Originally Posted by mikemorel
With all the different codecs, interactivity, DRM etc. flying around at the present time, how will all these upcoming and present consumer boxes be compatible with each other? We have Apple TV, immenent Netflix service running on 4 or more new CE boxes, PS3/blu-ray 2.0, XBox Live, Cable Company DVRs/Tru2way, video/audio codecs, IPTV set tops, sat boxes, Vudu boxes, Silverlight, HDi, BD-J, Playready, BD+, DD+, Adobe solutions, different max bit-rate capabilities, etc., etc., etc...It's like the friggin' wild west out there. If I can't figure it all out, then how will my parents?
Yeah. I wouldn't say there's much in the way of a "parent ready" service out there now.
1) How can I, as a consumer, be sure that the CE download box (or PC?) I buy or rent will support whomever I choose as a service to sell/rent me downloads? right now everything seems to be shrouded in secrecy, unlike the optical disc format wars in 2005.
Well, PC can almost always do everything, so that's flexible. But for CE boxes? It's up in the air. The thing I find useful is to remember to amortize that kind of investment; figure out how many years any CE device needs to be used to make the price worthwhile. Speakers are about the closest you can come to a capital investment in this industry
2) How will downloads be interoperable? I just read where the old Windows DRM servers are going to be turned off, so downloads using said DRM will be stuck on those boxes they are on. Will I be able to move my downloads from one box to another? If so, is there a spec that all services/studios will follow to ensure compatibility?
No, there's no spec for "forever" DRM support. That's one reason I like the rental/subscription model, so you're not paying for stuff that is impermanent. Another way to think of it is as "leasing" content; for that price, how many years do you want that to be your best version of the asset. That's always been true in practice; I can't say how many copies of London Calling or Blade Runner I've bought by now
3) Is there a standards body that will test CE devices and services for compliance? Is that DLNA? I see MS is a member of that, as is Panny, Philips, Sony, etc...Where does HANA fit in to this? Or will it be a de facto standard that wins the day? Are we looking at another standards war?
DLNA is definitely focused on this area (I made the recent batch of WMV/VC-1 test clips for DLNA). I haven't dealt with HANA myself. I'd certainly love to se a de facto standard win, but it's hard to see a real standard winning once DRM gets into the mix. It could happen; DRM's not my area of expertise.
4) Why isn't there more press about the nuts and bolts of how all this will work? Everything I read suggests downloads are right around the corner (you say in your presentation that capabilities and infrastructure is here now!), but very little is written about how it will all work together. If the industry heads off in their own directions, nobody will buy anything. If the industry coalesces around standards, downloads will be a molten hot, lava bomb. But I see zero evidence of anyone wanting to play nice. Is someone (MS?) or a group of someones (DLNA, or some other group) going to step up in a big way and say this is the way it will be (with $billions and scores of products) to back it up?.
Well, it is soon in the sense that you'll have clusters of interoperable services and devices, and Hollywood will be selling content to all the services, so you can probably get most of the same content whichever service/box you choose. I imagine it'll be driven by consumers buying a box, and then using the service that comes with it.
5) What about peeling off a copy of a download I've purchased to a portable device to take on the road? Will there be a standard way of doing this?
That's been supported in Windows Media for quite a while, in fact. If you try to sync a DRM'ed file that has usage rights for a device, but doesn't meet the specs of the device, it'll be transcoded for you to a compatible file.
6) Can you point me to more resources to read up on this stuff?
Good request. I'll see what I can track down. This forum is actually one of the better places to start, as is the technical info pages of the various services.
One of my goals for the downloads industry is to also get interactivity back in there. It's ironic that we've got great video and audio quality in downloads, but we've regressed to a VCD level of interactivity. It's be nice to get a HD DVD caliber interactive experience in there for menus, extras, commentary, etcetera.