Originally Posted by neuhoover
The issue you're making over content becoming unrecordable in the future is alarmist yet unfounded. DirecTV, Tivo, EchoStar, Microsoft and others are developing and deploying multi-room and centralized media center systems with DVR functionality. There are still issues that the content-providers have over how their shows are being recorded, time-shifted, and shared, but these issues will probably be resolved within the next few years. But other PC-based systems, like Microsoft with their clout, will still be there with access to content like anyone else. There may be limitations versus what we can do today, but PC-based systems will still be there (for us affeciandos). And remember, all encryption can be hacked. Just look at history (as well as today, with both HD DVD and BluRay DVD getting hacked within a few months of release). If content gets seriously locked down, someone will figure out how to open it up.
But I seriously believe that studios will eventually figure out that opening up access to their programming and letting consumers "have it their way" (DVR, mobile video, multiroom access, etc) will ultimately increase their profits. The cassette increased profits, the VCR increased profits, the DVD player increased profits, and now we are in a new era of digital media which, given time, will shake out and increase profits for all the players.
But the studios won't really have any choice - there is this thing called The Internet that is currently a small blip of a threat to their business. And like most disruptive technologies, by the time the studios figure out that they have a problem it will be too late. Internet video is exploding, young consumers are spending less time watching TV and more time on the Internet, and the new technologies these days is allowing user-generated content to ambush the established media business.
You misunderstood what I wrote. The issue isn't whether content will be recordable, it's what you will be able to do with that content, which is essentially nothing. This isn't some future vision, it's today. If you buy a Windows Vista PC with CableCARD support in a few weeks, and your cable provider is using all-digital delivery (which many are, and all will be within a couple of years), then it's near-certain that all channels will be encrypted except the major networks' local feeds. Most of what I watch doesn't come from the major networks. Because the channels are encrypted, they are protected by the DMCA, and because CableLabs has chosen the most severe restrictions, I wouldn't be able to do a darn thing with those channels except play them back on the same computer or via some extender that I would have to buy, and I would be limited to what playback features were built into Windows Vista. If I later upgraded to a better computer, I would lose all of my recorded shows.
Tivo is struggling, and is having to make deals with satellite and/or cable providers (I suspect much of this will fall through). Cable providers are even trying to cut out their own cable box manufacturers--look at Time-Warner, it's writing its own crappy DVR software. Of course Microsoft is in on the act. But remember, they completely caved in on this, and have agreed to restrictions that make the DVR side of Vista no better than a cable box. Microsoft loves DRM because their single biggest threat is open-source software, and open-source is completely incompatible with DRM.
I wouldn't count on useful hacks. The hacks that I've read about are quite limited. All such work has to be done outside the US, in a country that doesn't have computer crime laws comparable to the US, and anyone using such hacks in the US will be committing felonies.
No, the media corporations don't get it, they never have and they never will. I've written about this before--new technologies have always benefitted content producers, going back to the days of radio, which initially nearly killed the record industry, until the record industry figured out that they could use radio to promote records. It doesn't matter what consumers want, the only way that there will be a change in the current situation is if laws are changed, and the only way to do that is to vote anyone who supports DRM out of office, and voters have not been willing to do that. As I've said before, with so many issues, it's tough to have single-issue political tests, but DRM is so restrictive, anti-democratic, and anti-free-enterprise that I'll vote against any politician who supports it.
I wouldn't count on the masses to get it. Look at the extraordinary support for iTunes--one of the most restrictive, overpriced hardware, and extraordinarily overpriced content systems available, and look how many people support it and think it's great. I'll certainly never buy anything like iTunes service or products.
Internet video isn't a disruptive technology. It still goes back to content, and without revenue, you don't get significant content. Revenue-generating Internet streams will be heavily DRM'ed.