS keeps 75% of your image by closing the ‘analog hole’

What is it with four letter acronyms?

RIAA
MPAA

AACS

The last one I had never heard of. The “Advanced Access Content System” is a brainchild of everybody who is involved in either one of the upcoming HD disk systems.

DVD came with DSS copy protection. Since 1999 it has been hacked. DVD was a success for everybody involved. Despite the fact that it’s copy protection wasn’t working.

The job of the AACS is to make sure that this will not happen again. The digital connector for both Blue-Ray and HD-DVD are HDMI which is more or less DVI with added copy protrection via HDCP. Yes: 4 letter acronyms spell TRBL.

Since there are no actual devices yet to hack the xxxx institutions still live in the the phantasy world that their content will be save and their maginot-like system will work this time. For the first time.

But then there is the ‘analog hole’. They feel they need to close that one real fast.

According to this press article the solution will be that all players will down sample their analog output to 960×540. That’s a quarter of the original 1920×1080 resolution. Many existing HD displays don’t have digitally-kosher-drm-compliant HDMI inputs yet. That’s what you get for being an early adopter: your image will be downsized and then upconverted in the display again. Yes this probably much like a normal DVD at that point. But since you are an early adopter you gonna buy a HD DVD AND Blu-Ray player anyway. Right? Hey, come back here. Early adopter: your friends in the industry need you now more than ever …

The real tragedy is, that this crippling will not cure the issue. There will be hacks for HDCP. And pirated content never cares about quality in the first place. People will continue to ‘get’ a pirated movie. Maybe those four letter institutions should have a look at their enemies first before they punish the people that pay their bills (again). Pirated content exists because it is easy to access and/or cheaper. NOT because it features more pixels or samples. Most of the time it does not.

So our friends at the AACS just made the whole thing more complex, added a little bit to the price of the every player and made probably lots of people with non HDCP screens pretty unhappy. For zero gains. Brilliant!

Ars Technica comments on the same matter.

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